Five Memoirs Illuminate Jewish Hungarian Holocaust

I’ve delved into an in-depth exploration of the Holocaust in Hungary, and in doing so, I’ve gained a profound understanding of my late Mother’s poignant statement, “Anyone who survived the Shoah is a miracle!”

As part of my research, I recommend the insightful book Budapest ’44: Rescue and Resistance, 1944-1945 by Moshe Holczler, which offers a compelling perspective on the events during that challenging period.

“The young Slovakian businessman planned to join his wife in London, but the Nazis marched into Austria, and life would never be the same. Mandated by his illustrious father to remain in Europe to help his people, R’ Shmuel Binyomin (Wolf) Frey embarked on a saga of rescue and relief that had reverberations beyond his wildest dreams.” (Blurb from Budapest 44)

“Budapest ’44” offers a sweeping panorama of the extensive rescue efforts orchestrated within Budapest during the Nazi invasion of Hungary in 1944. The narrative delves into the courageous actions of individuals such as Wallenberg and numerous undercover Jewish and non-Jewish volunteers. This remarkable yet relatively unknown story unfolds through the vivid and astonishing details provided by Moshe Holczler. Serving as both narrator and active participant, Holczler delivers a firsthand account that is captivating and essential for gaining a profound understanding of the events that transpired in Budapest in 1944. The book is a must-read, offering a gripping portrayal of overlooked historical events.

“Deadly Carousel: A Singer’s Odyssey Through World War II”

Embark on a captivating memoir that unveils the extraordinary life of Vali Racz, often hailed as the Hungarian Marlene Dietrich. Amidst the chaos of World War II, Vali opened her heart and home in Pest, sheltering a diverse array of guests — a Jewish family, a Hungarian fascist escapee, and Russian military brass. Narrated by her daughter, Monica Porter, the book not only delves into Vali’s saga but also provides a poignant chronicle of Hungary’s social and political upheavals, from pre-war times to the Hungarian revolution 1956.

“Hasidic Tales of the Holocaust,” edited by Yaffa Eliach

Explore the harrowing experiences of Orthodox Jews during the Holocaust through this poignant collection of 89 original testimonies. Edited by Yaffa Eliach, the narratives vividly depict the struggles of individuals attempting to flee, facing entrapment, and, at times, experiencing miraculous salvation across Europe.

“Miracle in the Ashes” by Maurice Lowinger

Step into the riveting first-person memoir of Maurice Lowinger, a Hungarian Jew from Mezotur. His courageous actions during World War II, including managing a soup kitchen in Budapest’s Dohany Synagogue/ghetto, depict his dedication to supporting his family and the local Jewish community until the Russian army arrived in 1945.

“Surviving the Hell of Auschwitz and Dachau: A Teenage Struggle Toward Freedom from Hatred” by Leslie Schwartz

Immerse yourself in Leslie Schwartz’s powerful memoir, where he, as a young and small 12-year-old, braved the harsh environments of Auschwitz and Dachau. Schwartz reflects on the unexpected acts of kindness from individuals who offered help, even with an essential gesture like providing a glass of milk or a sandwich. After the war, he embarked on a quest to thank these saviours personally. Schwartz shares his impactful journey in Germany and globally, highlighting the ongoing fight for freedom from hatred.

 

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