The diary of Eva Weinmann

10 October, 1941-19 January, 1945

 

I begin in the name of God.

I promise to write all my joy, sorrow and secrets into this little booklet.

Dated in Budapest on 10th October, 1941.

 

10 October, 1941

 

I went to school with a very bad feeling today, because I had not done my homework for my religious studies class. At the school I asked Kövessi for her homework but there was a lot of it, so I couldn't copy it all. Our first class would have been German, but Miss Rózsi came in and told us that the lesson was cancelled, and she would come instead. When she came in she told us to get our handicrafts exercise books ready. I was about to tell her I didn't have my exercise book with me, when she told us that those who did not have them should go home for them. Of course I did not have mine either.  I went down to the gate with the girls, and we all pitched in the money and bought a new exercise book. We went back and Miss Rózsi discovered that we hadn't gone home, and wanted us to go home again, but I settled the matter with a lie and a bit of crying and. I copied the religious studies in the break.

 

20 December, 1941

 

This morning I had to go to Liliom Street[1], which I didn't have a clue where it was.  Finally I did what that old hag Aunt Zsuzsi had asked for. On the way home my legs hurt, since I had my period this morning. When I got home I went to straight to bed. After a while I got better. Mom asked me to go with her, but I didn’t since I had a feeling that I would meet the person I had wanted to meet for such a long time - the doorbell rang at 5 o’clock. Pista told me to go out, but not to let anybody in (he had had measles for two days). I couldn't move. Something held me back, and my heart began to pound very fast. Then the door opened and a short boy entered. I knew at once it was Ivan, behind him I saw Miska, but he wasn't handsome at all, but rather ugly. I immediately lost interest in him. Oh I'll have something to tell Gyöngyi tomorrow. Now I like Laci and Pista. I hope to meet Pista soon. May the Lord let me find him in good health.

 

29thAugust 1942. Saturday
My sweet little diary, I haven’t written my feelings on your pages for
quite a long time. A lot of things have happened since I wrote you last. I had
chicken pox that I got from Pista. I haven’t had a new love.
It’s still Miska. But I want to write about it. Today I
asked Pista about it and he confessed that Miska liked me. Now I’m so happy I
could jump out of my skin. I broke up with Kaufmann. Frak and Gácsa are my
friends. School starts in a week, and I’m not very happy about it. I will
write very soon about new developments. (I met with Miska several times.
Maybe I will meet him tomorrow, too.)

 
September 5, Saturday
Surely I didn’t guess a week ago that today I would have to write such
unpleasant things on this page, but that was the wish of God. It has been three years this week that the war broke out.[2] On this week was the a People said thank
God we haven’t had a serious air raid so far, but unfortunately it was too
early to say. On Friday night at half past 11, I woke up to see that the
sky was as bright as if there were fireworks, rockets were in the sky, which lit up the whole city. I started to shout to Mom and Dad, meanwhile they ran out and at that moment the alarm went off.
I jumped out of my bed and ran out. Pista woke up at that moment. We ran down as fast as we could from the 4th floor to the air-raid shelter. Pista and me wore nightshirts only. We were there until half past 1. This morning the radio announced that there were a lot of dead and wounded people[3]. I will finish because time is running out and I have to help. Goodbye my little diary, I don’t know when I will write again because school starts in three days.



Oct. 9, 1942

 Since I last wrote I’ve turned 14.  I only got an angora scarf, but I will get a pair of halina boots too. Since the first air raid there have already been 2 others. Thank God there have been no other air raids for a month. I still like Miska. I danced with Laci a week ago. This was the first time in my life that I really danced. I last saw Miska over the holidays. Klári saw him too and she thought that he was handsome. That is true. We met before the fast[4].  He shook hands with me and wished me an easy fast. That’s all that happened to me. I have been going to school for 1 month now. 1 week ago we moved over to Bethlen Square[5] where we go in the mornings one week and the afternoons the other. It is very pleasant. I’ll finish now but if I see Miska I will write about it.

 

24th March 1943

 

 

Since I last wrote, I’ve met Miska 5 times. On the first day I met him the girls saw him too, as a matter of fact M. came over to buy a coat and the girls and I agreed that they would come to the shop. Just when they arrived he was there too. The girls were delighted with him. I believe it – he is terrific. I was so happy then. Now since then I haven’t even met him, but I don’t mind because my winter coat is not that beautiful. I would rather meet him in spring. Thank God there have been no air raids yet, although we had to go down to the cellar for 1/4 hour, but that’s nothing. Unfortunately since I last wrote a sad event has happened too in our family. Dear Granny died. I played hookey today because I didn’t feel like studying yesterday. Last week the whole class was on a talent contest. I will write the result if I feel like it. I got 1 dress, 1 skirt, 1 blouse, 1 spring coat, 1 pair of beautiful pumps. I will also get a pair of gloves. I will finish writing because good dance music is on the radio and I want to listen to it. Goodbye my dear little diary!

 

 

 

28, June VI, 1943.

Last time I wrote here was an awfully long time ago, and since then lot of things have happened. First of all I finished higher elementary school. On the last day, we had a farewell ceremony. It was beautiful. Each girl had a flower in her hand and the younger students were lining up for us  all along the corridor, while we were walking down to the court, singing traditional farewell songs. Down at the court, two 3rd graders gave speeches, then the Head, then we went up to our classroom and walked round it several times. We were really touched. I was nearly crying, too. After great difficulties I was admitted to the Commercial School[6]. On the 15th I had my hair cut. It suits me, and I look quite pretty. I am going on holiday soon, but I don’t know where yet. I’m half in love with a boy called János Wolf, who is very handsome and he is just my type. I met him at aunt Juliska’s. We got news about Gyuri and Andor from the Red Cross[7]. They seem to have gone missing. I wonder if I’m going to meet some boys, and if they are going to court me. I hope my wish will come true. Now I will finish since I haven’t got anything else interesting to write about. Anyway, I will take my diary with me on vacation and I think I will write in it. I wish I could writ[… ]that I had dated a lot of boys. So see you in 2 weeks, my little diary.

I nearly forgot to write that I had been seriously ill. I even spent a week in the hospital under observation, since they couldn’t tell us what my illness was. At the hospital they diagnosed a glandular disease. The gland was in an obstructive hollow in the back of my lungs, and it was cured with radiation[8]. This illness lasted for 3 months. I was in a separate room with Mom, who was also there. They were very kind to me there, especially the young and handsome Dr.Licht. This illness cost more than 1000 pengős[9] to Mom and Dad. But the main thing is that thank G-d, I’m healthy now. If it had been malignant, it would have had to be operated on but thank God, it wasn’t.

25, January, 1944.

I haven’t written in my dear little diary for a very long time, since then I have seen both the easy and the difficult side of life. I spent the summer in Érsekújvár[10]. I really enjoyed myself and I was a hit. Each day a different boy saw me home, and I had a marvellous time. I was there for a month. It was there that I met Éva Fenyő, who introduced me to her friends when I came home. They are really nice guys. I liked Laci Berger most of all, although Pista Hantos was interested in me. Unfortunately God didn’t wish Laci to live long and one Saturday evening we went together to the Kié[11]. At 9:30 pm, we were coming home together, Mrs. Berger, Éva, Eri and myself. He had one foot on the steps when the tram started off. His hat was about to fall off, and when he reached for it, he lost his balance and the wheel of the tram smashed his leg totally. The tram didn’t stop, so we didn’t know anything about what had happened. But a boy from Csepel called Feri, who saw everything and was with us, ran through the car and when Mrs. Berger asked where Laci was, he answered that he would come soon. Laci, however, didn’t come, so they got off. I stayed on the tram. When they got back, poor little Laci was just being lifted to the ambulance. He was taken to Rókus Hospital[12]. I only learned about it the following day, when I went out to Csepel[13]. I was totally devastated. His leg was amputated 10cm below the knee. I was totally devastated. This good-looking, vigorous kid would never be able to walk, do sports or dance any more. I often went to visit him at the hospital, and these hours will be unforgettable for me. And I won’t forget the Friday either, when Éva Fenyo brought the news of his death. He was killed by an embolism of the heart. He got a pinhead-sized blood ball into his heart and that put an end to his life. When I learnt about this I was crestfallen.This dear kid, always-laughing, was gone forever. I couldn’t believe it. Only after he was put into the grave. I could cry only after that. I truly mourned him in my heart. Never in my life will I forget him, because in him I lost my best friend and these few pages on which I noted down a few lines of his unfortunate fate will commemorate him too. And this is how I also say farewell to You, my dearest, little Laci! And Me, who loved you selflessly, as my best friend! God be with you. May you rest in peace!

