In Search of Light

Martha Salcudean is ten years old when her childhood comes to an abrupt end. The war has been raging around her for years, but in Northern Transylvania, now a part of Hungary, the atrocities intensify with the Nazi invasion in 1944. Suddenly, Martha and her family are imprisoned in ghettos and surrounded by incomprehensible cruelty. As she and her family are lined up in front of a cattle car train, a split-second decision her father makes changes their fate in an instant — instead of heading to almost certain death in Auschwitz, Martha and her family become destined to be saved by Rudolf Kasztner, a man riskily negotiating with the Nazis. After the war, Martha returns home, only to be caught in the grip of a new Communist dictatorship. Martha’s journey In Search of Light takes her through the darkness of two oppressive regimes to the beginning of freedom in Canada, where she is finally able to choose her own path.

At a Glance
Romania (Northern Transylvania); Hungary; Switzerland
Postwar Romania
Ghettos
Kasztner’s train
Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
Life under Communism
Arrived in Canada in 1976
Adjusting to life in Canada

232 pages

Recommended Ages
14+
Language
English

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Photo of Martha Salcudean

About the author

Dr. Martha Salcudean was born in 1934 in Cluj, Romania, and immigrated to Canada in 1976. She was a professor at the University of Ottawa before becoming head of mechanical engineering at the University of British Columbia. She received three honorary doctorates and a number of prestigious awards and honours for her extensive contributions to science and engineering. Martha Salcudean passed away in July 2019.

I understood that we were different, that we were considered as aliens — more correctly, enemy aliens — and that there was a different set of rules for us.