RĂ©sultats

Tenuous Threads

Chestnut Boulevard

My father was actively involved with the Hungarian Zionist Organization and, unlike other Hungarian Jews, he did not lull himself into a false sense of security, trusting that the “civilized” Germans and Hungarians would never harm the Jews. He believed the unbelievable stories of persecution told by the refugees from Nazi-occupied countries; he believed even the inconceivable accounts of concentration camps that the few escaped inmates had brought with them. That spring my father had managed to procure false documents for me. Were those documents copied or forged? In any case, they were my entry into the Christian Hungarian community. With the help of Mária Babar, a devout Catholic who had previously worked for our family, it was arranged for me to hide with the Ursuline nuns.

My mother had made a courageous and painful decision by taking this walk with me under the festive wild chestnuts toward the convent of the Ursuline nuns on StefĂĄnia Street near the VĂĄrosliget, the city park where I had played with my nanny only a few months before. My mother rang the outer bell on the gate of the tall, black iron railing that surrounded the convent. Behind it was a garden, where I seem to remember yellow dandelions dotting the shaggy grass that looked as though it badly needed a trim. When I recently managed to contact the Hungarian Ursuline nuns, they sent me the photograph of the convent building as it was in Budapest in 1944. My memory of the iron grill railing was accurate.

On the day my mother and I arrived at the Ursuline Mother House a strange woman in a black floor-length gown opened the gate. Only a patch of her face was visible under the stiff white band across her forehead to which a starched white bib-like collar was attached. There was no glimpse of hair under the black silk veil flowing from the band to below her shoulders and secured by a pin at the top of her head. 10 tenuous threads

It was the first time I had ever seen a nun this close up. My stomach seemed to constrict around a pebble I hadn’t swallowed. This is a feeling I remember distinctly, a sensation that returns whenever I confront an unavoidable crisis. She must have smiled as her hands escaped from the full sleeves of her ample dress to reach for mine because when I followed her along the path toward the yellow stucco two-storey villa, that pebble in my middle began to dissolve.

Surely my mother waved as she turned from the gate that closed behind me. We would not see each other again for more than a year. How did she say goodbye? She may have said something that ended in pipikĂ©m (my little chicken), her favourite endearment for me in Hungarian. I only remember feeling strangely relieved as she released me to follow on my own behind my new companion. From this black-clad woman’s waist swung a string of large beads ending in a cross that bounced at every lively step. When she opened the front door she had addressed me for the first time by my new name, “Ilona,” or its diminutive, “Ili.” Nobody would call me “Judit” or “Jutka” or “Juditka” for almost a year. The game now began in earnest. I was to become Ilona Papp, a Catholic child temporarily separated from her parents in the Hungarian countryside.

Retenue par un fil/Une question de chance

Boulevard des Marronniers

Mon pĂšre Ă©tait trĂšs engagĂ© dans l’Organisation sioniste hongroise et, contrairement Ă  d’autres Juifs hongrois, il ne se berçait pas d’illusions en espĂ©rant que les Allemands et les Hongrois « civilisĂ©s » ne s’attaquent pas aux Juifs. Il prĂȘtait foi aux histoires incroyables de persĂ©cutions que racontaient les rĂ©fugiĂ©s des pays occupĂ©s par les nazis ; il croyait mĂȘme aux rĂ©cits sur ces endroits inconcevables qu’étaient les camps de concentration et que rapportaient les quelques dĂ©tenus qui avaient rĂ©ussi Ă  s’en Ă©chapper. Ce printemps-lĂ , mon pĂšre Ă©tait parvenu Ă  me procurer de faux papiers. S’agissait-il de copies ou de faux fabriquĂ©s de toutes piĂšces ? Quoi qu’il en soit, ils m’ont ouvert les portes de la communautĂ© hongroise chrĂ©tienne. GrĂące Ă  l’aide de MĂĄria Babar, une fervente catholique qui avait autrefois travaillĂ© pour notre famille, mes parents ont pris des dispositions pour me cacher chez les soeurs ursulines.

Ma mĂšre avait pris une dĂ©cision, aussi courageuse que douloureuse, en me conduisant sous les marronniers sauvages en fĂȘte vers le couvent des soeurs ursulines de la rue StefĂĄnia, proche de VĂĄrosliget, le parc de la ville dans lequel, il y a Ă  peine quelques mois, je jouais encore avec ma bonne. Ma mĂšre a fait retentir la sonnette au portail de la haute grille de fer noire entourant le couvent. DerriĂšre elle, on dĂ©couvrait un jardin dont, si je me souviens bien, l’herbe hirsute, qui avait grand besoin d’ĂȘtre entretenue, Ă©tait parsemĂ©e de pissenlits jaunes. Lorsque j’ai rĂ©ussi tout rĂ©cemment Ă  contacter les soeurs ursulines hongroises, elles m’ont envoyĂ© la photographie du couvent tel qu’il Ă©tait en 1944. Ma mĂ©moire concernant la grille de fer Ă©tait exacte.

Le jour oĂč ma mĂšre et moi sommes arrivĂ©es Ă  la maison mĂšre des Ursulines, une femme Ă©trange, revĂȘtue d’une longue robe noire, nous a ouvert la grille. On ne pouvait apercevoir qu’un coin de son visage derriĂšre le strict bandeau blanc qui barrait son front et auquel Ă©tait attachĂ©e une guimpe blanche amidonnĂ©e. Aucun cheveu ne dĂ©passait derriĂšre le voile de soie noire qui tombait du bandeau jusqu’au-dessous de ses Ă©paules et qui Ă©tait fixĂ© par une Ă©pingle au sommet de sa tĂȘte.

C’était la premiĂšre fois que je voyais une religieuse d’aussi prĂšs. Il m’a semblĂ© que mon estomac se contractait autour d’un caillou que je n’avais pourtant pas avalĂ©. C’est lĂ  une sensation dont je me souviens prĂ©cisĂ©ment, une sensation qui revient Ă  chaque fois que je suis confrontĂ©e Ă  une crise inĂ©vitable. Sans doute m’a-t-elle souri lorsque ses mains se sont Ă©chappĂ©es des larges manches de sa vaste robe pour s’emparer des miennes car, tandis que je la suivais le long de l’allĂ©e qui conduisait au pavillon de stuc jaune Ă  deux Ă©tages, ce caillou dans mon ventre a commencĂ© Ă  disparaĂźtre.

Ma mĂšre m’a certainement fait signe de la main lorsqu’elle s’est Ă©loignĂ©e de la grille qui s’est refermĂ©e sur moi. Nous n’allions pas nous revoir avant un an. Comment m’a-t-elle dit au revoir ? Il se peut qu’elle ait dit quelque chose se terminant par pipikĂ©m (ma poulette), le terme d’affection qu’elle utilisait en hongrois Ă  mon Ă©gard. Je me souviens seulement que je me suis sentie Ă©trangement soulagĂ©e lorsqu’elle m’a autorisĂ©e Ă  suivre toute seule ma nouvelle compagne. Autour de la taille de cette femme vĂȘtue de noir se balançait un cordon de grandes perles ornĂ© d’une croix qui rebondissait Ă  chacun de ses pas vifs. Lorsqu’elle a ouvert la porte d’entrĂ©e, elle s’est adressĂ©e Ă  moi pour la premiĂšre fois en utilisant mon nouveau nom, « Ilona » ou son diminutif « Ili ». Personne n’allait plus m’appeler « Judit » ou « Juditka » pendant prĂšs d’un an. Maintenant, le jeu commençait pour de bon. Je devais devenir Ilona Papp, une fillette catholique, provisoirement sĂ©parĂ©e de ses parents dans la campagne hongroise.

My Introduction to Misery

Six Lost Years

For the next five months, we experienced some tranquility; we had more freedom and peace. Radom had a large Jewish population before the war and it had become larger due to the influx of Jews from surrounding areas. It was not paradise or like life before the war, but we managed to sustain some quality of family life.

My brother Ben befriended a younger man whose father was a watch repairman. Being so mechanically inclined, Ben was fascinated with the mechanism of watches and picked up the profession in no time. He also befriended a young lady, Etta, and soon insisted on marrying her.

Then, by April 1941, the ghetto in Radom was established. At first, it was easier to endure than the ghetto in Lodz or Warsaw, but with the influx of Jews from other communities, it soon also became crowded. With a shortage of apartments and work, the picture started to look like Warsaw again – people begging and sleeping in the streets, with some never waking up.

In the ghetto, the Nazis formed a Jewish police force. Ben was invited to join but declined. We were allowed to go out only if we had work outside the ghetto. We had to have official papers showing our place of work, were forced to wear white armbands with a blue Star of David and had a 7:00 p.m. curfew. After that time, we kids congregated on the stairway of our apartment building to entertain ourselves.

Through the Jewish Council, who were in charge of the ghetto’s administration (under Nazi orders), Ben got a job as a superintendent and handyman in the German Security Service, or “SD,” which occupied an entire six-storey building. The Germans took a liking to him; sometimes he came home with bread, salami or cheese. He also received a bicycle and special papers permitting him to leave the ghetto at any time. The bike had a plate on it saying: “This bicycle belongs to the Department of Special Forces,” and nobody could claim it. It was unusual for a Jew to possess a bicycle, but its purpose was to allow Ben to go to work on the spur of the moment.

Ben had a gift. People always took a liking to him. He was handy and inventive, and had built an AM and shortwave radio at age fourteen. He was a mechanical genius and could fix anything. He mastered watchmaking and photography, and he even fixed guns. I asked Ben if he could get me a job as his assistant. He asked his boss and sure enough, I became Ben’s helper. He showed me how to install electrical lines and outlets, make window blinds and fix small appliances. We worked together on many projects.

Working in a military building, we saw Poles who had been brought in from the underground organizations and from the Polish intelligentsia – leaders, lawyers, priests, doctors and teachers. They were interrogated and tortured; we saw them beaten beyond human imagination. Their screams still ring in my ears.

In the Hour of Fate and Danger

A Fragile Liberation

Just as we have completely caught up with the head of the column, we spot, on the left side of the bend, a strong, slim young man looking down on us from the top of a hill covered with rocks and brush. His gaze is confident; he has a quick-firing gun in his hand and is wearing a black felt cap with a red star on the front. He stands all alone on the peak. A few times, he motions toward the bottom of the hill with a wide sweep of his arm, as if he were signalling our arrival to his army.

The man is a Tito Partisan. He aims his weapon at the deathly pale guards. “Put your rifles, handguns, magazines and bayonets in the middle of the road!” he shouts with blood-curdling determination, and we hear him cock his gun. No sooner has the Partisan finished giving his orders than the soldiers guarding us throw down their weapons helter-skelter. They stand around the discarded weapons looking lost: without their guns, they are naked. They are whining and there is fear in their eyes; they are afraid of retribution.

The second Partisan, who has just appeared on the top of the hill, gives instructions to us in Hungarian, “Collect the guns and stack them in a pyramid shape. Use separate piles for handguns, hand grenades and magazines. Don’t lay a finger on the guards.”

The despondent prisoners are about to be seized by the urge to start lynching.

The Adam’s apple of one of the sergeants is bobbing in his throat; his handlebar moustache is trembling. The foul-mouthed corporal who wanted to leave us rotting in a dirty rathole now begs us for civilian clothes. He has already cast off his uniform, along with his soldier’s honour; he starts blubbering, imploring his former prisoners to hide him and give him some clothes.

As if the Holy Ghost had entered some of the older men, the limp­ing pharmacist pulls out a T-shirt that mice have gnawed holes in to give to the corporal. He is about to hand over the raggedy garment, but the others attack him, angrily berating him and calling him a filthy traitor.

If someone were to make a movie now, he would observe what a poor, pitiable, ghostlike bunch of people we are; we simply cannot process what has happened to us. The orderly rows have broken up, but it hasn’t dawned on us yet that we are liberated from bondage, from the murderers and their henchmen, from those who filled us with anguish, from the thieves who sold the bulk of our provisions on the black market.

The two Partisans on the hilltop direct the rescued men impatiently from the road to the mountain path covered in shrubs and wildflowers. We retrieve the weapons and ammunition from their stacks and distribute them among ourselves. The guards now march in the middle like a flock of sheep. Deathly pale, they walk as slowly as altar boys before Mass.We are in the Erzgebirge, in the woods of the Homolje mountains, somewhere near Ćœagubica; the other village, Laznica, cannot be too far off.

Buried Words

Dear Diary

Sunday, March 14

I have opened my notebook again after a rather long break. And it is because today we are standing for the whole day in the stable to stretch ourselves out a little. And because it is very uncomfortable for me to write lying down, I brought the notebook upstairs. But the conditions are not favourable here either, because I am chilled to the bone even though it is mid-March and the weather is beautiful, the sun is shining brightly and the earth is fragrant. If only I could walk out of the stable door and sit on the threshold... It is so distant and simply unattainable, that, unfortunately, I should not even whet my appetite and dream about it. I already cannot imagine a life different from the one I am living. Shall it always be like this? Is the evil ever going to end?

Wednesday, April 7

The world is so large, so extremely enormous, that you cannot go around it fast or comprehend its vastness, not even with your mind. Almost the entire globe is inhabited by people. Apparently people live even on the other side of the moon and on Mars, too. There is a place on the surface of the earth for all living creatures. Sadly, there is no place on the surface of the earth only for two miserable, abandoned living creatures. So these two poor, miserable human beings are forced to live under the surface, squeezed in a small box, where you can merely lie down and still feel cramped. And you can only dream about sitting. And these creatures lie in this box for months on end and they emerge into the stable for only three hours a day. Confinement — dirt, bugs, darkness and stuffiness — as in a grave. But these creatures are so happy that it is as it is and not worse and they are thankful for this ‘grave’ in their daily prayers. And they say nothing, they do not even complain anymore because they know that there is no place for them on the surface of the earth. Are we destined to ever emerge onto the surface?

Les Mots enfouis : Le Journal de Molly Applebaum

Cher journal

Dimanche 14 mars

J’ai rouvert mon carnet aprĂšs une assez longue pause. Car aujourd’hui, nous passons la journĂ©e debout dans l’écurie, afin de nous Ă©tirer un peu. Et comme ce n’est vraiment pas confortable pour moi d’écrire allongĂ©e, j’ai emmenĂ© mon carnet lĂ -haut. Mais les conditions ici ne sont pas bonnes non plus. Bien que nous soyons Ă  la mi-mars, que le temps soit magnifique, que le soleil brille et que la terre dĂ©gage un doux parfum, je suis glacĂ©e jusqu’à la moelle. J’aimerais pouvoir franchir le pas de la porte de l’étable et m’asseoir sur le perron... C’est tellement loin et tout simplement hors d’atteinte que malheureusement, je ne devrais mĂȘme pas m’aiguiser l’appĂ©tit et y songer. J’ai dĂ©jĂ  du mal Ă  imaginer une autre vie que celle que je mĂšne actuellement. Sera-ce toujours comme cela ? Les souffrances s’arrĂȘteront-elles un jour ?

Mercredi 7 avril

Le monde est si vaste, si incroyablement grand, qu’on ne peut en faire rapidement le tour ou en rĂ©aliser l’immensitĂ©, mĂȘme par la pensĂ©e. Presque toute la surface du globe est habitĂ©e. Il paraĂźt mĂȘme que des gens vivent sur la face cachĂ©e de la lune et aussi sur Mars. Sur Terre, il y a de la place pour tous les ĂȘtres vivants. HĂ©las, il n’y a pas de place sur Terre pour deux pauvres crĂ©atures abandonnĂ©es. Ces deux pauvres et malheureuses crĂ©atures sont obligĂ©es de vivre sous terre, serrĂ©es dans une petite caisse dans laquelle on peut Ă  peine s’allonger et oĂč on se sent Ă  l’étroit. S’asseoir est la seule chose dont on puisse rĂȘver. Ces personnes sont allongĂ©es dans cette caisse depuis de longs mois et n’en sortent que trois heures par jour pour aller Ă  l’étable. L’enfermement — la saletĂ©, la vermine, l’obscuritĂ© et le manque d’air —, tout est comme dans un cercueil. Mais ces crĂ©atures sont heureuses que la situation soit ainsi et pas pire, et expriment leur reconnaissance pour ce « cercueil » dans leurs priĂšres quotidiennes. Elles ne disent rien, elles ont cessĂ© de se plaindre car elles savent qu’il n’y a pas de place pour elles sur Terre. Sommes-nous destinĂ©es Ă  refaire surface un jour ?

The Hidden Package

Separation

Before I went to bed, Mam and Pap told me that Ollie and I were to go away with someone named Pauw the next day. They wanted to wait until the morning to mention it to Ollie. I asked who Pauw was, as I hadn’t met him, but I didn’t question why we would be going away. I understood that Mam and Pap must have had a very good reason. I thought about what they had said to each other in the afternoon, even though I was not supposed to be listening.

