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Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Desider Stern - July '44 to Christmas '44

The "Jews" were obliged to move from their houses to houses marked as "Jewish" and wear the yellow patch.

Desider Stern still at the work unit was feeding his family, buying provisions... his 14 years little brother was courier... meeting at a gate, hiding the food against him behind a briefcase.

Once again, every "Jew" between 16 and 60 was to be registered.

Desider Stern was sleeping at home. Their house door was knocked at 6am... a control. His mother said that she didn't see her son, so the men went...

Desider Stern heard that the Swedish Embassy sent an attaché to Budapest to help the "Jews": Raoul Wallenberg.

(To put things in perspective: between May 14 and July 8, 148 freight trains carrying 400 000 men, women, children were deported. The hungarian jewish population dropped from nearly 750 000 to 230 000)

Desider Stern had business contacts in Sweden, he sent a letter there to ask for recommendation letters for him and his family.
With these and passport photos, he went to the Swedish Embassy and ordered 8 protective passports, for him and his family. Mr. Stern thought that he had a good chance to get them, the partners were big industrials. Mr. Stern went regularly to the Embassy to look at the list of  arrived passport. Once, his little brother's name was on the list... Mr. Stern went to retrieve it and ask "what's with the rest?". He was asked to wait...

As the situation was becoming desperate, Raoul Wallenberg came up with another idea:
A single sheet paper with his signature allowing the owner (it was blank so you could write the name yourself) to travel to Sweden.

Mr. Stern managed to get 10 of them.
Mr. Stern returned to the Embassy, and saw a writing machine. Mr. Stern sat and produce 2 facsimiles for 2 of his sisters. He faked Raoul Wallenberg's signature. He made a photocopy of them, and let the document be certified by a lawyer.
Mr. Stern was scared that the same would happen with women... and so was it. A short time later, also they were asked to gather on a place. The sisters showed their fakes and could stay in at home.
He advised his little brother not to go to his usual unit but report to the train station to be put in an international company and he was also saved.

Mr. Stern and 2 of his colleagues filed 3 swedish forms and went to their officers to be forwarded to the international company. A forwarding form to the international company was filled. And so were them 3 also saved.

Mr. Stern once worked in the central building of the train station and stole a rubber stamp... a few of his colleagues knew it. They came to him to get their form stamped. Afterwards, he threw the stamp in the bin. Also they were saved.

One swedish protective passport was left...

On Sunday evening, on his way back from the labor to home, Mr. Stern met a friend, Dr. Istvan Nadai ,whose wife already was deported. Mr. Stern gave him the blank passport. And his life was also saved.

Mr. Stern also went to the Spanish Embassy to get Spanish passport that would allow them to find shelter in the spanish "protective house".

The news came that all Jewish were either to delicate to the Ghetto or the "protective house". Mr. Stern's little brother went to the swedish, Mr. Stern's family to the spanish. They never went to the Bunkers... so the house was often empty. The only problem was to find food. So, Mr. Stern went out in the early morning with his "X" legs walk, and managed to get a bit of food here and there. Mr. Stern, although he was without ration card,  still had money left from his former job so he always succeeded to find "something"...  people knew he was not looking at the quality.

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