Life Changes 1936-1944

I was there.

The anti-Jewish laws had an emotional effect on their lives. As a child, László didn’t understand what the reason was behind the discrimination. Later, the relationships between Jews and Christians changed, some of them got looser and others even ended. He continued his secondary studies in Miskolc where he made some new Christian friends. László’s friends were bullied for having a Jewish friend. Being a Jew, he experienced varied reactions: reserve, prudence, hostility, solidarity.

Antisemitism, first of all, was manifested in small events, e.g. when someone broke the window of their house. Jews around him were trying to find reasons why hatred was accumulating against them. In spite of all this, they still didn’t feel or anticipate what was about to happen.

László Keller (1928), Hungary

László Keller (1928), Hungary

Consider here how the family of László’s life changed between 1936 and 1944

Life Changes

László Keller talks about his life’s changes before the war.

1) Listen to László Keller as he talks about his life’s changes before the war. Answer the questions.

  • 1a. How are these phrases related to each other and how could they be life-changing events? Write your commentary in 100-150 words.

a. people avoiding making friends with Jews
b. the window thrown in with a stone
c. people taking up English
d. “I did not see anybody leave”

  • 1b. Why does László refer to the arrival of the German troops as a “milestone”? How did it affect his life? What happened afterwards?

  • 1c. How would you interpret the last phrase of the clip: “And people said that it was not our shame but those were to be blamed who made us do it.”

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