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About our Families

Translated by Dorothy Gross Nadosy

This is the most important, saddest, most authoritative, and most majestic chapter of our album. The simple reality here sounds banal: this chapter is written with the blood of our heart. In theory, if we could get a picture of every Jewish family, it could be the real memorial book, the most magnificent capture. But in fact, hardly any refugees were able to save their family pictures. We tried to “compile” these and to some extent, this has helped us. What can we bring to our “defense” in this chapter, when only 5–6 percent of the Jewish families in Bereghszász are captured in the pictures?

Their appearance – with tearful or curious eyes, look at the faces appearing on the images; most of them are very old, and it is doubtful you will figure them out outside your family members and acquaintances? It was our city's Jewry in the first half of the century. Show and explain the pictures to your children and grandchildren; the new generation is looking for its roots and will love to keep this most memorable memory of the parents' home: serious or smiling pictures, weddings or other happy gatherings. And our children need to know that a family photo in Beregszász, and especially in the villages, was not an everyday event. Not all families could afford this luxury. Not like today: by the time the child reaches Bar Mitzvah, hundreds of photographs are lined up in dozens of albums, in addition to recordings and videos.

These are family pictures, the history of the community. Among the pictures there are those that have gone through the seven levels of hell with their owners. Our friends guarded the last of their wealth, their most expensive personal “property”: the little family unit, of which sometimes the image's owner was the only family survivor. The pictures could tell a lot about how they survived – at least there were pictures!

We remember our families in the classical patriarchal structure. Although most of the city's Jewry was modern, few sold out their Judaism, and they only did that after the Holocaust! We do not brag that our city's Jewry was better or “elect.” All of the Transcarpathian Jewry was like that! Perhaps we can separate out the families of Beregszász in one respect: if there were any statistics on the Carpathian Jewish youth of who survived, we have the impression that our families would be honored at the top of the ladder, parents who raised and encouraged their children to leave the diaspora, even at the cost of loss of support for their parents' old age and perilous times. In their heart, they believed and hoped that they also could go after them.

It is a great pity that many missed the opportunity (perhaps the last one) and did not try to send out their family pictures. We see families in Saturday dress: parents, grandparents, children. We see families where only one or two of the large group survived. They are before us: in the apartment, in the garden of the house, in the gallery of the photographer (as was usual then); parents with children; how good it is to be together in a mood of solemn love and pride.

The pictures are from 50 to 60 to 70 years ago, when we were all together in a big family, when the parents were still young. They are mostly religious, with deep faith in their hearts, but in their darkest nightmares, they could not imagine how the dear family would fall apart. There may have been barely one or two of all the families in and around Beregsasz that remained in full after the Holocaust.

Memories surface from the depths of the soul, even for nonbelievers, of the great Jewish festivals: the seder night and the “Days of Awe.” You see your whole family before your eyes, sitting around the solemn table on the seder night. The head of the family at the table, between soft white pillows, in the “kittel” decorated with lace. They are tired after the preparation bustle, but their faces are shining and happy.

On the eve of Yom Kippur: the whole family is together, the men in dark, the women in white, both at home and in the “march” to the synagogue. The sun has not set yet, but they are in a hurry not to miss the melody of the Kol Nidre. On the way, acquaintances and neighbors wish one another a hearty “Chatima Tovah.” Rivals and opponents shake hands: this is the Day of Atonement and Reconciliation. Many free–thinkers also are going to the synagogue this evening. This Jewish holiday leaves its mark on the whole city. But in 1943, the “stream” became quieter and gentler: the hearts were filled with concern, their foreheads were worried. And when the fast ended with the sobbing up from their throats, “Next year in Jerusalem”, no one suspected that their prayer was not listened to. Where was this beloved large community–family in the year 1944 on the day of Yom Kippur? They who believed in “next year” and “G'mar chatima” did not remain.

Again and again, we return to the search for the cause of this unwise, unjust, and blind antisemitism. Hundreds of books and thousands of papers have been written about this subject. An additional “cause” sneaks into the brain: envy can only apply to a phenomenon that has something to envy. In those years (if only also today!), the center of life of the Jewish individual and community was family life.

The manifestation of Jewish solidarity, the principle of mutual support, intimate love between members of the family, marriage between Jews, linking life partners forever; self–sacrifice for parents and siblings (and here we do not exclude exceptions) – might all these lofty phenomena have awakened the envy of the gentiles since they were only a few miles away from the eyes of the neighboring Jewish families who, in their eyes, seemed too ideal, human–moral attributes that seem to characterize Jews and isolate them from other people in the world? Perhaps this image of the Jews also gave them the unfounded hate, based on which they not only failed to prevent but did not even think to appeal against the expulsion of “this race” – a national Jewish “race” that can awaken jealousy with their unity and family love! Hatred uses even love to enhance and justify its passion!

Most of the Jewish families lived in the streets in the middle of the city, but few in the surrounding villages. (How many Jews lived on Arany János street?). Few of us who move around the streets of the city today have sharp memories and can think of the names of families who lived in the adjacent streets. Sometimes it seemed that there were so many Jewish families that the Christians had disappeared around them; it was not like this in reality. The Jewish community in Beregszász was large enough that its members could not form a closed “family”. The villages were different. There the communities had no more than 1–2 dozen families or just a few. There they met not only in the synagogue (if it was a separate building), but all family happy events were feasts for the whole community.

