Catalina Hantos de Kertesz

February 23, 1933. Ujpest, Hungary - June 3, 2016. Buenos Aires, Argentina


The Jewish community in Hungary was important, many had fought in the First World War and had been decorated. Catalina's father worked until the German invasion in 1944 in a factory. Until this date, they continued living in their house. The adults talked daily about what was happening in Europe but "The war we felt away from us." With the entrance of the Nazis, Catherine remembered that her life was the same and that her parents were worried so that she would not notice changes in her daily life.


"In Hungary, the story was different from the center of the conflicts as in Poland, the Nazis entered on March 19, 1944, and the Russians in January 1945. They killed a lot of people, but in a shorter time." With the Nazi entry, the Hantos family had to move to one of the buildings with a yellow star for housing Jews. After a few weeks there, a Catholic cousin of her mother manages to get each of them fake papers with Catholic identity.


With the new papers, she was placed in a convent. Her mother and aunt were assigned to work in a box-making factory, her father as a coachman and her grandfather hidden in a house. Up to a month before the end of the war, she remained with the nuns. At no time did she see her parents. She was 11 when her father entered the convent. She always knew who she was and her true identity. She memorized all her new data and faced not forgetting her true story but also that nobody recognizes it. "At the age I had, I did not know what was going on, I remember not feeling so afraid. The war, the bombings, was part of our life."


Before the end of the war, the parents went to look for Catherine to the convent and all together they moved to the house of an aunt where they remained until the end of the war. When the Russians entered they managed to return to their home where their father returned to work in the factory of always, commanded now by the Russians.


"We should have emigrated in 1939, but since my grandmother was ill, my father said that until she dies, we would not move from there. Finally, when she died, the last ship had left." The Hantos family decided to move to Argentina where Catalina's maternal aunt lived. They arrived in Argentina in 1948.

Crossing stories

In 1949, 10 days after arriving, Tomas Kertesz was taken to a party of Hungarians. He was in the position of someone who had not been able to attend. Catherine attended the same party and there they met. Immediately they told what each one had to live. In 1960 they got married, had two children, Esteban and Ana, who gave them 5 grandchildren.