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MUNKÁCS:A JEWISH WORLD THAT WASAnna BergerBA (UNSW), MA (Sydney University)A thesis submitted in fulfillment of therequirements for the degree ofMaster of ArtsDepartment of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish StudiesThe University of SydneyJuly 2009

dgementsviiChapter 1. IntroductionAims of this thesis1Chapter 2. Methodology3Searching for sources3Published material6Oral histories and Survivor testimonies7The process of obtaining oral histories9Chapter 3. Munkács: A brief history12Chapter 4. The Jews of Munkács18Munkács cityscape20Family life23Making a living27The home34Shabbat and Jewish Festivals39Transport46Social life in the city48Youth groups53The Hasidim55ii

Jewish communal governance and general politics58Zionism60Education61Chapter 5. Inter-ethnic relations70Jewish – Rusyn relations71Jews, Hungarians and Germans72Jews and Gypsies73Jewish – Czechoslovak relations74Chapter 6. Death of a community76Post Liberation81Chapter 7. Conclusion82Bibliography83Appendixes:1. The Interviewees862. Pre-interview letter and questionnaire893. Interview questionnaire914. Munkács/Mukačevo Photographs94iii

DeclarationI certify that the contents of this thesis have not been submitted for ahigher degree to any other university or institution.The extent to which I have availed myself of the work of others isacknowledged in the text of this thesis.iv

AbstractPrior to World War II an estimated 11 million Jews lived in hundreds of communitiesthroughout Europe. The rural Subcarpathian city of Munkács was one such placewith a strong and vibrant Jewish presence – a Jewish community which constitutedsome 40% of its population.Munkács had experienced a long history of ethnic, religious and cultural diversity.These different ethno-religious groups managed to live, if not in close friendships, butcertainly for the most part, in reasonable harmony until the Hungarian occupation in1938.The city was well known as a major centre of Jewish life in all its varieties, from theultra-Orthodox Hasidim to the completely secular Zionists, communists andassimilationists. It was also well known for the internal frictions between some ofthese factions.In Munkács the ethnic cleansing of the Holocaust happened within a few short weeksin May 1944. The entire community was destroyed, mostly deported to Auschwitz,where some 85% of them were murdered.My aim in this thesis is to contribute to the historiography of The Jewish World ThatWas by reconstructing a picture of daily Jewish life in Munkács in the period betweenthe two World Wars. My perspective was a grassroots one – a bottom up view ofdaily life, utilising archival and scholarly secondary sources as a backdrop for thememories of some of those who lived it. I have, through their authentic voices, drawna word picture of how they lived, learned, worked, prayed and played.In doing this, my contention has been that, to understand the full devastation of theHolocaust, it is imperative to reconstruct the rich, dynamic and colourful fabric of dailylife of pre-Holocaust Jewish Europe. It is also my view that it is urgent to do this whilethere are still those who can help us do so.v

DedicationThis thesis is dedicated to the vibrant Jewish community ofMunkács/Mukačevo that thrived there pre World War II, to those whosurvived the terrors of theHolocaust and to the blessed memory of those who did not.In particular, it is dedicated to the memory of my parents Csibi (CeciliaFixler ) and Jidu (Juda Kahan), who survived the Holocaust andto their large,extended families, most of whom did not.To those admirable survivors who so generously gave of their time toshare with me their memories, both joyous and painful, I extendheartfelt gratitude.Their strength and optimism is awe-inspiring.vi

AcknowledgementsFirstly, to Professor Konrad Kwiet, my thesis supervisor, my sincere thanks for hisguidance, remarkable erudition and persistence throughout this entire project.My thanks also to Associate Professor Suzanne Rutland and to Dr MichaelAbrahams-Sprod for their good counsel and support whenever I needed it.My research necessitated my travel to Israel, New York and Los Angeles bothto locate source materials and also to conduct cassette taped interviews.The warm welcome and assistance I received from the 20 Munkács survivorsspread across those locations, as well as Sydney, made my work easier.I am particularly indebted to Tuviya Klein, chairman of the SubcarpathianJewry Association, who introduced me to other Munkácsers and gaveme access to valuable relevant documents and other materials.There were others who were helpful, generously sharing their knowledge andconnections, as well as their support. In particular, in Israel, Zvi Hartman, who spentmany hours with me, my cousins Ilan and Shai Sole, for whom nothing was too muchtrouble and Raz Segal who generously gave me copies of his theses onHuszt and on Munkács.In Los Angeles, my thanks to Margaret Goldblatt for her generous hospitality. Shenot only welcomed me into her home but accompanied me to my interviewappointments all over Los Angeles.Finally, I thank the wonderfully efficient Janice Bevan for her secretarialassistance under difficult linguistic and technical circumstances.vii

