CPC Oral History Project – Margaret Newman

March 19, 1944 marked a turning point in Hungary’s wartime history; it was the day that Nazi Germany began a direct military occupation of its onetime ally, Hungary. Life for Hungarian Jews, which had been deteriorating under the previous regime, took a dramatic turn for the worse as discriminatory laws gave way to ghettos and deportation. Mr. Masters’ American History 11 class welcomed 98-year old Hungarian Holocaust survivor Margaret Newman to a zoom class this week. Mrs. Newman came to us courtesy of the Montreal Holocaust Museum, and she was aided by her daughter Beatrice. Mrs. Newman told the students about her early life in Satu Mare, Romania (later annexed by Hungary), her many brothers and sisters, her friendships – in short, the normal life she was living in the days before the occupation. Suddenly her family was marched into the ghetto, and a few weeks after that they were forced into the cattle cars and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Only Margaret and her brother, who was in a forced labour battalion, would survive. From there Margaret survived six months in the death camp, where she was selected as a forced labourer. At war’s end she was liberated by American soldiers, which she remembers as a joyous moment where she began the process of rebuilding her life. Margaret’s story will appear on the Crestwood Oral History Project in upcoming months. She is our 39th zoom speaker this year, part of our outreach program to connect our students with people who have lived the very history we teach.