Edith Mozes: Manuscript

Life goes on. You go through things in life, some good, some bad, but it’s about always having hope, and giving love. One of the things I remember through all I have been through, is that money talks, and it can also save your life. I lived in a small town in Hungary, with about 300 people, and life was good. Our town was made famous by Rabbi Shayaleh, who many people came to visit and learn from. Everyone in the town was Shomer Shabbos, and the community was very close. Both of my sisters were married, one living in Budapest, and my mother had passed away, my father remarried. There were no Jewish schools, so I attended a public school, which offered Jewish subjects such as Jewish History. The war broke out, and when I was 16 there was a ghetto being built so my father sent me to my brother-in-law living in Budapest before things got bad in my town. I was very young at this time, and I could not even fathom what would take place in the next few years. So I travelled with my sister to Budapest, and stayed with my sister, her husband and their two sons in a small house. Life in Budapest was good, and I was not in the middle of the war, but off to the side. No one in the community asked us if we were Jewish, and we had no problems regarding Anti-Semitism in the town. Then, the bombs dropped. Day after day the Germans were bombing our town, and I was scared. When the bombers would come, the whole town would run to the school to escape the bombings. There were nuns in the school, and they fed us and hid us and no asked if we were Jewish because, no one cared. People were trying to survive, and we even paid people to not say anything. My brother-in-law was an officer, and he made sure our secret was kept. My sister, her husband, two sons, and myself were together through all of this, and we didn’t have much, but we had each other. I remember feeling comforted because although the bombs were being dropped, I had my family there with me, and it made it that much easier, and I also always held onto my hope. Unfortunately, the family members I left behind were not as lucky. My father, stepmom and 3 sisters were all placed in camps after I left. My father and stepmom were brought to Auschwitz, and did not survive. I have great gratitude for my father because he saved my life by sending me to Budapest, and I wish he had come with me. My other sister was also sent to Auschwitz, eventually being liberated in Bergen-Belsen, and one sister was in Vienna. I was lucky, I wasn’t in any camps, I didn’t witness the horror that they brought, and I didn’t suffer like so many of my fellow Jews had. If I hadn’t been sent to Budapest, I might not be here today, but I am, and I made it. After several months of constant bombing, and hiding in Budapest, the war was over. Life went on. I went to school in Budapest to learn to become a store manager, and after I completed this, I become one. In 1957, half of my family immigrated to Canada, but I stayed in Budapest. I stayed with my sister because she had a house, and we had a life in Budapest, myself being a store manager, and Canada was unknown to us, so we stayed. I did not have a passport to go to Canada, so I visited Italy, and loved it so much, that I decided to stay. I was in Italy for 9 months, and during my time there I applied for a Canadian citizenship. In 1965 I received the citizenship, and moved to Canada. My sister living in Budapest no longer had any family there anymore, other than her own, and wanted her kids to have a strong connection to the rest of the family. So my sister sold her house in Budapest, and brought her family to Canada. Canada was just the right place for us; we couldn’t stay in Europe anymore, not after all that has happened there.  Life in Canada was different, but it was good. We did not have to worry about being in camps, or our family being taken away from us. I got married a few years after I came to Canada, but no kids. I did however, have many nieces and nephews whom were very close to me. I went back to visit my mothers grave, and many people visited that cemetery. Rabbi Shayaleh was buried there, and people from around the world went to visit the grave of this famous Rabbi. Some Chassidics even travelled from New York to visit his grave. I love my family, and I could not be happier that they all live so close to me. I see my nieces and nephews constantly, and love spending time with them. Looking back at all that I’ve been through, family has been the one thing that has gotten me through everything, whether that be before, during, or after the war. My story is not one of personal hardship. I was not in any ghettos, any camps, yet my family was. I hid. I was lucky enough to be away from it all, even though bombs were being dropped. I still saw horror and suffering, and it touched me on a personal level, but life was made easier for me by those around me. It’s important to appreciate the people that risked their lives to help others survive, even people they do not know. Take nothing for granted, because you don’t know what will happen in the future, that is why we should live for today. We need to remember the past, what happened, yet live in the moment, because today is a gift, that’s why they call it the present. Life goes on!

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