Holocaust survivor Éva Fahidi-Pusztai dead at 97

The Documentation and Cultural Center of German Sinti and Roma and the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma together mourn the death of the Jewish Auschwitz survivor Éva Fahidi-Pusztai. With her, one of the last witnesses of the Holocaust has passed away.

Eva Fahidi-Pusztai in a barrack in Auschwitz-Birkenau. In her hands she holds a small bouquet of flowers.
Eva Fahidi-Pusztai (Photo: Dokumentations- und Kulturzentrum Deutscher Sinti und Roma)

She considered it her duty to speak out in public about what she experienced in Auschwitz. Éva Pusztai-Fahidi, who was born in 1925 in Debrecen in eastern Hungary, wrote a stirring testimony to the Holocaust in 2011 with the book “The Soul of Things.” In it, she reports on her family history and describes life in Hungary between the two world wars. Above all, she writes about the traumatic memory of her deportation as an 18-year-old to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp.

On the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day for Sinti and Roma, Éva Fahidi-Pusztai told the audience at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial on August 2, 2019, about how she herself had witnessed the murder of the last 4300 Sinti and Roma remaining in Camp Section B II e of the death camp 70 years earlier:

“We in the camp were frozen with fear. Nor does one remain indifferent when 4300 people in the neighboring camp are driven to their deaths by such drastic methods, with open fire from flamethrowers. As unexpectedly as this action had begun, so unexpectedly calm has returned all at once. And this could hardly be endured. One could hear the loud beating of the hearts of several tens of thousands of people in the various camps in Auschwitz-Birkenau. And as often as I remember that horrible night, because I think it is my duty to talk about it, so that it is not forgotten.”

Those present at the commemoration can still remember Fahidi-Pusztai’s quiet and fragile voice, which sent an unmistakable message against forgetfulness to the generations to come.