Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Michael Weiss - August 9, 1995

Arrival of Germans

Do you remember when the Germans came?

Oh, I remember, I remember, well naturally the, the Hungarians came first to us in `38, and then came the Germans.

In '44?

In `44.

Do you remember that March `44?

I remember in March `44. As a matter of fact, I remember the day ah, ah, my town, as I said, is a mile from the Hungarian border and they thought there will be a war so they evacuated the whole town. I went to Ungvár, I had a cousin there, an uncle really, who had children, and I was there November the 9th, 1938, when the Germans, when the Hungarian Army came in. And the Jewish people, many of this people who fought in the first war, World War I, who were ah, ah, officers of the Hungarian Army. They dressed, they put on their uniforms and their medals. And they were welcoming the Hungarian Army, they came in, they were welcoming them. They were officers in the army, they fought in, for the Hungarians and in, within months, they took away their rank, they took away their ah, ah, medals. They took away, they became plain Jews. They put on the, the yellow stars and they were not recognized anymore as people or as fighters for the, in the Hungarian Army, in 1914 through 1918, and they took everything away from them and they became Jews. And they took 'em to slave labor just like all the Jews from 18 'til, 'til 40 or something and uh, yeah.

And that's when you father was taken?

My father was in, as I said, twice during, between `38 and `44, he was twice in this forced labor camp, yes.

In 1944, did the Hungarians, the Arrow Cross Party, were they the ones who came into your town?

Not right away in 1944, because when, when they took us, the Horthy Party was the regime. The Horthy Party was in the regime, and I understand today that Horthy didn't like, didn't want it, the idea really to take the Jews and so forth. But then, Hitler was there, Eichmann came in, ah, the Nyilas Party came with Szálasi and they forced them in a way, in a way, Hitler, ah, Horthy, to take out the Jews, to get out the Jews and so forth and so on.

In Kascony, Kascony did you see any Germans in the town?

Oh yes, yes, yes. Pesach, before Pesach here, before Pesach here I seen Germans in town. Ah, ah, and, and that's, ah, ah, ah, for example, Pesach we didn't have already, we didn't daven already, we were afraid to go out all together on the streets. There were Germans there and I've seen German, oh yes, yes.

And were they brutal?

Well, no, I didn't see any because we didn't went out on the street. And they did stay, you see in the nice Jewish homes, the officers did stay in the Jewish homes.

You mean Jewish families put them up?

Jewish families' homes, right. And uh, they never said anything that they would be brutal to them in their homes at that time.

And then what happened?

Well, that's what happened after Pesach right away. Right away, ah, ah, they gathered us, all the Jews, to a school yard and there was a Presbyterian minister, I can see him now. He was tall, he had a shaven head and he was in charge. He was in charge to see to it that all the Jews are in that school yard. And if somebody was missing, he asked the parents and things and they had to prove it. They weren't home, they were in Budapest or someplace, they had to prove that they are not home. And he was so proud working there, in that school yard, between these Jews. And he looked around with a happy smile that look, he's proud what he did. And he gathered everybody and then they put us on a freight wagon pulled by horses, that's...and they took us to Beregszasz, into the ghetto.

Now, by "they" you mean the Arrow Cross people?

That was the Hungarians all the way.

And the Germans were there but they were just overseers?

The Germans were there but they did not participated in gathering the Jews. We were gathered by the Hungarian, as I say by this uh, uh, minister and the Hungarian police.

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