During this semester, my advisor, the lovely Dr. Starostina, is teaching a special topics class on NAZI Germany and the Third Reich. Part of our discussions have centered around the victims of Hitler’s plan to create a master race, by eliminating those he felt were inferior to the “Aryan” race of Germany. This list included, along with Gypsies, homosexuals, the mentally challenged, the sick and infirmed, the people of the Jewish belief. His ultimate plan was to wipe them from the face of Europe. World War II was such a horrific time in Europe, especially for those on the above list. Our class was privileged today to have Eva Friedlander, a Holocaust and War survivor, give a presentation of her book, the “Nine Lives of a Marriage – A Curious Journey,” which is her memoir of the war, coming to America and her life here in Atlanta, Georgia, as a displaced refugee. Eva Friedlander, a Hungarian Jew, and now citizen of the United States is 90 years old and an entertaining speaker. Our class could not get enough of her stories. “We are sponges,” commented one of my fellow students, “fill us up.” With grace, and an overwelming amount of wonderful knowledge, she did just that.
Her opening statement was pronounced and emotional, “No one in today’s generation, understands what it means to be persecuted in their own country.” While loving her homeland of Hungary very much, she was very dissatisfied with its people during the moments before and during World War II. Working as a secretary at a legal firm, she watched as the NAZIs move in the politics of Hungary reached to restrict those of the Jewish faith every day. “Tightening the noose,” she said. Restrictions were minimal at first, then suddenly, you were told you could only spend a certain amount of time at the grocery store, there was a limited amount of time you could spend at the bank. One day, the lawyer she worked for, was no longer allowed to practice his law at the courts. Then the next step, taking families from their homes and forcing them to live with 2 to 3 other families in a small 2 bedroom apartment. What angered her, was the fact ,that the people of Hungary went along with it.
You can read about Mrs. Friedlander and her Husband George in her memoirs, “Nine Lives of a Marriage – A Curious Journey.” I urge and recommend it. She’s such a wonderful lady.