Mrs. Molly Joseph (Part III)

Please tell us how you were separated from your parents.

The only place of rest they could offer me was the barn with their goats and sheep. I was wet, and tired and hungry. The weather was nasty and it was really hard. It was Yom Tov and I was really stranded. They told me to go on to my aunt, Tanta Chaya, who lived not too far away. I had no money to take a bus so I continued walking. In the meantime a young girl who worked for our dressmaker came out of the house and questioned me as to where I was going. When I explained to her that I had nowhere to go and I was planning to make this long trip to my aunt’s house by foot, she refused to allow it.

She arranged for me to stay at a house across the street with a very poor, elderly chassidishe couple. They lived in just one room but they also had a kitchen. They prepared a bed and meals for me with the meager supplies that they had. I felt so relieved that I was finally accepted by someone. I was really appreciative.

By the next morning people had already discovered that I was there and came by to see me. They wondered about a young child who was wandering about all by herself. The news spread fast, which forced me to switch locations. So this young girl helped me out again. She brought me to the house of an elderly woman whose family had been deported. The next morning the lady wanted to me to go to shul with her because it was Simchas Torah. I decided that I would run off; I didn’t want to go with her.

Across the street I saw a group of children playing and they allowed me to stay with them. This young dressmaker soon realized that I had not arrived in shul with the elderly woman and she panicked, wondering what had happened to me. She came looking for me and eventually found me.

Please tell us how you were reunited with your parents.

There was a wagon that went every night from Veretzky to Munkatch to deliver food. I managed to hide in one of the wagons, and successfully made it to Munkatch. My mother came to the marketplace and we were reunited.

Please describe the situation back home.

My mother took me to the house of a cousin where I wouldn’t be identified so quickly and where I would be able to rest up. These people had been very rich and lost everything. They put me up in their house and I rested there for a week. I was afraid to talk or make the wrong move.

Eventually my family and I had to go into hiding. We had nothing with us, no money and no belongings. We stayed at the house of my aunt in Munkatch. She was very, very poor. She lived in just one bedroom and a kitchen. Her husband was taken into the Hungarian army, and she was left at home with two children.

My father slept on a board and my mother slept on a bed in the kitchen. My two younger siblings slept with my mother in her bed. I slept on a chair and my head would lean on my mother’s feet. The weather was forty degrees below zero. But this was the best we could do.

At what point were you able to return home?

There were different people working for our benefit to obtain permission for my family to return home. Pesach time we were granted permission but my father was not able to go with us. We were home for just a short time. Then my mother got sick. She was taken to the hospital in Munkatch,. She passed away. I never saw her again. My father was released and allowed to return home. During this time my older sister got married.

After your mother passed away, what happened to you and your siblings?

Right after Pesach, the Hungarian army arrived in our town. We were given half an hour to gather whatever belongings we could carry. We were taken to the ghetto in Munkatch and held there until Shavuos time.

to be continued…

These survivors’ memoirs are being compiled by Project Witness.