Testimony of Eliezer Grinwald from Holon, Israel

I was born in Budapest Hungary in November 1935. My childhood passed normally until I went to school at the age of 6. It was then that I began to feel that I was different from my friends because I was Jewish. We, the Jewish children, suffered continuing abuse. Thanks to a few Christian friends, we were able to manage with the abuse.

The real troubles started at the beginning of 1944. During this period, Jewish men were conscripted for labor battalions and my father was taken from us. Our only contact with him was by letter. In August 1944, if my memory does not deceive me, they took my mother as well. We were left alone in the house. It was my brother, aged two and myself, a nine-year-old boy. Word spread in the Jewish community that we were alone without parents and we were brought to a house under the protection of the Swedish Embassy. To the best of my knowledge there were about 900-1000 Jewish children without parents with us in that house. A small staff of women volunteers, probably Jewish, took care of our needs as far as possible. Conditions were hard. We slept on the floor, not always with a blanket and ate only one meal a day. In October or November 1944, my mother appeared at the protected house after escaping from the death march of the Germans and the Hungarians.

The protected house which was extraterritorial was not always undisturbed. Anti-Semitic gangs knew about us and armed forces tried to drag us out and send us to the death camps or drown us in the Danube. I remember that on those occasions, an invisible hand prevented this from happening and even when we were about to be transported, we were returned to the protected house.

In January, 1945, when we were liberated, I was told that the invisible hand that protected us belonged to the Swedish diplomat, Raoul Wallenberg. It is due to him that my brother, myself and thousands of other Jews are alive today.