Ever since the outbreak of the war, the Germans had installed rockets in the park next to our house. These rockets were fired from various locations in Europe and, in Holland, from Rotterdam. At night, when the rockets were sent, the noise was deafening. Lying in bed, I couldn’t help hearing that horrible screeching sound. I had been getting somewhat used to it, however, that particular night, they sounded louder than ever. I plugged my ears, but it didn’t help. Every time they flew over our house it was scary enough, but I was even more worried as to what I was going to face the next day. How was I going to tell Ollie that we had to leave Mam and Pap?

Every morning, Mam and Pap would wake us up at 7:00 a.m. On that particular morning in October, their greeting seemed different. They appeared nervous while we had our breakfast, and they were whispering to each other. When we finished eating, they asked us to listen very carefully. Then they told us that we, Ollie and me, were going away for a little while. Although it wasn’t a surprise to me, I was still afraid because I didn’t know where, and for how long, we would be gone.

My sister, being two years younger than me, thought that she was going on a holiday with Mam and Pap. She packed her little suitcase and was excited to go away. Ollie didn’t understand that our parents were sending the two of us away without them. I, however, understood very well that we were not going on a holiday.

Before we left, we were given strict instructions never to talk to strangers. We were to act as nieces of our new family and we would be brought up as Christians. We were to tell anyone who asked that Mam was in the hospital and that Pap was working in Germany. It was a very believable alibi, a fabrication we would be forced to tell in order to survive. No one was ever to know that we were Jewish.

A little later, a stranger whom we were told to call Oom Pauw came to pick us up. I still didn’t ask our parents why we had to go; I knew we had to. We both kissed Mam and Pap goodbye and went with Oom Pauw, the Resistance worker, to the train station in Rotterdam where we boarded a train. Our destination was Soestduinen, less than a hundred kilometres away but, to me, far away from Rotterdam, our home.

I can still remember how Oom Pauw lifted us up into the train because the step was much too high. I also recall that we had to transfer and I believe it was in Amersfoort where we waited inside the station for our connection. Meanwhile, Oom Pauw gave us something to eat. While we were eating our sandwiches, through the window we saw soldiers marching up and down the platform. Oom Pauw didn’t want to draw attention to us and he told us not to be afraid and not to look at anyone, just to pay attention to our food.

We didn’t know where exactly Oom Pauw was taking us but after an hour’s train ride we arrived at our new home in Soestduinen, “the sand dunes of Soest.” This little village on the coast of the North Sea was located near the queen’s summer palace in Soest. Her palace either stood empty or was occupied by the Nazis when our queen was forced to leave Holland in 1940 at the outbreak of the war. We were far away from Rotterdam, far away from Mam and Pap.

Le Colis caché

La SĂ©paration

Avant que j’aille me coucher, mes parents m’ont annoncĂ© qu’Ollie et moi partirions le lendemain avec un dĂ©nommĂ© Pauw. Ils voulaient attendre le matin pour en parler Ă  Ollie. J’ai demandĂ© qui Ă©tait ce Pauw que je ne connaissais pas, mais je n’ai pas cherchĂ© Ă  savoir pourquoi nous devions partir. Je comprenais que Mam et Pap devaient avoir de trĂšs bonnes raisons. J’ai repensĂ© aux propos qu’ils avaient Ă©changĂ©s au cours de l’aprĂšs-midi et que j’avais surpris Ă  leur insu.

Au tout dĂ©but de la guerre, les Allemands avaient installĂ© des roquettes dans le parc proche de notre maison. Des sites de lancement semblables existaient dans divers pays d’Europe ; aux Pays-Bas, c’était Ă  Rotterdam. La nuit, quand les roquettes fusaient, elles produisaient un vacarme assourdissant. CouchĂ©e dans mon lit, je ne pouvais Ă©viter de les entendre. Je m’y Ă©tais plus ou moins accoutumĂ©e, mais cette nuit-lĂ , elles faisaient plus de bruit que jamais. Je me suis bouchĂ© les oreilles, en vain. Chaque fois que les projectiles passaient au-dessus de notre maison, je tremblais de peur. Mais ce que j’allais vivre le lendemain m’inquiĂ©tait encore davantage. Comment allais-je annoncer Ă  Ollie que nous devions quitter Mam et Pap ?

Tous les jours, nos parents nous rĂ©veillaient Ă  7 heures. Mais en ce matin d’octobre, quelque chose clochait dans leur comportement. Pendant le petit-dĂ©jeuner, ils avaient l’air tendus et chuchotaient entre eux. AprĂšs, ils nous ont demandĂ© de faire trĂšs attention Ă  ce qu’ils allaient nous dire. Ils nous ont alors expliquĂ© qu’Ollie et moi allions habiter ailleurs pendant un certain temps. J’étais dĂ©jĂ  au courant mais j’en ai conçu de la peur malgrĂ© tout, car je ne savais rien de notre destination ni de la durĂ©e de cet Ă©loignement.

Croyant que nous partions en vacances avec Mam et Pap, Ollie a fait sa petite valise, trĂšs heureuse Ă  l’idĂ©e de cette aventure. De deux ans ma cadette, elle ne saisissait pas que nos parents nous Ă©loignaient d’eux. Moi, par contre, je comprenais trĂšs bien qu’il ne s’agissait pas d’un voyage d’agrĂ©ment.

Avant de partir, nos parents nous ont bien fait comprendre qu’il ne fallait jamais adresser la parole Ă  des inconnus. Nous devions nous comporter comme les niĂšces de notre nouvelle famille, oĂč nous aurions Ă  faire semblant d’ĂȘtre chrĂ©tiennes. Nous devions dire Ă  quiconque nous posait des questions que notre mĂšre Ă©tait Ă  l’hĂŽpital et que notre pĂšre travaillait en Allemagne. C’était une histoire parfaitement plausible Ă  laquelle nous devions nous tenir si nous voulions survivre. Personne ne devait jamais savoir que nous Ă©tions juives.

Un peu plus tard, un inconnu, qu’on nous avait dit d’appeler « oom Pauw » , est venu nous chercher. Je n’avais toujours pas demandĂ© Ă  nos parents la raison de notre dĂ©part – je savais que nous n’avions pas le choix. AprĂšs avoir toutes deux fait nos adieux Ă  Mam et Pap, nous sommes parties avec oom Pauw, un membre de la RĂ©sistance. Nous avons pris le train Ă  la gare de Rotterdam. Nous devions nous rendre Ă  Soestduinen, Ă©loignĂ© d’une centaine de kilomĂštres Ă  peine, qui semblait pour moi se trouver Ă  mille lieues de Rotterdam et de notre maison.

Je me souviens encore d’oom Pauw nous hissant dans le train, car le marchepied Ă©tait trop haut pour nous. J’ai aussi le souvenir d’un transfert – je crois que c’était Ă  Amersfoort –, oĂč nous avons attendu notre correspondance dans la gare. Oom Pauw nous a donnĂ© Ă  manger. Tout en avalant nos sandwichs, nous observions par la fenĂȘtre les soldats qui patrouillaient sur le quai. Oom Pauw voulait Ă©viter qu’on nous remarque. Il nous a recommandĂ© de ne pas avoir peur, de ne regarder personne, de simplement nous concentrer sur nos sandwichs.

Nous ne savions pas exactement oĂč il nous emmenait, mais aprĂšs une heure de train, nous sommes arrivĂ©s chez notre nouvelle famille Ă  Soestduinen, qui signifie « les dunes de Soest ». À proximitĂ© de ce petit village, situĂ© au bord de la mer du Nord, se trouvait la rĂ©sidence d’étĂ© de notre reine. AprĂšs son dĂ©part forcĂ© du pays en 1940, dĂšs le dĂ©clenchement des hostilitĂ©s, son palais a Ă©tĂ© tantĂŽt inoccupĂ©, tantĂŽt utilisĂ© par les nazis. Nous Ă©tions loin de Rotterdam, loin de Mam et Pap.

Joy Runs Deeper

The Home that Was Lost

On July 21, a beautiful sunny day in 1944, I found myself sitting in the ruins of our house, crying bitterly. The little town of Kozowa, where I was born on December 9, 1920, had been destroyed. After I could cry no more, I just sat there thinking and dreaming, watching my life pass before me.

My hometown, Kozowa, was in Poland (now western Ukraine), the area known as Galicia. It was built among meadows and fields of corn and wheat that stretched for miles. In my mind it came to life in front of my eyes like an oasis in the middle of a desert. I could see the centre of town where there was a marketplace with a round building containing three stores and two groceries. Around the marketplace, streets branched out in all directions. I used to love to run down the hill from the marketplace to my home. At the top of the hill was the drugstore, and as I ran down I would pass a fence, then the pump where we got water, and then our neighbour’s house before getting to our home. After turning the corner and walking up a few steps, I would reach our big, brown front door.

I loved living in Kozowa. The summers were beautiful, not too hot or humid, and the air was always clean, making it a pleasure to take a deep breath. I used to go for long walks in the fields to pick wild flowers or just to get a little sun on my face. On a nice sunny afternoon in July or August, I would dress in a dirndl and sandals, put a ribbon in my hair and walk down to the train station with one of my girlfriends. It was a beautiful walk. We would take a short cut through the schoolyard and then through a garden that looked almost like a park. The garden was private property but had a path that led to the Koropiec River. The water was so shallow that we could even walk across it. The riverbed was uneven and the water ran swiftly downstream, like a miniature waterfall. Over that waterfall was a little bridge. Well, that’s what we called it, but actually it was just a board lying across our tiny river. We would take our shoes off and walk across the board in our bare feet.

On the other side of the river was another path between gardens – mostly vegetable gardens – where a herd of goats roamed. We often talked to the goats, and sometimes they even followed us. It took maybe an hour to reach the train station. We made sure to get there before three o’clock, when the train arrived. The station was a beautiful structure with an iron fence and a garden in back. We waved to the passengers in the windows of the train, and when the train left we walked home with the thought of coming back in a few days. Somehow I never got tired of that walk. I was always excited to go to the train station again.

When I didn’t have anyone to walk around with, I wouldn’t go very far by myself. I walked only to the river, where I’d sit down to read my book, talk to the goats or just listen to the birds. Sometimes peasant girls came to do their washing at the river. One might think this was hard work but it seemed to me, as I watched them, that they were having a lot of fun. They laughed, giggled and told jokes while beating the wash with a flat stick. I don’t think they would have enjoyed themselves more at a picnic or even in a theatre. The girls had long braids and wore tight vests and long, wide skirts, with one hem of the skirt tucked into the waistband. They were barefoot and carried the wash on their backs or in pails. Walking to the river, they made up part of the beautiful picture.

Despite these idyllic scenes, life in our town was not all that glamorous. Maybe we didn’t know better, or maybe we were just smart enough to make the best of it. For instance, we had no running water, so even taking a bath was quite an ordeal. If you were fortunate enough to have a tub in the house, you had to bring water from the pump, heat it in a big basin on the stove, and pour it into the tub.

When you were done, you had to pour the water out again. This is why many townsfolk went to the public bathhouse to take a bath or even a steam bath instead. I don’t know exactly how the steam was made – an old man, Ludz, attended to that. When the steam was ready, another old man, Mikola, went around the streets banging two scythes together to let people know it was time to go to the steam bath. This happened only once a week, on Fridays, when everybody had to get ready for the Sabbath. In the afternoon, all the men left their work or place of business to bathe. The women went later, when Sabbath preparations were done.

Every Friday morning my aunt, who lived around the corner from us, baked cheese buns. They were the best cheese buns in the whole world, and she baked enough for a whole week. My mother, Malka Esther’s, specialty was cinnamon buns. By noon on Friday, the buns were ready – first my mother gave me some cinnamon buns, then I went to Auntie for some cheese buns, and then I took them all to my grandmother’s house. And what a lady she was! My grandmother was very neat and always wore a long skirt, high-laced shoes and a vest.

She had vests in every colour, but especially loved to wear bright colours. Once, she bought a long sweater and, after trying it on, decided it was too dark for her, so she gave it to my auntie and bought a red one for herself. My grandmother’s head was always covered with a clean, starched kerchief. She used to say that she wished she lived in a town where there was no mud so that her shoes could always stay clean. In our town the roads and the side streets were not paved, so after it rained everything turned to mud. We had to wear galoshes or high boots.

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There were so many types of people in Kozowa that I could write a whole book just trying to describe them. And nobody was called by his or her real name; everybody had a nickname. For instance, next door to us lived the shoychet, the ritual slaughterer. His name was Benzion, so his wife was called Benzinachy. What a character she was! She was a religious woman who covered her shaved head with a kerchief, as other religious women in the town did. Yet, somehow that poor woman always looked helpless. She was large, with an apron always tied around her waist, and her face was always dirty.

For as long as I’d known her she had only one front tooth, and she was constantly chewing because it took her such a long time to chew her food. Benzinachy was a good woman who wouldn’t hurt a soul. Many of her children had died young of various diseases, and she was left with only a boy and a girl. She and her husband also adopted a boy named Gedalieh. I remember once when I visited her, she sent Gedalieh down to the cellar to bring her potatoes and said to him,“Gedalieh, keep talking to me the whole time that you are in the cellar.”

When I asked her why he had to do that, she told me that she had preserves and jams in the cellar, and if he was talking she would know that he was not eating up the goodies!

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All the people in town were like one big family. The ones that were a little better off gave meals and clothing to the less fortunate ones. Despite everything, we helped one another in times of need.

Plus forts que le malheur

Le foyer disparu

Le 21 juillet 1944, par une belle journĂ©e ensoleillĂ©e, je me suis retrouvĂ©e assise au milieu des ruines de notre maison, pleurant amĂšrement. La petite ville de Kozowa, oĂč j’étais nĂ©e le 9 dĂ©cembre 1920, avait Ă©tĂ© rasĂ©e. Une fois mes larmes taries, je suis simplement restĂ©e immobile, Ă  penser, Ă  mĂ©diter, Ă  voir ma vie dĂ©filer devant moi.

Kozowa, aujourd’hui en Ukraine occidentale, faisait alors partie de la Pologne dans une rĂ©gion connue sous le nom de Galicie. La ville se trouvait au coeur de champs de maĂŻs et de blĂ© qui s’étendaient sur des kilomĂštres Ă  la ronde. En ce jour de juillet 1944, ma ville natale a repris vie sous mes yeux, telle une oasis au milieu d’un dĂ©sert. Je revoyais son centre-ville, avec sa place du marchĂ© et son bĂątiment circulaire abritant trois magasins et deux Ă©piceries. De lĂ , des rues rayonnaient dans toutes les directions. J’aimais beaucoup dĂ©valer la colline de la place du marchĂ© jusqu’à chez nous, partant de la pharmacie, tout en haut, longeant une clĂŽture jusqu’à la pompe oĂč nous allions chercher l’eau, et parvenant enfin Ă  la maison de nos voisins. Je tournais ensuite le coin, et en quelques enjambĂ©es, je me retrouvais en face de notre grande porte d’entrĂ©e en bois brun.

J’adorais vivre Ă  Kozowa. Les Ă©tĂ©s Ă©taient magnifiques, ni trop chauds ni trop humides. L’air Ă©tait toujours si pur qu’on se plaisait Ă  en prendre de bonnes bouffĂ©es. J’avais l’habitude de faire de longues marches dans les champs pour cueillir des fleurs sauvages ou simplement sentir la chaleur du soleil sur mon visage. Par un bel aprĂšs-midi de juillet ou d’aoĂ»t, j’enfilais un dirndl (une robe Ă  longue jupe plissĂ©e) et des sandales, je mettais un ruban dans mes cheveux, puis je me rendais Ă  la gare en compagnie d’une amie. C’était une belle promenade. Nous passions par la cour de l’école, puis coupions Ă  travers un jardin qui tenait presque du parc. Il s’agissait d’une propriĂ©tĂ© privĂ©e, mais un petit sentier la traversait qui menait Ă  la riviĂšre Koropiec, si peu profonde que nous pouvions mĂȘme la traverser Ă  guĂ©. Son lit Ă©tait inĂ©gal, et le courant rapide ; on aurait dit une chute miniature. Un petit « pont », comme nous l’appelions, enjambait cette chute, mais en rĂ©alitĂ©, il ne s’agissait que d’une planche de bois. Nous enlevions nos chaussures et traversions la planche pieds nus.

De l’autre cĂŽtĂ© de la riviĂšre, nous empruntions un sentier tracĂ© au milieu de jardins – surtout potagers –, oĂč errait un troupeau de chĂšvres. Souvent, nous leur parlions, et parfois elles dĂ©cidaient de nous suivre. Nous mettions environ une heure Ă  nous rendre Ă  la gare. Nous nous assurions d’y ĂȘtre avant 15 heures, pour l’arrivĂ©e du train. C’était une belle gare, entourĂ©e d’une clĂŽture en fer et dotĂ©e d’un jardin Ă  l’arriĂšre. Nous saluions les passagers de la main, puis, le train disparu, nous rentrions Ă  la maison en nous promettant de revenir quelques jours plus tard. Pour une raison ou une autre, je ne me suis jamais lassĂ©e de cette randonnĂ©e. J’étais toujours ravie de retourner Ă  la gare.

