I was born and raised in Budapest. I was there when Hitler’s army marched in on November 19, 1945. Hungary was the last country they invaded, toward the end of the war. When the Germans come to Budapest, it was like Kristallnacht. The soldiers assaulted men in the streets and pulled down their pants to see if they were Jewish. On November 19, the Nazis grabbed my brother and husband right off the street and I never saw them again.
My family and I were living in a beautiful apartment on the Danube when we heard the cries and the gunshots on the street. We had heard much about the suffering of the Jews in Poland. Fortunately, my mother, father, sister and one brother survived the war. Also, many first cousins survived. Our family had a gentile caretaker who loved my parents very much, When the Nazis come and demanded of the caretaker, “Bring down the Jews”, the caretaker said there were none there.
My father owned a fountain pen store. He and my mother came from Munich, Germany. I was educated in Budapest. I was very bright and learned German and English along with Hungarian and Yiddish. My first husband, his last name was Ishtenberger, had a haberdashery business. Fortunately, we had no children. He was only in his 20’s when he was captured and killed by the Nazis.
I was captured several times, but was able to escape. I have been asked how I escaped. With young girls there was always a way.
After the war, I worked in the DP Camp for the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society registering survivors. I got the job thanks to my multi-lingual abilities. Later I taught English in Munich where I met my second husband. He was also a translator and spoke Hebrew fluently.
My husband, also a survivor, lost his first wife and three children to the barbaric Nazis. He himself had been tortured while exiled to Siberia where the soldiers poured hot water over his head out in the freezing cold.
My family immigrated to Montreal, Canada, where we lived for ten years. Later, we moved to Detroit, Michigan where we had one daughter, Linda.