Budapest residents remember locals' role in Holocaust

Sat Jun 21, 2014 4:16pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Marton Dunai

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Tamas Marton was a Budapest schoolboy in 1944 when Hungarians allied to Nazi Germany helped to deport half a million Jews, including his mother, to death camps.

Seventy years on, as Hungarians still grapple with the past and many support the far-right Jobbik party, the government finds itself in conflict with the Jewish community over Hungarians' role in the Holocaust.

The Open Society Archives brought that role to the fore on Saturday, opening up to the public 76 buildings where Jews were gathered during the war. Many were either slaughtered on the spot or transported to death camps.

In the courtyard of one building, Marton, now 84, talked to about 100 people about his personal memories.

He said he watched helplessly as Hungarian fascists deported his mother from their home in an ornate building in central Budapest. She was first taken to rural Hungary. When she escaped and came home, an informer reported her.

"A day after she came back the building manager showed up with a fascist commando and took her away again," Marton said.

"She was deported to the camp in Bergen-Belsen and died there, two days after the camp was liberated. She received food and her eviscerated body could not handle it."


Resident Tamas Marton, 84, stands at the window of his apartment in a building where the Open Society Archives organises a Holocaust commemoration in downtown Budapest, June 21, 2014. REUTERS/Marton Dunai