Suddenly the Shadow Fell

All 17-year-old Leslie Meisels knows in June 1944 is that he must get his family out of the terrible conditions in the ghetto in Debrecen, Hungary. Over his mother’s objections, his decision to push their way on to a transport could have sent them all to a death camp. Instead, they join the roughly 20,000 “Jews on ice” whose lives are saved — temporarily — in Austria. After the war, when Leslie is finally starting a new life in freedom in North America, he meets Eva, who is also a Holocaust survivor from Hungary, and together they face their pasts and look forward to the future.

At a Glance
Leslie Meisels:
Hungary; Austria
Debrecen ghetto
Forced labour
Kasztner’s train
Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
Arrived in the US in 1958, and in Canada in 1967
Eva Meisels:
Hungary
Budapest ghetto
Raoul Wallenberg
Arrived in Canada in 1957

176 pages

Recommended Ages
14+
Language
English

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Photo of Leslie Meisels

About the author

Leslie Meisels was born on February 20, 1927, in Nádudvar, Hungary. His whole immediate family survived the Holocaust. He immigrated to the US in 1958, following the Hungarian Revolution, and to Canada in 1967. He married Eva Silber in 1961 and they lived in Toronto. Leslie Meisels passed away in 2018.

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Photo of Eva Meisels

About the author

Eva Meisels was born in Budapest, Hungary, on July 3, 1939. In November 1944, she and her mother ended up in the Budapest ghetto. They acquired false papers from Raoul Wallenberg and were liberated by the Soviet army in January 1945. After the Hungarian Revolution, the family immigrated to Canada.

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That night, a fierce air battle developed around and above our train. Guns were blazing, bombs were falling…. In the morning, instead of the enemy, US soldiers found us and heard our cries: “Oh God, we are free!”