Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lola Taubman - December 22, 2009


Tell me a little bit more about your family. Was it an extended family?

Very, very extended family. Well uh, you know what happened during uh, at the end of World War I they evacuated to Hungary, to Miskolz, you heard that town? Yeah. And uh, so my, my mother was one of nine children, and while they were there my grandmother got influenza and she died. And my grand...grandfather was left with nine children. And at the end of the war they, they came back to Svalava and uh, he met a nice lady that wasn't married and she raised all the nine children and married them off.

So you had a lot of aunts and uncles.

Right. And my father was--my grandmother on the Goldstein side gave birth to four...fourteen children. And uh, uh, three died in infancy and eleven grew up to adulthood.

So how many do you think--aunts, uncles, first cousins--how many people do you think were in their family?

I, I don't know if I brought a picture or not, but we had--my grandmother had sixty-four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren in the United States. Three brothers of my father's uh, left shortly after the turn of the century and they came here to make room for the other children. And uh, uh, so that's how we little by little came here. But uh, uh, we, we observed holidays and we always got together with the family. We visited my grandparents every Friday night and the extended family we met either in shul or they didn't live too far.

And they all, they lived in Svalava?

Uh, yes.


Some of them--my grandmother lived in a small village. The only Jewish family on the, on the Polish border in the Carpathian Mountains. And uh, uh, so some sons stayed there around the vicinity in Pavlovo, did you hear of the town Pavlovo? Some in Pavlovo and some in Izvor. Izvor was the town where my father was born. And uh, uh, then little by little they moved into Svalava, all of them were in Svalava. So one uncle had ten children, the others had six, seven children and, and they all lost some because we had a--when the soldiers came back from the war they brought an epidemic of, of uh, uh, brain uh, how do you call it? What do you call that disease?

Daughter: Typhus?

Uh, the inflammation of the brain.

Daughter: Encephalitis?

There's uh, what if that word for it? It isn't going to come to me. So uh, in every family at least one member died of that disease, uh...

It wasn't cholera, was it?

Pardon me?


No, not cholera. Brain injury, brain uh, inflammation.

Daughter: Meningitis?


Meningitis. So my, my aunt lost a son. In every house they lost one member.

How many do you think survived the war?

The war? Of our family? Well, at least ten cousins. Ten cousins and one, two, three, four uncles. But they were younger and they were in Russia. And they came back with the uh, Czech army in exile. And when they came back--I am jumping from one thing to another...

That's all right.

...when my two uncles came back from Russia uh, one uncle was in Siberia and, and he, he had such high fever that he dreamt that his mother is waiting for him, so he ran out in the snow barefooted from the camp. And then uh, he realized that one of the officers was Jewish. He invited him to come and see his mother. And my uncle was sort of lucky because he spoke fluent Ukrainian and, and German. So, when they had the German prisoners of war, he uh, translated. And the other uncle was sick in a hospital and he jumped out and crawled in the snow and survived on some farm.

But your immediate family no...

Pardon me?

Your immediate family, no one survived?

Uh, no, I thought they both went into the gas chamber the same night. But forty years later I found out that one of my brothers was in Mauthausen. He was only a year younger than I am, very skinny. And he couldn't lift the heavy rocks. He gave it up. He gave his bread up and they killed him in Mauthausen.

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