In My Own Words with Laszlo Selly
The Holocaust Center is proud to partner with Next Generations to present In My Own Words with Holocaust Survivor Laszlo Selly.
“We heard stories about what the Nazis were doing to the Jews in Poland and Austria, but because Hungary was aligned with Germany we said, ‘It can’t happen here.’ When the Nazis marched into Hungary in 1944 we said ‘It is okay as long as we do what they say. What more can they do?'”
Laszlo Selly’s story begins in Budapest, Hungary. He distinctly remembers his mother sewing a yellow star onto his outer garments and how different and “othered” it made him feel.
In 1944, when the Nazis forced Budapest’s Jews into the ghetto Laszlo and his family were relocated into designated Jewish houses, known as Yellow Star Houses. From their window, Laszlo would witness thousands of Jews being marched down the street to the train for Auschwitz.
Desperate to keep their children safe, Laszlo’s parents had difficult decisions to make. Laszlo will share the great danger he and his brother were placed into and about his life in hiding, and, eventually liberation.
About our Speaker.
Laszlo Selly and his twin brother were born in Budapest, Hungary, on December 31, 1937, into a middle-class, secular Jewish family. At six years of age, he remembers his mother sewing a yellow star onto his outer garments.
Desperate to keep their twins safe, Laszlo’s parents made the difficult decision to send them into hiding. This plan led them into great danger and they returned to their parents. Somehow, Laszlo’s father obtained a Raoul Wallenberg certificate of protection that allowed the family to move to a safe house.
After liberation by the Soviets, the family began rebuilding their life in Budapest. The twins started school and underwent ten yeaars of intense communist indoctrination. As Laszlo was completing his training as a professional photographer, the 1956 Hungarian Revolution began. During the chaos of the revolution, Laszlo and his brother escaped from Hungary and made their way to the United States.
In New York, Laszlo became a very successful food photographer working with advertising agencies, hotel chains, and package designers. After he retired, Laszlo and his wife, Gail, moved to Florida to be near their family.
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