1. IntroductionAims of this ThesisThe purpose of this study is to contribute to the dwindling store of available information about TheJewish World that Was prior to the Holocaust in Eastern Europe. The Holocaust has been thefocus of much historical research. The victimisation, dislocation and maltreatment of Europe’ssome 11 million Jews and the murder of over half of them was an event of such magnitude thatdescribing and analysing it has become a major scholarly preoccupation. There seems to be agrowing awareness, however, that the historical interest needs to become broader to includeexploration of pre-Holocaust Jewish life.There is also a growing awareness of the urgency of reconstructing The Jewish World That Was,a consciousness that time is running out for gathering eyewitness narratives. This is the first studyof the Jews of Munkács to reconstruct the minutiae of their daily life, allowing the story to be toldin the authentic voices of those who lived it. Notwithstanding all the difficulties presented by oralhistories, I have built this reconstruction by interweaving remembrances 70 years on with morescholarly writings and historical concepts.The Nazis‘ war against the Jews was not only aimed at the eradication of the Jewish ‘race’, it wasalso intended to eliminate all traces of Jewish culture – the Jüdischer Geist. Political conceptssuch as Democracy, Capitalism, Communism; modern art and music movements such asImpressionism; psychoanalysis and other new philosophies and sciences could all be shown tohave Jewish antecedents. In fact, Hitler saw Modernism as degenerate corruption and viewedhimself the Saviour, the Redemptive Spirit of the ‘Aryan’ People destined to destroy the ‘bacteria’of the Jews.In this he almost succeeded. The Yiddish-based Ashkenazi Eastern European communities ofrural cities like Munkács all but disappeared, as did the communities of smaller towns and shtetlswhere Jews had lived in significant numbers for generations.By the time the war in Europe ended in May 1945, not only had some 6 million Jewish men,women and children been murdered, but their whole way of life and an entire cultural sub-systemhad been destroyed. It is essential to understand the diversity of Europe’s Jewish communal,cultural, religious and political life prior to World War II to comprehend the full significance of theHolocaust.1

All over Europe not only the people and their physical ‘bricks and mortar’ presence were made tovanish, but there are often almost no primary sources to be found to detail their pre-Holocaustlives and communities. In these instances, their story can only be reconstructed as a composite ofthe testimonies of eyewitnesses to ‘what is destroyed’.My interest in exploring the story of the Jewish community of Munkács was sparked by aconversation I had in April 2003 with Professor Yehuda Bauer, who was in Sydney on a speakingtour. On hearing that both my parents came from that city, he commented that the story of theJews of Munkács had not yet been fully documented. He found this particularly surprising giventhe size, diversity and rich texture of that community and also the enormity of the catastrophe thatbefell it.I started on a personal journey to learn more about my own family history. As my researchprogressed, the stories my parents told me in my childhood of their young years became morecontextualised. They became intermeshed with those of the survivors whose memoriescontributed to the narrative of this thesis. It became clear that my parents and their extendedfamilies typified the life of what had been the vibrant Jewish world of Munkács/Mukačevo and thatit warranted documenting.There has certainly been work done in this area since my meeting with Professor Bauer and Ihave referred to this recent body of scholarship in this thesis.2

