Auntie Pipi 

I didn’t feel free in Budapest. Sure, I remember the war, sure I do. I saw it when they took my parents and I knew I’d never see them again. They took them to Auschwitz. I escaped and they didn’t take me. I hid away. Communists were illegally helping refugees at the time. I saw when they took my parents and my twin sister and I knew I’d never see them again. It was terrible. I sat down on the ground and I cried. A man came up to me and told me not to cry, little girl, because then they’d take me, too.

I suffered a lot. I had no money, but the communists helped.

I spent a couple of months in Auschwitz, but I was strong. Those who

were weak died soon. I saw many of them. A lot of people were good, but I met a lot of bad ones, too. It was terrible and I often dream about it and always reach out and touch my bed just to make sure if I am there or not. Those of us who were there will never escape that memory.

My children are very good to me, they help me. My sons-in-law, too. …
When I came here, to America, I had nothing. American people are

kind-hearted. They help everyone. They don’t look to see whether you are a Christian or a Jew, they just help. This lady, too, who helps me, just loves America. I also like America a lot. They just give and give. So, will you come to live in America? Don’t even stop to think it over! You’ll have plenty of time to think it through when you get here. You’ll have a good life, that I can guaran- tee. Wherever you turn, America just gives. Everywhere you go an open door is waiting for you. You just walk in and sit down, they don’t ask you anything, just put food in front of you. If you need clothes, you’ll get them. If you need shoes, you’ll get those, too.

I thought I was dreaming, but it was true. The most terrible thing of all was to see my parents being taken away. I knew I would never see them again. Out of my nine siblings only five escaped. But where is my mother, where is my father?

I came to America with three kids and six diapers. You can imagine how difficult it was. But people helped. Americans are known for their generosity.

I have three daughters, all of them have a family. Absolute beauties! They all work. Anyone who doesn’t want to work, they all struggle. But the ones who work, they have everything they need. America is not a home for lazy people. My husband and I worked a lot, too. I took in sewing, I wasn’t lazy. My husband was a presser, he ironed in the factory. We didn’t regret it. What a nice bag you have! So, don’t you want to stay here? Bring your daughter, she’ll grow up in freedom! Kids have such a good life here! Are your parents alive? Bring them here, too! What a nice life old people have here! Just look at me: I came here to America with three kids and six diapers. That’s no small thing, you know. I love America: it gives to everyone, whether they’re a Jew or a Christian. Are you a Jew?

I remember my brother was religious, he went out to the street one day and two boys pushed him against the wall and were yanking his side- locks. I saw he was being attacked, so I went there and grabbed one boy by the hair and kicked and kicked him until he left my brother alone. He did, but the police came. And the police were anti-Semitic, too. I was a fighter, but that’s what I needed to be. Can you imagine what it feels like to see your parents being taken away and knowing what they would suffer?

I love America. Life is good in America. Just walk out to 14th Avenue, you’ll see at least three doors standing wide open. Walk into any of them and you’ll find a clean tablecloth and people won’t ask a thing, they’ll just bring you a plate of good food for free. Nobody goes to ask the Russians for any- thing. The Russians don’t give.

You feel so free here. The Jews aren’t the only ones who have a good life here. Only bad-hearted people and thieves don’t have a good life here. They deserve what they get. Anyone who lives properly, nicely, is given every- thing. Lazy people shouldn’t come here at all. I had nothing; I came here with three kids and six diapers.

The woman, who helps me is not looked down on, either. There’s no such thing as being a servant here. I love America! Everybody helps each other here. And the ones who only care about money, they’re just garbage.

I came to America with three kids and six diapers. America gives a good life to everyone. No country gives as much as America. Christians love America, too, not just the Jews. They don’t really think a lot of you if you’re not a believer. Anyone doesn’t believe in anything is garbage. Do you know what garbage is?

I am so ugly. My mother had six daughters and, believe it or not, I was the ugliest one among them. But I never felt that I was. I had a twin sister. My dear sister, where is she now? I was in Auschwitz. I am proud that I helped wherever I could. What nice shoes you have, you got them in Pest, didn’t you? They had nice shoes there, I remember that. Only the people were not good. My poor parents…my poor twin sister…my brother didn’t survive, either. They were all murdered.

Just last week I dreamed that I was in Budapest somewhere on the corner of Rákóczi Street and Kossuth Lajos Street. That’s where I lived. Pest was beautiful, I have to say. What nice shoes you have, they’re from Budapest, aren’t they? Are my eyes telling me right? Do you know where I lived? On Rákóczi Street. Two of my relatives live there and they struggle a lot. They’re old, they have no money. I always send them a little something. When are you going back? Would you take something back for them?

I had nothing on earth, with three kids and six diapers…