Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Michael Weiss - October 7, 1994


The following is an interview with Michael Weiss at his home in Oak Park, Michigan on October 7, 1994. The interviewer is Sidney Bolkosky.

Uh, could you tell me your name please and where you're from?

Uh, my name is Michael Weiss. I am from Kascony. Sometime it's called Mezo Kascony. That is about a mile from the Hungarian border. Kascony was before the first war it did belonged to Austro-Hungary. After the first war, in 1918, it became Czechoslovakia.

This Ruthenia? Ruthenia? Is it Ruthenia?

No. This is, this is Carpatha Rus. This is Carpatha Rus. Now the only thing I want to ask you...should it--shall I...I just answer you a sentence on the, or, or...

Just talk...tell me...

I just want to know, you know, what, what the routine should be...

Well why don't you tell me something about life uh, before the war?

Well uh, in 1938...let's start a little bit... In 1918, after the first war, Kascony became Czechoslovakia. In Czechoslovakia, under the Czech regime, its president was Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. The Jewish people, Jewish life, was flourishing. It was nice considering all the anti-Semitic countries around Czechoslovakia, Kascony included. We were flourishing. And that was going on till the Hungar...till, till 1938.

How many Jews were in Kascony?

In Kascony we had about eighty families. But there was a rabbi there. He was considered the holy man. For example, for the holidays they were coming around people from all over, even today in 1994, if you will ask a Chasid a, a--who knows a little bit about religion, and you tell ‘em Kociner, the Kociner rebbe, they will remember. We had a Yeshiva there. A very nice Yeshiva uh, what was really learning Torah.

Tell me your rabbi's name.

Rabbi's name was Israel Tzvi Halevi Rothenberg and--but when the Hungarians came in, in 1938, everything changed. Everything changed.

Before you tell me about that, how large was Kascony total?

Total? It had 3,000 population.

Jews were what?

We had...


We had eighty families. So eighty families if you figure, 300--350 people, so...

Eight percent to ten percent?

Something like that. Something like that.

Um, did, did you have any connection with the Munkacse rabbi?

Well the Munkacs rabbi was a relative uh, uh, through the Kociner rabbi, but uh, travelling wasn't--it's like here: you sit in the car and you travel thirty miles. It wasn't that easy. I seen the Munkacse rabbi once in my life. The alte, rebbe the old rebbe. Then his son-in-law became rebbe of Munkacs when he passed away.

And he went to Israel, I think.

His son-in-law went to Israel and really the rabbis from Europe--I will not say Europe at least Carpatha Rus...I'm gonna talk what I know about--like the Satmar rabbi today. They did not believe in Israel, in the state of Israel as such, before the Meschiach, the Messiah will come.

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