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Oral history interview with Tibor Szirtes

Oral History | Accession Number: 2011.288.14 | RG Number: RG-50.670.0014

Tibor Szirtes, born in 1933, discusses hearing antisemitic jokes and songs while growing up in Budapest; the low profile maintained by Jewish classmates in school; hearing about university students beating up Jewish students; hearing derogatory terms when talking about Jews in a bar; informing a Jewish store owner that his apartment was bombed; his father and his colleagues guessing at who belonged to Arrow Cross; memories of an antisemitic journal to which his father subscribed in fall of 1944; relocating to his mother’s hometown, Melykut, to escape bombings; him memory of some Jewish families who converted to Christianity; evacuating their Pestszentlorinc neighborhood in November 1944 and searching for a new apartment; touring two apartments previously owned by Jews; a soldier who collected items that belonged to deported Jews; noticing toys in the apartment and picking up a small camera which he used once film was available after 1950; his mother’s decision that they could not morally move into a deported Jewish person’s apartment; returning a musical instrument he took from one of the apartments; seeing stacks of letters written by the apartment’s owners; witnessing Arrow Cross soldiers round up Jews; how the Arrow Cross soldiers looked at him suspiciously because he wore a military uniform; returning to school after a year and a half and noticing two Jewish classmates who returned as well; knowing Jewish colleagues at work but never addressing their religious background; living in an apartment in a house previously owned by a wealthy Jewish bakery owner; winning a Budapest Public Transportation Company essay contest in 1984 for essays he wrote about his wartime memories; and donating his re-written essays to the Holocaust Museum in Budapest after noticing severe edits to his essays from the contest.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Tibor Szirtes
Borbála Kriza
interview:  2011 October 05
2 videocassettes (DVCAM) : sound, color ; 1/4 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation
Record last modified: 2021-03-25 09:15:01
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