Interviewee: Panni Koltai
Title: Rozsi Schwarz and Piri Deri
Place and Date: Eger, Hungary - 1909
These are my sisters Rozsi Schwarz, nee Friedmann, (on the left) and Piri Deri, nee Friedmann (on the right). The photo must have been taken around 1909 in Eger.
We were four girls in the family. I was born in 1915, Bozsi in 1910, Rozsi in 1908, and Piri was born in 1906. She was a very beautiful girl. Piri always ran away from home. Once she ran away to the neighbors and they were standing over her at a loss, wondering who she could be. She was a nice blond little girl and she could already talk, only she couldn't tell what her name was and who her father was. And finally they found out who she was because she kept saying, 'He is always ironing, he is always ironing'. And so they realized that if he was always ironing, she could only be the tailor's daughter.
When we were little, we had a trough and we bathed in the trough one after the other. I remember the times when I had to bathe after my sister Bozsi: it took her a very long time to get out of it and I was angry with her. But we couldn't have done it otherwise because there wasn't enough water [for everyone to get washed separately]. Once a week before Sabbath we heated water for bathing in a laundry pot. We had a regular stove in the kitchen, which we heated with wood.
Looking back at my childhood, I have to say that it was absolutely untroubled. It wasn't an issue if we were Jews or not. We were on very friendly terms with our neighbors. We didn't get together but we got on well. In school [non-Jewish] children were told that on Saturday they had to write the stuff in our student's record and everything was going well. Nobody touched us, all the more so because my dad was a very honest and decent craftsman.