23 July 1944

 

Unfortunately it is a very sad time that makes me write again on your sheets my dear diary. In the fifth year of the war Hitler[14], the peril of Europe, has arrived here too. The persecution of Jews has started here, as in all European countries. It has been going on for five months. We are the only ones here, all over Hungary. God knows only where all the others are. One of them has been interned[15].  He was in Páva Street[16], but has unfortunately been taken. They were in Kistarcsa[17] but they say he was taken from there, too. God save them from the worst, from death. It breaks my heart to think of them. Now we have a 2-room (or 1-room) flat. We live together with my aunt Juliska. She owns the bigger room. Our room is a bit smaller. Thank God we are comparatively well. We are allowed to do the shopping from 11 to 1 o’clock. We can be outside from 11 to 5 o’clock. Gyongyi lives nearby. I often go to her place. Pista is in Csepel. Last Sunday he came home too. The poor boys from Kispest have all been taken to Serbia[18]. I don’t know if I can ever see them again. I don’t know where and how Fredi (my present crush) is. This week they attempted to kill that bastard H.[19], but unfortunately they didn’t succeed. I also heard that he croaked, but I don’t believe it.  I hope this situation will end soon. There’s a dirty Arrow Cross[20] guy here, at 57 Rakoczi Street[21], where we live. He wanted to have all the people in the house taken away yesterday. Someday he will be beaten to death. I wish I could live to see that. There’s a conversion campaign[22] among the Jews of Budapest. Unfortunately we are among them too. I don’t want to, but Dad does, so what can I do? My only consolation is that conversion takes three months and so many things can happen in the meantime. Here in the house the people aren’t good. There are two ugly 17-year-old boys, 3 good-looking Goys[23], but they don’t give a damn for me. Two 17-year-old girls, a 22-year-old girl, a 12-year-old boy, and a 9-year-old girl. That’s the choice. Poor Robi has been called up by the Demographical Movement[24], and now he has been deported[25] with the Jews. The poor boy is only 15 years old. I feel terribly sorry for him. I will finish writing now, I hope next time, when I have the chance to write again, I will write only nice and good things in you.

Monday, 31 July, 1944

Unfortunately I still cannot write anything good. Pista was home yesterday. He looks terrible. He came with a skeleton staff[26]. Gyuri came home on Saturday without the armband or the yellow star[27]. There are terrible bombings. Csepel is reduced to dust. The people I feared for are no more there unfortunately. Yesterday I was in the synagogue in Dohány Street[28]. There weren’t too many people there, but the rabbi[29] spoke beautifully. Among other things, he commemorated the deportations and the people on forced labor. In the middle of the speech, the air-raid alarm went off. There was a little panic. We and most of the others stayed in our places. It was terrible to hear the bombing. Nevertheless the ceremony went on. Unfortunately there’s no news about the Bergers, and those from Kispest[30]. I do not know anything about Frédi either. My heart breaks when I think of them. I ask God to let me see them again. The priest was here today. Teaching starts this week. I don’t care about anything anymore. Yesterday I had a good cry in the synagogue. There was nothing on the Torah[31], so it was all exposed. Many people left for Palestine[32]. I would have gone too, but I don’t want to go without Mom and Dad. The 15 that left, the 1 transport[33] stayed in Germany. [sic] They were interned there. I know many of them. God will help us some day. We must have faith. Let him grant that I should see my friends who are so close to my heart. I hope, and perhaps it will come true. Poor Frajli has been taken too.

17th of August 1944.


Unfortunately, I won’t write good things my little diary, but unfortunately there’s only grief again. I heard the bad news from the girl living in this house, whose uncle lives in Kispest, that the poor Gergelys had committed suicide. Poor Jani died too. First, 1 week ago I only knew that his father had died. I’ve been hoping up to now, but it happened. Before they were deported they’d poisoned themselves. My heart bleeds for them, but mostly for the boy.

He was such a beautiful boy. There’s always something painful. Pista was at home on Sunday. Laci was here too and both of them went out without a star in the evening. I had a very good time. Klári brought up a phonograph with many good records and we danced. In the evening I had a very bad feeling and I then learnt that poor Jani had died.

I only fell asleep about 12. I had been crying until then. At 5 in the morning Béla dropped in to say that he had lost all the pawn receipts. We were frightened, but thank God there wasn’t any big trouble. We were afraid because we thought they would investigate and then it would turn out that there are Jewish valuables, and they could intern us. I still can’t believe that Jani died. I hope they’ve got away, or he is ill, but he hasn’t died. I hope I will write only good things on your pages my little diary. You share my joy and sorrow. I hope next time I will write that we have taken off the star. I wish God would grant this to us. Good-bye my little diary.

 

7th of November 1944.


Months have passed since I last  wrote to your pages. Since then there has even been one day of peace. But I will tell you everything in order.

Eva Wenger hasn’t been taken. Spindler met her to my greatest surprise. The next day as I got to know that I went to Magda Sebes’, thinking she might know her address because I thought they had got away. But as I learnt the following day, they had become exempt, because her father has the 2 big silver medals[34] and he is a soldier as well. They live in Kispest. I wrote to her immediately. She came to me two days later and she told me that Jani was alive. But they were taken together with the others. Eva and her family were released from the train station. They were taken on the day of Peter and Paul[35]. I haven’t seen Eva W. since.

The 15th of October is a memorable date[36]. At lunch we were sitting down to the table, and Gyöngyi was here too, when the doorbell rang: Pista and Gyöngyi went out. A bit later they came back smiling and told us that Salgó’s wife had been there and  that Horthy[37] had said that we had surrendered[38]. You can imagine the happiness. The Jewish house opposite was like a swarming beehive: everyone in the building kept looking out the windows. The Germans were marching as if nothing had happened. And I ran down to the girls and I got to know from them that Horthy said this among other things: „This cruel treatment of the Jews was all done by the Germans, and today every normal person knows that the Germans lost the war.” I was crying with joy and I thought of Frédi and the other children immediately, that I can see them again. The girls said it still didn’t mean the end of the war so I shouldn’t be that happy, but they could talk to me! They were right, because the real affliction just came after that. We took off the star from the house[39] and we set up guards. Father, Pista, and Pali were scheduled from 8 to 10. In the evening two groups of marchers passed the house shouting: „Down with the Jews!” etc. We girls were down at the gate till 9 but then we came up. Dad came home at 12 and we were very worried. We found out the sad news from him that Szálasi[40] had taken power. He talked on the radio at 10. He uttered threats. He would kill the Jews. The cowardly doorkeeper[41] put up the star. It was a horrible night. But I fell asleep from exhaustion.

16th Oct.

In the morning we went down to the girls’ place. They were in despair too.
Pista sat down to play Monopoly[42] with us, I lost patience and went
up. Kitty came in crying, asking what we could possibly do, and said we
should escape. I said maybe we might go to our shop. Suddenly, Pista comes, out of
breath with the news, that German soldiers were killed in Tisza Kálmán
Square[43] and the people from the Jewish house of Kenyérmező Street[44] were
taken away. We should escape immediately. Mom cried that she wouldn’t come, because Dad
had left at 11 o’clock and it was 1: 30 and he still wasn’t at home. Without Dad she wouldn’t go. Finally, reluctantly or because of my crying, but she came. Aunt Juliska’s …

We stopped by the gate to discuss what to do. Suddenly, the assistant caretaker closed
the gate and shouted that nobody could leave the house. And he ran for the
key. That was all we needed.  We sneaked out the gate. We arrived safely at
the shop. But Pista wasn’t there yet. He came later and he waited for
us at the caretaker to whom the idiot said that we wanted to hide in the shop
in this crucial days. We slept there, put coats on the cold concrete floor
and covered ourselves with them.  I was crying all night because I didn’t know anything about Dad.


