A few years ago we partnered with the Hungarian Jewish Archives and the Zachor Holocaust Remembrance Foundation to launch The Memory Project in Hungary. We had the exhibit translated into Hungarian and we added subjects of Hungarian origin to our workshop. We found that the shared history and heritage between the students and the subjects created an extra connection and level of understanding. This is especially true when the subject is young like the students themselves.
Pál Várnai is the subject of our featured portrait this month. Pál was very young when Hungary passed a series of laws that greatly restricted what Jewish people were allowed to do. In 1944, when Pál was nine, his father was conscripted into forced labor, and his family was deported to the Szeged ghetto in southern Hungary. They were later sent to the Strasshof concentration camp in Austria, and then to Bergen-Belsen and Terezin. Pál and his family were liberated from the Terezin camp in May 1945, but he never saw his father again.