Sam Weinberger

"Don’t give up, try to be a Mensch, (Yiddish), a good human being.  Try your best to help other people, as King Solomon said, Ze Hakol (Hebrew) this is everything.  "

Name at birth
Shmuel Weinberger
Date of birth
Where did you grow up?
I lived in Kalnik until about I was about 16, 17. I moved to Mukacevo to learn to be a mechanic. When I was able to get my license to drive, my brother and I drove a taxi.
Name of father, occupation
Eliyahu Weinberger, Businessman
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Devoira Stein, Homemaker and helped in the business
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Parents and seven children: Yisroel, Avrum, Pinchas, Moishe, Golda Ziesel, Shmuel, Duvid (David)
How many in entire extended family?
Avrum had 3, 4 children. We had a large family altogether.
Who survived the Holocaust?
Me, Golda Ziesel, and Duvid and my brothers Yisroel and Moishe
My brothers Yisroel and Moishe emigrated to Buenos Aries, Argentina before the war.  It was hard to make a living also in Mukacevo; there were many people unemployed there.  Yisroel and Moishe couldn’t come to America because of the Depression then.
At 16, 17, I was in school learning to be a mechanic.  I made a living driving a taxi.  In 1938, the situation changed in Czechoslovakia.  We became Hungarian citizens from Czechoslovakian citizens.  Our country changed from a democracy to a dictatorship.  The Hungarians were very anti-Semitic.  In 1941, I was drafted into the Hungarian army.
My brother Avrum was a truck driver.  The Hungarians took him to be a truck driver for them.  He then was a laborer and then he was sent to the Russian front.  The Russians captured him.  He was sent to Siberia and that’s where he died.
The Hungarians took away the license from my mother.  The government took our taxis for the military.  They paid rent to my sister-in-law for the taxis until she taken to Auschwitz.
In October, 1941, I was drafted into the Hungarian army.  I had training for three months and then they sent my unit, all Jewish boys, to Romania which was now part of Hungary.  There we built railroad tracks; it was winter, and it was cold.  I was a mechanic and I repaired what was needed.  I was there until July 3, 1942.
Then they sent us to other places.  At the end of 1942, they sent me and 80 other boys who were all trade workers, to Budapest.  
We built an airport west of Budapest and they needed machinery repaired.  I then went to Budapest where I worked as a mechanic.  
They took men to labor camps.  Then it got worse in March, 1944, when the Nazis started taking people to Auschwitz.
My parents, my brother, his wife and their children were all killed in Auschwitz.  
I was in Budapest until October, 1944.  I worked for the German and the Hungarian Nazis as a mechanic.  
Since I was well-positioned working with the Nazis, I was drafted by the Underground to help in the resistance.  I worked with some Serbs, Czechs, and English.  
A Serb was the head of the Underground.  He was good to me and gave me a Skoda motorcycle to use.  He used to call me and give me orders.  Once you got the orders, you did it.  I helped save Jews and others who they wanted to arrest.
I was there until 1945 when the Russian army came in.  I worked as an interpreter for them.
In July, 1944, I met Raoul Wallenberg.  
Wallenberg came with a group to a place where we worked.  The Underground had a two bedroom apartment where we met.  
Wallenberg looked like a Swedish blond.  His family was very wealthy.  His father had two uncles who controlled the whole economy in Sweden.  
Wallenberg was a rebel.  He saw what was going on in his dealing with Nazi Germany.  
He was born in 1910 and was 34 years old when he came to us.  He worked in London but was a rebel there.  They sent him to Haifa, which was then Palestine.  
He saw that when Arabs killed Jews, no one would be punished, but when Jews killed one Arab, they had to pay for it.  He saw what was going on.
We in the Underground, thought he was Moshiach, the Messiah.
He was the greatest but he paid with his life [by the Russians].  He bought houses in Budapest which he turned into Swedish safe houses for Jews.  He gave money to the Underground.  I met him twice.  
Raoul Wallenberg gave Sarah, my future wife, Swedish passport papers which saved her life.  
My wife Sarah and I met in Budapest, 1942.  Sarah and I were married in Mukacevo on June 12, 1945, which was Rosh Chodesh, Tamuz.  
Name of Ghetto(s)
Name of Concentration / Labor Camp(s)
What DP Camp were you after the war?
Wasserburg, Bavaria, Germany
Where did you go after being liberated?
We lived in Budapest, in Czechoslovakia, in Munich, and in a Displaced Persons (DP) camp in Wasserburg, Bavaria, Germany.
When did you come to the United States?
Where did you settle?
Detroit, Michigan
How is it that you came to Michigan?
We wanted to go to Israel, but it was hard to go there after the war. My wife had relatives in Detroit, the Young family, who sponsored us to come here.
Occupation after the war
When and where were you married?
June 12, 1945 in Mukacevo
Sarah Young Weinberger, Homemaker
Doris Blechman
Lisa, Stefanie, and Joshua Mordechai and Great grandchildren Yitzchak Amichai
What do you think helped you to survive?
Because of the will of a person to live and to help other people, which I did and so did Sarah. That’s the secret of life, you want to live.
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
Don’t give up, try to be a Mensch, (Yiddish), a good human being.  Try your best to help other people, as King Solomon said, Ze Hakol (Hebrew) this is everything.
Charles Silow
Interview place:
West Bloomfield. Michigan
Interview date:

Contact us

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe to our email newsletter to receive updates on the latest news

thank you!

Your application is successfuly submited. We will contact you as soon as possible

thank you!

Your application is successfuly submited. Check your inbox for future updates.