17 Oct.

 

There were shots in the morning, after the air-raid alarm. There were soldiers running in the street with guns in their hands, and gendarmes scattered out from the school on  Mária Terézia Square[45]. People were led to the gates. (I forgot to write that the caretaker wanted to report us, but Mrs. Pajor talked to him, and he finally didn’t.) We had been staying inside the store, then came out of the store and went to the doorway of the neighboring house. But they came there too, and checked Pista’s papers, and mine, but Mom wasn’t checked because she went to the back. We were taken to their barracks on Mária Terézia Square[46] and searched, but nothing was taken. They made us stand back-to-back against the wall. After that they kept bringing other Jews one after the other, and Mom came along with them. We had to stand from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. motionless, with our hands in the air, against the wall, with only a half-hour break once. We weren’t allowed to lower our arms, not even for a moment, if we did, they would punch our elbows with their fists. They said that we could only lower our hands if we collapsed. The guns were always pointed at us, and the soldiers kept saying: “You will croak anyway dirty Jews, today, or tomorrow, it doesn’t make any difference.” And: “So you were throwing hand grenades at Hungarian soldiers?” etc. My temper was rising, but I had to hold myself. Once I got a horrendous hit on my leg. I turn around, it was the captain. “Where have you been without your star?” – he asks. And he pointed his gun at me. I thought he would shoot me dead in an instant, and I wasn’t paying attention to my  words. I was saying farewell to everyone. To Dad, Frédi, the children, and everyone. My voice was trembling terribly. Finally he moved on. Two more times after that I thought I would be shot, but thank God I wasn’t hurt, and we were set out on our way. Where we were going, we didn’t know.

We ended up in the Tattersaal[47]. I found all of my friends there. The situation was horrible there. Everyone was starving and freezing. We had nothing with us. I was wearing high-heeled shoes and silk stockings, mother and Pista were dressed similarly. In the evenings we lay on the haystacks. People from the house and aunt Juliska were there too. We didn’t sleep all night. Daddy was nowhere to be found. We were prepared for the worst when around midnight -- shouting etc. It was announced that everyone could go home that night. Imagine our joy. The Jews were shouting „long live Szálasi”… There was a wild tumult. Not far from where we were sitting lay the dead. It was horrible. We arrived home and found Daddy there. He was caught in Kun Street[48] and was taken to a school in Óbuda. We went to bed feeling happy - finally we were all together again. Unfortunately our happiness didn’t last long. 2 days later, on Friday, they came for Daddy, and took him. On Monday I joined as well. I joined the girls from the house and went to the KISOK field[49]. There were loads of women there. Mom didn’t want to let me go. She booked me as a war orphan with the caretaker, and said that I was born on the 4th of February 1929… but I left anyway. Mom ran over to the plant to get a certificate about it being a war plant[50], But I didn’t wait  for the certificate, but just left .

At noon I was just sitting there having lunch with the girls when Mom came. She brought the certificate. She had a blanket in her hands and nothing else. Mom told me she would stay with me, because she was couldn’t stay home all by herself. I argued with her, but then I gave in as I was hoping to be allowed to go home as an Arrow Cross man came and asked for  the war plant certificate. He found mine good and I was put in a separate line. I was counted into another group, and was set off. There was no use explaining we were workers at the war plant. It didn’t matter. We had to go. We kept walking from 1:30 to 9:30 constantly with short breaks. It was terrible. My backpack was killing me. It was raining  all the time. My shoes were soaking wet. I was dying of thirst. Even the Arrow Cross soldiers couldn’t tell us where we were going, they just kept saying we were almost there. They said that at 3, and at 9 we were still going. Finally we arrived at the marked house. An unfinished building at Ferihegy airport[51]. We lay down on the stone floor at night and slept curled up.

In the morning we were arranged in companies. The ill and the workers of the war plant remained, 116 of them. I worked for the first time on Thursday. We had to dig ditches. Soldiers dug the ditches instead of my girlfriend and me. There was a cute ensign and I talked with him quite a lot. After work we got potato soup. It cost 3 pengős. The first hot meal in our stomach. The next day, on Friday, (27th Oct.) we went to work 6 kilometers away from the[……..] It was an ugly rainy day. I dropped out, and hardly worked that day. We were digging roadblocks. On Saturday (the 28th) I stayed at home. I was lucky, because the Arrow Cross soldiers came that day, and forced them to work even harder. I forgot to mention that on Wednesday the army took us over. Until then we were [………]   we couldn’t even go to the toilet properly, because the bastards were standing there peeping at us as we did it. One of the soldiers, a 22-year-old cute one, kept coming every night to „tell us a story”. We laughed at him a lot. On Monday I went to work again. The weather was nice, and we were sunbathing and lying on the field all the time. We didn’t work at all. I didn’t go to work any more, because the doctor assigned me to an easy job. I was lying at home.

 

 

2nd  November

 

Once we went over to where the airplanes stood to clean there. We had a hot bath and got vegetable stew. There were 39 of us in a room. They were all really nice girls. They didn’t go to work on rainy days or on Sundays. The Russians were quite close, and already on the day before, on the 1st (of November), they broke through the front line[52]. On Thursday the girls did not go out and the order to leave came in the afternoon.  All of us were already packed. We decided not to go to Albertfalva[53] and from there probably to Germany. We set off at dusk. Upon the men’s instruction we were going slowly – so slowly that we stopped  after almost every second step. We did so in the hope that the Russians might catch up with us. But it didn’t happen even on the 14th of November[54]. We were supposed to be put up in Kőbánya, but we, the 6 girls, fell behind the company. We also held up a girl who pretended to have heart problems. It was not only us who were hanging back but many more. We sat in a bush by the road. One of the girls lay down as if she were sick and we stroked her heart. Finally we realized that our number had grown from 6 to 36. It was a situation that couldn’t last. Then they went on and we did so too, five minutes later. We passed the gate of a factory and they noticed us. They asked how we got there. We started to tell them that we were ill and couldn’t find our company. He showed us the way and told us to enter the next gate. We thanked them. We got to the gate, but no one was there and we went on. We went a few blocks and saw a group that was coming towards us. Two policemen caught them and kindly warned them to go back to their company, since it was after 12 o’clock, because if the Arrow Cross patrol caught them they would be killed. So we all went back. We found Robi and his friends and slept on the concrete floor. We would have had to leave the place at half past 8 in the morning. We didn’t want to go before twelve. The doctor is a very nice person. He started his rounds. The whole company, and half the company of men lined up as sick. We agreed that someone would always keep fainting. The girls fainted one after the other. At last the doctor had to stop the girls, because it was conspicuous. We went on at 11. We put the backpacks on a car and we moved on on foot. We took off our trousers, ready to escape. It was Friday and the bars were open that day. We were in Pest already. We sat down and the guards went to get some drinks. Suddenly a car came. We asked for a lift. He picked us up. We arrived at the front of the company, and the gendarme-officer[55] stopped the car. He asked us where we were going. He got no answer. Where did we come from... and he started the car. We drove through the city. We took the star off of course. The car filled with women, the road with soldiers but nobody thought of asking who we were. We got home safely on the 3rd of November. We told the people in the house that we had been let home as war plant workers. The labor camp finished with that. We didn’t have such a terrible time. We could get food if we there was money. There was a canteen. In the morning we got black coffee, in the evening we got bean soup.