2. MethodologyThis study attempts to reconstruct, in a thematic way, the daily life in the period between the WorldWars of the Jews of Munkács/Mukačevo, a significant community that was destroyed in May 1944.I have used documented information from the available literature as a backdrop for the words ofthe 20 people who provided their recollections for this work, in the hope of capturing the ‘ruach’(Hebrew – spirit) of place and time in the voices of those who lived it, while still possible.Since my emphasis has been on everyday life, my approach has been descriptive rather thananalytical. I have taken a ‘from below’1 approach to paint a word picture rather than relying onmore elaborate theoretical concepts.There are aspects of the life of a community not covered in this work, as they were notmentioned in any of the interviews. Among them are Munkács’s Jewish orphanage, orfoundlings home, its burial society and other welfare organisations.Searching for sources“The practice of history begins with evidence and with sources”2. My search for primary sources– unpublished, original, often private or even intimate documents such as letters, diaries ormemoranda – brought very little success. I had better luck with published material, such asnewspaper articles, biographies3 and autobiographies4, official reports of government or privateinstitutions. There are also some published academic works based on research rather thanpersonal accounts, to which I have referred in this thesis.Since commencing my search for sources, I have visited the YIVO Institute for JewishResearch and the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York and the Simon Wiesenthal Centreand the Shoah Visual History Foundation in Los Angeles. In Israel I went to Yad Vashem’slibrary and archive and the Central Archive of the Jewish People, both in Jerusalem, TheGhetto Fighters’ Museum in the Western Galilee and The Memorial Museum of HungarianSpeaking Jewry in Safed. The very few primary or secondary source references I found toMunkács/Mukačevo either focused almost entirely on the Holocaust or dealt with the city as1Term coined by E. P. Thompson in The Making of the English Working Class to describe his humanist,Socialist approach to social historiography. Victor Gollancz Ltd London, 1963.2Black and MacRaild, Studying History, Second Edition, Macmillan, London 2000, 87.3Martin Gilbert, The Boys: Triumph over Adversity, Douglas & McIntyre, Vancouver, BC 1997.4Gabriella Auspitz Labson, My Righteous Gentile: Lord Wedgwood and Other Memories, KTAV, JerseyCity, NJ 2004.3

part of Subcarpathia; that is, as a small part of the larger story of Hungarian or CzechoslovakJewry. Those few volumes specifically relating to Munkács/Mukačevo tended to be, with a fewexceptions, mostly Holocaust survivors’ autobiographies, pages of testimony or lists of namesof Jewish victims of persecution, deportation, forced labour or murder.A visit to Beit Hatfutsoth (the Museum of the Diaspora) on the Tel Aviv University campusproduced the same result when it came to written works but did yield some wonderful photos oflife in Munkács, mostly taken before the Holocaust but also of the ghettoisation5.A work of fiction, in the social realism style, originally published in 1937 and set in apredominantly Orthodox Jewish village near Munkács provided useful background ‘colour’ ofthe pre-Holocaust period6.The Internet is another, obvious place to look for source material. There has been a veritableexplosion in the number of sites in the recent years, most of the newer sites promoting tourismto Ukraine. The numbers in April 2009 were 124,000 for ‘Munkács’, 75,000 for ‘Mukačevo’ and240,000 for ‘Mukachevo’. Many are duplicates and triplicates. They are in various languages,many not of particular Jewish interest or relevance and span topics as diverse as history,geography, tourism, genealogy, politics, religion, sex and Holocaust denial. There are alsosome autobiographies by Holocaust survivors. Writings by non-Jews about other sub-cultureshave been quite informative, especially those few by descendants of Rusyn/Ruthenian ancestryand now resident in the USA. Although the centre stage of these writings and researches wasnot Munkács’s Jews, the communities were integrated enough in various aspects of their livesfor them inevitably to provide detail, context and colour to this narrative.I also came across an amazing movie made in 1933 by a professional American movie newscrew who went to Munkács specifically to film the wedding of Frime Chaye Rivke Shapira, onlydaughter of the Munkácser Rebbe, to Baruch Rabinovich7. The movie starts with a large crowdof Munkácser Hasidim, some on foot, some riding bicycles, greeting the groom as he descendsfrom the train. The next scene is the actual wedding, with the bridal couple under the canopy. Inresponse to the invitation by the film maker to say a few words to his co-religionists in the USA,Rabbi Shapira obliged, exhorting American Jews to keep the Shabbat observance. Apparently,5See this thesis P. 95 - 99Ivan Olbracht, The Sorrowful Eyes of Hannah Karajich, translated Iris Urwin Lewitová. CentralEuropean University Press, 1999.7Held by the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md. USHMM, Washington,D.C.64

