Marika

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  • Photo taken in:
    Mátyásföld
    Year when photo was taken:
    1943
    Country name at time of photo:
    Hungary
    Country name today:
    Hungary
This is my daughter Marika's confirmation picture. This was in the church in Matyasfold, and it must have been in 1943, because, first confirmation is at the age of ten, I think. There was no big celebration. The children from her class, who were the same age as her, were there. We converted to Christianity because of my husband's office, because he worked for the Hungarian Royal River and Sea Shipping Stock Company. This was a state-owned company and he was picked on at work. A colleague of his, who wanted to the best for him, pushed him to convert to Christianity, so that we would have no problems. In 1934, the Jews were unwanted already. And he liked his workplace. To be honest, I don't know if he was promoted after this. Back then, I didn't really care about rankings and suchlike. He always got a bit more money. We were christened in the Rozsak Square church in Budapest. My elder daughter, Marika was ten months old then. She was born in 1933. She was also christened. My daughter Judit, was born as a Christian in 1935. Only our godfather was there. We didn't even have a godmother. This colleague of my husband, was an older, very religious man. He was our godfather. I don't think we had to go to religious classes. I got some book and I read it; Catechisms or I don't know what. This [the conversion] wasn't too much of an issue. We didn't get together with Christians, so when Judit was born, we didn't even know who the godparents should be. Back then, there were green-cross district nurses, who dealt with children and pregnant women. I asked ours to become the godmother and she accepted. I don't even remember the christening. There was no celebration. I didn't even want it, my natural mother was not very, but quite religious. She didn't wear a wig, like her twin sister did, but she did keep the Friday evening candle-lighting. I was raised in this religion; I went to these kinds of religious classes. I knew it better than the Christian religion. And my husband wanted us all to be assimilated. I didn't want it and we argued about it for a very long time and then I said that I'd agree to the children being Christian, but I didn't want to myself. But my husband said we couldn't raise two types of children in the family - because at that time, it worked that the girl [would have been] Jewish and the boy Christian [editor's note: according to the Hungarian regulations of the time, children born in a mixed marriage, were registered such that boys were registered according to their father's religion, and the girl's according to their mother's.] This colleague pressed my husband very hard. And in the end, I was taken in. Of course I did everything I could, to provide the girls with the appropriate religious upbringing, especially when they went to school; I went to church with them and they were confirmed etc. But I don't know too much about the Christian religion, even now. During the war, I moaned about what sort of a pope it was who allowed that the Holy water that washes away all sins, didn't wash away our past Jewishness. The Jews, who converted to Christianity, were persecuted as much as those who didn't. I think, it was also just a formality for my husband [the conversion.] He didn't even go to church. He never went to church. My husband's mother was not at all religious. For her, it was all the same. From the catholic religion, we just kept what all the other Jews do: Christmas and Easter, the Christmas tree and presents. My natural mother was already dead. I lost her when I was little. I had a stepmother, who raised me as if she was my natural mother. They weren't happy about it. It's very interesting, that actually the whole family wasn't religious, but they were Jewish, and we kept the Jewish high holidays. My father was the least religious one, but it was he who was most upset when he heard that we converted to Christianity.

Interview details

Interviewee: Piroska Hamos
Interviewer:
Eszter Andor, Dora Sardi
Month of interview:
April
Year of interview:
2004
Budapest, Hungary

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