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David’s Escape

Jewish conscripts in the Hungarian Labour Service.A few months after David reported to labour camp in March of 1944, he escaped and headed home. Stationed in a town not far from Budapest, he had heard rumours that they would be shipped to the east and he made up his mind to risk immediate death rather than chance a slow, prolonged one. One day, while marching back to camp from work, he didn’t turn the corner like he was supposed to, but kept going straight. In the dark, no one saw him and he kept marching straight to Budapest.

Fortunately, he was wearing civilian clothes. Good-looking, with what the mad Nazis considered solid “aryan” features, he returned home without being challenged. He even managed to hitch a short ride. While crossing a bridge, he encountered a group of young Nazis guarding the road. He approached them with a loud fascist greeting and asked for fire to light his cigarette. He was allowed to continue, uninterrupted.

When David entered our house, everyone accepted the risk of hiding him in our room. He could not, of course, ever leave the building. So he spent his days reading and playing chess with one of the men in our house, Bela Salamon.

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