Terez Spitz Katz

Terez Spitz Katz

Born: 1865

Buj, Hungary

A religious Jewish mother of nine, Terez settled with her husband, Jakab, and children in Zalkod, a small town in northeastern Hungary. Jakab ran a general store. Terez tended their sprawling farmhouse. She baked black bread in their wood-burning stove and canned the peaches and plums she gathered with her children and grandchildren from the family orchards.

1933-39: Terez's oldest daughter, Sadie, is visiting from America. Sadie comes with her parents every Friday when they take the horse-drawn wagon to the synagogue in the next town. They stay with friends and return the next day after sundown. Sadie wants her parents to return to New York with her. On her trip over, she stopped in Hamburg and says she saw Nazis marching in the streets. She's afraid. Terez and Jakab told her not to worry: It all seems so far away.

1940-44: Four weeks ago, on March 19, 1944, German forces occupied Hungary. Several days ago, rough Hungarian gendarmes ordered Terez's family to abandon their house and most of their belongings and to report to the nearby town of Nyireghaza. Here thousands of Jews have been concentrated. Terez's family has to live in a squalid apartment and it's hard to wash because it's so crowded. The food they brought from home is running out, and they're becoming weak. What will happen to them all?

Terez, Jakab and about 25 of their relatives were among some 435,000 Hungarian Jews deported in the summer of 1944 to Auschwitz. Terez perished at age 79.

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