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Oral history interview with Peter Ehrenthal

Oral History | Accession Number: 2015.438.1 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0861

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

Peter Ehrenthal, born on September 2, 1920 in Bánffyhunyad (now Huedin), Romania, discusses his family; speaking Hungarian at home and learning Romanian at school; his brother Gershom, who was born in 1924 (he lives in Israel now); his father’s dentistry practice, which was in their house; having no electricity in their home; attending primary school in town and going to Cluj (50 kilometers away) for high school; people mostly traveling by horse and buggy; how his family was not religious but his grandfather took him to synagogue on the High Holidays; moving with his family to Bucharest, Romania when he was 13 years old; fighting with a newsboy who called him a Jew; attending a gymnasium (high school) in Bucharest until 1936 when he was thrown out; apprenticing to a silversmith until the war began; his father being forced to clean the street, but was permitted to continue his dental practice; being forced to work in a labor camp for a short while; returning home and not reporting to duty (no one looked for him); working in the basement doing his silversmith work during the war; being liberated by the Russian Army; joining the Young Communists (he believed in their philosophy but did not like the way it was carried out); getting married to Erica; leaving Romania for Palestine along with his new wife as well as his brother and uncle and their families; receiving help from the Hagenah; being captured by the British on a fishing boat and interned on Cyprus until Israel became a state; working as a school manager in Israel for newcomers and then as a merchant; being sent by a company to the United States in 1957 and deciding to stay in the US; going into the silversmithing business and later became an antiques dealer; accumulating 550 objects portraying antisemitism, some of which were exhibited in Israel (Peter shows a few of the Judaica items); and his son, Michael, who was in the business for 30 years and adds some details.

Interviewee
Mr. Peter Ehrenthal
Interviewer
Ina Navazelskis
Date
2015 December 16  (interview)
Geography
creation : Queens (New York, N.Y.)
Language
English
Extent
1 digital file : MPEG-4.