Oral History

Eva Brust Cooper describes hiding after her family received protective papers from Raoul Wallenberg

Eva was little affected by the war until 1944, when the Germans occupied Budapest. Eva's father was prominent in the Jewish community, and the family was able to retain their apartment in a Jewish star house (a house designated for Jews). In October Eva's parents secured protective papers from Raoul Wallenberg, but the family decided not to stay in a Swedish safe house. They hid in and near Budapest until the Soviet liberation of Budapest in 1945.


And in October, the Jewish houses did no longer protect the people that were there. My parents were able to get the Wallenberg protection papers. Raoul Wallenberg, under the Swedish king, was able to protect and save a lot of people. There were designated Swedish houses, protectorates, where they claimed that Jews could be saved and we did go to such a house for one night and they had hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people. I don't know how many. But my parents decided that there were just too many Jews under one roof and if, if the Germans really wanted to get rid of a whole bunch at a time, we would be better off going somewhere else where it would be not so obvious that we're together. I think that night that we left our home, in October, was the first time that I was really scared and I think that was the experience that as a young adult, stayed with me for a long time. I was very attached to a pillow that I carried. We had no suitcases to take with us because we had to travel light. We were dressed, all of us, in several layers of clothes so as to have some warmth and have some change and I did take my pillow. And I also had long, long hair. I had long braids which were cut in case the sanitary facilities were not existent and that I shouldn't get lice. And I remember asking my parents where we were going to sleep that night. And my parents said we didn't know, we were just hoping that somebody would take us in. I said, "But we have to have a bed. We have to sleep." And that was really very upsetting and as I said that took me a long time. I always like to know where I am going to sleep. I don't like just to go. I have to know where my bed is going to be. And we went to somebody's house who took us in for one night, that night, and again everybody whispered and it was really scary.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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