Ervin Fenyes on the occasion of a school play

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This is [my son] Pubi [Ervin Fenyes], as a schoolboy; he was the prince in a play called ‘What Did Once a Prince Think to Himself.’ The picture was taken in Kispest, in 1937 or 1938.

My son Ervin was born on 25th July 1929. Of course it wasn't the best time for it, but children come the quickest, and if I hadn't so ignorant…

My child was nine months old when I opened the shop. My stepmother didn't help; she never came, not even once, to look after my son.

I had to keep an employee to have someone take care of my child if I wasn't at home. I employed a young one, who I thought would take care of my child and do the housework.

Later, when I was already doing better, I employed a German woman, too.

In July 1944 they deported my son and me in cattle cars, and there was an incredible crowd. We traveled for three days, day and night, in awful conditions. We could hardly sit.

My child was about 192 centimeters tall, and the poor thing had to be folded as a folding ruler. He always wanted to look out the lattice window. I told him, 'My son, sit down, because that way you take up less room.' After three days, on 12th July we arrived in Birkenau.

We were set down; everyone took his belongings, and tried to protect themselves against the heat. The first thing they did was separate me from my child, they told everyone in which group to stand.

There was such confusion in my head I couldn't even comprehend it. I was standing there with my emotions numbed.

Then my son turned up, hugged and kissed me and told me in tears, 'Mom, you'll see, we'll meet again, you'll see, we'll meet again!' He could think more clearly than I could.

I was just trembling, I feared that they would catch him and strike him dead in front of me, because he had left his row. I just kept telling him, 'Go back my son, go back.

So that nothing will happen.' And poor him tried to comfort me. This was a horror.

I never saw my 15-year-old son again. My son, who had been playing the violin for nine years, and was going to the conservatory, and whose teachers had great hopes for him! He wanted to be an artist, a violinist. Nothing has become of him.

Interview details

Interviewee: Jozsefne Erzsebet Barsony
Klara Lazok and Viktoria Kutasi
Month of interview:
November - May
Year of interview:
2004 - 2005
Budapest, Hungary


Ervin Fenyes
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