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Oral history interview with Alice Halasez

Oral History | Accession Number: 1996.A.0586.60 | RG Number: RG-50.407.0060

Alice Halasez, born on January 21, 1927 in Budapest, Hungary, discusses her parents, Shomrai Klein (born 1899) and Esther Shpitz (born 1905).; growing up in town a half hour from Budapest; her younger sister; her father’s button factory and two button/embroidery shops where her mother and other relatives also worked; attending a commercial school in Budapest but never graduating; parents keeping kosher at home and attending an Orthodox synagogue; speaking only Hungarian (her mother’s parents only spoke German); the beginning of the war, which had little effect on her family at first; a detective accusing her father of being a spy in 1942 and her father bribing him to drop it; Jews not being allowed to attend universities, which was the only restriction on Jews from 1939 to 1944; not knowing about the concentration camps, but her father was sent to a labor camp in 1942; being forced with her family to live in the ghetto in April 1944; being sent via cattle car to Auschwitz along with her grandmother, aunt, mother and sister; her grandmother’s death on the journey; the killing of her mother and sister upon arrival; taking care of her aunt; being sent to Birkenau; eating potato peels found in the garbage; being sent to Bergen-Belsen to work in a munitions factory; a German foreman giving her sandwiches which she shared with other prisoners; being treated better than at Auschwitz; being hospitalized for a month and being very weak when she returned to work; being liberated by Russians around April 1945 before the Americans arrived; staying at Bergen-Belsen until June 1945; returning to Budapest; reuniting with her father and future husband, whom she knew before the war (he was in hiding during the war); getting married to Laszlo Halasz on July 14, 1945 in a religious wedding; her father getting married in 1947 to a widow who had a son named Peter Handelsman (born 1937); working with her father; the broth of her son George; her family’s immigration to Australia in 1957 and the immigration of her father and stepmother, and stepbrother in 1959; her father starting a printing factory; and working for Kodak and then for her father.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Halasez, Alice
Altman, Kitia
interview:  1996 July 03
1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..