Janos Gottlieb with his toys

+
  • Photo taken in:
    Baia Mare
    Year when photo was taken:
    1934
    Country name at time of photo:
    Romania (1920-1945)
    Country name today:
    Romania
    Name of the photographer / studio:
    Laszlo Gottlieb

The photo was taken in 1934, I was five years old then. I enjoyed playing with my teddy and my doll - that was it. It was my father [Laszlo Gottlieb] who took the photo in the garden of our house in Nagybanya. My father was a great photographer, he even had his own studio at home.

I was born in 1929 in Nagybanya. From the age of three I lived at my paternal grandparents. My grandparents lived in a village somewhere near Nagybanya for a while, I was with them there too, then in Nagybanya. But when I was five years old, my father took me with him, he rented a quite nice apartment, in a nice part, let's say, of Nagybanya, in a villa. The owner was a woman from Kolozsvar, a widow, her family name was Herczeg. The rent was quite high, but it was in the outskirts, the air was fine there. My father always feared that I got tuberculosis or something like that. This was when I was five. We had somebody who did the housekeeping; my father had a good salary, in those times this didn't mean a problem. Later it was my step-mother who did the housekeeping. Well, it wasn't her who actually worked, but she gave out the tasks for everybody. It wasn't her who did the cooking, we had a cook. This wasn't a problem.

My sole problem during my childhood was that I was orphan. Yet I didn't feel so motherless, because they behaved so nicely with me. My father was not only a daddy, but a mom too. He looked after me in a very kind manner, not to speak about his parents, especially about my grandmother. Later my second mother, whom I loved a lot, took care of me very gently too. I called her by her name, Lili. I had a very beautiful childhood. The environment and the people were all very nice.

In fact I didn't get any particular Jewish education, I received a rather Hungarian education at home as well. I didn't learn to speak Hebrew, I don't speak at all. Unfortunately. It's a good thing to know one more language, but that was it. A visiting teacher taught me to read in Hebrew, but I never understood what I was reading. He used to come to us when I was around eight years old until I became twelve, for three or four years, but only once in a week.

Everybody spoke Hungarian with me in the family. My mother tongue is Hungarian, I didn't speak any other language until the age of five. Later my father, who obviously had a German education, hired a fraulein for me, according to the customs of those times, and that's how I learnt German. I think I was five, this was after my mother died. And I got to learn Romanian only when I was six and a half, when my father simply enrolled me to a Romanian school saying: 'You have to learn Romanian, because we live in Romania.' And he was right. In Nagybanya there wasn't any Jewish school, only a cheder. There was a Hungarian school belonging to the Calvinist church, but he didn't send me there. So I finished primary school in the Romanian public school. I finished four years of primary school in Romanian, one year of gymnasium, then in the 1940s Hungarians came in, and after that I learned in Hungarian, then at the university too.

Interview details

Interviewee: Janos Gottlieb
Interviewer:
Emoke Major
Month of interview:
October
Year of interview:
2006
Iaşi , Romania

KEY PERSON

Janos Gottlieb
Year of birth:
1929
City of birth:
Baia Mare
Country name at time of birth:
Romania (1920-1945)
Occupation
after WW II:
University professor

More photos from this country

Eugen Margulius and his wife
Clara Filderman and Livia Diaconescu with their cousin, Bernel Ianconescu
Vasile Grunea with his family
glqxz9283 sfy39587stf02 mnesdcuix8
glqxz9283 sfy39587stf03 mnesdcuix8