Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lola Taubman - December 22, 2009

Hungarian Occupation

What do you remember about when the Hungarians came?

What do I remember? Uh, it was a, a conflict. First they march into Munkacs but they stayed there, they didn't march any further. So we were cut off. And they started Hungarian school in 1939 in the fall and I couldn't start until spring of '39, spring of thirty--that was '38 and I started spring of '39. So I had--I lost one year. I had to drop down because I missed it. And uh, uh, the Hungarian teachers were nice but we had to learn their, their culture, their, their uh, literature. And uh, we had an English teacher that was born in Slovakia and she went to school in Oxford. So when she came, she stood up on the table and she said, "The pepper is small but strong." And she said, "I will not talk to you in any other language but English." That's how we learned. And when, I heard that she came to New York and she was so scared. She had to have the students take her places. I never met her after the war. She was Jewish.

And was there any talk about--before the invasion of the Hungarians...


...was there any talk about the politics, what was going on Germany?

Oh sure. We tried to listen to uh, England, to London and that was against the law. If they caught you, you went into jail. So we tried to find out--and we knew about the uh, the laws against Jews, Hitler's laws and what they--what we didn't know, you know, the newspapers wouldn't write about this but Kristallnacht, we never heard about it.


We never heard about concentration camps. Uh, not until 19...even in 1942 we didn't know where those people were taken.

But you knew about Horthy.

About what?


Horthy, yeah. Horthy was okay because he made a pact with the Germans. "We'll give you slave laborers, but don't touch the Jews." But at the end he escaped to, to Spain. Horthy, Horthy himself and uh, uh, a lot of Germans escaped through, through Spain, Portugal, South America.

And do you remember Szálasi? Szálasi?



Szálasi. I don't remember much about him.

He was 1940s already.


Forty-three or '44, I think.

What was his position?

He was prime minister.

I heard the name, but I didn't know what his position.

He was a Hungarian Nazi. He was an...

Nazi, right.

...he was an Arrow Cross person.

Right, right.

Do you remember the Arrow Cross?

Right, Nyilaskeresztes the Hungarians called Nyilaskeresztes.

Yeah, like, like the swastika almost.


What do you remember about them? Did they come in your town?

In town? Well, when I was born there were five-thousand eight-hundred half-Jewish. By the time I left it was ten thousand. But a, a large number of Jews were taken away in '42, as I said. I knew a family, a man was born in Poland but he married a woman from Svalava. And uh, he was away on business, so when they came to, to his family and they asked uh, citizenship papers and she couldn't prove it, even though she was born there, so she and two children were taken away.

And did you have any idea what was going to happen to these people?

No. No idea. But we, we knew--somebody said that they were able to send packages. I don't believe it. If they did send packages those people were long gone by the time the packages arrived there.

And was anybody sent to labor gangs?

Oh yes, all the men, all the young men uh, twenty and above were taken. But my father was forty-six, so they didn't take him but they took his business away.

When was that?

Forty-two, '42. We had a store full of merchandise and they--their excuse was that they took it away in lieu of taxes for the next fifty years.

But this was all before the Germans came.

Yes, yes. When the Hungarians came in, they were village people and they didn't know much. And when they came into the store and they looked into--on the shelf, what is that? They were sardines. So you had to explain. So one soldier took the other, "Can you imagine? Fish in a can." And uh, they didn't stay long. Then little by little Germans came and tried to move into our house.

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