Magda Brown’s family lost their jobs, their homes and their freedom. Then they lost each other.
Brown recounted at the University of Alabama School of Law how she survived the Holocaust and how her parents were sent to the gas chambers.
She had lived a normal life, until the laws in Hungary began to strip away her family’s liberty. They were forced from their home to walk to a brickyard, which was adjacent to a set of railroad tracks. They were told the families would stay together. Brown calls it the “lie of all lies of the 20th century.”
“Think about that,” she said. “We had absolutely nothing else. No materials whatsoever, but we had our family. So, with that we go like the sheep to the gallows without any resistance.”
On June 11, 1944 — her 17th birthday — Brown and her family were crowded onto a railroad box car with 75 to 80 other people and traveled for three days without food, water or any idea about where they were going.
“I stood for three solid days, shifting one inch this way, one inch that way.”
When the box car stopped and the door opened, she was at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland, and she never saw her mother and father again.
Brown urged members of the audience to protect their freedom, understand that the crematoria and gas chambers were real and to think about hatred.
“I want you to think very seriously about hatred, because all genocide stems from hatred,” she said. “I am not telling you to hate or not to hate. That is entirely up to your conscience. I am only asking you to think about it.”
Brown’s talk was sponsored by the Jewish Law Students Association and the National Association of Women MBAs.