Website of the book called The Orphans of the Holocaust


Cover of the book called The Orphans of the Holocaust



Edited by: Bányai Viktória, Frojimovics Kinga, Gombocz Eszter
„NÜB” Nácizmus Üldözötteinek Országos Egyesülete (National Association of Persecuted People by Nazism), 2020 312 pages

This volume contains the memory of 45 survivors, who during and/or after World War II lived in Jewish orphanages or children's service centres. Most of them have spoken about their experience and life only to the close family and friends.

Even after decades, their connection is surprisingly strong and decisive to their very early, often fragmentary mosaic-like memories as well as to the period which they had spent in the orphanage, children's service centre.

The memories are integrated in a comprehensive historical study, which presents the care of the Jewish orphans in Hungary on the one hand, and the history of the saving of the Jewish children during the Holocaust in the other hand.



Édité par Bányai Viktória, Frojimovics Kinga, Gombocz Eszter
„NÜB” Nácizmus Üldözötteinek Országos Egyesülete (Association Nationale des Persécutés du nazisme), 2020 312 pages

Cette édition comporte le souvenir de 45 personnes qui ont survécu la seconde guerre mondiale ou après dans des orphelinats juifs ou des foyers pour enfants. La plupart d'entre eux n'ont évoqué ces souvenirs, leurs vies jusqu'ici que dans le cercle restreint familial ou amical.

Leur attachement est remarquablement fort même après nombreuses décennies et s'exprime par des bribes de souvenir de l'époque du foyer d'enfants ou de l'orphelinat.

Ces souvenirs sont complétés par une étude laquelle présente d'une part l'organisation de l'orphelinat juif et d'autre part l'histoire du sauvetage des enfants juifs pendant l'Holocauste.



Editado por: Bányai Viktória, Frojimovics Kinga, Gombocz Eszter
„NÜB” Nácizmus Üldözötteinek Országos Egyesülete (Asociación Nacional de Perseguidos por el Nazismo), 2020 312 páginas

Este volumen contiene la memoria de 45 sobrevivientes, que durante y / o después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial vivieron en orfanatos judíos o centros de servicios para niños.

La mayoría de ellos ha hablado de su experiencia y vida solo con familiares y amigos cercanos. Incluso después de décadas, su conexión es sorprendentemente fuerte y decisiva con sus recuerdos muy tempranos, a menudo fragmentarios en forma de mosaico, así como con el período que habían pasado en el orfanato, centro de servicio para niños.

Los recuerdos se integran en un estudio histórico, que presenta el cuidado de los huérfanos judíos en Hungría, por un lado, y la historia de la salvación de los niños judíos durante el Holocausto, por el otro.



Editato da: Bányai Viktória, Frojimovics Kinga, Gombocz Eszter
„NÜB” Nácizmus Üldözötteinek Országos Egyesülete (Associazione Nazionale dei perseguitati dal Nazismo), 2020 312 pagine

Il presente volume contiene il ricordo di 45 sopravvissuti che durante e/o dopo la seconda guerra mondiale hanno vissuto in orfanotrofi e case famiglia giudei. La maggior parte di loro finora aveva parlato sulla loro esperienza e vita di quel tempo solo a una ristretta cerchia di familiari e amici.

Anche dopo decenni, la loro connessione è sorprendentemente forte e decisiva ai loro ricordi molto antichi, spesso frammentari, simili a mosaici e al periodo vissuto nell'orfanotrofio, casa famiglia.

I ricordi sono integrati da uno studio storico completo che presenta la cura degli orfani giudei in Ungheria da un lato e la storia del salvataggio di bambini ebrei durante l'Olocausto dall'altro.



The mission, community and audience of our choir

The mission of the Book

Publication of memories is an exceptional opportunity as well as a duty of reverence for the survivors to recall their family members, former companions and educators who no longer live. This Book presents the childhood memories of the Hungarian Holocaust and its orphans together with their scientific history as an addition to the collective, cultural memory. Edited authentic stories about the Jewish communities and the Joint (Zionist) orphanages complement the rich archival, literary, film, educational and other resources of Hungary of that period.

The stories depict the former identities of the students and the characteristics of their upbringing by recalling the common places, events, schools and religious life of childhood. The clear message of the authors of this Volume joins the historical lessons of increasing personal narratives published in recent decades:

the dehumanized hatred, the stigmatization, exclusion, abduction, and killing of those of other origins resulted in an incomprehensible and irreparable loss, the trauma of the Holocaust will affect the lives of the next generations as well!

Inside there is a world of pain,
outside is only explanation.

(Attila József: Consciousness, 1934)

A community of elderly survivors

Sharing memories on the 75th anniversary motivated and encouraged the writing of autobiographies and the publication of childhood experiences.

Sharing stories with the fellow sufferers also granted an opportunity to heal their hidden spiritual wounds. The choir of the elderly survivors is about the life-saving and companion-giving orphanages. The orphanage stories of the surviving children tell to the readers about the common institutional experiences of the 40s and 50s. These edited autobiographies and interviews reflect also the common (unconscious) trauma of that time, although with various expressions and evaluations. The Hungarian public could only exceptionally encounter similar undisguised and spontaneous memories from a "bottom view", namely in the light of a scientific chronology.

The professional collection of childhood stories undoubtedly encouraged the orphans of the Holocaust that after seven decades they could (finally !!) set out to recall and tell their experiences that were hidden, repressed or held back for a long time. Texts and images are also unique historical, sometimes psychotherapeutic, documents.

