Sunday, February 16, 2020

How Quickly the Holocaust Happened

My mother's parents were born in America, so I didn't hear about the Holocaust like I did from my father's parents, who both had survived the war in Poland (now Ukraine).  But my mother's parents had many relatives who had remained in Europe and who were Jews swept into World War II.  Until the war happened, they were living their everyday lives.  But this is a story of how quickly their lives changed--and ended.
From the Pesti Hírlap, February 1, 1944

There were lots of ads in the February 1, 1944 issue of Pesti Hírlap.  Many of them sold almát (apples, singular alma) and other produce.  One was from a town and with a surname familiar to me.
From the Pesti Hírlap, February 1, 1944
G. Fuchs of Alsoneresznice was selling apples as of February 1944.  My great-great grandmother was a Fuchs from Felsoneresznice, adjacent to Alsoneresznice.  So who was "G"?
From the Pesti Hírlap, January 4, 1944
A nearly identical ad ran that January, and the seller's name was given as Gerson Fux.

Since my 4th great grandfather was Gerszon Fuchs/Fux, there were many descendants with that name.  Two of them (my second cousin three times removed and my first cousin four times removed) were in Alsoneresznice in 1944 and were old enough to be selling apples.  Both were likely killed in the Holocaust.

Think about this.  In February 1944, Gerson Fuchs was looking to the future.  He was selling apples in a Budapest-based newspaper (even today, Budapest is a 5-hour drive from what's now Neresnytsya, Ukraine).  The first week of April 1944, the Germans entered Alsoneresznice.  On April 19, 1944, all Jews were forced out of Alsoneresznice into the Mateszalka Ghetto.  And on May 25, 1944, those same Jews were put on trains to Auschwitz.

Less than four months after Gerson Fuchs ran an ad advertising apples, he and his family were most likely in Auschwitz.  Four months.  That's how quickly the Holocaust happened for the Fuchs family.

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  1. Just awful to imagine the shock of it all.

  2. That's so hard to imagine, life going from hopeful to terror so quickly. Great job in telling a story from snippets of newspapers.

  3. Thanks for this insight into that time and the horrible events.