Photo taken in:PragueYear when photo was taken:1937Country name at time of photo:Czechoslovakia, 1918-1938Country name today:Czech Republic
This photo was taken in Prague in 1937. In the first row, third from the left, the pony-tailed girl is my sister, Klara, then my mother, my father, and I'm standing in front of him. In the center of the picture, the man in the light suit and woman in the small-print dress in front are my parents friends, Laszlo Lautenberg and his wife.
The other level of friendship had to do with some kind of professional connection. Window dressers. My father lived closely with the window dressers in his trade union life. These were his friends. They were all Jews. Window dressing was a Jewish trade. There were hardly any window dressers who weren't Jewish. There were two bigger department stores in Pest, the Corvin and the Divatcsarnok, they didn't have Jewish head window dressers. But they were such gentlemen, compared to us they were honorable gentlemen. The rest of the window dressers running about were all Jews. I'm sure of that because, when we lived already on Garay Street, and the Jewish Laws came out - I think the second one - my father called together a friendly meeting about it. We had a very pretty apartment, with a huge [main] room and there were about thirty of them there, and they discussed how to get a 'Strohmann'. My parents were fighting people, which I inherited, thank god. So there was no giving up. If something happened, then they immediately looked for a way to defend themselves.
In the window dresser profession, you would have merchant friends. Like I remember that in 1943, my sister and I each got a pretty coat. Uncle Laci Lautenberg worked at Herczeg and Fodor as a window dresser, and got them at employee prices. There was always something like that. We were on very good terms, they lived close. We went on excursions together, the two families regularly gathered. They had two sons, Bandi and Ervin. Bandi was born in 1926, Ervin in 1932. Bandi didn't survive the work service [forced labor], the others survived the war but we lost contact with them.
My parents loved to travel. In 1935, the two of them went together to Vienna by boat. Then in 1937, they took us too, along with a pair of friends, a married couple, Laszlo Lautenburg and his wife. They paid for a several week tour in Vienna and Czechoslovakia. The only thing that I can recall from Vienna is that Klari dropped her salami sandwich in front of the Maria Theresia statue, and they grumbled at her because of it. I remember a lot from the Czech part of the trip. We were in Prague where we paid for a city tour. To this day I remember the explanations [of the sites]. We were in Zlin, in Bata town, and there we saw the college dormitory, and how the kids were housed there, and how contemporary the whole thing was, we saw how the police wore antelope shoes, and you could walk on the grass.