 

 On Saturday  November 4th, when I opened my eyes, Mom came with the news that we were called up again. Anyone who applied to be a dressmaker on Sunday wouldn’t have to join the company. Dressmakers can work in Bpest. On Sunday my mom went there and got one of the last application forms, although it was not required for war plant workers. She got the backpack on Bellye Square. Those who had to join on Monday (6th Nov) got 8 days of postponement. On Wednesday (8th Nov) morning the order arrived for me in Buda. My mother begged me not to go away. For one thing I was sick and had a fever. I packed anyway. In the end mom’s will was stronger, and after a long struggle with myself I decided to stay. On Thursday (9th Nov.) the doctor came and gave me identification papers. In the evening Uncle Béla came. We asked him to take me to his house. He would have taken me that day but the gate was locked and I couldn’t say anything. We agreed that he would come by 11 o’clock the next day, because the gate was open between 10-12. When he left Lajcsi[56] [sic] came. He had escaped from the labor camp. He brought the new orders that we couldn’t go outside for 3 days. We thought that Uncle Béla wouldn’t come, but I kept hoping.

At 9:30, on Friday, on 10th November, I went to the toilet. I was ready and I was waiting for Béla. I hear loud shouting. They were Arrow Cross soldiers. They wanted to take women between 16-40 and men between 16 and 50. I rushed in. I lay down on the bed. We decided to say that I was sick. We changed our minds, however, because they said that the sick would be carried by two others on their back. We decided that we would say that I was 15 years old. They came up and rang the bell. Mom opened the door and told them that I was 15[57]. He asked for our papers and my Mom said they were lost. Then the janitor certified from the tenant list he had that I was really 15. He went away. Meanwhile I was trembling and praying all the time. God helped us because they were all taken to Germany with my friend and our company. Uncle Béla didn’t come. I forgot to write that Pista came home on Friday. In the morning when he left there was a raid in the house. He was asked to prove his identity. He had a labor service paper but he wasn’t wearing an armband and they took him. I think unfortunately he is in Germany.

 

On Monday (13 November) we went to Zugló[58], to clear rubble. In the evening,
when we were to go home, the news came that the Jews were being taken in
Pest. We were terribly frightened. We sat on the tram, the suburban train
and went to Béla's place. I climbed over the fence, and we went in. They
were really surprised. We stayed there for a week. During this time, the Jews
were taken twice. The women up to 50. On Sunday Béla brought us the
Swiss protective passport[59]. That day, we went right away home, to pack because we
had to move out of the house. In the morning Mom got a car for us. We took the
stuff to the place where aunt Julika lived. There was no room
in that house, so the stuff was placed in the stairway. I lined up at the
housing office. By the evening we were sorted to 100 groups and taken to a house.
I went for Mom. We met in Pozsonyi Street. She was with Dad. You could imagine
my happiness when I saw Dad after 4 weeks. I got a flat in Tátra Street[60]. There are 36 of us, 1 room, a hall and maid’s room. There must be lice too. Thank God
we didn’t have them. Daddy came on Tuesday, and he had his name also written on
the pass. In the evening the caretaker came and he checked on
people’s papers. He found ours to be fake. We were really
frightened. But, finally it turned out that he was only after
money, because he was wearing an Arrow Cross armband. We thought
after this, we might have some peace, and we wouldn’t be disturbed. We were
wrong. We woke up every morning to the noise of policemen marching in the
street and occupying houses, from where after a while a bunch of people came out,
 each of them carrying a pack on their back. This went on day after day. We were standing at the window in a flutter.
 The time came for us too. One day the policemen entered our
house too. Two policemen entered our house. They said that they wouldn’t take anyone. We
had to take out our passes, but we didn’t dare to show our original
ones, just the copy. We were made to stand apart, and when they made a
list, we were made to stand among those who hadn't got a pass. When they left,
I started to cry. I was afraid of being taken away. But
nothing has happened so far.
A few days later we were woken up to see that there were policemen in the house opposite ours. They also came to us. We were taken to work and we could
return by evening. All three of us went. We went to St. István park[61]. From
there, the women were sent back home, and the men were taken by car to Csepel to work.
2 or 3 days later the policemen appeared with an Arrow Cross escort. I lay down
in bed, with a towel on my head. We decided to say that I had
pneumonia. Only our pass was found to be fake. We were told to get dressed.
Mom cast herself down on me, and sobbed and said I had a fever of 40 degrees and
I was deadly ill. I was just lying there white as a sheet, I breathed with
difficulty, so I was acting really well. Another Arrow Cross and a policeman came up,
who had received 20 pengős from Mom previously and said he wouldn't carry me on his back. The Arrow Cross man said he would tell the inspector that we weren’t coming. They left. When they wanted to come in to check if everybody had left, the policeman said everything was
all right. They didn’t come in again any more. It was very lucky that the men weren't home. I was terribly anxious. The Arrow Cross man wanted to smuggle
a revolver into the apartment. The policeman noticed this and stopped him. If the Arrow Cross man’s plan had succeeded, all the people in the apartment would have been taken. But thank God
no one and nothing was taken.
 34 of us remained. 3/4 of the people in the building were taken, and all the apartments were
plundered.
In the afternoon, we were peacefully sitting in the apartment.  All of a sudden, the door
opens and an Arrow Cross comes in. He has a revolver in his hand. Hands up! he
shouted. Everyone raised their hands, except me, because I was lying as if
dead. He wanted gold. He got a wedding ring. He was really angry and went
away swearing ferociously. One woman had a ring on one of her fingers, which
he didn't notice. In the other apartments, as we found out, he wanted
money. But one thing is for sure: he did it all arbitrarily.
The next day they came again, the women from 15-50 and the men up to 60 were taken
to work. I was lying on the couch, and they were sitting on the edge of it. The Arrow Cross and policemen came in. Luckily they didn't notice me. Mom said
she was 52. So we got away with it. There were a lot of people taken from the house.


Friday, 21, December


This morning a woman brought the news that Lajcsi was caught. He
had been staying in a guesthouse with Christian documents, but he was caught.
Unfortunately we know nothing of Pista. The Russians are still far away[62]. I
don't know if I can write what the Arrow Cross will do with us in the end.
Unfortunately our situation is very hopeless.
Here in the apartment it's terrible. Lice, fleas, bedbugs. I have had
none of them thank God. There are constant quarrels. If only God would
put an end to all this.


Sunday, 24 December


Christmas comes in tonight. I'm very bored. That's why I recall the beautiful events of the past days. One of my nice days which I spent with Frédi.

 

 

28th Febr

We organized a picnic at the Fenyős. Éva F. said in advance that Frédi
would be there too. It didn’t excite me very much, because at that time
I was kind of interested in Miska and I wanted him to come, too.
On Sunday Pista, Gyöngyi and me went out. I wasn’t too cheerful, because
Miska hadn’t come. By the time we arrived, almost everyone had been there.
Frédi too. I shook hands with everybody, with him, too. We sat down,
talked, and in the meantime I kept looking at him, and he kept looking at me.

