At Hegedűs Gyula Street 20/b (13th district), the Krétakör (Chalk Circle) theater ensemble organized a chamber choir performance in the stairwell, and the planting of a linden tree in the garden, with a memorial plaque.
Story: János Rudas, February 27, 2014, on the yellow-star house opposite at Hegedűs Gyula Street 15:
"My name is János Rudas and on March 19, 1944, the day the German occupation began, I lived with in a one-room apartment at Fiumei Road 21 in the 8th district of Budapest with my father, Béla Rudas, and my mother, born Izabella Grósz. A few weeks later, I turned 9 years old.
That spring, we had to move with my widowed paternal grandmother, Júlia Nádor, and her brother, Jenő Nádor, into an apartment at Baross Street 86. From there, my father was called up on forced labor service from where he never returned; by the end of the year, he had died in the Mauthausen concentration camp.
When the order came to establish the yellow-star houses, the apartment building where we lived at the time was not included on the yellow-star houses list. And so we had to move again, to the apartment belonging to my father’s sister and her husband at Csáky (today Hegedűs Gyula) Street 15. The house is still standing today. As far as I recall, the apartment was on the third floor facing the street on the right-hand side.
Three generations lived together in that apartment:
1. Dr. Andor Huszár
2. Dr. Andor Huszár’s wife, Irén Rudas, my paternal aunt
3. My uncle Andor’s mother, Auntie Szerén (we called her Mamuka)
4. widowed Mrs. Gusztáv Rudas, born Júlia Nádor, my paternal grandmother
5. Jenő Nádor, my grandmother’s brother
6. Dr. György Bing, a family friend who took us in
7. Dr. Gyula Bina, György’s father
8. Mr. Salgó, who also took us in as friends, I don’t remember his first name
9. Mrs. Salgó who did not count as Jewish because she was born Christian, but stayed with her husband
10. My mother
On the basis of the decrees in force at the time, the standard six-pointed yellow star was placed at the front gate of the house. Most people and families living in the apartments qualified as Jews under the “racial” Jewish laws. Among them were people who had converted to Christianity and who therefore were not Israelites by religion.
In a smaller part of the large house, there were people who had been living there earlier, but who did not count as Jews. They had to put the standard large paper sign by their doors. I don’t remember the precise wording of the sign, but I do remember that it meant that the residents were exceptions: non-Jews.
I distinctly remember two apartments like this – although there were more white paper signs in our house. One of them was the house supervisor’s, Mr. Bana (I don’t remember his first name), who lived in the service staff apartment with his wife and daughter, who was the same age as me. The other was another ground-floor apartment where an elderly lady lived by herself, and who had to be addressed as “honorable lady.” (Thinking back, she must have been a déclassé woman who had seen better times, but who had now ended up in a small apartment facing the courtyard.) She didn’t really mix with the other residents, nor with us children, and we often ridiculed her as “Auntie Honor,” although whenever we were making a noise outside her front door, the adults told us to stop.
As far as I could establish as a 9-year-old, there were no conflicts or arguments between the Jewish and non-Jewish residents of the house. The house supervisor also maintained good relations with the original residents.
I recall one more interesting moment. Although Allied air forces had already begun bombing Budapest, the bombings intensified around this time. This may have been why we used the basement as an air-raid shelter. Whenever the air-ride siren sounded, usually at night, all of us had to go down into the basement.
But the basement, which had not originally been built for these purposes (perhaps according to the regulations), had to be fortified so that it wouldn’t collapse in the event that it was bombed. And so the entire basement had to be propped up with wooden columns and beams. These protruded into the courtyard where able-bodied men, both Jewish and non-Jewish, worked on them with chisels, hammers, saws and clamps. As I recall, the work brigade was made up of house residents although it’s also possible that there was external professional help too.
Thus the air-raid shelter was quickly shored up properly. The need for this became clear when a bomb destroyed one of the houses a few doors down which, as far as I recall, was next to the synagogue on what is today Csáky Street. Luckily, our house escaped.
Living together like this lasted until October 15, 1944. On that day in the morning, we were very pleased that Horthy had announced that Hungary would exit the war. But by afternoon, the Arrow Cross party led by Szálasi had already taken power.
The next day my mother packed some clothes, took me by the hand and we left Csáky Street 15 for good. We hid in various locations with false papers until liberation. But that’s another story.
Later, I learned that when the yellow-star houses were emptied out (“cleansed” of Jews), some of those who lived in our Csáky Street apartment moved to a “protected house” on Pozsonyi Road, while others—my aunt and her brother—ended up in the Pest ghetto. Although they were physically and emotionally ruined, they stayed alive and were liberated, and could then move back into their original apartment.
Arrow Cross men wearing the “Árpád” armband later dragged the residents of the overcrowded protected houses to the Danube, where they shot most of them into the river. Most of those from our apartment who ended up in the international ghetto managed to flee with false papers and hide with Christian families who took them in. Of the people named above, Dr. Gyula Bing was the only person who did not manage to escape; he was shot into the Danube by the Arrow Cross."