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Oral history interview with Jaffa Munk

Oral History | Accession Number: 1996.A.0554 | RG Number: RG-50.106.0049

Jaffa Munk (née Noemi Donath), born April 10, 1931 IN Ónod, Hungary, describes her father Philippe, who was a Rabbi, and her mother Olga Shick Donath; having one brother, Joseph, and one sister, Esther Judith; living a very normal life with a family that was religious yet open-minded and encouraged academics; the many changes that began in 1942 and 1943; being moved in May 1944 to the ghetto, where her father was put in charge; being sent to Auschwitz; the brutal arrival and her father’s last words to her: “Wherever you go, continue to believe in God;” being marched to Birkenau, which was the very last time she saw her mother; being selected by Mengele in September 1944 to go to Bergen-Belsen and the grim living situation there; the forced evacuation in January 1945 and a subsequent six week death march; escaping to a forest and being liberated May 8, 1945 by Russian soldiers; eventually returning to Budapest, Hungary, where she lived at an Orthodox refugee orphanage facility, which was started by Esther Eckstein with education as the primary goal; going with a Zionist group with 1800 refugees to Palestine on a boat leaving from Bucharest, Romania and the refusal of the British to allow them entry, but finally being allowed to land at Haifa, Palestine; the break-out of war in 1947 and the desperate living conditions during the war; being taken to Tel Aviv, Israel, where there was less danger and where she attended teacher’s seminary; meeting her husband, who was in the Army; the birth of her first son, Gabriel, which was the highlight of her life because it meant continuation of her family; her teaching positions, starting with 1st grade, where students came from 30 different countries; and how her personal strengths are her sense of hope and having a positive outlook.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Jaffa Munk
Margaret Garrett
interview:  1996 October 08
interview:  1997 March 11
3 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Record last modified: 2023-11-16 08:12:08
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