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Oral history interview with Sándor Gombita

Oral History | Accession Number: 2011.288.10 | RG Number: RG-50.670.0010

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Sandor Gombita, born in 1928 in Vásárosnamény, discusses his close relationship with Jews and their integration into society before the war; how his father worked as a postman and delivered mail to Jews; how Jewish twin sisters taught his sister how to cook and allowed her to visit the mikvah; his best friend, a son of a Rabbi, who would purchase wine for his father from a Jewish vintner; his memories of hanging out with the Ragged Guards (Rongyos Gárda) in Vásárosnamény; his memories of two Ragged Guards visiting a clothing store and mocking the Jewish store owner who then gave them four sets of clothes for free; his childhood Jewish friends cutting off their payos when new antisemitic laws were introduced in 1938; joining the military in accordance to a new 1939 law requiring boys over 10 years old to serve; working as a gendarme messenger to the Jews; reporting how wealthy Jews must pay 500 to 1000 pengos; his memories of friends leaving for mandatory military service; working patrol duty at the Bran Castle where 50 to 60 poor Jewish families were captive; the unsanitary living conditions at Bran Castle; accompanying a boy named Sanyi Ehrenfeld from Bran Castle to the boy’s house; finding out the Jewish families at Bran Castle had been relocated to an unknown location; his Jewish teacher at school who said goodbye to her students in 1939; attending Szalasi’s speech in 1940 where he announced Jews were causing oppression; his father slapping him when he sang Arrow Cross antisemitic songs; graduating from high school in June of 1943 and working in factories; working as an administrative officer in finance and county chief offices; witnessing the closing of Jewish stores and restaurants; writing a letter of protection for the Jewish stationary shop owner when gendarmes threatened to close his store; seeing Jews deported in horse carts to Kisvárda; hearing about Jewish clothes taken to a warehouse; his mother’s work on a team that organized and mailed clothes to an unknown location; his mother stealing clothes for him; the organization of Jewish furniture and valuables and items used as dowry for women; his memories of playing the piano in the Bran Castle; being sent to the KALOT Catholic Association’s secretary where they replaced his Arrow Cross with a Catholic cross; seeing vacated Jewish houses; hearing that people requested property ownership from the government postwar; his friend Sanyi Grunberger forging a document stating his leave from the military, and the chief administrative officer signing the document to make it legitimate; hearing about Arrow Cross members brought to trial and sent to the detention camp at Mátészalka; hearing about the looting of furniture and goods in storage at a synagogue in September 1944; and hearing about the military guarding particular furniture and returning it to the appropriate Jewish families after the war.

Interviewee
Sándor Gombita
Interviewer
Ms. Borbála Kriza
Date
2011 October 03  (interview)
Language
Hungarian
Extent
3 videocassettes (DVCAM) : sound, color ; 1/4 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:42:13
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn50678