Thursday, July 5, 2012
Ernest Galpert "Growing Up Religious"
The story of a Hasidic childhood in one of the centers of Orthodox and Hasidic Judaism of Central Europe. Mukacevo (as it's called in Czech, or Munkacs in Hungarian) is a town that was in five countries between 1918 and 1991: the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, interwar Czechoslovakia, wartime Hungary, the Soviet Union and today, Ukraine. Mukacevo had a majority Jewish population (before it was wiped out during the Holocaust); its great rabbinical courts feuded constantly with each other.
Ernest Galpert, born in 1923, spent his childhood mornings in a religious school and his afternoons in a secular Czech school. His father had a grocery store and the family spoke Yiddish at home. During the war, Ernst was taken into forced labor brigades while his parents and sisters were deported to Auschwitz. Only his sisters returned and left for Israel soon after.
Ernest remained, hoping his sweetheart Tilda would return from the camps. She did - they married and raised two sons in Mukacevo, then in the Soviet Union. When Communism fell in 1991, one of Ernest's sons left for Israel while Ernest and his other son began helping run the Jewish community.