Survival Kit

An only child, fifteen-year-old Zuzana Sermer does what she can to protect her father and ailing mother when the Nazis set up a fascist regime in her native Slovakia in 1939. Four years later, fleeing to the supposed safety of Budapest, Zuzana and her fiancé, Arthur, must instead navigate one treacherous situation after another when Germany occupies Hungary in March 1944. Survival Kit is both Sermer’s thoughtful reflections on the miracles of her survival and a testament to the power of courage, love and determination.

Introduction by Julia Creet

At a Glance
Slovakia; Hungary
Passing/false identity
Siege of Budapest
Postwar Czechoslovakia
Life under Communism
Arrived in Canada in 1968

192 pages, including index

Recommended Ages

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Photo of Zuzana Sermer

About the author

Zuzana Sermer was born in Humenné, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia), in 1924. After the war, she married Arthur Sermer, and they raised a family in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia). In 1968, during the Soviet occupation of the country, Zuzana and her family fled to Canada and settled in Toronto, where Zuzana became a bookkeeper and enjoyed painting landscapes and writing about living under communism. Zuzana Sermer passed away in 2021.

For the second time, I found myself about to be interrogated.... I wouldn’t confess to being Jewish this time, knowing it would mean certain death. How could I die now, after all we had managed to get through? I would not allow myself to die by their bloody hands. These thoughts pumped courage into my veins.