Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Michael Weiss - August 9, 1995

Hungarian Rule

Had you and your family heard about Horthy and Szálasi?

Oh yes, yes, but Szálasi, now he was, he was another Hitler. Szálasi was another Hitler. Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, he had, he had ah, like, like SS Jugend in Hungary. And they were spread all over, ah, all our small towns had them. And Jews were afraid to go on the streets. Ah, from this Szálasi Jugend.

Was it that Arrow Cross Party?

Arrow Cross yeah, yeah.

Were there neighbors of yours who were in...this?

Well, well, neighbors of ours, there was, I know whom I, with whom I went to school. Ah, and ah, they were, they were, and then the neighbors, especially the day when they gathered us to the schools, all these neighbors who we thought they are friends, they were out and they had a holiday. They were ah, ah, laughing on the streets and they were saying, I was between them there, "I'm gonna move into that Jew's home tomorrow" and others said, "I move into that." They were ready, they were happy, they were willing to get rid of the Jewish people because by us and I could say that, knowingly, that in the churches, in the churches, anti-Semitism was preached from the pulpits and that's how anti-Semitism started and flourished and by the years `38 and so forth, so on, it was already and ah, they were all very happy to get rid of the Jews.

Did you have any friends in school who were in this...

I had friends. I think, I think they were all my friends with whom I went to school. I had friends, I thought so.

So were you surprised to see this?

I was very, very surprised to see them. And we had neighbors, you know we were close neighbors ah, we had there a neighbor three houses down whom uh...Shabbos, they used to come in, in the winter to light the fire and since I remember, I grew up with them, I went to school with them and so forth. And then I, I, I, what's happening, what's happening, and they were not our friends and they were our worst enemies.

What about Horthy?

Well, Horthy, Horthy, what we thought was, he wasn't anti-Semitic. But we understand after the war, after the war Horthy wanted to stop the deportations and so forth and then, uh, uh, Szálasi came into the regime and Horthy was arrested. At the end of the war, Horthy was arrested by the Germans. Details I don't know. I was in concentration camp then. But the history is that he was arrested by the Germans.

Did your father talk about the politics, Horthy, Szálasi the other...parties?

No, no, we were...really, we weren't mixed, somehow the Jewish people weren't mixed in politics, no. No we weren't, we weren't to do something maybe to sabotage something or, or, or something. We never, I never heard any discussion about that. And that's why I, I, I, really am thinking today. Why they had to kill off all the Jews and like that? We would never, okay there is...in a war people die, yeah, yes, I know that, I know that. But we were not involved. Really the Jewish community were not involved in politics.

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