Magda Rein

Magda Rein

Born: June 7, 1927

Satoraljaujhely, Hungary

Magda was the oldest of two children born to observant Jewish parents. They lived in Satoraljaujhely, a town in northeastern Hungary on the Czechoslovakian border. Jews represented some 20 percent of the town's approximately 18,000 persons. Magda's father owned a bakery; her mother was a midwife.

1933-39: At 10 years of age, Magda began accompanying her mother when she attended to births nearby. Her mother helped all women--Jews, Gypsies and peasants in the surrounding villages. When Magda was 12, her mother let her help. She'd hold a kerosene lamp for her when she needed extra light. Her mother taught her how to hold the newborn, and bathe and dress it so she could attend to the mother. If it was a baby girl, sometimes the mother named her after Magda.

1940-44: In 1944, two months after the Germans occupied Hungary, the Reins were deported to Auschwitz. Magda and her mother were among the women selected for labor. They were lined up; an SS woman screeched that if they disobeyed her, they'd leave Auschwitz through the chimneys. Magda and her mother were together two months before her mother was selected for a transport leaving the camp. Distraught, Magda ran after her, but an SS woman bashed her in the head with her rifle, throwing her to the ground. She kicked Magda's chest until her ribs were smashed.

In October 1944 Magda was deported to Germany for forced labor, and then to Theresienstadt in April 1945. She was liberated by Soviet troops on May 8, 1945.

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