Panni Koltai was born in 1915 in the small town of Eger in Northern Hungary. Panni's father, Ferenc was a Neolog Jew, who did not observe traditions, her mother, Aranka came from an Orthodox family and she and her daughters kept a kosher household, celebrated all the holidays and did not work on Sabbath.
All four daughters married, and two of them, Piri and Bozsi, moved to Budapest. Anna's husband came from an Orthodox family from Slovakia. He had attended yeshivah, but he turned his back on religion as an adult.
Anna's parents and two of her sisters, Rozsi and Bozsi (with her little daughter), all if whom lived in Eger, were deported to Auschwitz - only Rozsi returned. Anna and her sister, Piri, were in Budapest, first in a yellow-star house, then in the ghetto. Anna's husband, Istvan survived forced labor.
After the war Panni and Istvan moved to Budapest with their son, Karoly. Istvan, who had joined the Communist party right after the war worked as departmental head in one of the ministries until his retirement. Anna worked as a trade union secretary.
A Hungarian Jew remembers the Holocaust in his country.
An article on Hungary and its alliance with Nazi Germany - provided by Yad Vashem.
Hungary before the German occupation - An article by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
USHMM link to essay on Hungary after the German occupation of 1944.
Read an article on Postwar Hungary.
An article on Miklos Horthy, regent of Hungary throughout the Second World War, and his relationship with Hitler and the German Reich.
Panni Koltai talks about how her family practiced their religion before the war.
Read this excerpt to find out more about what happened in Hungary during the war and how the events affected Panni Koltai's life.
In this excerpt, Panni Koltai talks about the years after the war and how she experienced Communism.
This story takes place in several locations in Hungary and begins in the northern Hungarian city of Eger. Click here to see a map of the city.
Learn more about Eger's history.
Centropa's collection of more than 100 privately-held photos from Hungary, digitized and archived show our interviewees´ families in their leisure time.
After the war, Panni and her husband joined the Communist party - at least for a while. Read this article to learn more about the Hungarian Communist Party.