It went on until the gramophone was turned on. At the 2nd or 3rd
record perhaps he asked me to dance, several times until we were called in for
dinner to the other room. I sat down alone on a chair near the door. When he
came in, he asked me why I was sitting apart from the others. I didn’t
reply. But it didn’t work, because he didn’t sit down next to me. After we had finished eating, and it was time to give presents, he sat down next to me. We were talking, but Pista was sitting next to us the whole time. I got a cap as a present, but Bandi Sárosi pulled it off my head and it got torn.
The gramophone started to play again. I danced with him. After that it was ladies’ choice. I didn’t ask him to dance. He was offended and asked me why I hadn’t asked him to dance. I didn’t even reply. Soon we were called into the other room again and the more talented boys made a
performance.  Now Frédi sat down next to me. It was a very good sketch. Then, another dance. He asked me to dance, and we were dancing together all night. He told me, among other things, that he hadn’t been happy to come here either, because he thought he wouldn’t have a good time, but the fact that he enjoyed himself was due to me only. Until that time he hadn’t thought that someone can fall in love at first sight, but he experienced it himself. And he likes me very much.
For this I answered it was mutual. I was very happy. It was the first time anyone declared his love to me, if you can call it that. He didn’t want to let me go and until 10:45 we danced together. We
agreed that in April we would go to the Opera together, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. Unfortunately I haven’t seen him since then. He walked me to the tram and went home. The next Sunday we were to go to a soccer match together. He was there, but I wasn’t allowed to go. He only sent me his greetings. When the Germans came in, we were having a party. Everyone came, except 2 or 3 people, but he didn’t. The mood of course was terrible. One week before my party, there was a party at the Wengers. Frédi had been invited too, but he couldn’t come, because he had a season ticket for the OMIKE[63] Opera performance and the performance was on that very Sunday, so he couldn’t come. When Éva Wenger invited him he asked who else would be there.
When she mentioned my name, he said he was sorry he couldn’t be there.
He sent his regards to me. It put me in a bad mood and I wasn’t even cheered up by the fact
that there was a new, handsome boy there. I was wearing a new dress and I was very pretty. Everyone praised me. I didn’t care. Later we started to talk with that boy and were together all night. We played forfeits. For kisses. I gave lots of kisses, and I got lots of kisses
from him. Once I had to go out to the hall and he came with me. He wanted
to kiss my lips, but luckily he didn’t manage to. Later he apologized. He walked me home arm in arm. He asked me for a date and I agreed. I wondered whom to choose. Frédi or him. I chose Frédi. On Sunday the boy came too. I didn’t care for him at all. I was waiting for Frédi. He didn’t come. Éva F. later met with him and he wrote that he hadn`t been allowed to come and asked me not to be angry because he couldn’t come.
He sent his regards. Éva Wenger told me that when she last spoke with him, he asked for my address, but she couldn’t tell him.

 

January 1st, 1945

 

The New Year started. The 7th year of the war, the 10th month of our suffering. The Russians are in Buda[64], and they have been shooting the city since the 25th that is, since the first day  of Christmas. There is no electricity, water or gas. We bring the water from the cellar, and cook in the courtyard. Dead people are lying in the streets naked, because people take their clothes off them. There is a terrible bombing at the moment too. The cannon is nearby, and they are always aiming at it. The house next to ours and the house opposite us was also hit by a grenade. Money is worth nothing at all. I haven’t eaten bread for a week. I’m feeling hopeless. The Russians are not coming. I was really hoping that they would be here by the New Year. And unfortunately nothing. There is not much hope that we could live to the end of this. It is very dangerous here, at the Danube bank. Only God can protect us here. I hope God will help us. And we will be together on our own, in our own home, with Pista and all of us together. Let it be!

 

January 19th, 1945

 

At long last, I can write of the happiness which I’ve been waiting for for such long time. They are here, the Russians at last arrived[65]. In the morning of the 16th, after a terrible night, we woke up to find them here. Thank God they arrived without a fight. There is also a touch of bitterness in our great joy: on the 13th, 3 days before the liberation, dear Aunt Juliska died. She was killed by  the shockwave from a shell. Poor Pali is now at our place. Pest looks awful. On the 15th at 4 a.m. we woke up with a start to find that the lumber mill next to us was burning. We were terribly frightened that our house would catch fire too. We got dressed. The men went down to save the  lumber that was still intact. Dad went down too, but fortunately came back. Suddenly there was an awful explosion, and wailing and shouting from the street. Two grenades landed in front of the house. There wouldn’t have been such a big panic, but a machine gun had been set up in the building by the Germans earlier in the morning. By the time we got down to the gate, there were dead bodies there. 7 dead, 1 injured who died the following day. 1 German soldier also died. We slept in the cellar that night. It was terrible. Arguing and all. For the time being we are in Tátra Street. We are going home on Sunday. Our dining room furniture has been taken. All the shops have been plundered. I just thank God that I have lived up to this point.

 

Sunday, February 11th, 1945

 

I’m lying in bed, and write like that. I have a cold. Thank God we are already home.

We can heat the room, and it’s really warm. The situation hasn’t improved unfortunately. The Russians live here in our house, and want to sleep here every night. Last night 2 of them slept in the other room. Our dining room furniture has been taken. Thank God the boys from Kispest are alive. I just don’t know anything about Frédi. We practically …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instead of epilogue:

Eva Weinmann died young in a fatal illness in 1946. She left nothing behind but her diary, which was presented to the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives by her distant relatives in 2000. The students of the Lauder Javne School were the first to read and understand it and they hereby share with you the memory of Eva Weinmann's life as well as of this sad period in Hungarian history.Acknowledgments are due to them.

 

Zsuzsa Toronyi

 

ז״ל

 

 

 



[1] Liliom Street: Budapest 9th district. Street connecting Soroksári Road and Üllői Road

 

[2] the exact date of the outbreak of the war is September 1st, 1939

 

[3] The first great air attack of the allied forces in Budapest after the Germans entered  took place on the 3rd of April, 1944 and claimed 1073 victims. This was followed by other bombings on the 12th, the 13th and the 16th of April. The city was attacked twice in May but the air-raid alarms went off more and more frequently in June and July. There were 8 attacks in September against Budapest again. The intensity of the bombings is explained by the fact that starting from the 2nd of December, smaller alarms were not even signaled and people had to go to the air-raid shelters only in case of more serious alarms. Győr, Sopron, Szombathely and Szeged were frequent targets too.

 

[4] The Jewish religion has several days of fasting. The fast mentioned in the text is the one on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) that is the closure of the repentance days belonging to the beginning of the Jewish new year (Ros Hasana). This is a 25-hour fast. Everyone has to make peace with their enemies and search their heart beforehand. The creator of the universe passes judgment that day: ‘Yet repetance and prayer and good deeds can transform the harshness in our destiny.’ (Prayer Unsane Taikef) The holiday is the time of  the rebirth and purification of the soul. Apart from that, the whole period of the beginning of the year is a remembrance of the creation of the universe. According to tradition, Moses, having spent 40 days on Mount Sinai, took the stone tablets with the ten commandments for the second time and returned to his people on the day of Yom Kippur. A peculiarity of the holiday is, that those having converted to other religions either under compulsion or voluntarily, can also participate in the celebration the night before (Kol Nidre).

 

[5] Bethlen Square: Budapest 7th district. The square has the same name to this day.

 

[6] The education system of the Horthy period (1920-1944) takes over the education system set up under the dual monarchy at the end of the 19th century. It was based on the network of elementary schools, the principles of which were settled in the Education Act of 1868. It said that children were to begin school at the age of 6 and were obliged to attend school up to the age of 12 or 15. Elementary or public school could last for 4, 5 or 6 years. Children could attend these schools through the age of 12. Those who did not continue their studies were obliged to take part in review courses within the framework of elementary education. Those going on with their studies could attend secondary school after finishing the fourth year of elementary school. Secondary schools preparing them to study in higher education could be either secondary grammar schools or secondary schools for sciences and modern languages. Both types of schools educated children between 10 and 18 years of age and concluded with a final exam. Secondary grammar schools mainly focused on humanities and classical education. The final exam certificate from these schools entitled the student to enter any institution of higher education. The secondary schools for sciences and modern languages focused more on technical subjects and exact sciences. The final exam certificate from these schools meant more restricted options for the students. They could go to the Technical University, to the faculties of science and to business and technical collages. After finishing the fourth grade the student could go to higher elementary school (the equivalent of junior high school). Education there lasted for 4 or 6 years and this type of school gave no final exam certificate. Thus, graduating from this type of school did not entitle the student to pursue higher education. More specialized education was given in vocational schools. Commercial higher business schools were in this category. (As well as e.g. schools of professional training and agricultural schools.)  Boys and girls between 14 and 18, having finished higher elementary school could attend higher business school.

