Gyorgy (George) Pick

Gyorgy (George) Pick

Born: March 28, 1934

Budapest, Hungary

Gyorgy was the only child of middle class Jewish parents living in the Hungarian capital of Budapest. His father, Istvan, was an engineer responsible for producing hydraulic grape presses for wineries. His mother, Margit, worked as a legal secretary. The Picks lived in a new district on the Pest side of the Danube River, and they had many close relatives in the city.

1933–39: In the 1930s, as Hungary drew closer to Nazi Germany, the situation for Jews there worsened. Gyorgy listened to the radio and was disturbed by the sound of Hitler's voice. In 1938 and 1939, the first major anti-Jewish laws were introduced. The legislation severely restricted the participation of Jews in the economy and defined them in racial terms, much like the Nuremberg Laws in Nazi Germany. As a result, Gyorgy's parents lost their jobs. His father soon set up a tool and machine parts business, which was registered in the name of a non-Jew.

1940–44: In 1940 Gyorgy's father was conscripted into the Hungarian labor battalions and sent to the newly annexed territory of Ruthenia, where he worked on building roads for the military. He was released after three months, but then conscripted again in 1943 and 1944. Gyorgy attended school until March 1944, when German troops occupied Hungary. In June, the Picks along with other Jews in the capital [Budapest] had to move into special buildings marked with a yellow star. As the Allied bombing raids increased, destroying some of the neighboring buildings, Gyorgy hoped the war would be over soon. In November 1944, just weeks after the Hungarian Nazis (the Arrow Cross Party) took power, Gyorgy and his family went into hiding. A month later, they were discovered. Gyorgy was placed in a home with 500 other children, but he soon escaped. Those who remained were killed.

In January 1945, the Picks were liberated from the city's ghetto by Soviet troops. After the war, Gyorgy learned that 130 of his relatives had been deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau killing center, where they perished. In 1956 he came to the United States.

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