Saturday, January 27, 2018

International Holocaust Remembrance Day: The Schwartz Family of Ungvar

My grandfather (Tivador "Teddy" Schwartz, 1887-1965) was the first in his family to come to America from the family's home in Ungvar, Hungary (now Uzhhorod, Ukraine). The next to arrive was my great uncle (Samuel Schwartz, 1883-1954). These two brothers saved their nickels and helped pay for one of their younger sisters to come in 1906 (Mary "Marushka" Schwartz, 1891-1959).

Their parents, Herman Yehuda Schwartz and Hani Simonowitz Schwartz, stayed behind in Ungvar, along with a number of siblings. Separated by thousands of miles, the family stayed in touch with letters and photo cards like the one at top, which shows four Schwartz siblings in Ungvar in 1915.

By the time of World War II, the parents had passed away but the siblings who remained in Hungary all were grown and had families of their own. None but Tivador, Sam, and Mary ever moved to America.

I'm very sad to say that those who remained behind were killed during the Holocaust, with one exception: my grandfather's niece, Viola Schwartz. According to her video testimony, found through the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum among other repositories, she was an eye witness to the tragedy that everyone else from the Schwartz family had been rounded up and sent to concentration camps, where they--like so many Jewish families-- perished.

On this international day of remembrance, my post honors the memory of my Schwartz ancestors and all others who were killed during the Holocaust. I feel a great sense of loss for who they were and who they and their descendants might have become. And I want to pay loving tribute to the Schwartz survivor, my cousin Viola, a strong and courageous woman.

Never forget!

2 comments:

Wendy said...

What was it I saw on FB. Something like if we held our breath 1 second for every victim of the Holocaust we wouldn’t breathe for 11 1/2 years. Horrible times. Just horrible. What Viola had to live with was horrible too.

Anna Matthews said...

These posts are so difficult but so important, especially now.