Nash, Georgine

Georgine Nash was born in Hungary on June 16,1937.  She grew up during the war, and as was the case with most Hungarian Jews, she enjoyed a distance from the terrible conflict, and the from the terrible Shoah that was commencing in the neighbouring countries.  Georgine remembers her father being taken away to a labour battalion, and the restrictions that began to impact Hungarian Jews, especially after 1944.  All this came as a shock to her parents and the community at large; Jews in Budapest were very assimilated and considered themselves Hungarians first. The real war for Georgine and her family came in 1944 with the German occupation. Her father was home on a 1-day leave, and when he heard the Horthy government had elected to leave the war, he decided not to return to the camp; the Nazis came looking and he was taken away, never to be heard from again. Georgine and her mother were in one of the Swiss protected houses, but when the Arrow Cross took many of the protected Jews to be shot alongside the Danube, Georgine’s mother made the decision to move on. An older lady took them in for a while, but the tension was palpable, especially after her mother was recognized. The arrival of the Soviet Red Army really saved them, even as Georgine and her mother survived the bombings and street fights happening all around them.  In the chaos of a liberated Budapest, they looked for the other family members, and did what they could to survive. In the years after the war, the family moved outside Budapest and adjusted to their new lives; Hungary was communist now, so Georgine joined the Young Pioneers and did the normal things for a 1950s teenager, though she remembers agitating against the new restrictions. When the 1956 revolution came along, she saw her chance and left Hungary, going onto Austria and eventually Canada. Once in Toronto, she settled into the rhythms of her new life, getting work at the University of Toronto and marrying and raising a family. Georgine visited us at Crestwood in January 2020, when she spoke to Mr. MacPherson’s Grade 8 English class; we thank her for her time, and her dedication to Shoah education.