A Lifetime in the Days of the Family Mandel

Terry Fred Horowitz

The story of Manny Mandel, who as an eight-year-old was aboard "Kasztner's Train” from Hungary during the Holocaust, and of the Mandel family before, during and after the war.
Date Published :
November 2017
Publisher :
Library of the Holocaust
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Paperback
ISBN : 9781882326136
Pages : 168
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock


The story of the transport, known as “Kasztner’s Train” that carried 1, 676 Jewish men women and children from Budapest and its environs out of immediate danger, and eventually to freedom is one of the most compelling and thought-provoking episodes of the Holocaust. The Jews of Hungary were the last remaining large group of Jews left in Europe. Although subjected to anti-Jewish decrees and acts of violence, they remained mostly intact. That changed in March 1944 when the Nazis, afraid that their Hungarian cronies were about to capitulate to the Allies, occupied the country. Before long, the fate of the Jews in Hungary became precarious, then deadly. They were deported at a frightening rate, most directly to Auschwitz where almost ninety percent of the over 425,000 Jews perished. Against this backdrop, Rudolf Kasztner, a part of a Jewish aid group tried to prevent Jews from being deported. He negotiated directly with the notorious Nazi, Adolf Eichmann to release Jews in exchange for payment. Kasztner wanted a much larger arrangement, but it never happened.

To some, Kasztner was a literal life saver. To others, he was a collaborator, a traitor to his people. Among those on that train, along with his mother and uncle, was eight-year-old Imi Mandel. The story of how he came to be included in that uncertain journey that travelled from Budapest to the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, and after six months, on to freedom in Switzerland is but one part of the tale told by Mandel’s friend, Terry Horowitz. Along the way Mandel and his family crossed paths with some of the memorable people we think about when studying the Holocaust: names like Hannah Szenes, Anne Frank and Raoul Wallenberg. Mandel’s father, Lajos was a prominent cantor in Budapest and an important figure in Jewish life there. But he was forced laborer hundreds of miles away and didn’t even know his wife and child had left Budapest. Eventually the family was reunited, first in Israel and later in the United States. Imi, now known as Manny, grew to adulthood, and has had a successful and rewarding life. He now regularly speaks about the Holocaust in front of various groups. The story of Manny and the entire Mandel family offers us a rich detail of the Jewish world before and during the war, along with its aftermath and how they overcame many tragedies and obstacles. Finally, their story becomes a chronicle of a quintessential American life.

About The Author

For 35 years, Terry Fred Horowitz ran a successful architectural firm. During that time, he earned degrees in history from the University of Maryland and congressional studies from Catholic University. He subsequently began a second career as an historian, and author. He became friendly with the legendary journalist and newsman, Robert St. John, eventually becoming his biographer. His book, Merchant of Words: The Life of Robert St. John was published in 2014.

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