Quand je n’avais personne pour m’accompagner dans mes promenades, je ne m’aventurais pas bien loin. Je marchais seulement jusqu’à la riviĂšre, oĂč je m’asseyais pour lire mon livre, parler aux chĂšvres ou simplement Ă©couter les oiseaux. Parfois, de jeunes paysannes venaient faire leur lessive. On aurait tort de croire qu’il s’agissait d’une corvĂ©e pĂ©nible, car, Ă  les voir, elles semblaient vraiment s’amuser. Tout en battant le linge avec leur palette de bois, elles riaient, gloussaient, se racontaient des blagues. Je pense qu’elles ne se seraient pas diverties davantage Ă  un pique-nique, ni mĂȘme au thĂ©Ăątre. Les jeunes filles aux longs cheveux nattĂ©s portaient un corsage serrĂ© et une longue jupe ample, avec le devant remontĂ© Ă  la ceinture. Se rendant pieds nus Ă  la riviĂšre, le linge sur le dos ou dans des seaux, elles faisaient partie intĂ©grante de ce magnifique dĂ©cor.

En dĂ©pit de ces scĂšnes idylliques, la vie dans notre ville n’avait rien de raffinĂ©. Peut-ĂȘtre ne connaissions-nous rien d’autre, peut-ĂȘtre Ă©tions-nous assez intelligents pour y trouver notre bonheur malgrĂ© tout. Prendre un bain, par exemple, n’était pas une mince affaire, parce que nous n’avions pas l’eau courante. Si l’on avait la chance d’avoir une baignoire chez soi, il fallait aller chercher de l’eau Ă  la pompe, la faire chauffer dans une cuvette sur le poĂȘle, puis la verser dans la baignoire. Le bain fini, il fallait ensuite vider l’eau. C’est pourquoi beaucoup de gens se rendaient aux bains publics, oĂč certains y prenaient mĂȘme un bain de vapeur. J’ignore comment ce dernier fonctionnait – un vieil homme, Ludz, veillait Ă  sa bonne marche. DĂšs que la vapeur Ă©tait prĂȘte, un autre vieil homme, Mikola, venait l’annoncer Ă  tous dans les rues en frappant deux faux l’une contre l’autre. Cela ne se produisait qu’une fois par semaine, le vendredi, alors que la population se prĂ©parait pour le Shabbat. En cours d’aprĂšs-midi, tous les hommes quittaient leur travail pour aller aux bains. Les femmes s’y rendaient plus tard, une fois les prĂ©paratifs du Shabbat achevĂ©s.

Le vendredi matin, ma tante, qui vivait Ă  un coin de rue de chez nous, confectionnait des petits pains au fromage – les meilleurs au monde –, et elle en prĂ©parait assez pour toute la semaine. De son cĂŽtĂ©, ma mĂšre, Malka Esther, cuisait des petits pains Ă  la cannelle, sa spĂ©cialitĂ©. À midi le vendredi, les petits pains Ă©taient prĂȘts. Ma mĂšre me donnait quelques-uns des siens, j’allais ensuite chercher des pains au fromage chez ma tante, puis j’allais porter le tout chez ma grand-mĂšre. Quelle femme, ma grand-mĂšre ! TrĂšs soignĂ©e, elle portait toujours une longue jupe, une veste et des bottillons Ă  lacets. Elle possĂ©dait des vestes de toutes les teintes, mais elle prĂ©fĂ©rait les couleurs vives. Un jour, elle s’est achetĂ© un long pull, mais aprĂšs l’avoir essayĂ©, elle l’a trouvĂ© trop sombre pour son goĂ»t. Elle a donc dĂ©cidĂ© de le donner Ă  ma tante, puis elle est allĂ©e s’en acheter un rouge. Ma grand-mĂšre se couvrait toujours la tĂȘte d’un impeccable fichu empesĂ©. Elle rĂ©pĂ©tait souvent qu’elle aurait prĂ©fĂ©rĂ© vivre dans une ville sans boue pour que ses chaussures puissent rester propres. La chaussĂ©e n’était pas goudronnĂ©e dans notre ville, si bien qu’aprĂšs une pluie, les rues devenaient boueuses. Il fallait porter des caoutchoucs ou des bottes hautes.

[...]

On trouvait tant de personnages diffĂ©rents Ă  Kozowa qu’il me faudrait Ă©crire un livre entier pour les dĂ©peindre. Et aucun habitant n’était jamais dĂ©signĂ© par son vrai nom : chacun Ă©tait affublĂ© d’un sobriquet. Par exemple, comme le shoáș–et (l’abatteur rituel), qui habitait Ă  cĂŽtĂ© de chez nous, s’appelait Benzion, on appelait sa femme Benzinatchy. Quel personnage que cette femme ! Elle couvrait sa tĂȘte rasĂ©e d’un fichu, comme le faisaient les autres femmes pratiquantes de la ville. Pourtant, la pauvre femme semblait toujours dĂ©semparĂ©e. Elle Ă©tait corpulente, avec un tablier perpĂ©tuellement serrĂ© Ă  la taille et le visage immanquablement sale. Du plus loin que je me souvienne, elle n’a toujours eu qu’une seule dent de devant et mĂąchouillait perpĂ©tuellement quelque chose Ă©tant donnĂ© le temps qu’il lui fallait pour mastiquer sa nourriture. Benzinatchy avait bon coeur : elle n’aurait jamais fait de mal Ă  une mouche. Plusieurs de ses enfants Ă©taient morts en bas Ăąge de diverses maladies. Il ne lui restait qu’un garçon et une fille. Son mari et elle avaient Ă©galement adoptĂ© un enfant du nom de GedaliĂš. Un jour que je lui rendais visite, elle a envoyĂ© GedaliĂš chercher des pommes de terre Ă  la cave en disant au garçonnet : « Continue de me parler jusqu’à ce que tu sois remontĂ© ! » Quand je lui ai demandĂ© la raison de son ordre, elle m’a expliquĂ© qu’elle gardait de la confiture Ă  la cave et que tant qu’il bavardait, elle savait qu’il n’était pas en train de s’en empiffrer !

[...]

Tous les habitants de notre ville formaient une grande famille. Les plus nantis donnaient de la nourriture et des vĂȘtements aux moins privilĂ©giĂ©s. En dĂ©pit de tout, nous nous entraidions dans les moments difficiles.

Escape

Unsung Heroes

The Jews of Budapest, now concentrated in designated Jewish houses, were given new laws and regulations daily by a non-Jewish superintendent, whose job it was to carry out the prevailing anti-Jewish regulations. At the outset, the curfew was strict and only allowed us to move around the city for three hours, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The curfew regulations were posted inside Jewish houses and outside on bulletin boards. Slowly, the curfew relaxed and the time for free movement became longer — 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. But suddenly, on one Thursday in October, our movement from the Jewish houses was shut down — no in and out anymore. Previously, I would sneak out without the star to get supplies unavailable to us in our allotted hours.

Long before the occupation, many food items — such as sugar, flour, butter, jam and cold cuts — were rationed because of the war. Each person was given a certain number of coupons for an item. The allotments were very small and often the item was not available. But sometimes you could get things that normally were rationed. In the mornings, people lined up at bakeries to get fresh buns. I used to line up and, if I was lucky, I would get a bag full of kaiser rolls, which we all loved. My mom would fry onions with some red paprika; the fresh buns filled with these finely cut fried onions were a real delicacy.

But now we were locked in the Jewish house with no chance of escaping. The following week, that changed for me. One day before noon, our house superintendent came to our apartment with a man in civilian clothes in the style that Hungarian detectives wore. The superintendent, in a high-pitched voice, said that this guy had a document that ordered me to go with him to work with the International Red Cross. I have to point out that any Hungarian kid from the age of twelve had to belong to a paramilitary organization called the Levente. I had attended a number of this organization’s meetings. The meetings had two parts: disciplinary training and emergency work, for which we were taken to clean building sites that had been bombed. So when I saw this detective type, I connected him to my Levente activity. My mother got really scared, not knowing what this order meant. The man discreetly told my mother to give me a coat or sweater where the yellow Star of David was fastened with pins for easy removal. This gave my frightened mother a clue that he was friendly. So I said my goodbyes and went with him.

As soon as we left my house, his eyes searched the area to see if it was safe, and when he seemed satisfied, he told me to remove the yellow star. He told me he was a member of my Hanhac organization and that he was taking members of my kvutza from the locked Jewish houses to an office that was part of the Zionist underground. This was my first encounter with one of our group wearing a disguise. I learned later that wearing some sort of uniform as a disguise gave members freer movement on the streets of Budapest, especially during air raids.

He took me to an office building on MĂ©rleg utca, a street in the prestigious business district close to the Danube. When we arrived, I met some of our leaders and also some members of my kvutza. It was both a happy and a sad reunion: happy because we were together again, sad because of the unknown future awaiting our loved ones.

A Promise of Sweet Tea

À venir

If Home Is Not Here

Occupation and Escape

I noticed that at regular intervals the German guards strolled over to the next post quite a distance away, stopping to chat for up to half an hour at a time. Everything seemed to be in my favour except for the fact that the sun would soon be setting and it would be much too difficult to make my escape in the dark. I didn’t look forward to the prospect of spending the night in an open field, but there didn’t seem to be any other choice. Fortified by the wonderful sandwiches my aunt had prepared for my journey, I settled down for what felt like the longest night I had ever experienced. As twilight gradually turned into pitch darkness and I could no longer see anything through my binoculars, I tried to use my backpack as a pillow and fall asleep. But try as I might, I couldn’t get comfortable and I spent a very cold and restless night. Daylight couldn’t come soon enough.

By the time dawn broke, all I wanted was a hot cafĂ© au lait. My wristwatch told me that it was five o’clock, and it was becoming fairly light out. When I looked through my binoculars, however, I wondered if I was hallucinating. There were no Germans anywhere. By some strange miracle they had all vanished, leaving me free to safely make my escape across the river. I was so nervous that I kept checking to make sure that they weren’t just napping or hiding, ready to jump out and grab me. I gathered up my courage, picked up my backpack, slung it across my back and cautiously moved toward the German control post until I was near enough to see that, beyond a doubt, the German sentry was not at his post.

To say I was baffled would be an understatement, but without any further hesitation, I took advantage of the situation and went straight to the river and took off all my clothes except for the bathing suit I wore underneath. I then packed my clothes into the backpack and strapped it tightly across my shoulders. With one final look all around through the binoculars to satisfy myself that I was alone, I plunged into the frigid river. The sudden shock left me gasping for air and my cumbersome backpack made every stroke more laborious than the last.

I wasn’t a particularly strong swimmer and could only swim short distances before running out of breath. I also tended to panic unless I stayed close to the shore. Under the circumstances, I had to rely entirely on willpower to keep me going. The freezing water temperature was only a minor concern compared to the far more serious problem of remaining afloat. As my strength waned, my arms felt as heavy as lead, forcing me to stop and rest. I went into a real panic when several times I swallowed mouthfuls of water. When I checked my progress after these incidents, I saw to my dismay that I had only covered about a third of the distance. Using every ounce of energy to increase my pace, I forced myself to labour on mechanically, afraid that my strength would give out at any moment.

The realization that the Germans might spot me and shoot me gave me the impetus to keep going. By the time that I had covered two-thirds of the distance and was within reach of the free zone, however, my strength began to seriously fade and I was consumed with fear. I was so exhausted that I could only occasionally kick my legs. At the very moment when my strength gave out completely and I was no longer able to stay afloat, on the verge of going under, I found within myself a renewed energy that came from pure determination. I managed to fight off my fatigue and before long I found myself grasping the shores of the unoccupied zone of France and my entry into freedom.

Citoyen de nulle part

L’Occupation et l’évasion

J’ai remarquĂ© que les gardes allemands flĂąnaient jusqu’au poste suivant, qui se trouvait assez loin, puis s’arrĂȘtaient pour bavarder, parfois pendant prĂšs d’une demi-heure. Tout semblait jouer en ma faveur si ce n’était que le soleil n’allait pas tarder Ă  se coucher et qu’il me serait beaucoup plus difficile de faire la traversĂ©e dans le noir. Je n’avais pas envie de passer la nuit au beau milieu d’un champ, mais je n’avais guĂšre le choix. RequinquĂ© par les merveilleux sandwiches que ma tante avait prĂ©parĂ©s pour mon voyage, je me suis installĂ© pour ce qui allait sans doute ĂȘtre la nuit la plus longue de ma vie. Alors que le crĂ©puscule cĂ©dait peu Ă  peu aux tĂ©nĂšbres les plus noires et que je ne voyais plus rien derriĂšre mes jumelles, j’ai essayĂ© de me servir de mon sac Ă  dos comme oreiller et j’ai tentĂ© de dormir. En dĂ©pit de tous mes efforts, je n’arrivais pas Ă  trouver une position confortable. Étant de plus complĂštement frigorifiĂ©, j’ai passĂ© une nuit plutĂŽt agitĂ©e. L’aube n’arriverait-elle donc jamais ?

Lorsque le jour s’est enfin levĂ©, je n’avais qu’une seule envie : boire un cafĂ© au lait. Ma montre indiquait 5 heures et il commençait Ă  faire assez clair. Lorsque j’ai regardĂ© Ă  travers les jumelles, je me suis demandĂ© si j’avais des hallucinations. Il n’y avait pas un seul Allemand en vue. Par quelque Ă©trange miracle, ils avaient tous disparu, me laissant libre de m’enfuir et de franchir la riviĂšre en toute sĂ©curitĂ©. J’étais si nerveux que je n’arrĂȘtais pas de vĂ©rifier pour bien m’assurer qu’ils n’étaient pas juste en train de faire un somme ou de se cacher, prĂȘts Ă  bondir pour m’arrĂȘter. J’ai rassemblĂ© tout mon courage, ramassĂ© mon sac que j’ai remis sur mon dos, puis je me suis avancĂ© prudemment vers le poste de contrĂŽle allemand jusqu’à ce que j’en sois suffisamment prĂšs pour constater qu’effectivement, sans l’ombre d’un doute, la sentinelle allemande n’était pas Ă  son poste.

J’étais franchement perplexe, c’est le moins qu’on puisse dire ! Cependant, sans hĂ©siter plus longtemps, j’ai tirĂ© parti de la situation et j’ai foncĂ© droit vers la riviĂšre. J’ai enlevĂ© tous mes vĂȘtements, Ă  l’exception du maillot de bain que je portais en dessous, puis j’ai rangĂ© le tout dans mon sac Ă  dos avant de le sangler solidement sur mes Ă©paules. AprĂšs un dernier coup d’oeil alentour Ă  travers mes jumelles pour m’assurer que j’étais bien seul, j’ai plongĂ© dans les eaux glacĂ©es de la riviĂšre. Le choc brutal m’a coupĂ© le souffle. Mon sac Ă  dos qui Ă©tait encombrant rendait chaque brasse plus laborieuse que la prĂ©cĂ©dente.

N’étant pas particuliĂšrement bon Ă  la nage, je n’étais capable de couvrir que de courtes distances avant de m’essouffler. J’avais aussi tendance Ă  paniquer dĂšs que je m’éloignais du bord. Dans ces circonstances, je ne pouvais compter que sur ma volontĂ© pour continuer. La tempĂ©rature glaciale de l’eau ne reprĂ©sentait qu’un souci mineur comparĂ© au problĂšme nettement plus sĂ©rieux consistant Ă  me maintenir Ă  flot. À mesure que je faiblissais, mes bras semblaient ĂȘtre de plomb, m’obligeant Ă  marquer une pause. J’ai alors rĂ©ellement cĂ©dĂ© Ă  la panique aprĂšs avoir bu plusieurs fois la tasse. Lorsque j’ai vĂ©rifiĂ© oĂč j’en Ă©tais aprĂšs ces incidents, j’ai constatĂ© Ă  mon grand dĂ©sarroi que je n’avais franchi qu’un tiers de la distance. Puisant dans toutes les rĂ©serves d’énergie qui me restaient, et malgrĂ© ma crainte de voir mes forces me lĂącher, je me suis forcĂ© Ă  accĂ©lĂ©rer et Ă  continuer Ă  nager machinalement.

Je me suis dit que les Allemands pouvaient me repĂ©rer et m’abattre, ce qui m’a donnĂ© l’élan dont j’avais besoin pour poursuivre. Cependant, alors que j’avais couvert les deux tiers de la distance et que je me trouvais Ă  portĂ©e de la Zone libre, mes forces ont commencĂ© Ă  me faire rĂ©ellement dĂ©faut. J’étais submergĂ© par la peur et tellement Ă©puisĂ© que je ne parvenais qu’à battre sporadiquement des pieds. Au moment mĂȘme oĂč je me suis senti complĂštement vidĂ©, incapable de me maintenir Ă  flot une seconde de plus et sur le point de sombrer, j’ai trouvĂ© au fond de moi une Ă©nergie nouvelle tenant de la pure dĂ©termination. J’ai rĂ©ussi Ă  surmonter l’épuisement et, quelques instants plus tard, je touchais la berge opposĂ©e. J’entrais enfin en Zone libre, en terre de libertĂ©.

