Peter S. testimony 2013 [video recording]
Date of Recording15 March 2013
Duration2h 25m 0.0s
SynopsisPeter S. was born in Budapest, Hungary on August 30, 1935. He describes his family and their history in Hungary. He describes his father’s profession as a musician and his mother’s as a secretary. He describes a happy childhood. He recalls when discriminatory laws began to surface and experiencing more apparent antisemitism. Peter explains the mentality of First World War soldiers (like his grandfather) and their patriotism. He recounts how the Arrow Cross Party would march in the town. He recalls the progression of increased restrictions against Jews. He describes how the Gestapo was raiding his mother’s factory and she brought a policeman to stop the raid. The policeman saw the Gestapo and disappeared. He recalls his mother was arrested shortly after this and he never saw her again. Peter explains that his father was in a labour battalion, so he lived with an aunt. He recalls air raids. He describes how his family sent him to the International Red Cross place for children where a family friend could give him false Christian papers. He recalls that the family friend had been transferred but that he was allowed to stay and given a new name. He recalls an incident where an SS solider saw him. He describes attending church and performing Catholic rituals and prayers. He describes the conditions after the siege of Budapest started. He recalls foraging for food. He recalls his physical condition and malnutrition. He describes liberation by Russian troops. He discusses reuniting with his surviving extended family. He recounts his father’s experience during the war and as an interpreter after the war. Peter’s father then obtained a job in a band for the US Officer’s Club in Vienna. They snuck out of Hungary and lived in Austria waiting for visas. Peter recalls being sent to boarding school and experiencing continued antisemitism. He describes their voyage to New York by boat. He recalls attending high school in Harlem. His father remarried and Peter explains he was sent to live as a boarder with another Jewish family. He describes attending college. He discusses his decision to enlist in the US Army. He describes his education, graduation, and early career as a professor. He describes his interest and research in social and environmental psychology. He discusses his Hungarian identity. He discusses his faith and his Jewish identity.
Funding NoteCataloguing and digitization of this testimony was supported by funding from the Government of Canada.