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Erzsebet Markovics Katz

Sarospatak, Hungary

Erzsebet was born to Jewish parents living in a town on the Bodrog River in northeastern Hungary. Sarospatak was a picturesque town with a ruined medieval fortress, the Windischgratz castle, and many wineries, flour mills, and brickworks. Erzsebet's father was a locksmith and sheet-metal worker.

1933-39: I've married Jozsef Katz. It was a lovely, formal wedding. Jozsef comes from a large Jewish family. He's a joiner by trade and was working in Sarospatak when we met. Now we've moved here to Budapest where he's opened a small furniture-making shop. We're living in a rather dark, two-room apartment, but it's all we can manage for the time being.

1940-44: It's been almost four years since war broke out and since Jozsef was conscripted into labor service with thousands of other Jewish men. Three months ago, German troops occupied Hungary, and now the Germans have ordered all the Jews in Budapest to move into houses marked by a yellow Star of David. They've also imposed a strict curfew so that we're free to move outside only between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. We've all heard about the deportations of Jews from the Hungarian countryside and we're terrified that we'll be next.

Soon after, Erzsebet was arrested in the streets of Budapest and deported. She was one of thousands who died during a typhus epidemic at the Bergen-Belsen camp late in the war.

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