Hungarian Holocaust survivor and former dancer Eva Fahidi dies at 97

Hungarian Auschwitz survivor Eva Fahidi, known for her dance performances at the age of 90, died at 97, according to the Buchenwald memorial foundation.

“It is with great sadness that we learned this morning that Eva Fahidi-Pusztai, survivor of the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps and committed fighter for democracy and human rights, died in Budapest,” the Memorial Foundation Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora said in a statement.

“We will sorely miss her wisdom and warmth.”

Fahidi was an 18-year-old schoolgirl when she was put on a train and deported from Debrecen in eastern Hungary to Auschwitz — one of nearly 440,000 Hungarian Jews sent to death camps between May and July in 1944.

Forty-nine of her relatives perished in the Holocaust, including her parents and 11-year-old sister. She last saw her mother and younger sibling at a sorting ramp. after arriving at Birkenau.

After the camp’s liberation, it took Fahidi nearly six decades before she was ready to open up about her trauma.

A 2003 visit to the camp exactly 59 years after her first journey there prompted her to write her memoir.

Her book — “The Soul of Things” — was published in German in 2004 and later translated by Fahidi into Hungarian.

Later, Fahidi also expressed herself through dance.

Fahidi also came face to face with her past, when she appeared as a plaintiff at the closely covered trial of Oskar Groening, known as the “Bookkeeper of Auschwitz.”

Groening was sentenced to four years in jail as an accessory to murder in 300,000 cases.

The pain does not fade but you learn to live with it, Fahidi said, adding she thought of Auschwitz every day.

“But I discovered that hatred is just a burden. What happened happened,” she said.


Subscribe to the EJC newsletter

Get the EJC newsletter, including the latest statements and news from the European Jewish communities, direct to your inbox.

European Jewish Congress will use the information you provide on this form to contact you. We will treat your information with respect and will not share it with others. By clicking Subscribe, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

browse by community