Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Michael Weiss - October 7, 1994

Arrival of the Germans

Tell me a little about when the Germans came.

Well, when the Germans came in, I was in Budapest. Because my hometown the Yeshiva closed, I was Yeshiva Bucher. The Yeshiva closed. Didn't have work to do. My father was in the labor camp. So I told my aunt at home--in my town they took away the licenses of the Jewish merchants--so I asked my mother, "Look"--and many young people did this in Carpatha Rus..."I want to become something. I want to become a tailor." Now I want to go to Budapest. And I went to Budapest in 1943 after the holidays in October of '43. And I started out to be a tailor. I had a hard time to get a job as such then. I didn't wanted to work shops.

You didn't have any trouble getting to, getting to Budapest?

No. No trouble. No. No, at that time, nope. So I did got a job to learn as a tailor. Now...

Was the job with other Jews?

Yes, that was a Jewish firm in Budapest. Yes, that was a Jewish firm. And uh, they paid very little. But whoever comes for example into a tailor shop to learn, that young man they give him the chance to deliver that suit to the customer when it's ready. And for that he gets a tip. And that tip was very important. But most of the times, it was on Shabbos. They deliver Shabbos. People don't work and things. People are home. And I didn't wanted to deliver. I had to give up those few tips. What was important to my livelihood and to my mother's and grandmother's livelihood too. And then I was there and in March of 19...44, the Ger...

Well let me ask you this before we get to that um, your mother must have been upset to see you go.

Well yes. First of all, you see when you go away what our parents was afraid of that would--we won't be that observant. If you go to Budapest in a big city, we won't be that observant. Oh sure, I was the only child. Sure she was.

So what was it like?

But she seen, she seen, she seen that I had to make a few pengös--we had pengös then--and I made very little and I sent home very little. And uh, and--but the main thing was I said, "Mother. What am I going to do when I grow up and I have to make a living?" I need some trade in my hand and I begged, I begged and uh, uh, my uh, uh, I talked to my father and the...

You talked to your father about this?


He was in the labor camp?

He was in the labor camp, but they did got furlough. They did got furlough.

It must have been a difficult farewell.

It was. It was especially. That was my first time away from home. Yes. Yes. And the only child and so forth. Yes it was.

But, but--and the Germans came in March. But you were still in Budapest?


What happened then?

Well, that was before Pesach, and there were lot--a lot of young people from Carpatha Rus. Carpatha Rus was a very poor, poor uh, uh, land there. And there were a lot of young men, and we tried to come home. For Pesach--it was about two weeks before Pesach--no, in March? Maybe four weeks before Pesach, and everybody tried to come home.

And how did you come home? By train?

By train. Now...

To Beregszász?

Well I'm from Kascony. Maybe back to--it's, it's--yeah.

So there's a, there's a train station in Kascony?

Not in Kascony. You have to walk 'bout uh, three, four miles.


From the train station to Kascony.

Where, where was the train station?

??? And that's a small place yet near Kascony.


So uh, uh, now people were coming home but many of 'em was arrested right at the train station. Jewish, whoever went to the train station was arrested. Some of 'em were lucky. And somehow I was lucky. I got home. I got home a few days before Pesach. And Erev Pesach. Now when the Germans came in, they didn't came in like a regiment. They came in very few people. Eichmann came with but 200 people.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn