“Dat rote Fahrrad” (“The Red Bicycle”) contains the diary originally published in 1947 by the Hungarian journalist Ágnes Zsolt of her daughter Eva. It has entries only from February 13 to May 30, 1944, in which the thirteen-year-old girl describes Hungary in the throes of the Holocaust.
Eva was brought up with her grandparents. In the first entry she reports her grandfather, a pharmacist, saying: “By the time I marry it won’t matter if my husband is an Aryan or a Jew. He thinks that by then people probably won’t even know what an Aryan is.” Mother and daughter became separated in the Nagyvarad ghetto. The journalist was deported first to Bergen-Belsen but managed to get to Switzerland and survived.
She discovered later that her daughter was transported on June 3, 1944, to Auschwitz and was “selected” on October 17 by Josef Mengele and killed. In 1951 Ágnes Zsolt committed suicide, not least because of the Holocaust and her survivor’s guilt.
The book is not just a diary. The history of the diary itself reflects the tragedies that surrounded practically all of the protagonists. A moving, gripping, authentic historical document.
Welcome: Danielle Spera
Book presentation: Paul Lendvai
Reading: Mercedes Echerer
“Das rote Fahrrad”
Nischenverlag, 120 pages, €19.80
Jewish Museum Vienna