And as in the beginning of the chapter, we also will address the final word to you, dear friends: to you who understand what you thumb through in this album: to you who came from there at the time of the Holocaust or afterward; who did not see the future 45 years ago in your minds' eye, yet you persevered; your livelihoods have overcome all horror and deprivation. You still remember some of families whose pictures are missing from this little collection. You, the best of you – the lucky and trusted ones who conscientiously fought for survival, try to remember those families that not only have no photos but also no memories left!

 

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The Eisenberg family (Kazinczy Street)

 

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Reb Mordechai-Tzwi Grünwald and his family

 

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Izrael (Yisroeli) sisters and brothersczy Street)

 

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The 9 children of Reb Yechezkiel Grünfeld (1 survived)

 

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Meyer Berkovits and family

 

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The Rosner family

 

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The children of the Ulovits family and two Grünfeld families

 

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Yitzchak Gutman (Berger) and his family

 

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The Note Chayim family (one single survivor left)

 

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The large Berner family

 

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The Grosz and Beck families

 

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Getting married: Blum Jakubovits and Rafael Goldberger.
The relatives: Rosner and Sperber families

 

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A joyous occasion of the Beck-Winger famly

 

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Anotther wedding in the Itzkovits family in Beregovo (in 1966!)

 

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Dori Linder and children

 

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The Becski, Itzkovits families at the wedding of Margit and Miksa Grünbaum

 

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Odön Izák and his family

 

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The Elimlelch Itzkovits family with the memorial tablet

 

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Soma-Menashe Grünstein and part of his family

 

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The Yehuda Berger family (Zrinyi Street)

 

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Part of Shmuel Hollánder's family

 

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Reb Zalman Weisz and family

 

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Sári Grünstein-Kroh and her children

 

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Pityu Weisz and family

 

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All the children of Hermann and Anna Donáth

 

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Yisroel Weisz and family

 

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The family of Yisroel Jakubovits

 

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The Wachtenheim family in the 1920's

 

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Miksa Katz and family

 

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Lajos Lázár and family

 

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József Weiszhaus and sons

 

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The wedding of Avraham Lebovits
(only the young couple survived)

 

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Lázárovits-Keszler-Mermelstein families
(the wedding of Joli in 1938)

 

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The family of Avraham Lichtenstein

 

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The Winkler children on the porch

 

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The family of Pál Léba from Ardó

 

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The Katz family from Balazsér

 

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The Mermelstein and Lébi Hartman families

 

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Related families: Lázárovits, Salamon, Ruttner, Altberger

 

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The wedding of Rózsi Rosner and Nándor Glück
(The Mermelstein, Rosner, Roth, and Simon families)

 

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Lajos Fuchs and family (1933)

 

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Salamon Frisch and family

 

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Avraham Citron and family
(the wedding of Franky – 1929)

 

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Close and remote relatives at the wedding of Dezsö Kain

 

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Benö Klein and family

 

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Reb Avraham Kahan and family

 

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Ilona Fischer, daughters, and grandchildren

 

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Zoltán Klein and family

 

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Salamon Klein and family

 

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Reb Mordechai Roth and family

 

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Henrik Reinitz and family

 

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Lipot Roóz (watchmaker) and family

 

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Lajos Schau and family

 

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Hershel Mermelstein and Rozner family

 

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Armin Klein and family

 

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Three generations of the Avraham Schwartz-Shamir family

 

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Etel Shapira (née Kahan) and her children

 

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Jenö Rozner (tinsmith) and family

 

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The weddings of Willy Schächter-Glück; Jakov Czitrom-Kati Frisch

 

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Miklós Schwartz and family

 

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Sándor Mermelstein and family

 

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Samuel Ösztreicher and family

 

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Herman Pollák and family

 

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Vilmos Schwartz and his ten children

 

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Herman Kun and family

 

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Artur Schwartz family

 

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Aladar Beier family

 

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Samuel Gross with his family

 

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Herman Schwartz and family

 

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A. Grosz – Piri Marovits and her children

 

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Lajos Feldman and family (Kóvesd)

 

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Elszter family

 

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Family of Manó Vértes

 

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Family of Zsigmond Salamon and relatives

 

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Elszter family

 

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Fülöp Fisch and family

 

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Samuel Neufeld and family

 

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Chana Drummer-Fisch and her children
(nobody survived)

 

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Ede Eisdörfer and family

 

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Izidor Grosz and family
(60 years ago)

 

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Géza Grün and her family

 

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The Kont-Kaszab family

 

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Máfrton Markovits and family

 

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Ignác Gelbman and family

 

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Zsiga Czukor and his family

 

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Lajos Szóbel and his family

 

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Herman Klein and his family
(1923)

 

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Lajos Szóbel and his family

 

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Herman Klein and his family
(1923)

 

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Fülöp Keszler and his family (Beregardó)

 

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Dezsö Fuchs and his family
(1938)

 

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Ernö Neuwelt and his family

 

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The Markovits-Marko family

 

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