Daring to Hope

Safe and Thankful

My brother Shieh, after running around asking people to hide us, finally found Panie Boguszewska, who was willing to take us in for two weeks. 
 At Panie Boguszewska’s we regained our strength. She fed us bet­ter than Klemens had, and most importantly, she treated us like hu­man beings. But the place was extremely cramped. There was only enough room for us to sit or lie down, but not to walk about much.

Our Chanale felt miserable. She was lonesome for little Shieleh, who she had played with when we were all together. Through the same cracks that let in the light for us to work by, she could see other children playing outside. The house and barn were in a village, and it was late spring, early summer, May and June, when everything grows and blossoms. Even the birds sang better in the spring. Well, during this time, Mother would tell Chanale all kinds of stories from the Bible and from Jewish history. All the stories had a happy ending for Jews, and Chanale constantly demanded, “When will that miracle happen to us? When will I be able to go outside and play with the children?” Her longing for the outside was unbearable. She envied the chickens she saw pecking at their food and the sheep she saw run­ning in the fields — she wanted to be one of them — but, most of all, she wanted to be a bird. “The Germans wouldn’t reach me. I would fly higher and higher. I would spit in their faces.”

We tried to feed her on the hope that soon, soon our liberation would come. But we knew that freedom was a long way off. Though they were slowly retreating, the Germans were still deep in the Soviet Union.

By this point we had given away almost everything we had and were desperate to get our things back from Mikolai. Shieh and one of the young men went to ask for them, but Mikolai told them that Germans had searched his house and taken everything. Shieh knew that this was a lie, having asked one of the neighbours about it, so I asked Panie Boguszewska if she would take a letter and personally place it in Mikolai’s hand when he left the office where he worked. She agreed.

I wrote a long letter reminding Mikolai of our family friendship. You shouldn’t be corrupted by the idea of possessing another suit or article of clothing, I wrote. You won’t enjoy wearing them, knowing that those same things could have bought another few days or weeks of life for my family and me. I also reminded him that there is such a thing as having to live with oneself, that no matter how he might try to forget the wrong he was doing, and it might be buried deep, it will never go away. I told him that he shouldn’t let himself be influenced by his wife, who wanted our belongings, but should rather make her understand what they were doing to desperate, half-dead people. I reminded him how he had once told me with pride about his experi­ences in World War I, when he had warned Jewish families who were about to be robbed. I tried to make him understand that the world wouldn’t come to an end after the war, and that whoever survived would have on his conscience every wrong he had done. When Panie Boguszewska came back, she asked me what I had written to Mikolai. She told me that when he read the letter, he start­ed to cry and didn’t stop, even when he finished it. Then Mikolai told her, “No matter what, tell them to come for their things.” A few evenings later, I went with Avrumeh and we got our belongings back.

The Nightmare

Across the Rivers of Memory

I remember the cold, rainy autumn day in October 1941 when the youngster at City Hall announced that all Jews must be at the train station at 5:00 p.m. sharp. We were to pack food for three days and take only as much as we could carry. The youngster yelled out the order with a voice full of hatred, sneering at us with the authority of someone assigned full control over our destinies. Privately, to protect me from hearing, my father told my mother the final words of the ordinance. She repeated his words in shock: “Anybody found after the train has left will be shot.” Because we had been told to pack enough food for just three days, we naturally assumed, as any level-headed person might, that we would be returning home after three days. How could it possibly be otherwise? Such a thought was beyond our imagination. After packing, Mama started obsessively cleaning the house, demanding that I help her as she quickly moved from sofa to chair. I couldn’t understand why. The house was already so clean; hadn’t she cleaned it just the day before? I knew better than to question her – she was in such a terrible mood. We were ready to leave when Mama noticed that I had left my apron on the kitchen chair instead of hanging it up on the hook where it belonged. She screamed at me and I had to go and put it back in its place. That is how I remember the very last moment in our home.

My mother layered me in three pairs of long underwear, three sweaters and two coats, explaining as she was dressing me that it was very, very cold. It reminded me of my mother’s compulsion to fatten me up with “reserves,” always protecting me in case of an emergency. I was wearing my backpack when we left to walk to the train station. My parents carried the heavy bundles as well as pots full of food: schnitzels, which my mother had made that day from chicken breasts, and hearts of wheat as a side dish. We had just enough for three days for the three of us.

At the station, I stood with my parents, surrounded by our family: my aunt Mila and uncle Armin Treiser; my maternal grandmother, Rebecca Siegler; and my paternal grandparents, Beile and Elkhanan Steigman. A little farther away were more aunts, uncles and cousins. Most of the adults around us were silent, as if hypnotized; some were moaning and groaning. Kids were chattering and babies were crying. Now and then there was a burst of screaming when someone lost their child or their parents in the crowd. I asked myself, “How come everybody is travelling tonight, all at the same time, all to the same place, all with the same train?”

I saw that passenger trains were coming and leaving without stopping for us and knew instinctively that something was off. It was almost dark, getting colder, and we were still waiting in the rain. We began to get impatient. “In the train, it will be warm,” I reassured myself. I was leaning against my mama and closed my eyes. We stood there from about 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m., with passenger trains going back and forth, back and forth. To keep my mind busy, I was thinking about how cold it was in the forest and how the animals must be freezing. I felt bad for them.

Suddenly, a very long, brown train pulled in and stopped. It was a cattle train meant for beasts, not people. The doors, as big as walls, slid open with a thud. The soldiers were screaming at us, shouting, swearing, pushing, pulling, and barking orders for us to get in. Frantically, people began running, slipping in the mud, falling down and getting up. Everybody was moving and yelling. We were being herded with rifle butts into the cars. For a few minutes, I couldn’t see my parents. I panicked. Then, I fell in the mud and got a nosebleed. Somebody stepped on my hand. “Don’t step on me!” I yelled. I was pulled from the mud. I was afraid Mama would be angry because there was mud and blood all over my face, my mittens and my coat. The next thing I knew, I was picked up and thrown into the train.

After hours of waiting in the cold rain, we were stuffed, body touching body, into the train and the huge doors were slammed shut. The train stood in the station for at least two more hours before surging violently forward. We had no idea to where, for how long or why we were being taken away from our homes.

A Cry in Unison

Kol Nidre

That year, 1944, everybody came: the believers, the atheists, the Orthodox, the agnostics — women of all descriptions and of every background. We were about seven hundred women, jammed into one long barracks. We were all there, remembering our homes and families on this Yom Kippur, the one holiday that had been observed in even the most assimilated homes. We had asked for and received one candle and one siddur from the kapos. Someone lit the candle, and a hush fell over the barracks. I can still see the scene: the woman, sitting with the lit candle, starting to read Kol Nidre, the opening prayer of Yom Kippur.

The kapos gave us only ten minutes while they guarded the two entrances to the barracks to watch out for SS guards who might come around unexpectedly. Practising Judaism or celebrating any Jewish holiday was forbidden in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. The Nazis knew it would give solace to the prisoners. But this particular year, some of the older women had asked two kapos for permission to do something for the eve of Yom Kippur.

Most of the kapos were brutalized and brutal people, but a few of them remained truly kind. We knew these particular two were ap­proachable. One of the kind kapos was a tall blonde Polish woman, non-Jewish. The other one was a petite red-headed young Jewish woman from Slovakia.

When they had heard that we wanted to do something for Kol Nidre, the red-headed kapo was simply amazed that anyone still wanted to pray in that hellhole of Birkenau.

“You crazy Hungarian Jews,” she exclaimed. “You still believe in this? You still want to do this, and here?”

Well, incredibly, we did — in this place where we felt that instead of asking for forgiveness from God, God should be asking for forgive­ness from us. We all wanted to gather around the woman with the lit candle and siddur. She began to recite the Kol Nidre very slowly so that we could repeat the words if we wanted to. But we didn’t. In­stead, all the women burst out in a cry — in unison. Our prayer was the sound of this incredible cry of hundreds of women. I have never heard, before or since then, such a heart-rending sound. Something was happening to us. It was as if our hearts were bursting.

Even though no one really believed the prayer would change our situation, that God would suddenly intervene — we weren’t that na­ive — the opportunity to cry out and remember together reminded us of our former lives, alleviating our utter misery even for the short­est while, in some inexplicable way. It seemed to give us comfort.

Even today, many decades later, every time I go to Kol Nidre ser­vices, I can’t shake the memory of that sound. This is the Kol Nidre I always remember.

Getting Out Alive

The German Occupation

I was sent to a labour camp somewhere in greater Budapest. I believe it was in Kispest (“little Pest,” a southern suburb) or Újpest (“new Pest,” a more northerly suburb). I stayed in greater Budapest throughout my career as a forced labourer. At the main camp, the commander and the guards were indifferent, but not sadistic. The inmates were a cross-section of Hungarian Jewry. Among them were Orthodox Jews who worked wearing their skullcaps and who prayed wearing their prayer shawls every night, and assimilated Jewish inmates – those who were not Jewish in any religious sense, but who were Jewish by virtue of Hitler’s edict. The forced labourers represented all parts of the economic spectrum, all ages and all levels of education. I shovelled dirt with Dr. Schisha, a vascular surgeon (who had operated on my varicose veins when I was fourteen) and with a Justice of the KĂșria, the highest court in the land. There were, of course, a lot of less accomplished fellows as well. The food was edible, lots of mutton that did not smell very good, but care packages from home improved the menu. We had occasional day passes to go home to be with family and friends, have a hot bath and savour mother’s cooking.

Such was life in the main camp. From the middle of July to the middle of September, I, along with a large group of young people from various camps in and around Budapest, was sent to HĂĄrossziget (Haros Island), an island south of Csepel (an island south of Budapest), which was a very punishing experience. What made it worse was the sadistic camp commander and the nasty, mean-spirited guards who worked under his command. Rubble from the bombdamaged city was trucked to the island and piled up in pyramid-like heaps. Our job was to quickly level these pyramids. I remember when big chunks of the wire-mesh glass roof of our bombed-out railway stations arrived at the island. Without the benefit of work gloves, we had to break it up and handle the dirty jagged glass. Apparently, the purpose of the job was to fill up the marshy part of the island. But it was a make-work project, as they could have trucked the stuff directly to the marshes.

Around the middle of September, we were relieved by a new group, so we returned to the main camp. Occasional day passes were given and at times I would be home at the same time as my father and Jancsi. They were in separate camps in Budapest and coping quite well. Mother lived in our apartment at Hold Street No. 6 III. Her brother Feri, his wife, Blanka, and several friends had moved in with her. Each room housed a family, which lessened the chance that the authorities would put strangers into the apartment.

It was in this atmosphere, when we all happened to be at home on October 15, 1944, that Admiral Horthy spoke to the nation via radio during a midday broadcast. He conceded that Germany and Hungary had all but lost the war. He urged the population to avoid further bloodshed and to stop resisting the Soviet army, which stood about fifty kilometres east of Budapest. It was a happy moment. We all laughed and cried and hugged as we believed his speech signalled the end of the war and that we had all miraculously survived. We knew that most of the Jews in the countryside beyond the capital had been deported, and that most of them had been killed. But we believed that Horthy’s last minute change of heart, which was most likely motivated by his desire to alter his quisling-like image for post-war effect, gave us a reprieve. We believed that time had run out for the Nazis. The Soviets would soon be here and all would be well.

The euphoria lasted for almost an hour. Then we began hearing conflicting reports. Finally, news came that Horthy had been arrested by the Gestapo and that Ferenc SzĂĄlasi, the head of the extreme right Arrow Cross Party, had been appointed by the Germans to form a government. His reign of terror began that afternoon. That was the last time I saw my father. We had a long talk and agreed on two principles: 1) As long as our respective labour camps remained in Budapest, we would be safer in those camps than if we were to escape and start hiding prematurely; and 2) Before the camps were moved, we should make every effort to escape in order to avoid deportation.

Objectif : survivre

L'Occupation allemande

J’ai Ă©tĂ© envoyĂ© dans un camp de travail quelque part dans la banlieue de Budapest, soit Ă  Kispest (« la petite Pest », situĂ©e au sud de la ville) soit Ă  Újpest (« la nouvelle Pest », plus au nord). Je suis restĂ© dans la banlieue de Budapest tout le temps que j’ai effectuĂ© des travaux forcĂ©s. Dans le camp principal, certes le chef et les gardes restaient indiffĂ©rents Ă  notre sort, mais ils n’étaient pas sadiques. Les dĂ©tenus Ă©taient reprĂ©sentatifs de l’ensemble de la sociĂ©tĂ© juive hongroise. Il y avait parmi nous des Juifs orthodoxes qui portaient la kippa en travaillant et priaient tous les soirs en chĂąle de priĂšre et des Juifs assimilĂ©s – ceux qui n’étaient pas juifs dans le sens religieux du terme, mais qui se retrouvaient « juifs » en vertu du dĂ©cret de Hitler. Les travailleurs forcĂ©s Ă©taient de tous horizons sociaux, de tous Ăąges, de tous niveaux d’études. Je maniais la pelle aux cĂŽtĂ©s du DÊł Schisha, le chirurgien vasculaire qui m’avait opĂ©rĂ© des varices quand j’avais 14 ans, et d’un juge de la KĂșria, la plus haute cour du pays. Il y avait bien sĂ»r beaucoup d’autres personnes bien moins notables. La nourriture Ă©tait correcte. Le plus souvent, c’était du mouton qui ne sentait pas bon, mais des colis venus de la maison venaient amĂ©liorer l’ordinaire. Nous avions de temps Ă  autre des laissez-passer pour la journĂ©e et nous pouvions rentrer chez nous, retrouver nos familles et nos amis, prendre un bain chaud et savourer la cuisine familiale. Ainsi allait la vie dans le camp principal. De la mi-juillet Ă  la mi-septembre, j’ai Ă©tĂ© envoyĂ©, avec de nombreux autres jeunes provenant de diffĂ©rents camps situĂ©s Ă  l’extĂ©rieur de Budapest, Ă  HĂĄros-sziget, une Ăźle situĂ©e au sud de l’üle de Csepel, au sud de Budapest. Cette expĂ©rience a Ă©tĂ© d’une duretĂ© extrĂȘme. Elle a Ă©tĂ© pire que la prĂ©cĂ©dente du fait du sadisme du chef de camp et de la mĂ©chancetĂ© et de la malveillance des gardes qui travaillaient sous ses ordres. Les dĂ©combres de la ville bombardĂ©e Ă©taient transportĂ©s sur l’üle par camion et dĂ©versĂ©s en tas de forme pyramidale. Notre travail consistait Ă  niveler rapidement ces pyramides. Je me rappelle le moment oĂč sont arrivĂ©s sur l’üle de gros blocs provenant des toits en verre armĂ© de nos gares bombardĂ©es. Sans gants de travail, nous devions les casser en petits morceaux et manier ces fragments coupants et sales. Officiellement, le travail avait pour but de combler la partie marĂ©cageuse de l’üle. Mais en fait, il s’agissait simplement de nous faire travailler, puisque tout ce fatras aurait pu ĂȘtre transportĂ© et dĂ©versĂ© directement des camions dans les marais.

Vers la mi-septembre, un nouveau groupe est venu prendre le relais et nous sommes donc retournĂ©s dans le camp principal. Des laissez-passer d’une journĂ©e Ă©taient distribuĂ©s occasionnellement et il m’arrivait parfois de rentrer Ă  la maison en mĂȘme temps que mon pĂšre et que Jancsi. Ils travaillaient dans des camps diffĂ©rents Ă  Budapest et tenaient bien le coup. Maman habitait notre appartement au numĂ©ro 6 ter de la rue Hold. Son frĂšre Feri, la femme de ce dernier, Blanka, et plusieurs amis avaient emmĂ©nagĂ© avec elle. Chaque chambre abritait une famille, ce qui rĂ©duisait le risque que les autoritĂ©s n’installent des Ă©trangers dans l’appartement.

