The son of a rabbi, Jeno was raised in the town of Sighet in Transylvania. The region was multi-ethnic, and Jeno grew up in a family that knew Yiddish, Hungarian, Romanian, German and Hebrew. During World War I, when Sighet was near the front, Jeno's family fled to Hungary. There Jeno met Eszter Mendel, whom he married after the war. The couple settled in the town of Cristuru-Secuiesc in Romania.
1933-39: As a jeweler, I'm one of only two watchmakers in Cristuru-Secuiesc; the other is a German who resents me as a competitor. I can handle the competition and do reasonably well. This town was part of Hungary until 1918 and my language skills are useful here. I have my own shop and customers from every ethnic group. My wife and I have six children, one of whom, littleSandor, takes after me because he loves the violin.
1940-44: It's been almost four years since the Hungarians marched into Cristuru-Secuiesc and annexed it to Hungary. My children were thrown out of public school because they were Jewish. I was forced to keep my shop open on Saturdays, the Jewish sabbath, and then to surrender control to a non-Jewish employee. In the spring of 1944 I was forced to close the shop and our family was moved to a ghetto. My two eldest sons were drafted into the Hungarian army as conscript labor. And now, what's left of my family is being deported.
Jeno was deported to Auschwitz, and then to the Kochendorf camp, where he was beaten to death on his 42nd birthday when he failed to wake up [for roll call] in time for a 5 a.m. work detail.