there was still extra film left, so the movie crew took the opportunity to film other scenes ofJewish life in the city, of both Hasidim and Zionists.About a decade ago Yeshayahu Jelinek of Tel Aviv University sent two researchers toBudapest and Prague to search for source materials on the Jewish communities inSubcarpathian Ruthenia in general and Munkács in particular. They also went to Berehovo(Beregszasz), the regional capital of Bereg County, in which Munkács is situated and where thehistorical source materials are believed to be archived. The difficulties they encountered ledhim to observe:“Despite an energetic search, I could locate no more documents about thecity of Mukačevo than about other cities or regions in Subcarpathian Rus8.The dearth of sources relating to Munkács, a regional city in a remote rural district, is not reallysurprising. It could well have been exacerbated during the post World War II communist era,with the little documentation that did exist being either destroyed or shipped off to some distantarchive, where it may lie buried today.While it is not uncommon in Europe for regions, and sometimes entire countries to experiencechanges of government and shifting borders, Subcarpathian Ruthenia was one of those borderregions that actually changed countries five times during the first half of the Twentieth Century.Munkács is now the Ukrainian City of Mukacheve. This is one of the factors making the locationof relevant archives and documents repositories more complicated. It is also clear that eachsuccessive government considered Subcarpathian Ruthenia as an unimportant annexure,impoverished, underdeveloped and far from their capital cities, its history not being worthspecific documentation.The problem was perhaps best described by Ágnes Ságvári:“The main reason of the shortcomings of research work should be looked forin the historical adversities of this geographic and administrative unit. Up to1920 the region was part of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, regarded eventhere as a poor, peripheral area. From 1920 up to 1938 it belonged to theCzechoslovak Republic – without autonomy. It enjoyed the achievements ofparliamentary democracy but did not receive special material and moralsupport in order to step on the road of development and attain equalchances. For many reasons, Hungarian rule applied the policy of plundering.8Yeshayahu A. Jelinek The Carpathian Diaspora, East European Monographs, No. DCCXXI, CarpathoRusyn Research Center, 2007, Preface xiii5

Finally, after 1944 it was attached to the Soviet Union as a frontier area of theUkraine, Russianized, without any hope of at least partial restitution of stolenJewish property and wiped-out Jewish culture. At present, it is the sufferingobject of great Ukrainian nationalism”9.Published materialIn general, it appears that the history of the Jews of Munkács has been treated as a sub-sectionof a footnote to the larger story of Hungarian or Czechoslovak Jewry or, at best, as part of theregion of Subcarpathian Ruthenia rather than a subject in its own right. There are recent notableexceptions to this, especially Jelinek’s10 very helpful work, finally translated from the originalHebrew into English in 2007. Unfortunately, Raz Segal’s thesis11 has not yet been rendered intoEnglish.The subject of education in Subcarpathian Ruthenia has been extensively covered by AryehSole12. Sole’s interest in this area is hardly surprising since he himself had been a student andthen young teacher at the Munkács Hebrew Gymnasium. While his focus is on Zionisteducation, his writings place it clearly within a more comprehensive and useful description of itswider social context.Apart from a limited amount of source material, the fact is that for decades most of the focus ofscholarship to do with the Jews of the Subcarpathians has been on the ‘big picture’ of theHolocaust. Major catastrophic aspects of Jewish victimisation such as the ghettos, thedeportations and the horrors of the concentration and death camps understandably receivedalmost all the attention. The desire to investigate and reconstruct The Jewish World That Was isquite a recent phenomenon, which has inevitably shifted attention to more rural and regionalareas where Jews had lived for centuries and where these communities were totally destroyed.9Ágnes Ságvári ‘The Holocaust in Carpatho-Ruthenia’. Preface to Speech given Jerusalem, February17, 1999. http://www.zsido.hu/tortenelem/holocaust.htm. Accessed May 2005.10Jelinek The Carpathian Diaspora.11Raz Segal ‘A Past Forever Becoming: The Jews of Munkács between the World Wars and During theHolocaust’, Master of Arts thesis, Tel Aviv University, 2006.12Aryeh Sole, Light in the Mountains: Hebrew Zionist Education in Carpatho-Russia from 1920 to 1944The world Association of Subcarpathian Jews and Hebrew Schools – Israel & Hebrew Gymnasium ofMunkács Alumni Association – USA. Tel Aviv 1994.There are also several entries in The Jews of Czechoslovakia: Historical Studies and Surveys, 3 vols.The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia; Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews,New York. 1968.6