C’est dans cette atmosphĂšre que, le 15 octobre 1944, nous nous sommes tous retrouvĂ©s Ă  la maison au moment oĂč nous avons entendu Ă  la radio, en milieu de journĂ©e, l’amiral Horthy parler Ă  la nation. Il a avouĂ© que l’Allemagne et la Hongrie avaient quasiment perdu la guerre. Il appelait la population Ă  Ă©viter toute autre effusion de sang et Ă  arrĂȘter de rĂ©sister Ă  l’armĂ©e soviĂ©tique qui se trouvait Ă  environ 50 kilomĂštres Ă  l’est de Budapest. La nouvelle nous a remplis de joie. Nous nous sommes tous mis Ă  rire, Ă  crier et Ă  nous embrasser, pensant que ce discours annonçait la fin de la guerre et que nous avions tous miraculeusement survĂ©cu. Nous savions que la majoritĂ© des Juifs qui habitaient la campagne, Ă  l’extĂ©rieur de la capitale, avaient Ă©tĂ© dĂ©portĂ©s et tuĂ©s. Mais le revirement soudain de Horthy, trĂšs certainement motivĂ© par le dĂ©sir de modifier son image de collaborateur en prĂ©vision de l’aprĂšs-guerre, nous accordait un sursis. Nous pensions que les nazis avaient fait leur temps. Les SoviĂ©tiques arriveraient bientĂŽt et tout irait bien.

L’euphorie a durĂ© Ă  peine une heure. Puis nous avons commencĂ© Ă  recevoir des nouvelles contradictoires. Finalement, nous avons appris que Horthy avait Ă©tĂ© arrĂȘtĂ© par la Gestapo et que Ferenc SzĂĄlasi, le chef du parti d’extrĂȘme droite des Croix-FlĂ©chĂ©es, avait Ă©tĂ© dĂ©signĂ© par les Allemands pour constituer un nouveau gouvernement. Dans l’aprĂšs-midi mĂȘme, il entamait son rĂšgne de terreur.

C’est cet aprĂšs-midi-lĂ  aussi que je voyais mon pĂšre pour la derniĂšre fois. Nous avons eu une longue conversation et nous nous sommes entendus sur deux choses : premiĂšrement, tant que nos camps respectifs se trouvaient Ă  Budapest, nous y serions plus en sĂ©curitĂ© que si nous essayions de nous Ă©chapper et de nous cacher immĂ©diatement et, deuxiĂšmement, juste avant que les camps ne soient dĂ©placĂ©s, nous ferions tout notre possible pour nous enfuir afin d’échapper Ă  la dĂ©portation.

Fleeing from the Hunter

In the Ghetto and Beyond

I felt that my survival depended on how far away I could get from the ghetto.

I found out how to get to Dubeczno from the stationmaster in one of the villages I used to visit. A train to CheƂm, in the Lublin area, passed by the station in that village and stopped there briefly every day. After getting the information, I quickly decided to put my plan into action. In April 1942, I said goodbye to my dear friends the Cytryns, who had treated me like their own. I knew so many ways of getting in and out of the ghetto that I wasn’t about to risk being captured by leaving Otwock from the railway station, or by bringing attention to myself when buying a ticket. Instead, I hiked out of town to the village station where I had gotten the information from the stationmaster, and I boarded the train there.

The journey to Dubeczno, including changing trains in CheƂm and stops along the way, took twenty-four hours. The journey seemed endless and I worried because Jews were forbidden to use public transportation – I fully expected the German military police to stop the train and check the passengers’ identities. I didn’t sleep or, if I did, I could not distinguish my nightmares from my conscious fears. Luckily, no German military police checked the train. I arrived without any problems at the last station before WƂodawa. Because the train had changed its schedule and wasn’t going any further, I had to continue to my destination on foot. I walked for some time with other passengers until we reached WƂodawa. It was nearly evening, and through a heavy mist we could see the city as it slowly became more visible.

By the time I arrived it was dark and I was afraid to walk the streets of WƂodawa looking for some of my other relatives, cousins on my mother’s side, who lived there. I decided to go directly to my uncle’s instead. I asked around for directions to the road leading to Dubeczno and finally a passerby pointed me in the right direction. Surrounded by darkness, in the middle of nowhere on the outskirts of the city, I felt insecure and tired. I was aware of all the dangers that threatened a Jew at the end of April 1942. I knew that I was on the outskirts of WƂodawa, but I wasn’t sure exactly where. I decided to look for a night’s lodging through the method I had used in my previous wanderings – by getting the assistance of the soltys. I must stress that whether the procedure had existed already before the war, or whether the Germans had ordered it, for me it was heaven-sent.

While searching for the soltys, I found myself on a road where there were only isolated farmhouses, each far away from one another. These houses were like shacks with thatched roofs. I entered one and bravely asked for directions to the house of the soltys, explaining that I needed a note for a night’s lodging. The occupants were friendly and seemed glad to have a guest. They laughed at the very official way I was going about trying to get lodging and said the soltys lived a long way off. It was already dark, so the farmer invited me to stay the night there. Of course, the family asked me a lot of questions over supper and, even in my exhaustion, I invented answers almost naturally. My reward for telling half-lies was a warm bed and a hot breakfast the next morning. Such hospitality and kindness from strangers! Would they have acted the same way had they known I was Jewish?

Traqué

Le départ du Ghetto

Je pressentais que ma survie dĂ©pendait de mon Ă©loignement du Ghetto. J’ai trouvĂ© un moyen de me rendre Ă  Dubeczno, grĂące au chef de gare d’un des petits villages oĂč j’avais l’habitude d’aller. Un train pour CheƂm, dans la rĂ©gion de Lublin, passait quotidiennement par cette gare dans laquelle il s’arrĂȘtait briĂšvement. AprĂšs avoir obtenu cette information, j’ai dĂ©cidĂ© de rapidement mettre mon plan Ă  exĂ©cution. En avril 1942, j’ai dit adieu Ă  mes chers amis, les Cytryn, qui m’avaient traitĂ© comme l’un des leurs. Je connaissais beaucoup de trajets pour aller et venir hors du Ghetto et je ne voulais pas prendre le risque d’ĂȘtre capturĂ© Ă  la gare en quittant Otwock ou d’attirer l’attention en achetant un billet. Je me suis donc rendu Ă  la gare du village oĂč j’avais recueilli les renseignements du chef de gare et c’est lĂ  que je suis montĂ© Ă  bord du train.

Le voyage jusqu’à Dubeczno, avec le changement Ă  CheƂm et les divers autres arrĂȘts, m’a pris 24 heures. Le trajet m’a semblĂ© interminable et je m’inquiĂ©tais, car il Ă©tait interdit aux Juifs d’utiliser les transports publics – je m’attendais toujours Ă  ce que la police allemande arrĂȘte le train et vĂ©rifie l’identitĂ© des passagers. Je n’ai pas dormi – ou, si je l’ai fait, je n’ai pas distinguĂ© mes cauchemars de mes peurs conscientes. Par chance, la police militaire n’a pas contrĂŽlĂ© le train. Je suis arrivĂ© sans problĂšme au terminus, la station avant WƂodawa. On avait changĂ© les itinĂ©raires des trains et celui-ci n’allait pas plus loin. J’ai donc Ă©tĂ© obligĂ© de continuer Ă  pied. J’ai marchĂ© avec d’autres voyageurs jusqu’à WƂodawa. Il faisait presque nuit et nous voyions les contours de la ville se dessiner petit Ă  petit Ă  travers un Ă©pais brouillard.

Au moment oĂč je suis arrivĂ©, il faisait nuit et j’ai eu peur de marcher dans les rues de WƂodawa Ă  la recherche de mes autres parents, des cousins du cĂŽtĂ© de ma mĂšre qui vivaient lĂ . J’ai plutĂŽt dĂ©cidĂ© de me rendre directement chez mon oncle. J’ai demandĂ© Ă  des passants quelle direction prendre pour aller Ă  Dubeczno et une personne m’a finalement montrĂ© le bon chemin. Je me sentais inquiet et fatiguĂ©, j’étais seul, dans le noir, Ă  la pĂ©riphĂ©rie de la ville, au milieu de nulle part. Je connaissais tous les dangers que courait un Juif Ă  la fin avril 1942. J’avais conscience que j’étais dans les faubourgs, mais je ne savais pas exactement oĂč je me trouvais. J’ai dĂ©cidĂ© de chercher un endroit oĂč passer la nuit, comme je l’avais fait lors de mes prĂ©cĂ©dents voyages – en demandant au soltys. Je ne saurais dire si le procĂ©dĂ© existait avant la guerre ou si les Allemands l’avaient instituĂ©, mais, pour moi, il Ă©tait providentiel.

En quĂȘte du soltys, je me suis retrouvĂ© sur une route longeant des fermes isolĂ©es, Ă©loignĂ©es les unes des autres. Ces maisons Ă©taient des sortes de cabanes aux toits de chaume. J’ai pris mon courage Ă  deux mains et je suis entrĂ© dans l’une d’elles pour demander mon chemin. J’ai expliquĂ© que j’avais besoin d’un mot afin d’obtenir un abri pour la nuit. Les occupants Ă©taient accueillants et semblaient heureux d’avoir de la visite. Ils ont ri de la façon trĂšs formelle dont j’essayais de trouver Ă  me loger et m’ont dit que le soltys vivait trĂšs loin de lĂ . Il faisait dĂ©jĂ  sombre, aussi le fermier m’a-t-il conviĂ© Ă  rester. Évidemment, la famille m’a posĂ© mille questions pendant le repas et, bien que trĂšs fatiguĂ©, j’ai trouvĂ© les rĂ©ponses presque naturellement. Ma rĂ©compense pour ces quasi-mensonges a Ă©tĂ© un lit chaud et un bon petit dĂ©jeuner le lendemain matin. Quelle gentillesse et quelle hospitalitĂ© de la part d’étrangers ! Auraient-ils agi de mĂȘme s’ils avaient su que j’étais juif ?

Miraculous Escape

Always Remember Who You Are

We didn’t know where my mother had been taken. Nobody knew anything in our part of Poland. We had heard rumours of murder by gas. But who could believe this? The Nazis deliberately withheld information from their victims for fear of resistance or reprisal. They were the kings of deception.

After this incident, my father seemed to have lost his will to live but became desperate to protect me, his only child. He knew that if I remained in the ghetto, I would be caught in the next Aktion. He did not know exactly what had happened to those who were taken, but he understood that they were not coming back. We heard that the transports from our region were taken to a camp in the small town of BeĆ‚ĆŒec. The rumours that circulated about the mass murders underway there were terrifying. My father no longer kept any secrets from me. Since he was desperately trying to save me, he told me exactly what was going on. I trusted my father and knew that he would do everything in his power to keep me safe.

Once the Germans realized how valuable my father’s accounting skills were, they moved him into the office hut in our hometown permanently. There he came into contact with non-Jews, who were permitted to live outside the ghetto walls. My father quickly befriended a Polish Catholic man, Josef Matusiewicz, who had been brought from his town to serve as the stock-keeper.

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My father did not know where to turn or what to do after the loss of my mother. He was scared of the day when he would come home from work to find that I, too, had disappeared. But asking Josef to help me was a dangerous proposal. In German-occupied Poland, strict laws prohibited people from helping Jews in any way, including providing food rations or hiding Jews in their homes. Any person caught or even accused of helping a Jew risked their own life, as well as the lives of their family and, sometimes, communities.

When he agreed to take me, Josef knew he was violating Nazi law. Josef had not been a family friend, and I did not know him. Many years later, I learned about the night Josef told his wife that he wanted to bring a little Jewish girl into their home. He explained the situation and what he had been asked to do. Josef’s adopted daughter Lusia told me that her mother, Paulina, was dismayed by the request: “Are you crazy? You’re going to bring a little Jewish girl into our house? You’re going to endanger our lives, you cannot do that!” I believe that Josef was an extremely courageous man and responded that God would help. They were a very religious family and fervently believed that God would help them protect me. Josef saw my father’s desperation and could not look away. At tremendous personal risk, the decision was made to take me in.

My father tried to prepare me for another major change. He explained that it was very important that I understood that he could not keep me safe. Every day in the ghetto was dangerous for me. I knew that being Jewish was dangerous. My mother was already gone. I did not want to lose him, too. My father reassured me that I would live with people who would be good to me and care about me. Life would be much better for me there than it was in the ghetto. Before we had come to the ghetto, I was terribly spoiled, an only child. Needless to say, after a year in the ghetto, I was not spoiled any longer. I did not want to go. But my father made it absolutely clear that I had no choice in the matter. I had to go. Otherwise, he told me, I might die. And I had seen death in the ghetto. I am not sure if I understood at the age of eight what it meant to die, but I knew that it was final.

My father assured me that he would be fine, and that we would be together shortly. “It won’t take long. Everything will be fine. I’ll come and see you and I’ll take you home.
” He promised me everything a parent would promise an eight-year-old child. And so, when Josef Matusiewicz came to get me, I went along with him. I was petrified because I didn’t really know this man, whom I had met only a handful of times. I didn’t want to leave my father.

Josef Matusiewicz’s position granted him special access to the otherwise restricted ghetto, and one night he was able to get into the ghetto to collect me. I had to say goodbye to my father. I clung to him and did not want to let go. When we could no longer delay the inevitable, Josef put me in a large bag and carried me out of the ghetto like I was a sack of potatoes. I was cautioned not to make any noise, not to move, not to draw any attention to myself. Years later I learned that there was a police station located right next to where we left the ghetto. I don’t know how Josef managed to take me out. It really was a miracle that we were not caught.

In Dreams Together

Excerpt from the diary of Leslie Fazekas

Leslie’s diary entries are all addressed to his girlfriend Judit, whom he has been separated from since July 1, 1944, after they were deported from Debrecen, Hungary, and sent to different forced labour camps in Vienna, Austria. Leslie’s diary entries and letters to Judit span from August 1944 to April 1945. Translation from Hungarian by PĂ©ter BalikĂł Lengyel.

Sunday, December 31 [1944] at 8:30 a.m.

My dear Judit,

If my keeping a diary has been reduced to writing on special days only (and each Sunday is special, in that it was on this day of the week that we last saw each other) today I shouldn’t be doing anything other than writing and writing and writing. And this day is at once another important anniversary: It was precisely one year ago, on December 31, 1943, that our paths first crossed. So it has been one year since we have lived our lives joined together, if separated in space. Ultimately it would not matter if that preordained first tryst had happened a day sooner or later. As it happens, we have just closed the chapter on one year — mine so productive and successful in terms of all the new knowledge I absorbed. Now we embark on our second year, amid profoundly changed circumstances.

It must have been around this time of the day that the doorbell of the apartment under Vörösmarty [street] 14 rang. It was Judit showing up for our date; we had agreed to go out to the woods to take some pictures. She had an exercise class at 11:00 and I wanted to do my skating later in the morning, so I picked up my skates and camera, and we took the tram to the woods [the NagyerdƑ, Great Forest park]. We got off at the VigadĂł and started roaming around. We walked to the small hill by the pond, where I took pictures on the footbridge and of the two of us sitting on a bench with our arms around each other. It was past 10:30 when we decided we couldn’t put off leaving a minute longer. You said you were very cold. I wasn’t, so I unbuttoned by overcoat and told you to huddle up to me. We held each other tight there among the freezing woods. Our lips were close, and we kissed. I felt a dizziness come over me. Then a policeman strolled by, and we fluttered apart. You caught your tram at the university, I jumped on the tram step after you, and we quickly agreed to go see a movie together in a few days
 I was musing over that kiss, the very first kiss of my life, which would engender a string of hundreds and hundreds of more kisses to come. I had never kissed before because I knew, and kept telling myself, that kissing a woman was a serious choice for me. I will become engaged to the woman I kiss. Therefore, my dear Judit, what we performed that day was nothing less than an act of engagement. That is why I remember that day as faithfully as I do.




I never saw you a second time that day, as you spent New Year’s Eve in Laci’s company, but you and I were together in our thoughts the whole time. At least, you were on my mind all night long. So this was the story of that memorable day, the day of our engagement, as we bade farewell to a fine year and stepped into a sad new one. Interestingly, every New Year’s Eve I would ask myself the same question that seemed so obvious to ask: Are we all going to live to see the next year, together in good health and spirits, as in the old year? That night, however, I had no doubt that nothing could come between us, that the road ahead of us would be an easy one. And today? It sends shivers down my spine just to think of the next New Year’s Eve and the year that lies ahead. Is it possible it will find me reduced to decaying bones? In the past, I would wish for the next New Year’s Eve to find us together as before, a company celebrating in good spirits. Now I wish only that it simply finds us alive, if separated. But what the new year will bring this time I dare not even think about. We have so little agency in controlling our own destiny that it is futile to make advance calculations. Although the direction our life is to take is out of our hands, I am certain that the new year will bring many changes. On New Year’s Eve I have the habit of glancing back at the past year. Such a glance would fill one hundred pages this time, and I do not have that much paper to write on. So here is a shorthand version. January 3: a day to remember; Judit leaves her mark on every month. February: my last good month, full of fun, the baths, and a lot of study. March 19: our German allies march in. April: ecstatic swoon of love with Judit. May 1 to June 2: Good times in HalĂĄp, with Peti, Tomi, Horo [Horovitz] and Janka.Âč June 2, the bombing of Debrecen. To June 16: clearing rubble from the ghetto.ÂČ June 16 to 28: the brickyard. Never been so resourceful before, inspired by Judit. Helping each other a lot. Then the cattle car, an unconscious spell with Judit beside me. July 1: Strasshof, the first air raid, the day we are separated. July 2: The Vienna hub. We are assigned to Saurer’s here. I have been working the night shift since July 10. Going hungry much of the time at first, and longing for Judit. By now we have gotten used to this life; Judit is with me forever. And now here is this New Year’s Eve, a holiday I am going to distinguish from other days by simply sleeping through the night.

