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Memoir: A Child's Story





















Volume 9d

Agnes Simon

A Child's Story

published by the
Concordia University Chair in Canadian Jewish Studies

Copyright Agnes Simon, 2000

Key Words

Budapest, Hungary, Zalaegerszeg (village in Hungary), Admiral Miklos Horthy (Hungarian leader), Ferenc Szalasi (Arrow Cross leader), Arrow Cross (Hungarian Fascist movement), liberation by Russian troops, Allied bombing of Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Ulm (city in Germany), Hindenburg Kaserne (Displaced Persons’ camp), Sedan Kaserne (Displaced Persons’ camp), Canada.


Narrative begins with recollection of the day the Germans invade Hungary n 1944. Author is ten years old. Sent to countryside with the gentile cousin of her friend. Cousin is unsympathetic and threatens the young girl. Brought back to Budapest when Jews are forced to wear the yellow star of David. Describes the restrictions imposed on Jews. Recalls the surrender of Admiral Horthy and the return to power of the fascistic Arrow Cross under Szalasi. Describes the round-up of Jews and the conditions of imprisonment. Following a night of uncertainty, Jews are returned to their homes. Later, everyone from age 16 to 40 is told to report for transport to labour camps. Mother is saved by intervention of gentile neighbour. In December1944, the Jewish ghetto is sealed. Allied air-raids increase the uncertainty. Conditions in cellar, which serves as air-raid shelter, are described. Liberated by Russians--acknowledges her gratitude to the Russian liberators. Return to family dwelling. Father returns from Russian detention camp. Fearing Hungarian antisemitism and the prospect of the communist regime, family decides on emigration. In June 1946, with changed indentities, family crosses the border into Austria and reaches Vienna. Later, they travel to Ulm, Germany where they spend the next two years. Describes her studies and the acquisition of English. Since entry to the U.S. proves difficult, family comes to Canada and decides to stay.

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