 

[7] The role of the Red Cross during the war: besides Switzerland, Sweden and the Vatican, the Red Cross also issued certificates of protection and delivered aid to the persecuted. The Secretary-general of the International Committee of the Swiss Red Cross, Friedrich Born,  was a central figure in aiding Hungarian citizens in 1944-45. He arrived in Budapest in May, 1944. He gave out thousands of certificates in Budapest between May, 1944 and January, 1945.He rescued thousands of Jews from deportations and death marches in Budapest and its environs. Another four thousand Jews were given employment certificates, thus saving them from deportation. He placed more than 60 institutions under the protection of the Red Cross and found homes for more than 70 thousand Jewish children and orphans. He worked in close cooperation with the other neutral diplomatic missions and set up dozens of  houses protected by the Red Cross. About 11-15 thousand Jews can owe their lives to him.

Another of the righteous, Dr Valdemar Langlet, was the representative of the Swedish Red Cross in Budapest in 1944-45. On the 11th of June 1944, the Swedish Ambassador in Budapest, Carl Danielsson,  turned to the Hungarian government with the request to legalize the joining of the Swedish Red Cross to the Hungarian Red Cross in order to be able to give food and lodging to thousands of orphaned Jewish children. Dr Langlet immediately began a humanitarian campaign in cooperation with the Hungarian Red Cross. Dr Langlet and his wife distributed Swedish certificates of protection among Hungarian Jews, thereby rescuing them from Nazi or Arrow Cross deportations and death camps.

 

[8] The so called mediastinum is located between the sternum and the two lungs, where you

can find the thymus. As a result of leukemia, the lymphatic glands there became swollen. This is a symptom of the disease that ultimately led to her death.

 

[9] What is the Pengő (June, 1943): a typist: 150 P (in 1944) [about the inflation of the value of the Pengő] According to the XXXV. Act of the 1925 Law the value of 1 kg of  fine gold is 3800 Pengős. Today’s rate is somewhat more than 5 million Forints. In January 1938, the rate of 1 US Dollar was 5.40 P and the price of 1 g of broken gold was 4.40 P.

A four-member working-class family spent about 25 Pengős a month on food, and somewhat less than 9 Pengős on lodging in 1940. The ‘world record’ in inflation is held by Hungary with the depreciation in 1945-46. The rapid increase in price was the normal consequence of the lost war, the emptied state treasury and insufficient production, just like the issue of the ever increasing denominations and the initiation of the “banknote-press” (note issuing privilege) in order to ease the pressing lack of money.

To illustrate prices we quote from a housekeeping-book of the period: 1 kilogram of bread is 6 Pengős in August, 1945 (43 Fillers in 1940), 80 Pengős at the beginning of October, 135 Pengős at the end of October, 310 Pengős in the first half of December, 550 Pengős in the second half of December, 700 Pengős at the beginning of January 1946, 7000 Pengős at the end of January, 8 000 000 Pengős at the beginning of May, 360 000 000 Pengős at the end of May and 5 850 000 000 Pengős in June. In the same period of time the price of 1 kilogram of butter rose from 500 Pengős to 630 000 000 000 Pengős and the price of 1 kilogram of potatoes skyrocketed from 10 Pengős to 3 000 000 000 Pengős.

 

[10] Érsekújvár: Today it is called Nové Zámky, it lies on the territory of present-day Slovakia. Based on the 1920 Peace Treaty in Trianon, it was annexed to Czechoslovakia. At the time of the note in the diary it belonged to Hungary again in accordance with the first Vienna decision (1938).

 

[11] KIE (YMCA)Young Men`s Christian Association. The founder of the YMCA was the Englishman George Williams (born in 1821). The organization aimed at spiritual, mental, social and physical education of the youth in an ecumenical Christian spirit. The foundation of the KIE in Hungary is connected with the young theologian, Aladár Szabó. The Hungarian KIE was founded on the 31st October, 1883 under the chairmanship of Dr Aladár Szilassy. After it had been founded, the KIE services played an important role among the young tradesmen and peasants at the beginning of the century. The KIE also had a role in the introduction of the people’s academy movement originating from Denmark and last but not least it was the Budapest KIE that founded the first troop of scouts in Hungary. They bought a house at 26  Horánszky Street in 1930, which became the first center of the KIE. They were able to  pay off the installments of the center at Horánszky Street by 1941, and it was then that they started to consider building up a new center.

With the help of the prime minister of the period, Count Pál Teleki, they could get hold of the property at 2/c Vas Street. This must be the place mentioned in the diary as the construction of the center was completed on the 8th of December, 1943. In the years prior to and during World War II many persecuted - among them Jews - took refuge in both buildings. Upon the suggestion of Géza Soos, an  organization called the Committee of Young Hungarians for Refugees was formed in 1942 by the Ecumenical Committee of Hungarian Youth and Pax Romana. They mainly participated in the rescue of Polish refugees. After that they were prepared to rescue Jews as well. Géza Soos wrote about it: “As many persecuted were hid in the SDG (Soli Deo Gloria) camps as the place allowed. The secretaries of the SDG and the YMCA put an enormous effort into rescuing the persecuted. The SDG obtained a car with diplomatic plates making it possible for them to rescue several Jews. (…) Private persons, ministers and state employees were producing fake certificates of baptism by the thousands. All that involved the danger of a death penalty. When this government was at its peak there were more than 30 000 persecuted people hidden in Budapest alone. …”

 

[12]Rókus:  One of the oldest (has been a hospital building since 1781), still-functioning hospitals, named after St. Rókus. The neighboring Rókus Chapel was built on the foundations of the ancient Christian graveyard chapel of the 4th century. Its present day appearance dates from 1739-40, when it was reconstructed. It can be found in Blaha Lujza Square in the 7th district.

 

[13] Csepel: a southern area of Budapest, situated on Csepel Island, one of the big islands in the Danube. One of the most significant factory complexes, Weiss Manfred Aircraft and Engine Factory, which mostly produced weapons during the war, was located there. Because of that, Csepel was a frequent target of bombings in World War II. 20th –21st district.

 

[14] The Germans entered Hungary on the 19th of March, 1944. Horthy, although objecting to the invasion, remained in power and named Döme Sztójay, former Hungarian Ambassador to Germany, Prime Minister. The new government issued a series of orders discriminating against the Jews. Eichmann and his Sonderkommando arrived together with the Germans. This meant about 200-300 people, the deportation of the Jews could not have been completed by them exclusively. The Hungarian internal affairs authorities and organizations gave them effective help. Two new under-secretaries of state, Andor Jaross and László Baky, were doing their very best to help Eichmann and his people work as effectively as possible.

[15] internment: an administrative procedure signifying the removal of citizens dangerous to the state for public safety or political reasons, from their surroundings and gathering them in enclosed places like camps, or keeping them in police custody.[Rubicon –V.3 Supplement – Concepts of Hungarian History]

 

[16] Páva Street: Budapest, 9th district. Parallel with Liliom Street

 

[17] Kistarcsa: Village in Pest county, to the north-east of Budapest, not far from the city limits

 

[18] Death camps in Serbia:  Serbia was under occupation by the German and Hungarian troops between 1941 and 1944. The local problem of the Jews had been ‘solved’ by the Germans in 1941-42. The first camps were set up in Belgrad, Szabács, Topolske Supe and Zemun. Infamous concentration camps in the area were the ones in Jasenovac and Dakovo. Hungarian poet, Miklós Radnóti, killed in the war, was kept in the Heidenau camp in the Bor-Zagubica area.  His last poems, which were found in the mass grave in which he was buried after execution, were written there.

 

[19] Refers to the unsuccessful attempt on Hitler`s life on the 20th of July, 1944. The attempt was planned and executed personally by Count Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg. He hid a bomb under the table in Hitler’s headquarters. The explosion caused the immediate death of four participants, Hitler escaped with a few scratches. After the attempt, Stauffenberg committed suicide and the plot was cruelly mopped up by the Nazi regime.