Âč Out of this group of young men, only Leslie and “Horo” (GĂĄbor Horovitz) survived the Holocaust. “Janka” refers to Leslie’s classmate AndrĂĄs Frank (1925–1944). Regarding the fates of Peti and Tomi, see the memoir.
ÂČ The ghetto inmates were taken to clear rubble in the bombed sections of the city, not in the ghetto, which was not bombed.

Spring's End

Departure

In April 1942, the population of our town fell by nearly a thousand. We had been notified that we were to appear with our luggage at a large warehouse near the railway station. The Jews of Budějovice were a civilized lot – we did not fuss much. We were used to doing what we were told, so we checked into the warehouse, presented our documents, were assigned numbers and prepared for the night. A few children whimpered and some of the older boys started to fool around.

The next day, we were told to board a passenger train that would take us to a gathering place. Our main worry was whether this new place would be in Czechoslovakia. Somehow there seemed less to worry about as long as we stayed in our own country. As the train began to move, we got our first glimpses of the cruel SS men (Schutzstaffel) – the Nazi elite troops who guarded the concentration camps. They were dressed in perfectly ironed uniforms and had animal-like expressions on their faces. One such beast – a high official with many stars on his uniform – inspected the train. Shouting orders in German, he kicked and slapped several people who got in his way.

The train sped north toward Prague, then west. At the end of the day we were unloaded at the gathering place, Terezín. Terezín was an old town that had many soldiers’ barracks, massive three-storey brick buildings and several large yards. The town had a moat all around it, making escape impossible.

That first night in TerezĂ­n we slept in a large warehouse, body to body, with just enough room to move around on our tiptoes. The next day, all the families were separated. Women were moved to one of the large barracks, and men to another. There was not much time to say goodbye as we had to line up quickly. Food was distributed from large barrels into small pots that were assigned to all the inmates in TerezĂ­n. Bread, potatoes and gravy comprised our main daily meal.

We stayed in TerezĂ­n from April 1942 until November 1943. The town grew more and more crowded from the incoming transports of Jews from other parts of Czechoslovakia. Old people and sick people started dying quickly. Every morning, bodies covered with white sheets were seen piled up in wagons, waiting to be moved to the crematorium.

At first, we all lived in the barracks, many to a room, sleeping on the floor. Somehow, amidst all this, children were allowed a little fun. We were permitted to play in the yard, to sing and play word games. One of my memories is of a teacher who would sing his and my favourite song, “Spring Will Come Again, May Is Not Far Away.”

Tenuous Threads/One of the Lucky Ones, Judy Abrams, Eva Felsenburg Marx

Two Jewish girls born six months apart — Judit GrĂŒnfeld (Judy Abrams) in Hungary and Eva Felsenburg (Marx) in Czechoslovakia — are only children when they are thrown into the turmoil and terror of World War II. At seven, Judy’s mother leaves her at a convent where she must adopt a new Christian identity. Eva is first sent away at two, then again at six, in disguise and tearful. Separated from their parents, forced to “pass” as Christian children, coping with dangers they barely understand, these evocative and lyrical memoirs describe childhoods irrevocably marked by the Holocaust. Tenuous Threads and One of the Lucky Ones tell us the parallel but unique stories of two children who were able to survive when so many others perished.

Introduction by Mia Spiro

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Judy Abrams:
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Enfant en clandestinité
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Immigration au Canada en 1949
Adaptation Ă  la vie canadienne
Materiel pédagogique disponible:
Eva Felsenburg Marx:
Tchécoslovaquie; Slovaquie
Clandestinité
Fausse identité
Immigration au Canada en 1949
Adaptation Ă  la vie canadienne
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
12+
Langue
Anglais

224 pages

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Judy Abrams

Judy Abrams est nĂ©e le 28 avril 1937 Ă  Budapest (Hongrie), elle a immigrĂ© Ă  MontrĂ©al en 1949. Elle a enseignĂ© le français Ă  l’École internationale des Nations Unies Ă  New York. Judy et son mari vivent Ă  MontrĂ©al.

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Eva Marx est nĂ©e le 21 octobre 1937 Ă  Brno (TchĂ©coslovaquie, aujourd’hui en RĂ©publique tchĂšque). En 1949, elle a Ă©migrĂ© Ă  MontrĂ©al, oĂč elle est devenue enseignante au primaire. Eva Marx rĂ©side Ă  MontrĂ©al.

Retenue par un fil/Une question de chance, Judy Abrams, Eva Felsenburg Marx

Deux fillettes, nĂ©es Ă  six mois d’écart et dans deux pays diffĂ©rents, sont plongĂ©es brutalement dans la tourmente et la terreur de la DeuxiĂšme Guerre mondiale. Filles uniques, elles connaissent des parcours remarquablement similaires, Judit en Hongrie et Eva en TchĂ©coslovaquie. SĂ©parĂ©es de leurs parents, obligĂ©es de se faire passer pour des chrĂ©tiennes, confrontĂ©es Ă  des situations qui les dĂ©passent, les deux fillettes vivent une enfance qui restera marquĂ©e Ă  jamais par l’Holocauste. Leurs mĂ©moires Ă©voquent de maniĂšre expressive et personnelle les parcours parallĂšles et nĂ©anmoins uniques de ces deux enfants qui ont survĂ©cu lĂ  oĂč tant d’autres ont pĂ©ri.

Préface de Mia Spiro

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Judy Abrams:
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Immigration au Canada en 1949
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Eva Felsenburg Marx:
Tchécoslovaquie; Slovaquie
Clandestinité
Fausse identité
Immigration au Canada en 1949
Adaptation Ă  la vie canadienne
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
12+
Langue
Français

256 pages

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Judy Abrams

Judy Abrams est nĂ©e le 28 avril 1937 Ă  Budapest (Hongrie), elle a immigrĂ© Ă  MontrĂ©al en 1949. Elle a enseignĂ© le français Ă  l’École internationale des Nations Unies Ă  New York. Judy et son mari vivent Ă  MontrĂ©al.

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À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Eva Felsenburg Marx

Eva Marx est nĂ©e le 21 octobre 1937 Ă  Brno (TchĂ©coslovaquie, aujourd’hui en RĂ©publique tchĂšque). En 1949, elle a Ă©migrĂ© Ă  MontrĂ©al, oĂč elle est devenue enseignante au primaire. Eva Marx rĂ©side Ă  MontrĂ©al.

Six Lost Years (Traduction française à venir), Amek Adler

« Combien de temps allons-nous tenir encore ? » dĂ©plore Amek Adler, 16 ans, Ă  son arrivĂ©e dans un Ă©niĂšme camp de concentration au printemps 1945. Des ghettos de Lodz et Varsovie au camp de travaux forcĂ©s de Radom, du camp de concentration de Natzweiler Ă  Dachau, Amek a Ă©tĂ© tĂ©moin de trop de scĂšnes de destruction et de tragĂ©dies pour pouvoir endurer davantage de souffrances. Pour tenir bon, il s’accroche aux souvenirs heureux partagĂ©s avec ses parents et ses trois frĂšres, il se remĂ©more les vacances, les soirĂ©es et les dĂźners passĂ©s ensemble ; il imagine une vie sans souffrance et sans faim ; il rĂȘve de l’avenir. Lorsqu’il est enfin libĂ©rĂ©, Amek est rĂ©solu Ă  saisir toutes les opportunitĂ©s que lui offre sa libertĂ© nouvellement acquise. Six Lost Years tĂ©moigne de la somme de courage qu’il lui a fallu pour affronter le passĂ©, profiter du jour prĂ©sent et se projeter dans l’avenir.

Préface de Idit Gil

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Pologne
Ghettos de Lodz, Varsovie et Radom
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Immigration au Canada en 1954
Adaptation Ă  la vie canadienne
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
14+
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Anglais

144 pages

À propos de l'auteur

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Abram (Amek) Adler est nĂ© le 20 avril 1928 Ă  Lublin (Pologne). Suite Ă  sa libĂ©ration en avril 1945, il a retrouvĂ© sa mĂšre et deux de ses frĂšres. Amek a vĂ©cu en Italie de 1945 Ă  1947, avant d’émigrer en SuĂšde en 1948, puis au Canada en 1954, accompagnĂ© de sa femme Ruth. À Toronto, Amek a rencontrĂ© le succĂšs dans l’industrie de la fourrure ainsi que dans la bijouterie, devenant prĂ©sident de l’Association canadienne des bijoutiers en 1989. Il a partagĂ© avec de nombreux auditoires les expĂ©riences qu’il a vĂ©cues durant l’Holocauste et sensibilisĂ© au sujet un nombre incalculable d’étudiants lors de la Marche des Vivants. Amek est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ© en 2017.

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In the Hour of Fate and Danger (Traduction française à venir), Ferenc Andai

En 1944, des milliers de Juifs hongrois sont dĂ©tenus dans les montagnes de Serbie, oĂč ils sont exploitĂ©s comme main d’Ɠuvre esclave. Au cƓur d’un paysage verdoyant, leurs souffrances et leurs lamentations se perdent dans le silence d’une nature indiffĂ©rente. Dans ce cadre aussi beau que dĂ©solĂ©, Ferenc Andai, ĂągĂ© de 19 ans, doit faire face aux tĂąches Ă©reintantes et Ă  la cruautĂ© du commandement hongrois et allemand. Face Ă  cette pĂ©nible rĂ©alitĂ©, il puise nĂ©anmoins du rĂ©confort dans l’amitiĂ© que lui vouent ses codĂ©tenus - un ensemble d’artistes et d’écrivains dont le cĂ©lĂšbre poĂšte MiklĂłs RadnĂłti. À la veille de la LibĂ©ration, alors que les rĂ©sistants et les collaborateurs nazis s’opposent dans des affrontements violents, Ferenc doit prendre des dĂ©cisions dĂ©terminantes pour sa survie. Puissant, Ă©vocateur et lyrique, In the Hour of Fate and Danger, fait le rĂ©cit du parcours Ă  la fois terrifiant et captivant de Ferenc durant l’occupation de la Serbie par les nazis.

Préface de Robert Rozett

Pour lire la critique de In the Hour of Fate and Danger, cliquez ici.

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Hongrie; Yougoslavie
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Bor (Serbie)
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MiklĂłs RadnĂłti
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
16+
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Anglais

276 pages

À propos de l'auteur

Photo of Ferenc Andai

NĂ© Ă  Budapest en Hongrie, Ferenc Andai (1925-2013) a immigrĂ© au Canada en 1957. Il a obtenu une maĂźtrise en Ă©tudes slaves de l’UniversitĂ© de MontrĂ©al, un diplĂŽme en enseignement de l’UniversitĂ© McGill et Ă©galement un doctorat en histoire (summa cum laude) de l’UniversitĂ© LorĂĄnd Eötvös Ă  Budapest. Il a enseignĂ© l’histoire, avant de diriger le dĂ©partement de sciences sociales d’une Ă©cole secondaire. Ses mĂ©moires Mint tanu szĂłlni: bori törtĂ©net (Être tĂ©moin: un rĂ©cit de Bor), rĂ©digĂ©s en hongrois et publiĂ©s par Ab Ovo en 2003, ont reçu le Prix national MiklĂłs RadnĂłti en 2004.

Buried Words: The Diary of Molly Applebaum, Molly Applebaum

In the fall of 1942, roundups of Jews in Dąbrowa Tarnowska, Poland, lead twelve-year-old Molly Applebaum and her cousin Helen to find refuge on a nearby farm, where their only hope for survival is to be hidden away underground — in a box. Confined “in a grave” from 1943 to early 1945, Molly has only her older cousin and her diary to keep her company. As one day passes into the next, Molly writes of the cold, dark space; the ever-present dirt and bugs; the unbearable suffering from insufficient food; and the difficult, complicated reliance on two Polish farmers who are risking their own lives to save her. A unique and poignant document, Molly’s diary is a stark confession of her fears and anxieties, her despair and her secrets and, above all, her fervent wish to stay alive. Buried Words presents Molly’s extraordinary diary, never before published in English, and also the memoir she wrote in the 1990s. Molly Applebaum’s courageous words, written fifty years apart, offer a fascinating reflection on both her wartime experiences and her post-war life.

Introduction by Jan Grabowski

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Pologne
Clandestinité
Journal intime rĂ©digĂ© durant l’Holocauste, accompagnĂ© des mĂ©moires d'aprĂšs-guerre
Camps de personnes dĂ©placĂ©es (Autriche et Allemagne d’aprĂšs-guerre)
Projet des orphelins de guerre
Immigration au Canada en 1948
Adaptation Ă  la vie canadienne
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
16+
Langue
Anglais

184 pages

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Molly Applebaum

Molly Applebaum est nĂ©e en 1930 Ă  Cracovie (Pologne). AprĂšs la guerre, elle a passĂ© trois ans dans des camps de personnes dĂ©placĂ©es avant d’immigrer au Canada en tant qu’orpheline de guerre. Les Mots enfouis est la premiĂšre traduction française du journal que Molly a rĂ©digĂ© en polonais de mars 1942 Ă  janvier 1945, publiĂ© avec ses mĂ©moires Ă©crits dans les annĂ©es 1990. Molly Applebaum vit Ă  Toronto.

Les Mots enfouis : Le Journal de Molly Applebaum, Molly Applebaum

À l’automne 1942, les rafles de Juifs Ă  Dąbrowa Tarnowska, en Pologne, obligent la jeune Molly Applebaum, 12 ans, et sa cousine Helen Ă  trouver refuge dans une ferme oĂč elles se cachent dans une caisse ensevelie sous terre. EnfermĂ©e dans ce « cercueil » de 1943 Ă  1945, Molly n’a pour seule compagnie que sa cousine et son journal. Au fil des jours, Molly dĂ©crit l’espace froid et obscur, la crasse et la vermine, la faim et la relation compliquĂ©e avec les deux fermiers polonais qui risquent leur vie pour sauver la sienne. Elle nous livre sans dĂ©tours ses craintes, ses secrets et surtout son dĂ©sir ardent de survivre. Les Mots enfouis prĂ©sente l’extraordinaire journal de Molly, suivi des mĂ©moires qu’elle a rĂ©digĂ©s dans les annĂ©es 1990. Ces deux textes, Ă©crits Ă  50 ans d’écart, constituent un tĂ©moignage courageux et passionnant de son parcours pendant et aprĂšs la guerre.

Préface de Jan Grabowski

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Pologne
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Journal intime rĂ©digĂ© durant l’Holocauste, accompagnĂ© des mĂ©moires d'aprĂšs-guerre
Camps de personnes dĂ©placĂ©es (Autriche et Allemagne d’aprĂšs-guerre)
Projet des orphelins de guerre
Immigration au Canada en 1948
Adaptation Ă  la vie canadienne
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
16+
Langue
Français

184 pages

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Molly Applebaum

Molly Applebaum est nĂ©e en 1930 Ă  Cracovie (Pologne). AprĂšs la guerre, elle a passĂ© trois ans dans des camps de personnes dĂ©placĂ©es avant d’immigrer au Canada en tant qu’orpheline de guerre. Les Mots enfouis est la premiĂšre traduction française du journal que Molly a rĂ©digĂ© en polonais de mars 1942 Ă  janvier 1945, publiĂ© avec ses mĂ©moires Ă©crits dans les annĂ©es 1990. Molly Applebaum vit Ă  Toronto.

The Hidden Package, Claire Baum

Almost forty years after the end of the war, Claire Baum opens a package from a stranger in Rotterdam, unleashing a flood of repressed memories from her childhood. As Claire delves into her past, she uncovers the personal sacrifice and bravery of her parents, the Dutch resistance and the families that selflessly gave shelter to her and her sister, Ollie. The Hidden Package portrays Claire’s years spent in hiding and pays tribute to all those who played a part in saving her life and ensuring a future for the next generations of her family.

Introduction by Carolyne Van Der Meer

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Langue
Anglais

132 pages

Médaille de bronze décernée lors des Moonbeam Children's Book Awards en 2015

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NĂ©e en 1936 Ă  Rotterdam (Pays-Bas), Claire Baum a Ă©tĂ© libĂ©rĂ©e par l'armĂ©e canadienne le 5 mai 1945, alors qu’elle vivait en clandestinitĂ© avec sa jeune sƓur. En 1951, Claire et les siens ont immigrĂ© au Canada, oĂč elle a Ă©pousĂ© Seymour Baum en 1956. Ensemble, ils ont Ă©levĂ© trois enfants et fondĂ© une entreprise trĂšs prospĂšre. Depuis 1984, Claire s’est investie dans l’enseignement de l’histoire de l'Holocauste, elle s'adresse principalement Ă  de jeunes Ă©tudiants avec qui elle partage ses expĂ©riences durant la guerre et sa gratitude envers le Canada, le pays de ses libĂ©rateurs. Claire vit Ă  Toronto.

