Witnesses to History Keepers of Memory
Witnesses to History Keepers of Memory
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Arthur Schwartz

A unifying photomontage

At the beginning of 1944, Arthur Schwartz was conscripted into one of the Hungarian army’s forced labour battalions and was forced to leave his family and hometown of Kosice (Slovakia). In April 1945, his battalion was liberated by the Soviet army, and Arthur returned to Budapest (Hungary). There, one of his cousins told him that his brother and parents, who had been deported to Auschwitz (occupied Poland), were dead. To remember his parents and his pre-war life, Arthur’s only possession is the following photo montage that he made from two recovered photographs.

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Could you tell me who these people are in the picture?
That’s my father and that’s my mother. This was Eszter or Estelle and Jenő in Hungarian.
And where were they from?
Originally in Košice, Kassa (today Slovakia).
How come that you have their photo?
These two, they were not together. I found somewhere a picture of my father, and I found somewhere a
picture of my mother, and I took the two and made this one.
What did your parents do?
My father was selling wood after he got married but then he was selling charcoal. We had a small store
and next to the store there was a basement. My father rented that too. So, for a while I was working for
my father.
And what happened to them?
I was supposed to go with my parents to the death camp. I think it was Auschwitz (occupied Poland). But
a week before I was transferred somewhere, so I didn’t go to the death camp. They all went there, they
never came back. I tell you something. Anybody who survived, it’s just luck. It’s not because they were
smart or something, it’s just luck.

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