Beer (Szesy), Magda
Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1915, Beer grew up with her mother and brother. Her father had died when she was a young child. She married in 1941, and her son was born in 1942. Her husband’s family owned a furniture store in which everyone in the family worked. In 1944 the German invaded, and Beer’s husband and brother were conscripted into forced labor. Beer believes they were taken to Russia and died there, although she does not know for certain. Beer’s father-in-law was arrested and sent to Buchenwald, where he perished.
Beer began working in a uniform factory as a seamstress. Her mother watched her son. In the fall of 1944, she and the other workers were taken to another facility to be questioned and have their papers checked. Beer recalls that she had two sets, one Swiss, on Papal. Very few of the workers were released. Beer says she was freed after she convinced a Hungarian guard that she would commit suicide if he did not release her. She later learned that most of the workers were sent to Buchenwald, where they died.
Not long afterward, Beer recalls, the Jews were ordered to move into the ghetto. In October she, her mother, and her son moved in with Beer’s mother-in-law, whose home was within the boundaries of the ghetto. They remained there until the Russians liberated Budapest in January 1945.
After the war, Beer, her mother, and her son returned to their apartment and sold their possessions on the black market to pay for food. Beer reopened her husband’s family’s furniture business and operated it for three years. Then she worked as a accountant until escaping to the West during the 1956 revolution.
Date: July 6, 1983
Interviewer: Kay Roth
Format: Audio recording