Juci Scheiner in her beauty parlor

This is a picture of me and my cosmetics apprentice in my beauty parlor in Marosvasarhely. The photo was taken in 1941.

There was a decree in the Romanian era that only allowed people to open a business, if they passed a certain exam in Bucharest, regardless of where they had studied. So I had to go to Bucharest for that exam. In the spring of 1940 I opened a beauty salon in the main square, then, in fall, the Hungarians came in. The salon was on the ground floor of a three-storey house. It was a nice and very spacious location, the furniture was cream-colored, the vases, the ash-trays, and the drapes were dark green. We had custom furniture, but I don't know who made it. It was beautiful and very stylish. We had three windows, but they were not onto the street, but onto a courtyard. Someone told me she wanted to be my first customer. I saw her one day on the main square, went to her and told her that if she was still interested, the salon would open on such and such a day. On the next day, when after lunch I went to open the salon, there was a young provincial couple, unknown to me, already waiting in the walkway. They didn't know they were my first customers, I told them later. My name was displayed on the gate, they saw the notice 'Juci Mestitz Cosmetician' and waited for me. I worked from 9am to 1pm and from 4pm to 7pm, but I never managed to finish on time, I always had to stay late. I had many customers. The Jews liked to come here, of course, but I also had Romanian, Hungarian and Saxon patients, too, I made no distinction.

Looking onto the street there was an insurance company, and we were on very good terms with Gyurka, the insurer's son. He didn't work there, but the insurance company belonged to his father. When the Hungarian soldiers were marching in, the old man asked us to come over, because they had a better view. A few of us went over. My older brother was also there. Suddenly the bell rang in the anteroom. Three guys from Hungary and a local woman stood there in Hungarian gala-dress. They wanted to have a word with the owner. Well, uncle Farkas, the insurer, went there. He was Jewish. They asked him, 'Are there any Jews in here?' He said, 'Yes, there are, why?' The woman said, 'They are not allowed to go to the window, nor to watch'. Uncle Farkas lashed out saying that this was his office and he would allow anyone to look out of the window he wanted to. He told him off well. The woman, whom we knew very well, was really embarrassed. They probably told her to go with this guy and there was nothing she could do. She was a Christian, but her late husband was Jewish, and her daughter lives in Israel now.

This was the first manifestation of anti-Semitism, and it was a terrible slap in the face. We continued to watch though, and we saw Horthy and his wife, but we had lost interest in the whole thing.

Photos from this interviewee