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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:                       MURRAY LYNN

INTERVIEWER:                  JOHN KENT & SARA GHITIS

DATE:                                  JANUARY 2, 2001 & MAY12, 2005

LOCATION:                         ATLANTA, GEORGIA

2001 Transcript (PDF) & 2005 Transcript (PDF)

Biography

Murray Lynn was born Murray Alfred Leicht in Bilke, Hungary (though today the community lies in Ukraine) in 1930. He was born to Abraham, a businessman, and Rosa, a former Hungarian beauty star, and was the eldest of four brothers. Murray and his family experienced the rising antisemitism in their community, at school, and in general life.

In 1942, Murray and his family were woken in the middle of the night by the Hungarian secret police and his father was taken away. Later, Murray found out his father, along with other prominent leaders of the Jewish community in Bilke, were taken out into the Carpathian Mountains and murdered. This was the beginning of the hardest years of Murray’s family’s life.

Two years later in 1944, Murray, his mother, and three younger brothers were deported first to a ghetto and then to Auschwitz-Birkenau. He would be the only member of his immediate family to survive the camp. Upon arrival, his mother and brothers were sent to the gas chambers whereas Murray was selected for a forced labor detail. Murray survived a year of forced labor before he and the rest of the prisoners were death marched into Germany where they were eventually liberated.

After liberation, Murray originally returned to Bilke where he found his home repossessed and his community totally changed. Murray eventually made the decision to leave Bilke and seek a future elsewhere, namely: America. In a journey that led him through Slovakia and to Ireland before finally arriving in New York, USA, Murray studied and bettered himself until he assumed leadership positions in various companies.

In 1956 he moved to Atlanta where he met his wife, Sonia, and settled down to start a family. He has three children: Roberta, Anita, and Allen. Today, he shares his story with the patrons of the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum in hopes of educated future generations against re-committing the atrocities of the past.

Scope of Interview

Murray Lynn discusses his life during the Holocaust in this interview. He starts with his life in Bilke, a small community that was originally part of Hungary and is today part of Ukraine, describing how antisemitism worked its way into his and his family’s life. This antisemitism led to the disappearance and death of his father and the eventual deportation of his mother, three younger brothers, and himself to Auschwitz. He focuses on the brutal conditions of the camp and how he managed to survive when others did not. This leads to discussions of his relation to his faith, then and now, and how he’s gone on in the United States to reconcile his faith and his past.

Between these topics, Lynn discusses coming to the United States after liberation. He talks education, careers, and family in his life after Auschwitz.

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