Ferenc Erős on the psychological reasons for the organization of survivors and their children into groups:

"Above all, the children of Holocaust survivors could have been referred as patients with a wide range of mental and psychosomatic symptoms to psychiatrists, psychoanalysts and other psychotherapists who [...] discovered a characteristic syndrome behind the diffuse symptoms: the group of symptoms of the second generation.

As a result of this, however, 'self-healing' endeavours have started, and in parallel, the process of self-organising teams has begun."

Published personal stories also testified the power of group identification. Firstly, the case studies of psychoanalyst Teréz Virág and her colleagues analysed the unresolved childhood traumas of the Holocaust, the common behaviour patterns and the collective unconsciousness, highlighting the symptoms of perceived mental illness and the (hidden) identity crisis of the speaker.

An inclusive sense of community

The circle of supporters of the Book published by the NÜB expresses the importance of these edited case studies as scientifically analyzed historical sources for a wide politics of remembrance. Speaking together with the poet: we can hope the release of the 45 survivors from the joint late choral work. Here, a "landlord" cannot settle on the personal destiny of the victims and witnesses of the Holocaust.

The historical background is the shaper of childhood destinies

The detail, emotional charge and message of the moral, the autobiography and the narrative are adjusted to the domestic and foreign adult influences. The collective memory of survivors also carries the life course experiences of individuals. The personal patterns of the childhood story refer to the experiences, the political, economic, religious influences and their changes. The polyphonic but consonant message of the authors of the Volume is the desire for a human conduct being free from hatred and exclusion.

The texts of this Book are not only for the generation of survivors or for the circle of friends and acquaintances. The analysis of the former domestic social facts and changes has shaped the history of the generation of the survivors. The published memoirs unite 45 individual childhood stories in a coherent historical framework through the description of that era.

The study of the Volume is supplemented by a Glossary. The Book is part of the cultural memory of the Holocaust and the following two decades, and can be used as a recommended source for research and education.



Candlelight as an online media event

The editors of the Book, published in 2020, and the memorable former orphans were able to speak to the general public at the book launch online event.

The one-and-a-half-hour "media event" was moderated by Kata Vörös on February 4, 2021. The home camera broadcasted the recommendation of the Volume’s editors and three former students. The tailored time frame of the presentation did not provide an opportunity for questions from internet users.


The Orphans of the Holocaust - book launch online event


The Orphans of the Holocaust - book launch online event

OR-ZSE (Budapest University of Jewish Studies)



The Orphans of the Holocaust

Table of contents





Currently, only the Hungarian version of the memoirs is available!


Reminiscences by period:

Reminiscences from before and during the Holocaust

Girl's Orphanage of PIH (Pester Jewish Community):

Székely (Tabák) Sára

Dr. Ullmann Márta (Székely Györgyné)

Kálmán Erzsébet (Solti Gáborné)

Boy's Orphanage of PIH (Pester Jewish Community):

Dr. Meller János

Consolidated Orphanage of PIH (Pester Jewish Community) in late 1944:

Dr. Bárdos Márta (Fehér Elekné)

Szirtes Klára (Kovács Tamásné)

Kovács Tamás

Nádudvari Zoltán

Nürnberg street shelter:

Pollatsek (Haas) Imre


Reminiscences from orphanages and care homes between 1945 and 1949

Reminiscences from after 1949

Orthodox orphanage on Saint Domonkos street:

Grünbergerné Liebermann Éva

Boy's Orphanage of PIH (Pester Jewish Community):

Böhm István

Hollós János

Wachsler Tamás

Berger Péter

Mátrai Iván

Tauszig Péter




This section of the website is related to Social work


The new opportunities for trauma research in social work
based on the book "A vészkorszak árvái"


The date of the conference: 2022. April 14, 14.00

Venue: Bálint Ház, 1065 Budapest, Révay u. 16. (and online)

Stories of the past, personal experiences against humiliation, prejudice, and condemnation; about methods which help to bloom abilities and develop confidence.


Hostess of the event: Katalin Talyigás

14.00-14.15 Opening ceremony

Zoltán Háberman associate professor, Országos Rabbiképző – Zsidó Egyetem (National Rabbi School - Jewish University)

14.15-15.00 Panel discussion with historians – a short introduction of the book

What did the orphanages add to alleviate the greatest trauma, the pain of the loss of parents; and how did they help the youths raised there to hold on?

Results and failures at the orphanages then; messages to the child protection workers of today.

Performers: Viktória Bányai, Kinga Frojimovics, András Lénárt, Gábor Dombi

15.00-15.20 Coffee break

Personal memories of past pupils

"Their attachment to the early mosaic-like fragments of memories and the period of the orphanage and children’s home is still wonderfully strong and determinate after decades."

15.20 György Dalos writer (Berlin),

15.30 Éva Bársony journalist,

15.40 György Landeszman rabbi (Toronto),

15.50 Eli Heller businesmann (Israel)

16.00 Future plans

Andrea Rácz associate professor, department head: Conscious trauma treatment in child protection services

16.30 Introduction of ELTE TáTK Társadalmi Traumák Kutatócsoport (STRG Societal Traumas Research Group)

Ágnes Kövér-Van Til associate professor, ELTE; Zoltán Háberman adjunct professor, ELTE; Krisztián Indriens adjunct professor, ELTE

17.00 Closing ceremony



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