Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Jack Weinberger - February 6, 1983


The following is an interview with Mr. Jack Weinberger at his home in Oak Park, Michigan on the afternoon of February the 6th, 1983. Donna Miller is the interviewer. Could you uh, tell me your name and when and where you were born?

Uh, my name is uh, Jack Weinberger and I was born in a, in a little town called Volové. It's in Czechoslovakia in the Carpathian Mountains.

Okay, and what date were you born?

Uh, September sixth, 1929.

Okay um, can you just describe for me your life before the war?

Uh, like uh, what kind of stuff, like a child way uh, you know, just like any other home. We're going to school and uh, we were not uh, the age of your small town people.


Working people. We had a little land, we had a house. We were six children in the family, all, all boys. And that's all until 1944, that's all big uh, dark-age came I would say, and the Germans came in.

What did your father do for a living?

Oh, for a living, we had a, we had a small store.


Uh, like a, here you would call it a grocery store.


And uh, he was also teaching on the side. He was like a Hebrew teacher.


With small children.

Um, did you have any other family living in your town? Any other relatives living in your town?

Well my uh, grandmother, my aunts uh, well...


We're all a big family.


See my original mother, my first mother she died. She died in 1939; I was only ten years old when she died. And uh, my mother was at that time, she was uh, there was, she--Czechoslovakia was occupied, half by the Germans and half by the Hungarians. We were on the Hungarian side. When the Hungarians came in the first thing they did they took uh, mostly uh, young able Jewish people. Instead of taking them to the army they took 'em uh, they used to uh, they gave 'em uniforms just like the soldiers but instead of giving them a rifle they used to give them a shov... a shovel. They used to call 'em, in Hungarian. So uh, I didn't--that, that, that I remember very good uh, and uh, my s--then my, my father had to remarry again because we was small children and I was the oldest. And then uh, he had another boy from his second wife that was in 1940. 'Til 19 uh, 44 after they took us out, took the whole family, my father was in and out from the service quite often they took him in and out, in and out again because he had a big family to support.


Then in 1944 the Germans came in. They took over Hungary, all Hungary, the Germans. And they took us right into the ghetto. We were in the ghetto for five week, four or five weeks.

Where was the ghetto?

Oh was, I'd say about seventy kilometers away from the hometown. Maybe forty, forty-five miles.


For awhile it was surrounding villages everybody together and I remember it was uh, fourteen days after Pesach I think in '44, 1944. We were there about three or four weeks. And then uh, the Germans, Monday morning, they surrounded the whole uh, ghetto and they took us and put us on trains and that's it. They took us to Auschwitz.

What was the name of the town the ghetto was in? Do you know?

Sokirnitsa, Sokirnitsa in Hungaria.

What, what were the living conditions like there in the ghetto?

Oh very bad, very bad. We were uh, mostly the non-Jewish people were voluntary, I don't know if there was voluntary or what, they left the houses.


And you were put in to uh, I don't know how many houses--it was a very small village, put in uh, mostly from all the surrounding villages, all around it all the Jewish people. And they put in; there must have been at least uh, ten or twelve families, families in one house. I know the, the man, growing up man and I was the oldest in the family, we were not sleeping in houses we were sleeping uh, there were cows. Like uh, they have stacks of high hay because we have no room to sleep uh,??? 4:59.168 sleep on the floor, there was no bed. We sleeping on stacks of hay outside. And we had no food, no nothing. No hope, no nothing.

Was there uh, what about the food?

They had one kitchen set up, one meal a day. There was only uh, the kitchen was only set up, set up about two weeks after they took us in that camp. And there was uh, we staying the night from the morning 'til the--can you imagine all of them I don't know, I, I have no idea how many people were in the ghetto. Always kept on bringing in new people from uh, there was only soup and that's it.

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