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.
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