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Oral history interview with Judith Fenyavesi

Oral History | Accession Number: 1990.338.19 | RG Number: RG-50.037.0019

Judith Fenyavesi, born June 8, 1923 in Salonta, Romania, describes being the middle child of three girls; her father, who was a pharmacist, and her mother, who taught piano and French; growing up in a loving Jewish family, where there was little practice of faith; attending grammar school and receiving a religious education (she also shows several photographs of her family); being sent with her sisters to a Catholic boarding school because of antisemitism in the public schools; being strongly attracted to the Catholic faith; her family’s plan to immigrate to Australia but her father being unable to sell the pharmacy; being baptized with her mother and sisters in 1938; her father’s conversion in 1940; wanting to become a physician but not being accepted because of the quota system against Jews; attending a school for social work operated by the Sisters for Social Work in Cluj, Romania in 1941; the area being taken over by Hungary; completing her training in 12 months and visiting Catholic people in small villages in Transylvania as social worker; her father dying in 1942; the German army arriving in March 1944; being considered Jewish; her town being too small for a ghetto, but having to stay home most of the day; the willingness of the convent to shelter her mother, sister, and herself but being afraid to go into hiding; being taken to the ghetto in Oradea, Romania on June 8, 1944; her two sisters and her grandmother being deported to Auschwitz on June 27, 1944; becoming a sister in the order of the Sisters of Social Service in 1945; being arrested by the Communists in 1951; spending 10 years in prison; leaving Romania in 1963 and joining the Sisters of Social Service in Buffalo, NY; and her hope that the memories of loved ones and their suffering was not in vain and that new life and peace will come out of the events of the Holocaust.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Judith Fenyavesi
Mrs. Toby Back
interview:  1989 October
1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:51:30
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