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Hate Mongers

After Hungary joined nazi Germany in June 1941, the mad dogs began parading on the streets, with their banners and nazi flags, spouting antisemitic virulence and, occasionally, attacking Jewish-looking passers-by. They would sing ugly, nonsensical antisemitic ditties, at the top of their lungs, like:

One rabbi, two rabbis
The chief rabbi croaked
Hold on! Long live Szalasi!
Long live Szalasi8 and Hitler
Let’s beat the Jews with whips!
One rabbi, two rabbis…

These thugs verbally and physically assaulted Jewish-looking riders on the streetcars, while the other passengers watched or looked away, embarassed. My “aryan” appearance saved me from these attacks. It took a great deal of restraint and forced calm to look on neutrally as fellow Jews were being slapped around and kicked off the streetcar, because inside, I was terrified. I felt like a tiny mouse trying to avoid attracting the attention of the big bad tomcats.

Luckily for me, school was out and I didn’t have to face my classmates for a few more months. Our gentile neighbours remained friendly and loyal to us. The little girls next door seemed to be doubly kind to me, assuring me that these insane times would not last long and that I had nothing to fear from the crazies.

Our concierges (the husband and wife who were the caretakers of our apartment building) also remained extremely kind and loyal, playing an increasingly important role in our lives. They looked out for my safety when I was home alone. When Father was away, they helped us get coal and carry the heavy pails to our apartment for the winter. When a fascist band would march into our building, as they sometimes did, and demand to know whether any dirty Jewish scum was living there, she would put on a show of outrage, swearing that she would never have dirty, stinking Jews in her building. After that, she would came to us and apologize for the filthy language she had to use with the hoodlums. It was heart-warming and reassuring to know that, at least in our home, we were offered some protection.

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