Budapest Ghetto Set Up 50 Years Ago Leads throughout to CORRECT typos. No pickup.
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) _ Fifty years ago, Julia Gati, her mother and her 16-month-old son were rounded up with the rest of Budapest’s Jews and herded into a ghetto, where 20,000 people, including her mother, died in the next two months.
″My mother died there, she starved to death,″ the 72-year-old retired school teacher said on Tuesday, 50 years after Hungary’s Nazi puppet regime created the Budapest Ghetto. ″I have no idea how we survived. It was a miracle.″
The 50th anniversary passed almost unnoticed. Only one newspaper - the liberal Magyar Hirlap - noted the date and what it meant to the city. But there were no official commemorations.
The deputy leader of Hungary’s Jewish community, Rabbi Ernoe Lazarovits, said Jews would never commemorate such a hated date, but he acknowledged he wasn’t even sure what day the barricades went up around Budapest’s Jewish quarter.
World War II was almost over when fascists called the Arrow Cross, opposed to the Hungarian government’s attempt to end is alliance with Nazi Germany, overthrew Regent Miklos Horthy.
Together with the occupying Germans, they herded about 70,000 of Budapest’s Jews into the ghetto, set up around the main Budapest synagogue.
Between Nov. 15, 1944 and Jan. 18, 1945, when the Soviet army liberated the ghetto, approximately 20,000 Jews died in the ghetto, either of starvation, disease or exposure, or at the hands of gangs working for the Arrow Cross regime.
Before the ghetto was created, almost 90 percent of Hungary’s Jews had been sent to death camps after the German occupation began in March 1944.
″We had no food, no water, no heating″ in the ghetto, Mrs. Gati recalled in an interview with The Associated Press.
Mrs. Gati’s 66-year-old mother, Margit Kohn, died of starvation in December 1944. ″But my son and I survived, thanks to the Russians, who gave us food and drink,″ she said.
The fact that her little son could survive such horror made Mrs. Gati religious, which she had not been before the war.
″Until then I hadn’t believed in God, but since that time I’ve been a true believer,″ Mrs. Gatis said. Her son, Gabor, also lives in Budapest.
Budapest’s Jewish ghetto was one of the few in Europe to be left intact after the war. Although it was mined, the Nazis did not have time to blow it up because the Red Army was advancing. About 50,000 Jews were liberated.
An estimated 100,000 Jews live in Hungary, mostly in Budapest, giving the country the largest Jewish community in eastern Europe.