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Oral history interview with Chanie Singer

Oral History | Accession Number: 2011.177.16 | RG Number: RG-50.677.0016

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

Chanie Singer, born June 2, 1935 in Nyíregyháza, Hungary, discusses growing up in a poor, Orthodox Jewish family; having one brother; her father, who was forced into the army; her mother subletting their tiny Budapest space to others in hiding and the landlord threatening to send them to Auschwitz; paying a non-Jewish farmer to hide them in his hayloft and having limited food; how after two months the farmer--fearing he would be caught hiding them--put her family on train and promised they would be safe in the ghetto until the end of the war; the deplorable conditions in the Budapest ghetto; her mother being separated from her children and paced in front of the children’s barracks until a guard let her in; her memories of crying for food at age nine; the lack of drinkable liquids and having to consume urine at one point; the emotions of the people in the ghetto and the feeling that they were waiting for death; her mother sneaking out of the ghetto to find food; how people had been shooting horses for food; experiencing a surprising act of kindness from a non-Jew in the ghetto; being liberated by the Russians; Russian soldiers drinking vodka and singing drinking songs; finding happiness in a survivors orphanage; wanting to be taken in by Israel; rejecting her mother’s invitation to go to the United States, but acquiescing after her mother promised never-ending chocolate in the US; seeing her father for the last time when he came to see the family off; her mother paying gold coins to a truck driver to take them over the border; entering an Austrian hospital and then crossing into Germany at night; being housed at the Rothschild Hospital; spending three years in Kassel, Germany displaced persons camp in the American zone; living in small room and studying Hebrew; her aunt in the US sending care packages and an affidavit to bring them over; a cherished boyfriend who would leave for Palestine; immigrating to the US and arriving in Boston, MA; her aunt, who taught Chanie (then 13 years old) how to smoke; getting married and having four children; moving to New York; and dealing with manic depression but having gratitude for her religious family as well as the US.

Interviewee
Ms. Chanie Singer
Interviewer
Dr. Henri Lustiger Thaler
Date
2014 December 14  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
1 digital file : MPEG-4.
Credit Line
This testimony was recorded through a joint project of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Amud Aish Memorial Museum Kleinman Family Holocaust Education Center.