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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!


The Eisenberg family (Kazinczy Street)


Reb Mordechai-Tzwi Grünwald and his family


Izrael (Yisroeli) sisters and brothersczy Street)


The 9 children of Reb Yechezkiel Grünfeld (1 survived)


Meyer Berkovits and family


The Rosner family


The children of the Ulovits family and two Grünfeld families


Yitzchak Gutman (Berger) and his family


The Note Chayim family (one single survivor left)


The large Berner family


The Grosz and Beck families


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


A joyous occasion of the Beck-Winger famly


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


Dori Linder and children


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


Odön Izák and his family


The Elimlelch Itzkovits family with the memorial tablet


Soma-Menashe Grünstein and part of his family


The Yehuda Berger family (Zrinyi Street)


Part of Shmuel Hollánder's family


Reb Zalman Weisz and family


Sári Grünstein-Kroh and her children


Pityu Weisz and family


All the children of Hermann and Anna Donáth


Yisroel Weisz and family


The family of Yisroel Jakubovits


The Wachtenheim family in the 1920's


Miksa Katz and family


Lajos Lázár and family


József Weiszhaus and sons


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


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


The family of Avraham Lichtenstein


The Winkler children on the porch


The family of Pál Léba from Ardó


The Katz family from Balazsér


The Mermelstein and Lébi Hartman families


Related families: Lázárovits, Salamon, Ruttner, Altberger


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


Lajos Fuchs and family (1933)


Salamon Frisch and family


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


Close and remote relatives at the wedding of Dezsö Kain


Benö Klein and family


Reb Avraham Kahan and family


Ilona Fischer, daughters, and grandchildren


Zoltán Klein and family


Salamon Klein and family


Reb Mordechai Roth and family


Henrik Reinitz and family


Lipot Roóz (watchmaker) and family


Lajos Schau and family


Hershel Mermelstein and Rozner family


Armin Klein and family


Three generations of the Avraham Schwartz-Shamir family


Etel Shapira (née Kahan) and her children


Jenö Rozner (tinsmith) and family


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


Miklós Schwartz and family


Sándor Mermelstein and family


Samuel Ösztreicher and family


Herman Pollák and family


Vilmos Schwartz and his ten children


Herman Kun and family


Artur Schwartz family


Aladar Beier family


Samuel Gross with his family


Herman Schwartz and family


A. Grosz – Piri Marovits and her children


Lajos Feldman and family (Kóvesd)


Elszter family


Family of Manó Vértes


Family of Zsigmond Salamon and relatives


Elszter family


Fülöp Fisch and family


Samuel Neufeld and family


Chana Drummer-Fisch and her children
(nobody survived)


Ede Eisdörfer and family


Izidor Grosz and family
(60 years ago)


Géza Grün and her family


The Kont-Kaszab family


Máfrton Markovits and family


Ignác Gelbman and family


Zsiga Czukor and his family


Lajos Szóbel and his family


Herman Klein and his family


Lajos Szóbel and his family


Herman Klein and his family


Fülöp Keszler and his family (Beregardó)


Dezsö Fuchs and his family


Ernö Neuwelt and his family


The Markovits-Marko family


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