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Le Colis caché, Claire Baum

PrĂšs de 40 ans aprĂšs la fin de la guerre, Claire Baum a ouvert un colis que lui a fait parvenir une inconnue de Rotterdam, dĂ©clenchant un flot de souvenirs d’enfance refoulĂ©s. En replongeant dans son passĂ©, Claire a mis au jour le sacrifice et le courage de ses parents, de la RĂ©sistance nĂ©erlandaise et des familles qui lui ont procurĂ© un refuge ainsi qu’à sa sƓur, Ollie. Le Colis cachĂ© met en scĂšne ses annĂ©es passĂ©es en clandestinitĂ© et rend hommage Ă  tous ceux qui ont jouĂ© un rĂŽle dans sa survie et ainsi, assurĂ© la pĂ©rennitĂ© de sa famille.

Préface de Carolyne Van Der Meer

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12+
Langue
Français

144 pages

Médaille de bronze décernée lors des Moonbeam Children's Book Awards en 2015

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Claire Baum

NĂ©e en 1936 Ă  Rotterdam (Pays-Bas), Claire Baum a Ă©tĂ© libĂ©rĂ©e par l'armĂ©e canadienne le 5 mai 1945, alors qu’elle vivait en clandestinitĂ© avec sa jeune sƓur. En 1951, Claire et les siens ont immigrĂ© au Canada, oĂč elle a Ă©pousĂ© Seymour Baum en 1956. Ensemble, ils ont Ă©levĂ© trois enfants et fondĂ© une entreprise trĂšs prospĂšre. Depuis 1984, Claire s’est investie dans l’enseignement de l’histoire de l'Holocauste, elle s'adresse principalement Ă  de jeunes Ă©tudiants avec qui elle partage ses expĂ©riences durant la guerre et sa gratitude envers le Canada, le pays de ses libĂ©rateurs. Claire vit Ă  Toronto.

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Joy Runs Deeper, Bronia Beker, Joseph Beker

Bronia Rohatiner and Josio (Joseph) Beker grow up in the shtetl of Kozowa, Poland, a small town filled with lively culture, eccentric characters and extended family. When nineteen-year-old Bronia meets the older, handsome Josio, she is charmed by his confidence and fearlessness. Separated when Josio is drafted into the army, reunited amid the chaos of the war, their connection endures as their persecution intensifies. After tragedy strikes Bronia’s family, Josio strengthens her will to live. When everything they hold dear is lost, together they build a new future.

Introduction by Jeanne Beker

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En bref
Pologne
Ghetto
Clandestinité
Fuite
Immigration au Canada en 1948
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
14+
Langue
Anglais

144 pages

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Bronia Beker

Bronia Beker, nĂ©e Rohatiner, a vu le jour le 9 dĂ©cembre 1920 Ă  Kozowa (Pologne, aujourd’hui en Ukraine). AprĂšs avoir Ă©pousĂ© Joseph en 1945, Bronia et son mari ont immigrĂ© au Canada en 1948, oĂč ils ont Ă©levĂ© leurs deux filles, Marylin et Jeanne. Bronia est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ©e en 2015.

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À propos de l'auteur

Photo of Joseph Beker

Joseph Beker est nĂ© le 1er avril 1913 Ă  Kozowa (Pologne, aujourd’hui en Ukraine). En 1948, Joseph et sa femme Bronia ont immigrĂ© au Canada oĂč ils ont refait leur vie et Ă©levĂ© leurs deux filles, Marylin et Jeanne. Joseph est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ© en 1988.

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Plus forts que le malheur, Bronia Beker, Joseph Beker

Bronia Rohatiner et Josio (Joseph) Beker ont grandi dans le shtetl polonais de Kozowa. Quand Bronia, 19 ans, a rencontrĂ© le beau Josio, elle a Ă©tĂ© charmĂ©e par son assurance et son audace. SĂ©parĂ©s quand Josio a Ă©tĂ© incorporĂ© dans l’armĂ©e, puis rĂ©unis dans le chaos de la guerre, les jeunes gens ont consolidĂ© leur attachement tandis que les persĂ©cutions s’intensifiaient. Lorsque la tragĂ©die a frappĂ© la famille Rohatiner, Josio a su redonner le goĂ»t de vivre Ă  Bronia. AprĂšs avoir perdu tout ce qui leur Ă©tait cher, ils ont pu reconstruire ensemble un nouvel avenir.

Préface de Jeanne Beker

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En bref
Pologne
Ghetto
Clandestinité
Fuite
Immigration au Canada en 1948
Introduction de Jeanne Beker
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
14+
Langue
Français

160 pages

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Bronia Beker

Bronia Beker, nĂ©e Rohatiner, a vu le jour le 9 dĂ©cembre 1920 Ă  Kozowa (Pologne, aujourd’hui en Ukraine). AprĂšs avoir Ă©pousĂ© Joseph en 1945, Bronia et son mari ont immigrĂ© au Canada en 1948, oĂč ils ont Ă©levĂ© leurs deux filles, Marylin et Jeanne. Bronia est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ©e en 2015.

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À propos de l'auteur

Photo of Joseph Beker

Joseph Beker est nĂ© le 1er avril 1913 Ă  Kozowa (Pologne, aujourd’hui en Ukraine). En 1948, Joseph et sa femme Bronia ont immigrĂ© au Canada oĂč ils ont refait leur vie et Ă©levĂ© leurs deux filles, Marylin et Jeanne. Joseph est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ© en 1988.

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Unsung Heroes (Traduction française à venir), Tibor Benyovits

Suite Ă  l’invasion de la Hongrie par l’Allemagne en 1944, l’organisation de jeunesse sioniste dont fait partie Tibor, alors ĂągĂ© de 12 ans, entre en clandestinitĂ© pour Ă©viter d’ĂȘtre dĂ©couverte. SĂ©parĂ© du reste de sa famille, Tibor ne peut compter que sur le soutien de son rĂ©seau, un groupe de jeunes gens courageux qui risquent leur vie pour venir en aide Ă  autant de Juifs que possible Ă  Budapest. InspirĂ© par ces Unsung Heroes, Tibor s’engage dans la RĂ©sistance et se voit confier la fonction de coursier au sein du groupe, dĂ©livrant des faux papiers et des documents afin de protĂ©ger les Juifs en danger. À la fin de la guerre, alors que Tibor doit affronter la rĂ©alitĂ© de ce qu’il a perdu, il sait qu’il peut compter sur l’organisation pour lui redonner espoir et l’aider Ă  retrouver sa libertĂ©.

Préface de Laura Brander

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En bref
Hongrie
Clandestinité
Fausse identité
RĂ©sistance
Régime des Croix fléchées
SiĂšge de Budapest
IsraĂ«l d’aprĂšs-guerre
Immigration au Canada en 1962
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
14+
Langue
Anglais

192 pages

À propos de l'auteur

Photo of Tibor Benyovits

Tibor (Ted) Benyovits est nĂ© en 1932 Ă  Budapest (Hongrie). En 1949, il s’est installĂ© en IsraĂ«l oĂč, de son union avec Miriam, est nĂ© leur premier enfant. EncouragĂ©s par leurs proches, ils ont immigrĂ© Ă  Toronto en 1962, oĂč Tibor a fondĂ© une entreprise de machinerie qui a connu beaucoup de succĂšs. Membre trĂšs impliquĂ© de la synagogue Beit Rayim, Tibor a eu Ă  cƓur IsraĂ«l et la vie juive tout au long de sa vie. Tibor Benyovits est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ© en 2020.

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A Promise of Sweet Tea (Traduction française à venir), Pinchas Eliyahu Blitt

A Jewish community in prewar Eastern Europe comes alive in this vividly told story of a childhood interrupted by the Holocaust. In the village of Kortelisy, Poland, young Pinchas Blitt is surrounded by colourful characters and the rich language and traditions of his ancestors. Pinchas is beset by fears of Cossacks and wolves and the local antisemitic children, who taunt him for being a Jew, but he finds belonging in the warmth and love of his family, and in Jewish texts and prayers. In 1939, Pinchas adapts to the new Soviet occupation, but when the Nazis arrive, his beloved village is subjected to humiliations and brutal attacks by the Germans, and he and his family must flee. A precarious existence on the run brings Pinchas face to face with his own mortality and faith, and with a sense of dislocation that will accompany him throughout his life.

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En bref
Western Ukraine / eastern Poland
Inter-war Jewish life
Hiding
Displaced persons camp
Arrived in Canada in 1948
Adjusting to life in Canada
Yiddish theatre
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
16+
Langue
Anglais

248 pages

À propos de l'auteur

Photo of Pinchas Eliyahu Blitt

Pinchas Eliyahu Blitt was born in Kortelisy, Poland (now Ukraine) in 1931 or 1932. Pinchas and his family immigrated to Canada in 1948 and settled in Montreal, where he attended teacher’s college and law school. In addition to a long career as a lawyer, Pinchas was involved in the Yiddish theatre community in Montreal for many years. Pinchas has three children. He lives in Montreal with his life partner, Gisele.

If Home Is Not Here, Max Bornstein

Max Bornstein’s epic account of a poor Jewish boy born in 1920s Poland is breathtaking in scope. Not quite two when he immigrates to Canada, he returns to Europe in 1933, the year that Adolf Hitler came to power. Barely surviving as a stateless refugee in 1930s Paris, he manages to escape as France falls to the Nazis only to be interned in a Spanish concentration camp. Rich in details of pre-war life in Poland, France and Canada and life for Jewish refugees in wartime Britain, If Home Is Not Here gives rare insights into the experiences of a Jewish boy caught up in political forces beyond his control.

Introduction by Amanda Gryzb

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En bref
Pologne; France; Espagne; Angleterre
Émigration du Canada vers la France en 1933
Fuite
Camp de concentration espagnol
ProblÚmes de santé mentale
Angleterre d’aprùs-guerre
Seconde immigration au Canada en 1947
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
16+
Langue
Anglais

328 pages

À propos de l'auteur

Photo of Max Bornstein

Max Bornstein est nĂ© en 1921 Ă  Varsovie (Pologne). AprĂšs avoir vĂ©cu au Canada de 1923 Ă  1933, Max y est retournĂ© en 1947. À Toronto, il a travaillĂ© dans l'industrie du vĂȘtement et a Ă©pousĂ© Minnie, avec qui il a Ă©levĂ© deux enfants. Tout au long de sa vie, il a gardĂ© un vif intĂ©rĂȘt pour la physique quantique et la politique internationale, ainsi que pour le judaĂŻsme et IsraĂ«l. Ce n’est que tard dans sa vie que Max s’est dĂ©couvert un talent pour le piano, qu’il jouait frĂ©quemment pour les rĂ©sidents de la maison de soins de longue durĂ©e oĂč il vivait. Max Bornstein est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ© en 2015.

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Citoyen de nulle part, Max Bornstein

Max Bornstein retrace le parcours d’un petit garçon juif nĂ© dans une famille pauvre en Pologne dans les annĂ©es 1920. À 2 ans, il Ă©migre au Canada, mais retourne en Europe en 1933, l’annĂ©e de l’accession de Hitler au pouvoir. RĂ©fugiĂ© apatride dans le Paris des annĂ©es 1930, il rĂ©ussit Ă  fuir lors de la prise de la capitale par les nazis, mais sera internĂ© dans un camp de concentration en Espagne. Citoyen de nulle part dĂ©crit la longue errance physique et psychologique vĂ©cue par un jeune homme juif emportĂ© dans la tourmente politique de son Ă©poque.

Préface de Amanda Gryzb

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En bref
Pologne; France; Espagne; Angleterre
Émigration du Canada vers la France en 1933
Fuite
Camp de concentration espagnol
ProblÚmes de santé mentale
Angleterre d’aprùs-guerre
Seconde immigration au Canada en 1947
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
16+
Langue
Français

376 pages

À propos de l'auteur

Photo of Max Bornstein

Max Bornstein est nĂ© en 1921 Ă  Varsovie (Pologne). AprĂšs avoir vĂ©cu au Canada de 1923 Ă  1933, Max y est retournĂ© en 1947. À Toronto, il a travaillĂ© dans l'industrie du vĂȘtement et a Ă©pousĂ© Minnie, avec qui il a Ă©levĂ© deux enfants. Tout au long de sa vie, il a gardĂ© un vif intĂ©rĂȘt pour la physique quantique et la politique internationale, ainsi que pour le judaĂŻsme et IsraĂ«l. Ce n’est que tard dans sa vie que Max s’est dĂ©couvert un talent pour le piano, qu’il jouait frĂ©quemment pour les rĂ©sidents de la maison de soins de longue durĂ©e oĂč il vivait. Max Bornstein est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ© en 2015.

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Daring to Hope (Traduction française à venir), Chana Broder, Rachel Lisogurski

En 1942, par une froide nuit d’hiver, Rachel et Avrumeh parviennent Ă  s’évader du ghetto de Siemiatycze (Pologne) avec leur fille Chana, ĂągĂ©e de quatre ans. En quĂȘte d’un refuge, ils sont refoulĂ©s par leurs amis les plus proches et contraints Ă  l’errance dans la campagne, oĂč ils ne peuvent compter que sur l’aide d’inconnus ou de simples connaissances. Pendant prĂšs de deux ans, chaque jour leur apporte son lot d'incertitudes, Ă  eux comme aux courageux fermiers qui finissent par les cacher. Durant toute cette pĂ©riode, la jeune Chana est farouchement protĂ©gĂ©e par ses parents, qui lui apprennent Ă  rĂ©primer ses sanglots, Ă  ne pas rompre le silence. Ce n’est qu’aprĂšs la LibĂ©ration que l'enfance de Chana commence vĂ©ritablement et, des dĂ©cennies plus tard, elle a enfin l'occasion d'honorer ceux qui ont sauvĂ© sa famille. À travers deux tĂ©moignages, Daring to Hope, fait entendre les voix d’une mĂšre et de sa fille, alors qu’elles tĂ©moignent des annĂ©es sombres de la guerre et de l’amour qui a permis Ă  leur famille de rester unie dans l’adversitĂ©.

Préface de Barbara Engelking

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En bref
Pologne
Ghetto
Clandestinité
Camp de personnes dĂ©placĂ©es (Italie d’aprĂšs-guerre)
Immigration au Canada en 1948
Adaptation Ă  la vie canadienne
Immigration en Israël en 1972 (Chana) et en 1985 (Rachel)
Adaptation à la vie israélienne
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
14+
Langue
Anglais

248 pages

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Chana Broder

Chana Broder est nĂ©e en 1938 Ă  Siemiatycze (Pologne). AprĂšs la guerre, elle a vĂ©cu dans un camp de personnes dĂ©placĂ©es en Italie avant d'immigrer en 1948 Ă  MontrĂ©al, oĂč elle a poursuivi ses Ă©tudes, s’est mariĂ©e et a Ă©levĂ© ses enfants. En 1972, Chana a dĂ©mĂ©nagĂ© avec sa famille en IsraĂ«l, oĂč elle est devenue enseignante d'anglais langue seconde. En 2013, elle a retrouvĂ© les descendants de ceux qui l’avaient sauvĂ©e pendant la guerre et les a fait honorer du titre de Justes parmi les Nations. Chana rĂ©side en IsraĂ«l.

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Rachel Lisogurski

Rachel Lisogurski est nĂ©e en 1911 Ă  Grodzisk (Pologne). AprĂšs la guerre, elle a vĂ©cu avec sa famille dans un camp de personnes dĂ©placĂ©es en Italie, avant d'immigrer Ă  MontrĂ©al en 1948. Afin de s’exercer Ă  Ă©crire en anglais, Rachel a consignĂ© ses souvenirs de la guerre dans des mĂ©moires en 1967. En 1985, elle a dĂ©mĂ©nagĂ© en IsraĂ«l pour y rejoindre sa fille et ses proches. Rachel Lisogurski est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ©e en IsraĂ«l en 1998.

Across the Rivers of Memory (Traduction française à venir), Felicia Carmelly

Felicia Steigman, alors ĂągĂ©e de 10 ans, est bouleversĂ©e par les changements qui affectent sa vie, notamment son expulsion de l’école et l’obligation de porter une Ă©toile jaune. Mais elle est Ă  mille lieux d’imaginer ce qui va suivre: le dĂ©part forcĂ© de chez elle et un voyage terriblement Ă©prouvant sous l’autoritĂ© de collaborateurs ukrainiens d’une grande cruautĂ© qui la conduiront en Transnistrie, une rĂ©gion dĂ©solĂ©e ne figurant sur aucune carte. Les trois annĂ©es passĂ©es Ă  confronter la mort et la dĂ©vastation ont raison de l’innocence de Felicia. Quand elle constate que les souffrances de sa famille ne sont pas reconnues officiellement, elle prend la dĂ©cision courageuse d’affronter le passĂ© afin de dĂ©noncer cette injustice et de commĂ©morer les charniers oubliĂ©s de Transnistrie.

