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Group portrait of girls in an Orthodox Jewish elementary school in Budapest.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 67744

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    Group portrait of girls in an Orthodox Jewish elementary school in Budapest.
    Group portrait of girls in an Orthodox Jewish elementary school in Budapest.

Among those pictured is Zsuzsa Rubin in the back row, second to the right of the teacher.

    Overview

    Caption
    Group portrait of girls in an Orthodox Jewish elementary school in Budapest.

    Among those pictured is Zsuzsa Rubin in the back row, second to the right of the teacher.
    Date
    1945 - 1947
    Locale
    Budapest, [Pest-Pilis-Solt-Kiskun] Hungary
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Susan Rubin Suleiman

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Susan Rubin Suleiman

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Biography
    Susan Suleiman (born Zsuzsa Rubin) is the daughter of Rabbi Michael (Yitzchak Moshe) Rubin and Lilly (Lillian) Stern Rubin. Lilly, the daughter of Moses and Rose Stern, was born in Nyiregyhaza in northeast Hungary on July 27, 1908. She had three brothers, Izso (b. 1904), Laci (b. 1906), and Nick, who immigrated to the United States in the 1930s. She also had a sister Magda who immigrated to France in 1935. Michael Rubin was born on June 19, 1910 to Yehoshua Baruch and Esther Rubin in Gorlice, in southern Poland. Yehoshua Baruch had settled in Budapest several years earlier, but Esther had an extended family in Gorlice and chose to have her first baby there. Michael Rubin had four siblings: Hera, Betty, Rose and Ica, all of whom survived the war and eventually came to Toronto, Canada. Michael attended the Nagyhalasz yeshiva and became an orthodox rabbi (though he never practiced as a rabbi in Hungary) and administrator of the Jewish Community Bureau in Budapest. Zsuzsa was born in Hungary on July 18, 1939 six weeks before the outbreak of World War II. For most of the war, the Rubins, like most Hungarian Jews, lived relatively undisturbed lives though Lilly's two older brothers were conscripted into forced labor brigades. Then, in March 1944, Germany seized control of Hungary and began the implementation of the Final Solution there with the cooperation of the Hungarian government. On April 3 they proclaimed that all Jews had to wear a yellow star and in May began the deportation of Jews from the provinces. A few months later, when plans were being made to deport the Jews of Budapest, the Rubins succeeded in escaping from the "Yellow Star House" where they lived. (Susan Suleiman assumes that her parents bribed the concierge to keep quiet.) Zsuzsa and her mother walked out together, and her father followed a bit later. Though Lilly's mother was sent to the ghetto, she miraculously survived. Zsuzsa's parents brought her to Christian farmers who agreed to hide her. The separation was traumatic for Zsuzsa, but eventually she reunited with her parents after her father succeeded in obtaining false papers for the entire family. Armed with false papers which identified them as Catholic refugees from the south, Zsuzsa's parents found jobs as the caretakers of an estate in Buda belonging to a kind, elderly noblewoman. As the Soviet army advanced, there were frequent air raids. Rabbi Rubin listened to the shortwave and made sure that the entire household fled to safety in the basement as needed. The Soviet Union captured Buda in February 1945, and the Rubins returned home that spring. The following September Zsuzsa began school at the age of six. She attended a small Orthodox girls' elementary school housed in the Kazinczy Street synagogue. After the war, they learned the fate of their family. All of Michael's family survived, but the large extended family in Europe was murdered. Lilly's sister Magda survived in hiding in France, and her brother Laci who returned from forced labor. However, her brother Izso Stern perished in forced labor, and most of her extended family was killed. Even after the war, the family's troubles did not end. In August 1949 they escaped the repressive Communist regime fleeing by foot to Czechoslovakia and from there by train to Vienna. They immigrated to the United States in December 1950. Susan completed high school and college, obtained a PhD from Harvard and was appointed professor of Romance Lanugages and comparative literature at Harvard in 1984. In 1997, she was named Harvard's C. Douglas Dillon Professor of the Civilization of France and Professor of Comparative Literature.
    Record last modified:
    2015-02-19 00:00:00
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