Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Michael Weiss - October 7, 1994

Hungarian Rule II

So what was life like under the Hungarians? What, what did you do?

Well, as I said first they, they, they took away the licenses. What was a very big blow. You could imagine something like that. It's a very big blow. And then, and then uh, they used to call in young men to the army. Jews and Hungarians. But Jews were, were, they didn't give them a uniform anymore. They were given a, a uh, yellow band. This is--we talk now about young people who would be eligible to the army. And they were, they went to like hard labor, all kind of labors, on railroads, on the streets building roads, and that's what, what were they, what, what they were doing. And uh, and that naturally, naturally later on, later on uh, all the time it get, it gotten worse and worse. Uh, and then the yellow stars. Everybody had to put on a yellow star in the oth...oth...other garment.

Was there a Jewish council? A Judenrat?

A Judenrat. Well uh, uh, uh, this Nyilaskeresztes organization I think you could call that a Judenrat.

Hmm. Who was in--who was in that?

Well, the youngsters, the youngsters, the youngsters. Uh, they liked the idea to hate the Jews because they did learn that at home. They did learn that in their churches. And they were very willing and able and right to hate the Jew.

Nyilaskeresztes is what the Iron, Iron...

The, the...

The Iron Cross Party?

The uh, uh, uh...

Arrow Cross Party?

The Arrow Cross. That's right.

Um, what did, what did, did--did the Hungarians come to Jews in the community and say, "You're gonna organize the community for us. We want you to do this, this, and this?"

I don't think so. That's not, no...

So they didn't go to the leaders in the Jewish community?

No, they didn't went to the leaders and again my best knowledge is Kascony. It was a small town. And they didn't but I don't think they went. They didn't need it: the Jewish cooperation or anything. They were the rulers. They could rule the Jewish people.

They--did they take money?

Not as such. Not as such. Uh, not as such, no.

Were you sent to a work camp?

You see I was born in 1924. And I was in Beregszász ghetto when I received my uh, when they say send that uh, uh, to, to get you to the army? What...


Draft notice. In Beregszász. And they didn't let me out of there from the ghetto already to go into the labor.

Did your father go?

My father was in the labor camp in, in '40. In '41. But in uh, '44 when they took us to the ghetto he was home already. So...

How did they take him to the labor camp? Did somebody...

Well they send 'em, they send 'em this draft notice.

A notice.

Like anybody else. Like they would call into the army these draft notices and you have to uh, go to a certain city. I remember my father went to Munkacs. And uh, he was there, yes.

Did he write to you from the labor camp?

Uh, uh, yes he did, he did and that could be--he could write as many letters as, as he wanted, yes.

What was your household like during this time? I mean, were people upset? Were they...

Well, well...


The household and the whole community was scared. Was afraid. You see by us, and all over really, a family is very precious. A family--you know a father, a mother. And, and we felt, and we do today feel for our Jewish brothers. And somehow, we banded together somehow. We mourned together; we cried together. Our rabbis made speeches. They were begging God to help us because we knew that only God could help us.

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