Préface de Diana Dumitru

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En bref
Roumanie; Transnistrie
DĂ©portation
Marche de la mort
Roumanie d’aprùs-guerre
Vie en pays communiste
Israël
Immigration au Canada en 1962
Adaptation Ă  la vie canadienne
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
16+
Langue
Anglais

200 pages

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Felicia Carmelly

Felicia Carmelly est nĂ©e le 25 septembre 1931 Ă  Vatra Dornei (Roumanie). En 1959, Felicia et sa famille ont quittĂ© la Roumanie communiste pour s’installer en IsraĂ«l. Trois ans plus tard, ils ont immigrĂ© au Canada, oĂč Felicia a obtenu une maĂźtrise en travail social. En 1994, Ă  Toronto, Felicia a fondĂ© l’Association des survivants de Transnitrie, et en 1997, elle a publiĂ© une anthologie intitulĂ©e Shattered! 50 Years of Silence: History and Voices of the Tragedy in Romania and Transnistria. Felicia est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ©e en 2018.

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A Cry in Unison (Traduction française à venir), Judy Cohen

Jeune fille espiĂšgle et enjouĂ©e, Judy Weissenberg Cohen a grandi Ă  Debrecen (Hongrie) au sein d'une fratrie nombreuse dont elle est la benjamine. Mais Ă  mesure que les nazis dĂ©ferlent sur l'Europe et que les mesures anti-juives la sĂ©parent des siens, l'enfance joyeuse de Judy est altĂ©rĂ©e par la peur et les murmures Ă©touffĂ©s des adultes qui l'entourent. Lorsque l'Allemagne envahit la Hongrie en 1944, la vie de Judy bascule. Alors que les Ă©vĂ©nements terrifiants se succĂšdent, elle est bientĂŽt confrontĂ©e Ă  l'incomprĂ©hensible : Auschwitz-Birkenau. Dans l'ombre des chambres Ă  gaz, elle s'accroche Ă  ses sƓurs et Ă  ses « sƓurs du camp », qui reprĂ©sentent son seul espoir face aux souffrances qui s’annoncent. 

Dans A Cry in Unison, Judy Weissenberg Cohen, survivante de l'Holocauste, éducatrice et militante des droits humains, tisse sa fascinante histoire de survie en évoquant les forces politiques et sociales qui ont bouleversé sa vie. Son témoignage est un hommage vibrant aux expériences uniques vécues par les femmes durant l'Holocauste et un plaidoyer contre le silence face à l'injustice.

Préface de Karin Doerr

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En bref
Hongrie
Ghetto de Debrecen
Camp de la mort d’Auschwitz-Birkenau
Camps de concentration et de travaux forcés
Marche de la mort
Camps de personnes déplacées
Stratégie sur les travailleurs du textile (projet Tailor)
Immigration au Canada en 1948
Intégration à la vie canadienne
ExpĂ©riences vĂ©cues par les femmes durant l’Holocauste
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
16+
Langue
Anglais

232 pages

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Judy Cohen

Judy Weissenberg Cohen est nĂ©e en 1928 Ă  Debrecen (Hongrie). ConfĂ©renciĂšre engagĂ©e, elle Ɠuvre Ă  l’enseignement de l’histoire de l’Holocauste et des droits de la personne. En 2001, elle a fondĂ© le site internet « Women and the Holocaust », qui rassemble des tĂ©moignages, des textes littĂ©raires et des travaux universitaires explorant notamment la question du genre dans les expĂ©riences des femmes durant l'Holocauste. Judy rĂ©side Ă  Toronto.

Getting Out Alive, Tommy Dick

Nineteen-year-old Tommy Dick was killed, only to resurface in an almost unfathomable series of twists and turns that miraculously resulted in his survival. Born into a Hungarian family that had converted from Judaism in a country where antisemitism was a constant reality, Tommy soon found out that in the eyes of the Nazis he was still a Jew, still a target for deportation and annihilation. Getting Out Alive is a fast-paced, gripping account of courage and tenacity in the face of overwhelming terror as, on the run and in disguise, Tommy is chased by luck as much as he is by death. Ultimately, the combination of courageous acts by others, unshakeable friendships and his own extraordinarily quick wit conspired to save the life of an adventurous and determined young man in the cruellest of times.

Introduction by Kalman Weiser

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En bref
Hongrie
NĂ© dans une famille juive convertie au christianisme
Camp de travaux forcés
Fuite
Régime des Croix fléchées
Immigration au Canada en 1948
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
14+
Langue
Anglais

96 pages

MĂ©daille d’or dĂ©cernĂ©e lors des Independent Publisher Book Awards en 2008

À propos de l'auteur

Photo of Tommy Dick

Tommy Dick est nĂ© en 1925 Ă  Budapest (Hongrie). En 1948, il a immigrĂ© au Canada et quelques annĂ©es plus tard, s’est installĂ© Ă  Calgary. À l’ñge de 36 ans, Tommy s’est inscrit Ă  la facultĂ© de droit de Calgary, puis a exercĂ© la profession d’avocat dans cette mĂȘme ville durant 30 ans. Tommy Dick est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ© en 1999.

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Objectif : survivre, Tommy Dick

Tommy Dick, dix-neuf ans, est exĂ©cutĂ©. Mais il va miraculeusement survivre aprĂšs une incroyable suite de rebondissements. NĂ© dans une famille juive hongroise qui avait renoncĂ© au judaĂŻsme, Tommy se rend rapidement compte qu’aux yeux des nazis, il est restĂ© « un Juif » , une cible Ă  dĂ©porter et Ă  assassiner. En cavale et dĂ©guisĂ©, il dĂ©fie la mort Ă  plusieurs reprises. Ses mĂ©moires nous font voir comment, en pleine barbarie, certains actes de bravoure, la force inĂ©branlable de ses amitiĂ©s et sa remarquable prĂ©sence d’esprit ont dĂ©terminĂ© le succĂšs d’un plan qui a sauvĂ© la vie de ce jeune homme rĂ©solu et aventureux.

Préface de Kalman Weiser

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En bref
Hongrie
NĂ© dans une famille juive convertie au christianisme
Camp de travaux forcés
Fuite
Régime des Croix fléchées
Immigration au Canada en 1948
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
14+
Langue
Français

104 pages

MĂ©daille d’or dĂ©cernĂ©e lors des Independent Publisher Book Awards en 2008

À propos de l'auteur

Photo of Tommy Dick

Tommy Dick est nĂ© en 1925 Ă  Budapest (Hongrie). En 1948, il a immigrĂ© au Canada et quelques annĂ©es plus tard, s’est installĂ© Ă  Calgary. À l’ñge de 36 ans, Tommy s’est inscrit Ă  la facultĂ© de droit de Calgary, puis a exercĂ© la profession d’avocat dans cette mĂȘme ville durant 30 ans. Tommy Dick est dĂ©cĂ©dĂ© en 1999.

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Fleeing from the Hunter, Marian Domanski

On the run in Nazi-occupied Poland, thirteen-year-old orphan Marian Finkelman — later Domanski — must fend for himself in a desperate search for safety. Forced to grow up much too early, the daring young boy risks his life over and over again to slip in and out of the ghetto in his hometown of Otwock to find food. When he finally escapes the ghetto, alone and living by his wits, Marian’s perfect Polish and fair complexion help him narrowly escape death as he travels through the Polish countryside “passing” as a Polish-Catholic farmhand. A heart-rending tale of lost youth, Fleeing from the Hunter poignantly describes the quick thinking and extraordinary will to live that are Marian Domanski’s greatest strengths as he manages to survive against all odds.

Introduction by Joanna Michlic

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En bref
Pologne
Ghetto
Fausse identité
Documents datant de la guerre
Pologne d’aprùs-guerre
Immigration au Canada en 1970
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
14+
Langue
Anglais

224 pages

MĂ©daille d’argent dĂ©cernĂ©e lors des Independent Publisher Book Awards en 2011

À propos de l'auteur

Photo of Marian Domanski

Marian (Finkelman) Domanski est nĂ© en 1928 Ă  Otwock (Pologne). Il s’est enrĂŽlĂ© dans l’armĂ©e de l’air polonaise aprĂšs la guerre et a travaillĂ© comme photographe avant d’aller s’installer au Danemark en 1968. Il a immigrĂ© au Canada deux ans plus tard et a Ă©tĂ© trĂšs actif dans la communautĂ© juive polonaise de Toronto jusqu’à son dĂ©cĂšs en 2012.

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Traqué, Marian Domanski

Marian Finkelman — plus tard Domanski — est en fuite dans la Pologne occupĂ©e par les nazis. Orphelin Ă  13 ans, il doit se dĂ©brouiller seul. ForcĂ© de grandir trop vite, Marian risque sa vie Ă  chaque fois qu’il sort du ghetto de sa ville, Otwock, Ă  la recherche de nourriture. Quand il s’échappe dĂ©finitivement du Ghetto, seul et vivant d’expĂ©dients, il rĂ©ussit Ă  se faire passer pour un ouvrier agricole catholique et sillonne la campagne polonaise. RĂ©cit dĂ©chirant d’une enfance perdue, TraquĂ© dĂ©crit de maniĂšre Ă©mouvante la vivacitĂ© d’esprit et la volontĂ© exceptionnelle de survivre qui ont Ă©tĂ© les grandes forces de Marian Domanski.

Préface de Joanna Michlic

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En bref
Pologne
Ghetto
Fausse identité
Documents datant de la guerre
Pologne d’aprùs-guerre
Immigration au Canada en 1970
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
14+
Langue
Français

232 pages

MĂ©daille d’argent dĂ©cernĂ©e lors des Independent Publisher Book Awards en 2011

À propos de l'auteur

Photo of Marian Domanski

Marian (Finkelman) Domanski est nĂ© en 1928 Ă  Otwock (Pologne). Il s’est enrĂŽlĂ© dans l’armĂ©e de l’air polonaise aprĂšs la guerre et a travaillĂ© comme photographe avant d’aller s’installer au Danemark en 1968. Il a immigrĂ© au Canada deux ans plus tard et a Ă©tĂ© trĂšs actif dans la communautĂ© juive polonaise de Toronto jusqu’à son dĂ©cĂšs en 2012.

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Always Remember Who You Are (Traduction française à venir), Anita Ekstein

Quand les nazis envahissent la Pologne orientale en 1941, la vie d’Anita Ekstein, enfant unique au sein d’une grande famille unie, sombre dans un climat de peur et de violence. La jeune fille, ĂągĂ©e de sept ans, et ses parents sont contraints de quitter leur foyer pour emmĂ©nager dans le ghetto, d’oĂč sa mĂšre disparaĂźt soudainement. Alors qu’il tente dĂ©sespĂ©rĂ©ment de sauver sa fille adorĂ©e, le pĂšre d’Anita se lie d’amitiĂ© avec un catholique qui parvient Ă  exfiltrer la fillette du ghetto, au pĂ©ril de sa vie. TerrifiĂ©e et privĂ©e de l’affection de ses parents, Anita est initiĂ©e au catholicisme par les inconnus qui la cachent. Courant constamment le risque d'ĂȘtre dĂ©couverte, Anita emprunte seule le chemin vers la survie avec pour unique soutien cette foi nouvellement acquise. AprĂšs la guerre, elle parvient Ă  surmonter le deuil de ses parents et les problĂšmes identitaires qui l’accablent pour honorer la derniĂšre demande de son pĂšre : « N’oublie jamais qui tu es (Always Remember Who You Are). »

Préface de Beth Griech-Polelle

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– +
En bref
Pologne
Enfant en clandestinité
Fausse identité
ProblĂšmes identitaires aprĂšs la guerre
Pologne et France d’aprùs-guerre
Immigration au Canada en 1948
Adaptation Ă  la vie canadienne
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
14+
Langue
Anglais

232 pages

À propos de l'auteure

Photo of Anita Ekstein

Anita Helfgott Ekstein est nĂ©e le 18 juillet 1934 Ă  LwĂłw en Pologne (aujourd’hui Lviv en Ukraine). AprĂšs la guerre, Anita et sa tante ont Ă©migrĂ© Ă  Paris, puis Ă  Toronto en 1948. BĂ©nĂ©vole dĂ©vouĂ©e Ă  l’enseignement de l’histoire de l’Holocauste, elle a fondĂ© une association destinĂ©e aux enfants cachĂ©s et aux enfants survivants Ă  Toronto. Elle a participĂ© Ă  la Marche des vivants Ă  dix-huit reprises et est intervenue devant des milliers d’étudiants. Anita vit aujourd’hui Ă  Toronto.

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In Dreams Together (traduction française à venir), Leslie Fazekas

À l'Ă©tĂ© 1944, Leslie Fazekas, alors ĂągĂ© de 18 ans, et sa famille sont rĂ©quisitionnĂ©s comme main-d’Ɠuvre esclave et dĂ©portĂ©s de leur foyer Ă  Debrecen (Hongrie) vers Vienne (Autriche). Leur survie tient du miracle : aprĂšs la guerre, Leslie et sa famille dĂ©couvrent qu’ils ont Ă©chappĂ© Ă  la dĂ©portation Ă  Auschwitz, sort funeste que connait prĂšs de la moitiĂ© de leur communautĂ© juive. Leslie a consignĂ© les terribles conditions de sa captivitĂ© dans son journal intime et dans des lettres adressĂ©es Ă  Judit, sa petite amie dont il a Ă©tĂ© sĂ©parĂ© Ă  Vienne. Pendant huit mois, leur relation Ă©pistolaire se nourrit d’espoir et d’incertitude, et reflĂšte une volontĂ© de survivre Ă  cette pĂ©riode sombre de l’Histoire. In Dreams Together comprend le journal intime de Leslie et ses mĂ©moires d’aprĂšs-guerre, dans lesquels il tĂ©moigne de son enfance, de la guerre et de l’amour qui ont marquĂ© sa vie.

PrĂ©face et commentaires de LĂĄszlĂł CsƑsz

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– +
En bref
Hongrie; Autriche
Ghetto de Debrecen
Camp de transit de Strasshof
Camp de travaux forcés
Journal intime et lettres rĂ©digĂ©s durant l’Holocauste, accompagnĂ©s des mĂ©moires d’aprĂšs-guerre
Immigration au Canada en 1956
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
14+
Langue
Anglais

184 pages

À propos de l'auteur

Photo of Leslie Fazekas

Leslie Fazekas est nĂ© en 1925 Ă  Debrecen, en Hongrie. AprĂšs la guerre, il a retrouvĂ© Judit (Judy), sa petite amie, et le couple s’est mariĂ© Ă  Budapest en 1949. Leslie a repris ses Ă©tudes et obtenu un diplĂŽme en ingĂ©nierie mĂ©canique de l’UniversitĂ© polytechnique de Budapest. En 1956, Leslie et sa famille ont immigrĂ© Ă  Toronto. Il a entrepris des Ă©tudes Ă  l’UniversitĂ© de Toronto en programmation informatique, secteur dans lequel il a travaillĂ© jusqu’à sa retraite en 1988. Leslie et Judy rĂ©sident Ă  Toronto.

Spring's End, John Freund

A young boy who loved soccer as much as he loved to write, Spring’s End tells how John Freund’s joyful childhood is shattered by the German invasion of his homeland, Czechoslovakia. Hoping at first that the conflict and persecution would soon blow over, John’s Jewish family suffers through the systematic erosion of their rights only to be deported to Theresienstadt — en route to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. John’s loss of innocence and suffering are made all the more poignant as his vivid words reveal an unwavering faith in humanity, determined optimism and commitment to rebuilding his life in Canada.

Introduction by Esther Goldberg

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En bref
Tchécoslovaquie
Ghetto / Camp de concentration de Theresienstadt
Camp de la mort d’Auschwitz-Birkenau
Marche de la mort
TchĂ©coslovaquie d’aprĂšs-guerre
Projet des orphelins de guerre
Immigration au Canada en 1948
Tranche d'ùge recommandée
14+
Langue
Anglais

136 pages

MĂ©daille d’or dĂ©cernĂ©e lors des Independent Publisher Book Awards en 2008

À propos de l'auteur

Photo of John Freund

John Freund est nĂ© en 1930 Ă  ČeskĂ© Budějovice (TchĂ©coslovaquie, aujourd'hui en RĂ©publique tchĂšque). Durant l'occupation nazie, il a contribuĂ© Ă  la rĂ©daction d'un magazine clandestin appelĂ© Klepy (Potins). Des exemplaires originaux du magazine sont aujourd’hui conservĂ©s au MusĂ©e juif de Prague. En 1948, John a pu immigrer au Canada du fait de son statut d’orphelin de guerre. Il rĂ©side Ă  Toronto avec sa femme Nora, une ville dont il apprĂ©cie la scĂšne culturelle, les galeries d’art et les musĂ©es.

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