Istvan Katona was born in 1924 in the village of Kartal, Hungary. The village consisted of a few thousand people, 40 km from Budapest. Istvan Katona had a normal Jewish upbringing; He attended Jewish elementary school and had his Bar Mitzvah. His mother was a stay at home mom that kept a kosher household and his father was forcibly retired from his job because of the Anti-Jewish laws in Hungary. In 1942, the same year his father retired, Katona finished high school. The family then moved to Tarnamera, where his father was born. Since the anti-jewish laws prohibited jews from attending university, Katona went to the town of Gyongyos, where he started an apprenticeship as an electrical mechanic.
The German occupied Hungary on March 19,1944. When the new government arrived there were many new restrictions placed on the Jews. Weeks after the Germans occupied Hungary, they had to wear yellow stars. By the end of April, Katona’s family had to move to a new ghetto. The beginning of May,1944 they were taken to Bagoly,Uk, which was an abandoned mining settlement. Katona personally didn’t think the ghetto life lasted long. Since Katona was a young man at the time, he was conscripted to the ghetto police. On May 15,1944, Katona and everyone born in 1924 would go to a forced labor camp. Arriving at the camp, Katona didn’t have much problem. The prison guards weren’t harsh to him, there treatment was mild. On Oct. 15,1944, they were standing in line when they heard Horthy’s proclamation asking for peace with the allies. The boys at the...
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... a blood and sugar transfusion and he returned to the main camp after 2 weeks. On June 1,1945, Katona started his transport back to Hungary. Katona 's first impression on the Russian soldiers were dirty,hungry, and drunk. Everyone had to show their left armpit for the SS tattoo. Katona 's left armpit was swollen and oozing with puss. 3 weeks after liberation, Katona weighed 35 kg and 183 cm height. Katona spent 10-14 days in Budapest before going to Tarnamera. Once he reach Tarnamera, he arrived to a forgotten existence that he left 15 months ago from Oct 1944 to May 1945. The only thing that recognized him was his dog. Katona found out that only him,two uncles and 2 cousins survived. He had 41 people in his family. Katona 's father stay with the women and children at Auschwitz and then he went to Dachau concentration camp and died. Katona 's mother died at Auschwitz.
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