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As the Lilacs Bloomed

In the spring of 1944, as Germany occupies her native Hungary, Anna Molnár Hegedűs barely has time to notice the flowers blooming around her. One year later, as the lilacs blossom once again, she returns to her hometown of Szatmár, Hungary, and sets her memories to paper, the experiences still raw and vivid. Her unflinching words convey the bitter details of the Szatmár ghetto, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Schlesiersee forced labour camp and a perilous death march. At forty-eight years old, Anna has survived a lifetime of trauma, and as she writes, she waits, desperately hoping her family will return.

Introduction by Na’ama Shik

At a Glance
Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp
Concentration and forced labour camps
Written in 1945; first published in Hungarian in 1946
Arrived in Canada in 1952
Educational materials available: The Human Experience of Auschwitz

256 pages, including index

2015 Independent Publisher Gold Medal

2015 Literary Translators’ Association of Canada John Glassco Award

Recommended Ages

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Photo of Anna Molnár Hegedűs

About the author

Anna Molnár Hegedűs was born in Szatmár, Hungary (now Satu Mare, Romania), in 1897. In 1921, she married Zoltán Hegedűs,and they raised two children, János and Ágnes. Anna and her daughter were imprisoned in Auschwitz-Birkenau together, an uncommon occurrence given Anna’s age and the selection process. Anna immigrated to Israel in 1950 and to Montreal in 1952, where she became a devoted neonatal nurse, staying with mothers and their newborns for a week to several months, often maintaining relationships with the families. Anna Hegedűs passed away in 1979.

Explore this story in Re:Collection

Six months have passed since I arrived home. Six months full of hope, waiting, heart-gripping anxiety and dark despair.