Original Author: Neil Genzlinger
“Despite what life held in store for me,” Ms. Fahidi wrote, “I feel like Fortune’s darling, because for 18 years and six months I had a home, a father, a mother, a little sister, grandparents, nearly 20 cousins and countless other relatives. I led an active and exciting life full of adventure and discoveries in music, literature and sports.”
When she was 11, her father decided that the family would convert to Roman Catholicism.
“From the age of 11, I was brought up as a pious Catholic, which confused me, to say the least,” she wrote. “We had never been observant Jews, and suddenly, when we turned Catholic, I found myself face to face with dogmas.”
The conversion did not save her family, though, when hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews were rounded up and deported in 1944.
Ms. Fahidi is survived by her partner, Andor Andrasi; a daughter, Judith; and a granddaughter. In her memoir, writing about her 2003 visit to the Birkenau site, she reflected on the loss of her family, and on her survivor’s guilt.
“The ashes of my immediate family were dumped in the nearby swamps, and so were the ashes of my extended family,” she wrote, “and if I say they are 50 in number, I am not far off the mark. I can’t help thinking that I have deserted them, and that my place should be with them, one more handful of dust in the swamps of Birkenau.”
She carried her grief with her throughout her long life.
“The cliché that time heals all wounds is a lie,” she wrote. “It depends on the wound. There are wounds that never heal.”