In first person… Perseverance and hard work helped get us through the war

Mother Helen was born in 1900 in Hungary and died in the Jewish Home in San Francisco in 1985. She married Simon Weber in 1921 and they opened a country store in Oberwart, Austria, where sister Magda and I were born.

We lived a traditional Jewish life, with mother lighting the Shabbat candles and making sure we observed all other holidays as well.

This idyllic existence ended suddenly when the Nazis seized Austria and we had to flee for our lives all the way to Shanghai. Here, father, who had been a hardworking breadwinner for our family, became a helpless displaced person while mother found a job in the children's kitchen in one of the "Heime."

Proper nourishment being scarce, mother often bought left-over food for sister and me, thus making our eight years in that terrible place more bearable.

After World War II's end we learned that all our Hungarian relatives had been killed by the Nazis. Imagine the horror mother felt when informed of the massacre of her four younger brothers and sisters, along with their small children. Before being able to immigrate to the United States we had to wait another five years in Bolivia, where father died at only age 59, a broken man. Our sweet, gentle mother was a widow longer than she was married, and her gravestone in the Eternal Home reads, "Helen Weber: Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Friend to Many."