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Introduction to the English Translation

By Stephen Schmideg

When I first came across the Győr Yizkor book for my birthplace I realized that my school Hebrew would never be good enough to fully appreciate its contents. Thus the contents remained a mystery until my cousin Marty Goodman, who has no connection with Győr, volunteered to translate it. I am indebted to him for so generously giving his time and skills and making the book accessible to English speaking readers. Having myself spent countless hours checking the text and trying to make sense of the Hungarian names and terms that had been turned into Hebrew, I gained a good appreciation of Marty's challenge to transform it all into English.

Special thanks goes to Hanna Spiegel, the editor of the Hebrew publication, for making the effort to record what happened in Győr and for permitting this translation. I also want to acknowledge the help provided by Shlomo Shamir and Avigdor Bar-hai, both originally from Győr, for their help in making documents available and for reviewing the translation.

This book gives a brief account of life in Győr before and during the Holocaust. Prior to the Holocaust the Győr Jewish community lived in relative peace for over 200 years and this came to a tragic end during June 1944. The Nazis were intent on completing their Final Solution, even when they were facing imminent defeat in both the West and the East. There were over 6,000 Jews living in Győr and the surrounding region and except for the few who escaped before the Nazis entered Hungary and the young men who were drafted into work battalions, the majority were taken to Auschwitz in two transports. The majority of the people were lead directly to the gas chambers and of the over 6,000 residents, probably less than 1,000 survived the war. Today the Jewish community of Győr is a mere shadow of its glorious past, with less than 100 members, but regular synagogue services are still held, the cemetery is well cared for and each year in June commemorative services are held for the Martyrs.

Thanks to the seven people who contributed to this Yizkor book we can gain a small insight into what life was like in pre-war Győr. However, it does mean that there are over 6,000 untold stories from the babies born on the transport trains who lived merely days to elderly people who may have had fulfilling lives, but suffered equally tragic deaths. Then there are the survivors who overcame adversity to start new lives in Győr and in far away lands. Time is rapidly running out to tell their stories, but if there are people out there who have recorded their lives, or would like to do so, we would be thrilled to hear from them.

For those wishing to learn more about the Győr Jewish community the following publications are recommended:

This month being the 60th anniversary of the destruction of the Győr Jewish Community I dedicate this translation to the memory of all those who perished. May they be remembered forever.

Stephen Schmideg
Melbourne, Australia
June 2004


Translator's Introduction

Martin Goodman

The text of this Yizkor (Memorial) book is translated from the original Hebrew text. The Sephardic pronunciation used nowadays in Israel has generally been used herein for transliterating Hebrew words.

Some of the Hebrew in the text is not colloquial and I suspect that some of the text was originally composed in Hungarian and subsequently translated into Hebrew. In some cases, I have tried to approximate non-standard styles in the Hebrew text. In other cases, I have translated non-standard Hebrew into what I regard to be ordinary American English.

The Hebrew text includes many run-on sentences. In some cases, I have broken run-ons into multiple sentences. In other cases, I have retained run-ons in order to preserve the rhythm of the original Hebrew text.

There are some passages where the Hebrew text uses present tense even though past tense is clearly intended. Generally, I have translated such passages using past tense.

I have not necessarily dealt with the preceding problems in a consistent manner throughout the text. My principal aim has been to provide a reasonable translation that substantially communicates the content and intent of the original Hebrew text.

Where useful for clarity, I have added words that are not included in the Hebrew text in square brackets [ ]. However, the curved brackets ( ) in this translation also appear in the original Hebrew text. In addition, I have added footnotes to explain Judaic material that may not be common knowledge to some readers.

Biblical citations provided in the footnotes indicate the Book, then the chapter and verse. For example, Deuteronomy (7:26) refers to the 26th verse of Chapter 7 of the Book of Deuteronomy.

In the process of translating this Yizkor book, it has been my privilege to learn about the history of the Jewish community of Győr and to become acquainted with its far-flung survivors. May they prosper.

Martin Goodman
San Francisco, California

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