Miklos Braun's family was middle class: his father, Zsigmond, was a a certified bookkeeper and auditor, his mother, Aranka, was a housewife. Miklos was born in 1913, his sister, Klara in 1908 and his brother Ferenc in 1906.
Klara married a businessman from Fiume (Fiume is now Rijeka and is in Croatia today). Both were deported to Auschwitz by the occupying Gerrmans, and they never returned. Ferenc survived the war in the Budapest ghetto. Miklos graduated from the Commercial Academy in Budapest and managed a candy store. Every day he saw an attractive woman pass by his window. One day she introduced herself to him - her name was Vera Wexler. Soon Miklos and Vera began dating even though Miklos had been conscripted into forced labor. When Miklos was on leave on April 15, 1944, he and Vera married, but because they were Jewish, were not allowed to have an official wedding picture.
Miklos was then swept up into the horrors of war again. He did not think he would survive, but Vera, who was hiding in a "yellow star house" in Budapest said, "If Miki is alive, he will come back to me for our first anniversary." She was wrong. Miklos showed up one day late.
When Miklos and his siblings were born, Hungary was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Empire was formed in 1867 under Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph, combining the power of Hapsburg-led Austria with that of Hungary. The Empire also included Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Slovakia, as well as part of what are now Serbia, Romania, Ukraine, Poland, and the Czech Republic. Read more about Franz-Joseph and the formation of the dual monarchy here.
Hungary's Jewish population has a long history: read about it here.
The Second World War began in September 1939, when the German army invaded and occupied Poland. France and Britain, Poland's allies, responded by declaring war on Germany.
Following the end of the war, Hungary lost the territory it had gained during the interwar period and war years. After four years of political uncertainty, the Hungarian Constitution of 1949 established Hungary as a Soviet-style communist state. Mátyás Rákosi was the first leader of post-war communist Hungary, and had been a founding member of the Hungarian Communist Party in 1918. Though he himself was Jewish, he had a complex relationship with popular anti-Semitism.