Barbara Marton

Barbara Marton

Born: May 4, 1920

Beliu, Romania

The Martons were one of 35 Jewish families in the small northern Transylvanian town of Beliu. Barbara's father owned a grocery, and her mother helped out in the store. The Martons lived in a comfortable home with a flower garden, and enjoyed friendly relations with the townspeople. As a child, Barbara learned Hebrew on Sunday mornings at the home of Beliu's rabbi.

1933-39: Barbara's father's business began to fall off when another grocery opened nearby in Beliu. By 1937 business was so bad that they sold the store and the house, and moved to the city of Oradea. Their new house was a combination of a store and living quarters. Their life returned pretty much to normal; Barbara was one of the best students in her class at the Oltea Doamna state secondary school for girls, and she looked forward to attending university.

1940-45: In 1940 the Hungarians entered Oradea and imposed many anti-Jewish restrictions, including barring Jews from attending universities. Barbara found work as a low-paid lab technician. Then in late March 1944 the Germans took control of Oradea. Soon after that, Barbara and her parents were deported to Auschwitz. One day, punished for spilling soup, she was forced to kneel from dawn till noon holding bricks above her head. From afar she could hear a band playing "The Merry Widow." Barbara cried as she knelt, listening to that music.

Barbara was liberated by the Swedish Red Cross in 1945. She returned to Romania, where she attended university and married. She moved to Israel in 1962 and then to America in 1968.

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