Ernest Halpert was born in 1923 in Mukacheve, which was then under Czechoslovak rule. His father was a shopkeeper and Halpert grew up with two sisters. Halpert attended a private religious school until his bar mitzvah and then worked at a factory until the outbreak of World War II. When Mukacheve was occupied by the Germans in 1944, he was deported to Austria, where he was imprisoned in several camps as forced laborer. In March 1945, Halpert was drafted into the Red Army. During the postwar Soviet era, Halpert worked as engineer at a factory and raised two children.  

Other Interviews:

Minkatch: a Jewish Town
The Hard Years
The Jewish Soul

The Prayer House

Uzhhorod, Ukraine

Ari Halpert gives us some insight about the circumstances of postwar religious life under Soviet occupation. In particular, he points out that Jews who were not bound to governmental work were more inclined to express their faith. For Halpert, the prayer house had been an essential religious institution throughout the Soviet period.