Judith Nemes Black was born November 15, 1941 in Budapest, Hungary. She grew up against the backdrop of the war and the mounting restrictions that Hungarian Jews were forced to endure, including the conscription of her father into forced labour. In 1944 the situation deteriorated for Hungarian Jews; Nazi Germany invaded and the fascist Arrow Cross took over the government, leading to deportations and mass murder. While her father was dealing with the very difficult conditions at the Bor copper mine in Serbia, Judith and her mother were forced into the Budapest ghetto, where they dealt with hunger and deprivation and awaited their fate. Realizing the dangers, Judith’s mother made arrangements to leave Judith with her sister-in-law, as Judith’s husband’s brother had married a Christian woman. Judith stayed with her for a period of time, not knowing that her mother had managed to escape a forced march and had even managed to buy fake identity documents. Judith’s mother made her way back, and she and Judith began their life in hiding, under assumed Chrisitian identities. Judith’s mother worked to keep them alive, both before and after the liberation of Budapest by the Red Army. It was into this situation that her father returned in October 1945, after six months of recuperation in a British military hospital after his liberation from the infamous Bergen Belsen camp. The family rebuilt their lives in postwar Budapest, but friction with the new communist regime made them choose a new direction, and in the early 50s the family emigrated to Israel. Judith recalls that she loved her new nation, but her parents were looking for different opportunities, and the family moved again, this time to Canada. They settled in Montreal, where Judith attended school, and then became a teacher in her own right, and eventually a psychologist, all while marrying and raising her own family. She became involved in Holocaust education along the way, and through the courtest of the Montreal Holocaust Museum, Crestwood students were able to zoom with Judith in February 2022.
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