 

[20] Arrow Cross: the common abbreviation of the Arrow Cross Party. It was founded by Ferenc Szálasi in 1937. The party had organizations all over the country and had a significant mob influence. Because of its radicalism, it attracted supporters of other extreme right groups. The biggest extreme right party was the Hungarian National Socialist Party, banned for some time at the beginning of 1938, which was refashioned as the successor of the Hungaricist Movement. In 1938 ( Darányi government) Szálasi was arrested together with 30 of his fellow-leaders, so as the elections drew near, Kálmán Hubay, still at large, was chosen as party leader. Unheard of  throughout the history of Hungary, the Arrow Cross Party, the second largest mass party in the country, was organized in 1938-39, despite all retaliation of the authorities, despite all the arrests and bans. At the beginning of 1938 about 10 000 party members were registered, by the summer of 1939, however, there were 300 000 registered members of the Arrow Cross Party. Considering the fact that the party newspapers were regularly banned, its leaders were regularly interned and imprisoned (there were 3500 criminal judge verdicts and 3000 police decrees altogether up to 1940), then this roaring success is shocking. During the 1939 elections the extreme right won 39 mandates.

 

[21] Rákóczy Road: one of the major roads of Budapest and the 7th district. It connects the Astoria and Baross Square.

 

[22] see footnote 49

 

[23] Goy: Yiddish slang, meaning non-Jewish, Christian (sometimes derogatory)

 

[24] Public register belonged to Department III of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Its task was to manage the registration of those subject to the draft and other military services via military and public registers.

 

[25] Deportation: exile, forced resettlement. Transportation of inferior races  - according to the Nazi racial theory – (Jewish, Roma ….) to concentration and labor camps.

   Suspension of deportations – see attempt to withdraw from the Axis

A document was handed over to Regent Miklos Horthy on the 2nd of July 1944 by Per        Anger. In that document the Swedish government demanded the suspension of the deportations in Hungary. The demand was supported by the representatives of the other neutral countries too. As a result of these and some other external factors (the landing at Normandy, the records from Auschwitz had come to light) Horthy suspended the deportations on the 6th of July. This is how the majority of the Jews in                Budapest could survive. The Jews outside of the capital had already been deported by then.

 

[26] Military forces overseeing forced laborers. Paragraph IV of the so called `second Jewish Law (1939) required men of military age to perform forced labor stripped off             military rank, even if they had been officers previously. The 10 labor force divisions included camp companies, people between 18 - 42 were assigned there. The so called special labor force companies included men of the same age who were deemed unreliable from a standpoint of national loyalty. The third type of labor force companies included ethnic divisions. In the spring of 1942 thousands of Jews were ordered to special companies to assist the mobilization of the 2nd Army. They were poorly fed and were subject to the brutality of the skeleton staff overseeing them. They were mainly committed to technical work, they dug trenches, set up barriers and bunkers and cleared mines. There were 63 000 Jews in forced labor in March 1944.

 

[27] star and arm band:  All over Europe in the occupied territories, the Germans compelled the Jewish population to wear a yellow star and a yellow arm band. They enforced this in Hungary in 1944. According to the orders of the 29th of March imposed by the government of Sztojay, who was put in power after the Germans` entry into Hungary, every Jewish person above the age of 6 was obliged to wear a six-pointed canary yellow star, 10 cm in diameter on a visible place of the left chest area of their coats starting on the 6th of April.

 

[28] Dohany Synagogue: refers to the Synagogue in Dohany Street in the 7th district. That is the biggest synagogue in Eastern Europe, built between 1855-59 upon the plans of Frigyes Feszl and Ludwig Forster.

 

[29] Rabbi: ever since the destruction of the Second Temple, these wise instructors have transmitted the traditions of Jewish culture from generation to generation up to the present day.

 

[30] Kispest was a separate town in 1944. It became part of Budapest in 1950. In Hungary the deportation of the Jews outside the capital was carried out from the middle of May, 1944. About 437 000 people were taken mainly to Auschwitz, where most of them (320 000 people) were sent to the gas chambers right away. Although Horthy suspended the deportations, the Jews around Pest were being taken to extermination camps in the following few days too, notwithstanding his orders.

 

[31] Torah: The Books of Moses, the first five books of the Bible

 

[32] Palestine: area situated on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It got its name under Roman rule, from the Philistines, a people living in the area in the Ancient World. Today it is part of Israel.

 

[33] See deportations

 

[34] Exempted, great silver medal [Paragraph IV. 1939]

§2 Unless present law states otherwise the order does not apply to:

front line fighters (§1 art. IV 1938) or prisoners-of-war of the1914-1918 war, who are entitled to wear a medal of honor and were honored at least once for their commendable conduct in the face of enemy fire, or disabled in combat who were honored at least once for their commendable conduct in the face of enemy fire;

those honored with silver or gold medals in the 1914-1918 war, or those who received other honors at least twice for their commendable conduct in the face of enemy fire, or those whose father received the gold medal or the great silver medal twice in the 1914-1918 war;

those who were honored with the 3rd class medal of the iron crown decorated with swords in the 1914-1918 war, or those who were honored with other similar medals higher than that and the children of these people;

those who were at least 50% disabled in combat when this act took effect furthermore the wives and children of those who were 75% or 100%  disabled in combat when this act took effect;

the widows and children of people killed in the 1914-1918 war;

those who took part in national movements against the revolutions in 1918 and 1919, if in doing so they risked their lives, or were imprisoned for taking part, and the wives and children of  people killed in these activities;

internal secret advisors, Hungarian Royal secret advisors, and those who were ordinary or retired teachers at one of the universities or the Jozsef nador University of Technical and Economic Sciences when this act took effect;

priests or retired priests of a Christian community

champions of the Olympic Games organized by the International Olympic Committee.

The exemption stated in the present § does not apply to the descendents of the exempted persons.

The orders contained in points 1-5 of the first passage have to be applied appropriately to people involved in fighting for the country after the 1914-1918 war.[art IV. 1939]

 

[35] June, 29

 

[36] Attempt to withdraw from the Axis: in the summer of 1944 the advance of the allied forces continued. Finland, Rumania and Bulgaria turned against Hitler. As a result Horthy began considering a `withdrawal`. He suspended the deportation of the Jews in Budapest and made the pro-German Sztójay resign (August 24) He appointed his confidant Colonel Géza Lakatos, prime minister. Horthy turned to the western allied forces secretly and was directed to the Soviet Union about possible ceasefire negotiations. Horthy`s envoys thus traveled to Moscow, where they signed the ceasefire agreement on the 11th of October. The agreement ordered the Hungarian government to withdraw its armed forces to the 1937 borders and to openly turn against Hitler. The attempt to withdraw turned out to be a poorly prepared action and Horthy did not give definite orders to complete it. The long debates and Horthy`s uncertainty gave enough time for the Germans to react. Szálasi takes power on the 15th of October 1944 and that means the beginning of the Arrow Cross rule of terror.

 

[37] Horthy: Vitéz Nagybányai Miklós Horthy was born on the 18th of June, 1868 in Kenderes, Szolnok county. He started his career as a naval officer. He was the court adjutant of king and emperor Franz Joseph I from 1909 to 1914. He commanded the battleship Novara in World War I. In March, 1918 he became a fleet captain and rear admiral, then the chief commander of the Austro-Hungarian Fleets. Later he was Minister of Defense of the counter-revolutionary government in Szeged, the commander-in-chief of the national army. He had himself chosen regent of Hungary with the help of his armed men on the 1st of March, 1920. Hungary joined the Berlin-Rome Axis under his leadership and entered World War II. After the unsuccessful attempt to withdraw from the Axis and the Arrow Cross takeover following the attempt (October 15th, 1944) he was taken to Germany where he was taken into American captivity. He was heard as witness in the Nurnberg trials. He died in Portugal on the 9th of February, 1957.

