I heard the news

I heard the news; I trembled and became speechless.”

On March 19, 1944, when the Germans occupied Hungary, my life and the lives of many others changed forever. Soon after the occupation, all Jews had to be identified on their clothing with a large yellow Star of David. Their property was taken away, and they were moved to the ghettos. I volunteered with an organization that served as a liaison between the Jews and the German commandant. I was working in the Country Division.

One day, a very excited man came and wanted to be seen by the top delegate. He described the first loading of Jews into boxcars: they were jammed shoulder to shoulder, squeezed together, without food or water, with only the clothes on their backs. The doors were locked from the outside, and the trains were heading toward an unknown destination. Although I knew nothing about the fate of Jews elsewhere in Europe, from that moment on, I knew that my only hope for the future lay in the American forces occupying Sicily, the imminent invasion in France, and the advancing Russians from Stalingrad. When the bombs started dropping on Budapest, I knew that survival would require sacrifice.