There has been some work already done of this type, for example, on the shtetls of Galicia andof rural France. It is certainly the direction Yehuda Bauer13 seems to be taking.Oral histories and Survivor testimoniesMy interest was in depicting some of the historical, sociological and cultural aspects of the life of aparticular sub-group in a defined location and in a defined period of time, namely the pre-WorldWar II Jewish community of Munkács/Mukačevo. To this end, I sought personal recollections frompeople who had been part of that community, to supplement primary sources. 20 people told theirstories specifically for this work14.Oral histories and written memoirs, although not unproblematic, serve to provide a humanperspective as well as to cross-validate information, particularly if several people independentlydescribe similar experiences. Narratives of personal experiences and memories of events andpeople also provide the texture and dimension of remembered minutiae and emotions – detailsthat would otherwise not find their way into the written accounts.Such testimonies and autobiographies certainly do not truly constitute a complete, accurate andobjective study of the history of Munkács. It is rather a reconstruction from the rememberedhistory, 70 years on, of some survivors of Munkács. The issue of how history engages withmemory has produced much useful discussion15. There is also a growing body of literaturedealing specifically with Holocaust testimonies.1613Yehuda Bauer’s forthcoming book on the history of the Jews of Kresy, Eastern Poland.14See this thesis P.86-88Katharine Hodgkin and Susannah Radstone, eds. Contested Pasts: The Politics of Memory, 2003;Alessandro Portelli ‘What Makes Oral History Different’ in The Oral History Reader , eds. Robert Perksand Alistair Thomson. 1988;Paul Thompson The Voice of the Past: Oral History, 19881516Judith T Baumel and Tova Cohen, eds. Gender, Place and Memory in the Modern Jewish Experience:Replacing Ourselves. London/Portland OR. Vallentine Mitchell 2003;C.W.W. Bigsby, Remembering and Imagining the Holocaust. The Chain of Memory CambridgeUniversity Press, Cambridge 2006;Geoffrey H. Hartman, Holocaust Remembrance. The Shapes of Memory. Oxford 1995;Steven T Katz and Alan Rosen, eds. Obliged by Memory: Literature, Religion, Ethics. SyracuseUniversity Press, Syracuse 2006;Lawrence L. Langer, Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory. Yale University Press, New Haven1991;Oren Baruch Stier, Committed to Memory: Cultural Mediations of the Holocaust. University ofMassachusetts Press, Boston 2005;Zoe Waxman, Writing the Holocaust. Identity, Testimony, Representation. Oxford University Press, NewYork 2006;Yosef Yerushalmi, Zakhor: Between Jewish History and Jewish Memory. 19827

In addition to the normal problems relating to oral histories and personal memoirs, there aretwo other issues that need to be considered for the purposes of this thesis.Rutland describes oral history as a way to “bridge the span between the use of written recordsand oral tradition so that the two can intermesh to produce a clearer historical picture”. 17Individual recollections of personal family and home life before the rise of Nazism are especiallyhelpful in reconstructing a picture of The World That Was. So, personal narratives serve as ahelpful barometer in understanding the magnitude of the effects of the Holocaust and, in thiscase, its destruction of the Jewish community of Munkács.Of the 20 people who consented to be interviewed for this research, 3 lived in Sydney, 6 inIsrael, 7 in Los Angeles and 4 in New York18. Ten men and ten women, they ranged in age atthe time of their interviews from 77 to 92 years of age. In the context of the history of Munkács,5 of them were born under Hungarian sovereignty and 15 were born in Czechoslovakia. In1939, at the time of the outbreak of World War II and the reincorporation of the Subcarpathianregion into Greater Hungary, the youngest was 10 and the eldest, who by then no longer livedin Munkács, was 25. Most of them were juveniles, whose memory of life before the Hungarianoccupation was necessarily limited by their youth, although two of the women married quiteyoung and each, by the time of ghettoisation, had an infant child.The interviewees were predominantly from middle class to affluent backgrounds. A few wereless well off but none had been totally poor or indigent. In a location of quite widespreadpoverty, this sample is somewhat skewed, but I have balanced this from other sources.Another important factor colouring their narratives was that each one was a Holocaust survivor,some managing to escape or hide, others suffering the worst atrocities, such as the murder of achild. Inevitably, because of the immensity of these events on their young lives, they returnedtime and again to their Holocaust experiences throughout our interviews. Talking about their preHolocaust lives tended to focus them on their lost families and their own suffering. Each of the20 interviewees reflected on his or her life almost in three separate parts – pre-World War II, theHolocaust and then making a new life after Liberation, with the drama of the second and third ofthese overshadowing the simpler tale of their pre-Holocaust youth. Each remembered achildhood of large, extended family and of a rich Jewishness to their daily life. However,subsequent events were so overwhelming that it sometimes became difficult to focus on theearlier picture. It is possible that the terrors they faced during the war years and the hardships of17S.D. Rutland, Intermeshing Archival & Oral Sources: Unravelling the Story of Jewish SurvivorImmigrants to Australia in Speaking to Immigrants – Oral Testimony & The History of AustralianMigration. Eds. A.J. Hammerton & E. Richards. School of Social Sciences, ANU, Canberra 2002, 129.18See this thesis. 86-888

