Holocaust survivor Magda Brown is speaking to students at Jefferson, Kennedy, and Washington high schools this week. The presentations are part of a multi-day visit to Cedar Rapids where she is also meeting with community groups to share her story.
Brown was 17 years old in 1944, she was deported from her home in Hungary on one of the final transports to Auschwitz-Birkenau with her entire family. Her parents died in gas chambers. Her brother was the only one to survive; he served in the Hungarian military’s Jewish labor force and was captured and imprisoned by the Russian army. In August of 1944, she was deported to Munchmuhle, Stadt Allendorf, Germany, where she worked in an ammunition factory that produced bombs and rockets. She was one of only 1,000 prisoners from Birkenau chosen for this job. In March 1945, she was sent on a death march from the factory for three days. She was eventually liberated in a nearby forest by the Sixth Armored Division of the US Army. In 1946, she came to America and settled in Chicago.
“My hope is that through sharing my story, I can personally talk about the horrors of the Holocaust to remind this generation of the dangers of hatred, prejudice and discrimination,” said Brown
Each high school presentation is followed by a question and answer session with students. Brown’s visit to Cedar Rapids is funded through the Thaler Holocaust Memorial Fund, established by Dr. David and Joan Thaler to provide support for education about the Holocaust to residents and students in Linn County.