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Alice Gruenwald

Alice Spitzer was born in 1927 in Bela Crkva in Banat (Serbia), where she lived until the age of fourteen. Life was good and peaceful until the Germans invaded Yugoslavia. "Bela Crkva was a very beautiful, clean and worldly town," Alice remembers. During the war, Alice's father Franjo was drafted and promoted to the rank of reserve officer. Alice and her mother, Irena, were moved to a ghetto in Zrenjanin with other Jews. Her father paid someone "a large sum of money" to let Alice and her mother continue their journey to Hungary and from there to Lendava, where the Spitzers intended to spend the war with forged papers. Several other people were in this group. Lendava was Franjo Spitzer's home town. His father Ljudevit and mother Etelka, born Brill, lived there. Ljudevit Spitzer was a fur trader. Alice and her mother arrived in Lendava through Novi Sad and Zagreb. Alice had already known Lendava, as she used to spend all her summer holidays before the war there with her grandparents.

In Lendava, a city that has always had a mixed population combining different nationalities, religions and languages, the refugees kept themselves somewhat away from the other citizens. "I had a friend from Varaždin, Dragica Ribner," remembers Alice, "and I used to spend a lot of time with her. She was a refugee, like me. We never quite blended into the area." In spite of this, Alice made new acquaintances and started to learn Hungarian. The language she spoke in Bela Crkva was a Vojvodina dialect, called by some "lalinski [language]". As the family had settled in somewhat, came the year 1944 and the infamous 26 April when all the Jews in Lendava were required to assemble in the synagogue. Thus the Spitzers were also deported.


Bojan Zadravec


Alice lives in Israel today. She moved there after the creation of the state after the Second World War. She says she wanted to live "to see how the sun will shine when all this is over."


Alice and her mother were transferred to the Zrenjanin ghetto, but Alice's father paid for his wife and daughter to be released and they came to Lendava.


Her feelings about the war are probably best expressed in this excerpt from the interview.