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March 19, 1885 | Budapest, Hungary
Dezso was from a Jewish family in Hungary's capital, Budapest. His father had been a violinist. Dezso earned a university degree in English, and became a language teacher. He wrote a number of high school grammar textbooks. In 1914 he married Iren Hajdu, who was a mathematician. The couple had two children; a daughter, Eva, born in 1918, and a son, Pal, born seven years later.
1933-39: I fear for the worst now that the antisemitic Prime Minister Teleki has taken power again. Nineteen years ago, in 1920, he pushed through a law to reduce Jewish admissions to high schools and universities to 6 percent--my children have always felt pressured to earn top grades. Now Teleki and other right-wingers have passed a new law that obliges Jewish public school teachers to leave their jobs: I'm being forced to retire early.
1940-44: Today is my 59th birthday and Pal and I went to visit Eva. Last year, in 1943, Eva was arrested as a communist and sent to prison, but she contracted tuberculosis there and was sent to a sanatorium outside Budapest. When we arrived, she told us the news she'd just heard--the Germans have invaded! She insisted we leave right away, and that we take the path through the woods. She was worried that if we took the bus on the main road we might get shot by the Germans. We said goodbye and made a beeline for the woods.
Later that year, the Hungarian fascists drafted Dezso into a forced-labor unit. He died sometime before the end of the war during a forced march out of Budapest.
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