Karoly Vajda in forced labor

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In this picture you can see my brother working while he was in forced labor. I don't know where exactly he was, but somewhere around Gyor. They took pictures of each other, of what kind of work they were doing. They dug and things like that. My brother went to Eotvos High School on Realtanoda Street. When he graduated from high school he wanted to go to university, he would have liked to become a doctor. But then the numerus clausus took effect. Jews couldn't go to university, and then he was apprenticed to an upholsterer. He was apprenticed to a very famous upholsterer, whose shop opened to Jozsef Nador Square. He was a renowned master. My brother also became a very good professional, and since he couldn't go to university and had to learn a trade, my parents saved up some money and sent him to Paris for a year. He was already an upholsterer at that time. When he came home he opened a comforter and tapestry shop on 2 Podmaniczky Street. My brother magyarized his name to Vajda sometime between 1925 and 1930. My brother had three wives. There was a woman who was one year older than him, Ilona Deutsch, she was his first wife. My brother lived on 32 Nador Street. There were only bachelor apartments on the fourth floor at that time. In the room there was a wardrobe, the door of which could be opened downwards, and the cooker and the drawer for the tableware was there. When he first got married they lived there. His wife was deported and she never returned. She died somewhere in Italy, we don't know anything about her. She was deported from the Obuda brick factory in 1944, where I was, too, because they took everyone to the KISOK estate, then to the brick factory, and they deported everyone from there. Karoly wasn't deported, he was a forced laborer. At the time of liberation he must have been in Gyor or in the surroundings of Gyor. They opened a butcher's shop there, because there were peasants around Gyor, who killed pigs and couldn't bring them to Pest, because there wasn't any means of transportation, so they processed them there. They sold ham, sausage and things like that. When there was transportation he came home, and he brought meat for my parents. Perhaps someone continued to run the shop, but my brother came home to Pest whenever he could.

Interview details

Interviewee: Hedvig Endrei
Szilvia Czingel
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Budapest, Hungary


Karoly Vajda
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after WW II
before WW II:
Upholsterer, comforter shop owner
after WW II:
Technical manager at upholsterer co-operative
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