Photo taken in:KolozsvarYear when photo was taken:1942Country name at time of photo:Vienna-Diktat Transylvania, 1940-44Country name today:RomaniaName of the photographer / studio:Lajos Herskovits
This picture was taken in Kolozsvar in 1942. It was summertime. From right to left are: my brother Tibor Moskovits, me, Agi Herskovits and her mother Jolan Herskovits. We were just going to the arboretum, they showed it to us then. My uncle Lajos Herskovits took many pictures like this, but I was only left this. My mother and Agi's father were cousins, since their parents, my and Agi's grandmother were sisters. They didn't come home from deportation, only Lajos did. In Kolozsvar my relatives used to take us to a candy store to eat ice-cream or cookies, but there were also school balls or reunions we used to attend. We didn't really go to restaurants. When this picture was taken our parents remained at home, only me and my brother went to Kolozsvar. My brother was very tall and slim, you can see in the picture how tall he was. He graduated from high school in 1939 or 1940. He finished Papiu Lyceum. The change took place when the Hungarian army arrived in early September 1940. As a graduate he decided in the same year he would go to university. Those days there wasn't this throng for university that you see today; there was no matriculation, only registration. Then he applied for three or four universities in Hungary, I don't know in which cities. He was rejected by all of them, so the Jews were already excluded. Sadly, we had to acknowledge this situation. And then, instead of being enrolled in the army, the poor thing was taken away to forced labor. Until then he used to tutor weaker students who needed tutoring in disciplines like mathematics. In 1940 I finished the 3rd grade of high school and I was preparing for the 4th grade. The first shock came when not everybody was allowed to attend school. There were many Jewish children here in MarosMarosvasarhely, but not everybody was accepted. At the start of each year one had to register in the relevant class. After the year was closed it would be announced in which period of the next year one could enrol for the next year. In the Hungarian times, that is, in the period between 1940-1944, it wasn't that simple to register. It was established that only 6% of the Jewish children were allowed to go to school, and those who could prove their parents had fought for the Hungarian army in World War I and were decorated, had priority. Everybody submitted the requests, and those who had relevant documents attached them. Following an evaluation they selected 6% of them and rejected the rest. So, based on a request, and by proving that my father fought in the war and was injured and decorated, I was instantly accepted to the school. In 1940, everybody was happy that the Hungarians came in. My mother had never really managed to learn proper Romanian; she graduated from a Hungarian school. This change was received with great joy. The first anti-Jewish laws in Romania were adopted in 1942 or 1943, and not right away; a series of disappointments came because though it was fine we had this [Hungarian authority once again], the other aspects weren't quite in our favor. There were young fellows who, when coming across long-bearded elderly Jews, pulled their beards, made all kinds of remarks and generally made fun of them. In 1943 my brother was taken to forced labor to Palotailva [on the banks of the Maros River, 77 km from MarosMarosvasarhely], but I don't know what kind of work they had to do there. In March 1944 he was given a furlough, and came home for a few days, but then he had to go back. That was the last time I saw him. I don't know where he was taken, but on 23rd August 1944, when the war ended, he and one of his mates set off for home on foot. In that period the Russians were taking away the German prisoners of war and everyone who could, fled from these columns. The Russians, though, had to account for a certain number of prisoners. If people went missing along the way, they took people from the streets and put them in these columns so they could hand over as many people as they had taken on. My brother and his friend almost got to Ernye [some 18 km from Marosvasarhely], or somewhere around there, but they met such a group, so they were taken prisoner by the Russians and sent to a camp in the Crimea. Unfortunately this wasn't an exception, many others had fallen victim to such actions. I don't know what they had to do there, but my brother got typhus and passed away in January or February 1945, so he never came home. This I know from his comrade, who eventually came home.