Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Jack Weinberger - February 6, 1983


How did the Americans treat you when you were liberated?

Oh, they're nice. First of all they set up kitchens right away, they made kitchens, you know, food. That was the most important, that's the only most important thing there.


And we had everyday coming in, everyday different American journalist, you know, from the press. And taking pictures, and taking interviews, and, and uh different uh, and uh, but they were nice, they were nice. But still we was still uh, [pause] I don't know, most the time...

Guarantee [laughs].

If you get ???.

You mentioned something when you went back to your hometown and you talked to the people who you met outside of church and who were--said to you...


About the boots. And yet before the war you said there was no trouble with those people. What changed them? What happened?

Well first of all, there is a good reason, very good reason. Most of the people were killed, mostly Jewish people. Like in my hometown we had a house, a house about this size maybe bigger. But compared over there, the standards for Europe it was a big house. In our house where we lived, in the rooms where we lived, you see we had tenants too. But in the rooms we lived somebody else occupy that place, had a free house. We didn't have to pay rent, life insurance, nothing. Now all of sudden these people started coming back from, come back, so they didn't like it. They would've probably figured uh, they'd have to give it back. Some people, like my cousin in Cleveland, they own horses. We didn't own the horses but he own horses. Before they took us away he gave the horses to a non-Jewish person. He said, "in case I survive or my children survive when they come home maybe you give us back the horses." When he come home he--they wouldn't give him back the horses. I have another cousin who lives in New Jersey, he had chickens, you know, he had little--like a farm house with chickens, and eggs, and ducks. He gave--they all died out when he came back. See we couldn't find nothing out, that was the whole thing.

When all the Jews were round up in your town and put in the ghetto, did any Christians ever try and help?


Was there anybody... No.

Only one left, only one person in my hometown is that lady who was our tenant. That's the only one who came in to the synagogue that day, it was a big synagogue. ???, only one, only one. What do you mean help? They were cooperating, mostly, I'm not saying all of them, but mostly were cooperating with the Hungarian soldiers, that we should be taken away. Because we had one synagogue they used to call ???, the big synagogue was, I would say maybe a half a mile from my house, from my father's house. There was a small synagogue, was right next door, next door to my father's house, small. When the Hungarians came in they took us into the synagogues over. Sometimes for a month, sometimes for two months, sometimes three months, they put in horses there. Because soldiers are moving back and forth, up and down the front. They were going in horses and trucks too, they didn't have enough trucks. The horses had to sleep someplace. They took the soldiers they put them in the Jewish houses, whether you like it or not. They came in, let's say to, Mr. so and so, "I'm gonna bring in four soldiers tonight, they gonna sleep here for two, three days. You gotta give them bed, place somewhere to sleep." They didn't ask if you have room or not, they didn't care if you sleep outside. If you said you don't have anywhere to sleep they just kick you out from the house. They made sure that, that the horses had to sleep someplace too. The horses they put in the synagogue. This, this is true, in the synagogue. They kept them there sometimes a week, sometimes two when they uh, moved away they left us the, the clean up to do. You know the horses ???. So when the uh, horses were not occupied--when the synagogue was not occupied by horses we had a right to use it. That was until they took us in the camp. One morning we got up, on a Saturday morning before we went to the synagogue. Most of the Jewish uh houses and synagogues are marked with swastikas and it was in Hungarian written, "long live Szálasi." See in Hungary, just like in Germany, the, the uh, leader was Hitler. In Hungary the leader from the Nazi party his name was Szálasi. Not the president from Hungary but the, the from the Nazi party, his name was Szálasi. After the war he was uh, the Russians caught him and they hanged him in Budapest. His name was Szálasi. So uh, the president from the shul, the synagogue caught, you know, like a man, not a Jewish person he's a--was Shabbas, we didn't want to do something about it. He said go, he took him in the house and said I got a lot of paint and go paint all the swastikas on the shul. 1:13:05.533 And then their own local politician, they were watching, they came out and said ??? in, "you know, you're gonna pay with your life for that, that swastikas there for a purpose ???." See even soldiers, just like a terrorist, you know, someone a terrorist threatens you- you're afraid.


Even there were maybe a few people that tried to help us, they were threatened, they were afraid.

Were the schools closed right away too? When they, uh...

What do you mean school?

The public schools, were you allowed to go to public school after the...

No, not under uh, in the beginning yes.


In the beginning yeah.

After you left your hometown, after you were liberated and then you went, you were going to go to uh, Israel...

Yeah, at that time was called Palestine.

Right, right, so what happened? What happened after you left?

Well, I went to Buda... you know, ??? to ???. Then they had uh organizations, people who wanted to go to Israel. They were put uh, on uh, trains 'til the border, 'til the Austrian border. From the Austrian border they had to go through at night, to go, it was the Russian side, because it was the Russians. To go through at night, to go to the border, to go to the uh, English side. And there we were a few weeks in camp too, but English wouldn't let us go no place. And then from Austria we had to, we went to Italy, I was in Italy for two and a half years. We stayed there waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and we were ready one day to go and again they cancelled it, we couldn't go the ship was caught ???. But in the mean time we uh, figured why not take a chance and we registered to go to America, to Brazil, to Uruguay, to Paraguay, Canada, ???. Cause there was no future, no hope in Italy. So this deal came up, which I never expec..., I never thought we would come over here. See I served in the American Army too, I was in Korea too.

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