Piroska Hamos -- Life on the Danube

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Piroska Hamos was born in Balassagyarmat, a small town in North-Eastern Hungary in 1912, to the family of Armin Schultz, a gentleman's tailor. Her mother Jozefin died very young. Piroska had one sister, Etel, born in 1912. When their father remarried, they moved to Budapest, where Piroska went to school. She started at a commercial high school but dropped out after two years when she married her second-cousin, Imre Hahn.

Imre, born in 1899 in Budapest, worked as a clerk at the Hungarian Royal River and Sea Shipping Stock Company. Imre had a row boat.

Piroska and Imre converted in 1934 because Imre worked for a state company which did not like employing Jews. However, they were still treated as Jews when the anti-Jewish laws were introduced in Hungary. Imre was taken to forced labor and died in Balf little before their liberation. Piroska and her sister were deported to Ravensbrück (both survived). Piroska's daughters were in the Budapest ghetto with Piroska's sister-law, Klari. Piroska never remarried and raised her two daughters alone. After the war she worked in the ministry of health. She died at the age of 93 in 2005.

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Prior to 1918, 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.

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