Jewish survivors of the Holocaust
Taub, Israel (1 of 2) Holocaust Survivors Centre Interviews
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Holocaust Survivors Centre Interviews
interviewee's home, London
Taub, Israel (speaker, male)
Jackman, Miriam (speaker, female)
Part 1: Also known as Israel Hershkovitz (his mother’s maiden name). As Jewish people would marry only in synagogue, the bride’s surname didn’t change. Born in Munkَacs 24/7/1929. It was a big family of 70 by the time Hitler took them away. They belonged to the Belzer Chasidim sect. Munkَacs had a varied community, a population of 30,000 of which 13,000 – 15,000 were Jewish. The Nazis took 25,000 Jews from Munkacs and surrounds. The Jews and Gentiles got on well. It was a mixed population of Hungarians, Ukrainians, Volksdeutsch farmers, etc. They spoke Yiddish at home. Mother spoke Hungarian and a Ukrainian dialect. Older sister went to Czechoslovakian school. The Jewish schools were only for the boys. Girls went to the normal schools and had private tuition of Hebrew and religion. There was a Hebrew gymnasium. The Munkَacs’ rabbi was anti-zionist so his sisters were not allowed to go to the Zionist school although it was the only Jewish school that took girls. In the main shopping area all shops were owned by Jews – everything closed on Saturdays except the chemist. The Rabbi didn’t like that. Happy childhood – happy home. Went to Cheder at the age of 3. Went to the Ukrainian school but missed a lot of it because he went to Cheder as well. His other siblings went to a Hungarian school. Munkacs was part of the Austro Hungarian Empire until 1917/1918 then Czechoslovakia. When it became Hungary in 1938 the anti-semitic laws started. Because of the new law of citizenship, the whole family was considered Polish. The reason being that his paternal grandfather had come as an infant from Dolyna (Galicia). The family was to be sent to Poland but because the parents were not married in the Registry Office, the children were considered Hungarian, like their mother. Father was taken to the Polish border but the Poles didn’t want him as he was not born in Poland. The father had a flour mill – licence was taken from him in 1938 – business went into mother’s name. Soon after had to “sell” to a Gentile but father ran the business. 1940 – Hungarians took 18,000 Jews in the same situation as the father and sent them to Poland. 95% were killed. Father hid and only came home on the Sabbath. Mother and sons ran the business with father’s help. Father was left behind in Ukraine after the war. Visited father during the Cuban crisis. 19/3/1944 – Hungary occupied by Germany. Father’s records were lost so he could go home again. Germans arrive in Munkَacs and the Judenrat is established. The Hungarian Judenrat had to buy 19,000metres of yellow fabric and make the armbands. 2nd decree - Jews not allowed bikes, radios, phones. 3rd decree – all Jewish owned shops had to put a yellow star on the outside. Jewish schools closed. A month later the ghetto was established. The family moved into the aunt’s house in the ghetto area. A month later the German ordered the Jews to destroy all synagogues. The Germans took all the rabbis and Jewish judges and asked them to sign a protocol to say that the Jews drank Christian blood for Pesach. Soon after they were taken to the brick factories to wait for transport to the camps, there were four transports (one a day) with 80 to 100 people per cattle wagon. Eichmann was there to supervise. They were sent to Auschwitz/Birkenau. A cousin published the story in the Jewish Gazette in the USA. 50 boys were kept in Birkenau as hostages for exchange. They were there for 8 months.