The Story of George Garai 1926 – 2007
Dr George Garai was born in 1926 in Budapest, into a loving Jewish family. He lived with his parents, his younger sister, and his grandmother. He had fond memories of his childhood, enjoying spending time with his family and friends. The Garai family felt assimilated and content in Hungary, despite rising antisemitism.
The story describes how after the German occupation of Hungary in 1944 Jews were deported in their hundreds of thousands to Auschwitz Concentration Camp and other work camps nearby. At the age of 18 George was forcibly sent to Balf Labour Camp, where, alongside tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews, he spent the cold winter months digging trenches. He was then moved on to Mauthausen Concentration Camp and was subsequently forced onto a four-day death march to Gunskirchen Concentration Camp.
When Gunskirchen was liberated in May 1945 George was suffering from typhoid. After recuperating in hospital he returned home, only to learn that his father had been murdered, along with many other family members.
George remained in Hungary until the brutal suppression of the 1956 Hungarian Uprising against the Hungarian Communist regime. He fled Hungary for England and then moved to Australia, where he met and married his wife, Anna. In 1966 they emigrated to England, where George enjoyed a long career as a journalist and happily raised a family with two daughters.
The story is narrated by his grand-daughter Ella, using George’s words from his autobiography and clips of interviews with his sister.
Presented by Ella Garai-Ebner
Ella Garai-Ebner graduated from the University of Birmingham in June 2021, with a degree in Education and Sociology. She works at Alyth Synagogue as an educator in the Youth and Education Hub, having grown up as an active member of Alyth.
Ella speaks about her grandpa, George Garai. She first came across Generation 2 Generation in the Spring of 2021 while writing and researching her dissertation, which was on the role of Third-Generation Holocaust descendants in transmitting survivor testimony. The findings of her dissertation reiterated the importance of Holocaust education, and she knew she wanted to get involved with the charity and tell her grandpa’s story. George did want his story to be told but found it personally too painful to do so. He therefore asked his family to do this for him in his place.