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Father Saved by Wallenberg

Crowds of Jews in front of the Swiss embassy in Budapest.In late October of 1944, Mother heard by word of mouth that Father was alive and that his forced labour unit, stationed on the eastern front, was on a Death March, slowly moving back towards the city, and then on to Austria. She also managed to find out from a visiting soldier what Father’s unit number was and the names of a few other men in his unit.

Mother, the lioness, was not going to give up on her man at this late point in the war. She visited the Swedish building housing Wallenberg and gave them Father’s unit number, the names of other men in the unit, and their approximate location– precisely the information Wallenberg needed to do his work.

Wallenberg & his Jewish colleagues worked tirelessly to save lives.They prepared letters of protection and then raced after the targeted group by car. Upon reaching the marching unit, wherever they were, Wallenberg would jump out of his car and, in impeccable German, order the Hungarian Nazis to stop the march. He would whip out his documents and call out the names. As the men stepped out, he handed each one his document and ordered them into the car. Before the Nazis realized what was happening, his car was already speeding back to Budapest with the rescued Jews in it.

Swiss Ambassador Carl Lutz also saved many Jews in Hungary.That is how Father was saved. Wallenberg brought Father back to the Swedish house in Budapest, from where Mother picked him up and brought him to her hiding place.

How my father, a slightly built, not very strong man survived years of mistreatment, hunger, cold and physical exertion, I cannot tell. I never had a chance to question him about those days and now it is too late. But survive he did.


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