Missing Pieces: My Life as a Child Survivor of the Holocaust

By Olga Barsony-Verrall | Go to book overview

FOREWORD

In the spring of 1944, Adolf Eichmann arrived in Hungary with the responsibility of deporting the 800,000 remaining Jews within the country. The atrocities committed by the Nazis were already well known, and the political pressure to cease the deportations was strong. Despite the warnings by American president Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the objections from within the political leadership of Hungary, and the fruitless efforts made by Hungarian Jewish community leaders Joel Brand and Rudolph Kasztner, 437,000 Jews were deported between May 15 and June 9 – the fastest deportation since Poland in 1941. Only the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg managed to save a significant number of Jews by providing them with Swedish passports and housing them in properties he either bought or rented. Dr. Kasztner’s secret co-operation agreement with Eichmann – to exchange Jews for cash, goods, and Kasztner’s promise to keep order in the camps – saved only a small group of Jews, many of whom were elitists, relatives, or residents from his village. It is reported that Eichmann transferred approximately 15,000 Jews to Vienna and Strasshof for labour to “put them on ice” (that is, not for extermination) as a sign of good faith. Kasztner was later accused in Israel of facilitating the Jewish Hungarian deportation. By the end of the war, one year after the Nazi invasion of Hungary, the Nazis had murdered 570,000 out of the 800,000 Hungarian Jews.

It was in late spring of 1944 when the deportation of my family began. The process of transportation from one holding area to another took approximately six weeks until they arrived at their final destination, a concentration camp called Strasshof. There is no explanation as to why their cattle train stopped in Strasshof rather than being delivered directly to Auschwitz as so many others were. Nevertheless, while at that camp, the gesture of one man changed the course of my family’s life forever. This man, an acquaintance

-xi-

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Missing Pieces: My Life as a Child Survivor of the Holocaust
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Table of Contents ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface Reflections xvii
  • Acknowledgements xxi
  • Chapter 1- Birth, Love, and Tradition 1
  • Chapter 2- Playful Years End in Tears 21
  • Chapter 3- Rude Awakening 39
  • Chapter 4- Return to Szarvas 63
  • Chapter 5- Budapest- My Teenage Years 81
  • Chapter 6- Leaving Hungary 97
  • Chapter 7- Coming to Canada 115
  • Chapter 8- The Cantor’s Wife 131
  • Chapter 9- From Winnipeg to Toronto 155
  • Chapter 10- Strength, Courage, and Faith 177
  • Chapter 11- Life Must Go on 201
  • Chapter 12- Return to Hungary 227
  • Legacies Shared Series 247
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