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Oral history interview with Suzi Smeed

Oral History | Accession Number: 2017.4.1 | RG Number: RG-50.962.0001

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Suzanne Barbara Smeed (née Zsuzsana Borbala Terezia Kalmar), born on September 12, 1942 in Budapest, Hungary, describes being the only child to Laszlo (Les) Emery Kalmar and Erzsebet (Elizabeth) Kalmar; her parents converting to Catholicism in October 1943, believing this might help protect them from antisemitic laws; her father’s successful wholesale and retail textile business before the war; her few, happy memories of her childhood in Budapest; her father’s conscription into the Hungarian Forced Labor Group, run by the Luftwaffe; her father’s return from the forced labor group in early 1944; going with her mother to Papa (a historical town in the Veszprém county of Hungary) in 1944; the ghetto that was created in Papa after the Germans arrived; the deportation in July 1944 of her grandparents, who were killed in the gas chambers; escaping from the ghetto with her mother; hiding in Budapest with her mother; her father escaping a labor camp in October 1944 and reuniting with the family; being hidden by a friend, George Ola, for six weeks; returning to their apartment and hiding in the ceiling loft; their two servants, who were Seventh Day Adventists, bringing the family a box of apples to eat; being sneaked out of Budapest and staying briefly in an orphanage; being hidden by seven different people, during which her parents had no idea where she was; the Russians arriving in Budapest in January 1945; her parents’ search for her and their serendipitous discovery of her; her affection for the old woman who hid her towards the end of the war; her family’s escape to Vienna, Austria in 1948; sailing on the SS Ugolina Vivaldi to Sydney in February 1949; living in Rockdale, Sydney then in Kingsford, Sydney; her parents changing their name to Kent and converting to Catholicism so Suzi could get a good education; attending a boarding school in Maitland, New South Wales, and being bullied as a refugee; attending Saint Sabina in Strathfield, N.S.W.; working as the assistant manager of the heritage listed Strand Arcade in Sydney from 1979 to 1982; getting married in 1983; living in Noosa, Queensland; visiting Hungary in 2002; and her work in her community.

Interviewee
Ms. Suzi Smeed
Interviewer
Janet Merkur
Date
2016 February 19  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
1 digital file : MOV.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Janet Merkur