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July 17, 2015 4:03 pm

Author Dreads to Think What Holocaust Survivor Parents Would Say About Rise in Antisemitsm

avatar by Shiryn Solny

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Agnes Grunwald-Spier said her parents were "bitterly scarred by the Nazis." Photo:

Agnes Grunwald-Spier said her parents were “bitterly scarred by the Nazis.” Photo:

A Jewish author said she would be fearful to consider what her Holocaust survivor parents might think of today’s resurgence of antisemitism.

“I dread to think what my parents would say if they were alive today and saw the rise of antisemitism again,” Agnes Grunwald-Spier, 70, told the U.K.’s Ham & High newspaper.


Grunwald-Spier was born in Hungary in 1944 and now lives in the largely Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Golders Green in North London. The neighborhood was recently targeted by neo-fascists for an antisemitic march.

Grunwald-Spier’s mother was spared from deportation to the Auschwitz death camp during World War II but her family was later sent to the Budapest Ghetto. She noted how fortunate she was, as a baby during the Holocaust, to survive with her parents, though she said they were “bitterly scarred” by Nazi atrocities.

“I don’t have any siblings because my father wouldn’t bring any more children into this world after his experiences as a forced laborer,” said Grunwald-Spier, who is a trustee of Britain’s Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.

The author of The Other Schindlers: Why Some People Chose to Save Jews in the Holocaust, said the problem of prejudice and intolerance against Jews has “not gone away,” and that it is an issue she would like to see covered more extensively.

Her father committed suicide in 1955 and she grew up in Sutton, Surrey with her mother.

Though she is “not particularly observant” she said the soul of her paternal great-grandfather, who was a rabbi in Sopron in Hungary, would be happy that she now lives in a Jewish neighborhood in London.


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  • Joseph Feld

    For readers outside London ‘The Ham and High’ is a newspaper covering Hampstead and Highgate. Golders Green, north of Hampstead, was known post war as Frankfurt on Thames because of its large Hirschian Kehilloh. The neo-fascist march was not allowed and eventually it turned into a stationary demonstration for one hour in Westminster, Central London. About 25 fascists stood with their banners and spoke with a far larger counter demo taking place opposite. One reason the police move the demo was that about 3,000 Jews were expected to walk over to the Golders Green demo on Shabbos afternoon, as well as a delegation of anti-fascists and a large contingent of Golders Green Together representing Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples in Golders Green.