Doc. MUDr. Michal Kroó
* 1923 †︎ 2016
“The house was under the protection of the Swiss embassy, and I found my way there. That story’s a veritable thriller. Because, of course, the house couldn’t fit the thousands of Jews in Budapest. It was mainly managed by Zionist activists, and the gate keeper happened to be from Mukacheve, and he knew me. I also had some kind of recommendation on a small scrap of paper with the signature [of a person - ed.], who was friends with the few [people - ed.] that organised it.”
“So things started getting grim, but you could still live somehow. You’re life wasn’t in danger, and you could travel around Hungary. But I didn’t do that. I passed my graduation exams, but I couldn’t study at university, of course. That was completely exceptional.”
“Several year groups of boys of Jewish origin [were saved from the Holocaust - ed.], when they were assigned to the labour corps, which was part of the Hungarian army. The Germans didn’t have the gebühr for that, for playing their games inside the Hungarian army.”
Hradec Králové, 20.01.2015
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Those who entered the Jewish labour corps were paradoxically very lucky
Michal Kroó was born on 18 January 1923 into an assimilated Jewish family in Mukacheve, Subcarpathian Ruthenia, which was part of Czechoslovakia at the time. He attended local primary and grammar schools, but when Subcarpathian Ruthenia was occupied by Hungary on 14 March 1939, he was assigned to forced labour in the Hungarian army; he served on Hungarian territory. Toward the end of the war he hid in the Swiss embassy in Budapest, where he was liberated by the Red Army. After the war he studied medicine at Charles University in Prague and later worked as a neurosurgeon in Hradec Králové and at the Military Medical Academy in the same city.