migration and rebuilding a life afterwards were in such stark contrast to their younger years as tomake them perhaps seem more idyllic than they really were, although some respondents diddescribe poverty and hardship, either in their own childhood circumstances or as observed inothers around them.The extent to which the descriptions of geography, infrastructure, events, town identities andcustoms of several of these respondents coincided was significant, even between those whodidn’t know each other or had had no contact for over 60 years.There are several memoirs written by survivors from Munkács. There are also those written bypeople not originally from Munkács but who found themselves there, either in the ghettos or insome other way beforehand. They are in various languages. Some have been translated intoEnglish. Although not quite as immediate as personal interviews, they still provide useful piecesto Carr’s “enormous jig-saw with a lot of missing parts”,19 especially as some of the authorshave since died. In addition, there has been considerable audio and audio-visual recording ofsurvivor testimonies20, most famously by the Survivors of the Shoah Visual HistoryFoundation21 and the Twelfth Hour Project conducted in Sydney in the early 1990s22. TheSydney Jewish Museum’s Project 120 has resulted in a movie, ‘Stories of Survival’, whichscreens continuously for visitors to the museum23.The process of obtaining oral historiesThe Jewish population of Mukačevo in 1939, just prior to World War II, was 13,48824. Over 85%perished in the Holocaust, leaving an estimated 2,000 survivors. In the 60 years between the19E.H. Carr, ‘What is history?’ The George Macaulay Trevelyan Lectures, Macmillan London, 1962, 7.See Björn Krondorfer ‘Whose Memory is it Anyway? Reflections on Remembering, Preserving andForgetting’ in Testifying to the Holocaust, eds. Pam Maclean, Michele Langfield, Dvir Abramovich,Australian Association of Jewish Studies, Sydney 2008 for a catalogue of testimonial archives and ananalysis of the process and value of keeping them.21Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation established by Steven Spielberg in 1994 tovideotape and preserve testimonies of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses before it was too late.Originally housed on the back lot of Universal Studios in Los Angeles, it is now part of the University ofSouthern California’s (USC) College of Letters, Arts & Sciences and is known as USC Shoah FoundationInstitute for Visual History and Education.22The Twelfth Hour Project of the Australian Institute of Holocaust Studies recorded oral testimonies,from 1988 till about 1990, of Holocaust survivors living in Australia. They are currently housed at theState Library of New South Wales.23The testimonies of 36 Survivors who were volunteer guides at The Sydney Jewish Museum in 2000were videotaped for Project 120. The tapes have been digitised and are kept at the museum.24Randolph L. Braham 1994 The Politics of Genocide: The Holocaust in Hungary, Revised and Enlargeded. NY: The Rosenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies distributed by Columbia University Press, 136.209

end of World War II and the commencement of my research at least half of them have died.Post war immigration brought to Australia several dozens of Jews originally from Munkács. Bythe time of this study, there were only 3 left in Sydney, each of whom agreed to assist me withthis research. A few descendants have also provided some material. In Melbourne, I couldlocate only one survivor of the post-war immigrants but was told that he was not well enough tobe approached.Several survivors I traced overseas were also too old or infirm to be interviewed. In addition,there were several who did not wish to relive their experiences and their wishes were, of course,respected. This left a pool of only a few hundred potential interviewees, scattered all over theworld, some of whom would be willing to tell their story on the record.Because of shared experiences, both before and during the Holocaust, many of the Munkácssurvivors have tended to stay in touch with each other, often across continents. Louis(20)explained it in this way:“Oh, there’s nothing nicer than youth memories of Munkács It was awonderful place to live, with friends. Even today, we maintain all thefriendships all around the world with other Munkácser people”.There are quite active Landsmannschafts groups in Los Angeles, New York and Israel. Withtheir help I was able to contact 17 Holocaust survivors from Munkács, 6 in Israel, 4 in

MUNKÁCS: A JEWISH WORLD THAT WAS Anna Berger BA (UNSW), MA (Sydney University) A thesis submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of