 

[38]   The Regent’s Proclamation stating that the German defeat became inevitable and he would conclude an armistice in order to avoid further bloodshed. The proclamation does not include the fact that the armistice had already been signed in Moscow the previous day and that it gives no orders to cease fighting. The ‘withdrawal’ was not prearranged carefully, its impediment, however, had long been prepared for by the Arrow Cross people, the Germans and the pro-German officers, so they could easily hinder it.

 

[39]  Upon the order of the Sztójay-government on the 26th of April, 1944, the Jewish population in the towns out of the capital was locked up in closed ghettos, whereas in Budapest they were crowded into so called ‘Jewish houses’, with yellow stars on the gates.

 

[40] Szálasi: ( Kassa, January 6th, 1887 – March 12th, 1946, Budapest)

Military officer. He came from a family of military clerks and prepared for a military career after having graduated from the military high-school in Kőszeg. He was a second-lieutenant in 1915 and was commanded to attend a military school after World War I. He became a captain in 1924 and was assigned to headquarters staff in December 1925. His maniacal ideas about his own ‘commitment’ formed these years. He was a typical representative of the ultra-right wing of the military officers in the Horthy era. He joined the secret racist society, the Alliance of Hungarian Life, founded by Árpád Taby, guard major, and became one of its main figures. He was appointed staff major in 1933 and published a number of studies in military politics. He offered his ‘military program’ to almost every party – including the Socialist Democratic Party. His program contains a confused mixture of extreme chauvinism, anti-Semitism and ideas to realize his fundamental principle, the total fascist state. He retired in 1935 and in March the same year founded the Party of the Will of the Nation, a Nazi organization. He was defeated in the elections of 1936. He belonged to the ‘radical’ extremists in the rising and consolidating Arrow Cross movement. His activity was considered dangerous even in Horthyist circles, depending on the actual internal and external political situation. In 1937 and 1938 he was imprisoned for his attempts to overthrow the  constitutional order. He founded the Arrow Cross Party in 1939 with German financial and political support. He was one of the most active organizers of Arrow Cross activities in the 1940s. The Germans, however, withdrew their support from the by then  declining movement and revived the relationship only after the autumn of 1943. He became a central figure in the Arrow Cross movement again after the 19th of March, 1944 and since the Germans found no ‘suitable’ partner in other segments of the Hungarian ruling classes, he was made leader of the country on the 15th of October, 1944 with a putsch. As the ‘leader of the nation’ of the so called Hungarist government he supported the Germans with total economic and military mobilization. The most cruel form of Arrow Cross terror developed in Hungary in these months, when thousands of Jews, escaped soldiers and left-wing people were killed and deported. He moved his headquarters to the west of Hungary in December 1944, and then escaped to Germany to avoid the approaching Soviet troops. He was caught by American troops and was sentenced to death for war crimes by the People’s Court in Hungary in 1946.

 

[41] caretaker: he was charged with overseeing the day-to-day functioning of the building

 

[42] Orig: Kapitaly, Capitaly: similar to the popular board game Monopoly

 

[43]Tisza Kálmán Square: 8th district. Between Blaha Lujza Square and Baross Square near Népszínház Street, Fiumei Street and Rákóczi Street

 

[44] Kenyérmező Street: short street in the 8th district, connecting Rákóczi Street and Köztársaság Square

 

[45]Mária Terézia Square: In the 8th district, between 68-69 Baross Street and 52 Német Street

 

[46] 3-37 Üllői Street. At the crossing of Üllői Street, József  boulevard and Ferenc boulevard. After the war it was army post ‘Kilián’.

[47] Tattersaal: racecourse. Similarly to KISOK course it was one of the places in Budapest where people to be deported were gathered.

 

[48] Kun Street: street connecting Köztársaság Square and Népszínház Street in the 8th district

 

[49] KISOK course: The Arrow Cross government decided on the extermination of the Jews in Budapest after Szálasi’s takeover on the 15th of October, 1944. This activity was supported by the orders appearing on posters all over the capital calling women from 15 to 45 to the KISOK course by the morning of October the 23rd. After a few days’ of forced labor - digging trenches – tens of thousands of women were led towards Germany on foot on the main road to Vienna. They had to walk 30 km daily unprotected from rain and wind and got food worth of nothing only once a day. They spent the nights in stables until they finally got to the border. Many of them died of exhaustion or were shot to death. The rest were put in wagons and were  taken to different concentration camps from which only a few could return. KISOK movement was a well-organized system of competitions for students. The course was situated in the area between Mexikói Street, Erzsébet királyné Street and Columbus Street.

 

[50] War plant certificate: document proving that its owner worked at a war plant. It could give exemption from deportation.

 

[51] Ferihegy Airport: the only airport in Budapest with passenger service, located in the south-east of the capital.

 

[52] The Soviet troops attacked towards Kecskemet on the 29th of October. That was the start of the ‘Budapest’ military operation. Kecskemet was liberated on the 1st of November. The Soviet troops reached Vecsés, lying next to Ferihegy mentioned in the diary, on the 3rd of November.

 

[53]Albertfalva is part of the 11th district in Buda. Its railway station was one of the departure places for deportations.

 

[54] The Soviet attack that started on the 29th of October with the aim to liberate Budapest, got stuck by the 4th of November, although the Soviet troops had already reached the capital borders ( Üllő, Vecsés). The German military leadership strengthened defense by completely sacrificing the 3rd Hungarian Army. It had already been decided by the Soviet military leadership by that time that they would not head towards the Budapest -Vienna line but towards the Warsaw – Berlin line instead. This resulted in the protracted siege of Budapest.

 

[55] Gendarmerie: armed repressive force under military discipline, set up to maintain internal order. The organization set up in Hungary first in 1791 modeled on the Austrian example, was referred to as ‘zsandars’ originating from the French word. Neologists later invented a new term for it. After a period of pause, the organization was set up again in 1881 and the gendarme wearing a sickle-feather on his hat and carrying a bayonet was one of the most important instrument of oppression in the Horthy-era too. The deportation of the Jews outside of the capital could not have been carried out without their enthusiastic participation.

 

[56] Nickname. It means Lewis.

 

[57] Women were obliged to take part in forced labor from the age of 16.

 

[58]Zugló: part of Budapest, in the 14th district

 

[59] Passes or certificates of protection: By the beginning of July 1944 the deportation of the Jews outside the capital had basically been completed. All in all 437 000 people were deported, most of them killed in Auschwitz. Some consulates, embassies and international organizations started campaigns to save the Jews inside Budapest. Representatives of the neutral countries applied for emigration permits from the Hungarian government and having received such permits they issued certificates of protection to the persecuted. The issued passes ensured some protection for their owners, thus meaning the possibility of survival for many of them. Outstanding figures of the campaigns were Swiss consul Carl Lutz, representative of the Swedish embassy Raul Wallenberg, papal legate Agelo Rotta, representative of the Vatican, representative of the Swedish Red Cross in Hungary Dr Valdemar Langlet and ‘agent’ of the Spanish embassy in Budapest Giorgio ‘Jorge’ Perlasca.

 

[60] Tatra Street: street in the 13th district, perpendicular to Szt. István Boulevard

 

[61] Szt. Istvan Park: 13th district, near Pozsonyi Street and the Danube quay, opposite Margaret Island

 

[62] The aligned attack of the 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian fronts to completely beleaguer Budapest was already in process. The ring closed by the 26th of December.

 

[63] OMIKE (Cultural Association of Hungarian Israelites) was founded by Simon Hevesi. During the war high-standard plays, opera and ballet performances were organized here by artists having been excluded from other theatres due to the laws against the Jews (OMIKE art campaign). The venue of the performances from 1939 to 1944 was the Goldmark Hall in Wesselényi Street.

 

[64] Although the ring around Budapest closed only on the 26th of December, Soviet troops were already in the vicinity of Szt. János Hospital that day. The Germans had withdrawn to the Buda Castle where they held on until the 13th of February. Pest was liberated on the 18th of January.

 

[65] The siege of Pest ended on the 18th of January 1945. Buda was liberated on the 13th of February.