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Masquerade: The Incredible True Story of How George Soros' Father Outsmarted the Gestapo

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The Nazis came late to Hungary because, until early 1944, Germany and Hungary were allies. But when they did arrive, their orders were to put the “Final Solution” into effect with deliberate speed. Soros, a Jewish lawyer in Budapest, secured fake Christian identities for himself, his wife, and his two sons following the German invasion of Hungary on March 19, 1944. In a na The Nazis came late to Hungary because, until early 1944, Germany and Hungary were allies. But when they did arrive, their orders were to put the “Final Solution” into effect with deliberate speed. Soros, a Jewish lawyer in Budapest, secured fake Christian identities for himself, his wife, and his two sons following the German invasion of Hungary on March 19, 1944. In a narrative reminiscent of the great Primo Levi, Soros recounts his experiences with a beguiling humor, deep humanity, and a wisdom that is humbling. Superbly translated by Humphrey Tonkin, Masquerade is a unique account of how one man managed not only to survive but to retain his integrity, compassion, family unity, and humor by “dancing around death.” Like Klemperer’s Diary of the Nazi Years, this very personal, low-key testament of the Holocaust is a gripping depiction of “normal” daily life under the Nazis—told by a man who triumphed by leading an ordinary life under extraordinary and terrifying circumstances.


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The Nazis came late to Hungary because, until early 1944, Germany and Hungary were allies. But when they did arrive, their orders were to put the “Final Solution” into effect with deliberate speed. Soros, a Jewish lawyer in Budapest, secured fake Christian identities for himself, his wife, and his two sons following the German invasion of Hungary on March 19, 1944. In a na The Nazis came late to Hungary because, until early 1944, Germany and Hungary were allies. But when they did arrive, their orders were to put the “Final Solution” into effect with deliberate speed. Soros, a Jewish lawyer in Budapest, secured fake Christian identities for himself, his wife, and his two sons following the German invasion of Hungary on March 19, 1944. In a narrative reminiscent of the great Primo Levi, Soros recounts his experiences with a beguiling humor, deep humanity, and a wisdom that is humbling. Superbly translated by Humphrey Tonkin, Masquerade is a unique account of how one man managed not only to survive but to retain his integrity, compassion, family unity, and humor by “dancing around death.” Like Klemperer’s Diary of the Nazi Years, this very personal, low-key testament of the Holocaust is a gripping depiction of “normal” daily life under the Nazis—told by a man who triumphed by leading an ordinary life under extraordinary and terrifying circumstances.

30 review for Masquerade: The Incredible True Story of How George Soros' Father Outsmarted the Gestapo

  1. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    Ĉi tiu estas bonega kaj interesega libro pri malfacila kaj malfeliĉa tempo.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stanislavo Belov

    Holokaŭsto estas ne nur la plej granda, sed evidente ankaŭ la plej bone dokumentita genocido de la 20-a jarcento. La eŭropa judaro estis plejparte bone edukita, do postlasis plurajn taglibrojn, leterojn kaj rememorojn. Tamen libron de Tivadar Soros mi konsideras inter la plej valoraj atestoj. Kial? Ĉar ĝi elmontras ne nur skrupulajn priskribojn de la tragedio de la hungara judaro, sed ankaŭ prezentas neatendite efikan savstrategion kaj eĉ... humuron, kiu neniam forlasis nian heroon. La strategio Holokaŭsto estas ne nur la plej granda, sed evidente ankaŭ la plej bone dokumentita genocido de la 20-a jarcento. La eŭropa judaro estis plejparte bone edukita, do postlasis plurajn taglibrojn, leterojn kaj rememorojn. Tamen libron de Tivadar Soros mi konsideras inter la plej valoraj atestoj. Kial? Ĉar ĝi elmontras ne nur skrupulajn priskribojn de la tragedio de la hungara judaro, sed ankaŭ prezentas neatendite efikan savstrategion kaj eĉ... humuron, kiu neniam forlasis nian heroon. La strategio unika kaj efika Tivadar Soros estas la nomo bone konata en la esperanto-medio. La fervora esperantisto, li fondis la famegan revuon “Literatura mondo”, kiu grave influis la junan esperanto-literaturon. La pli vasta mondo konas lin ĉefe kiel la patron de la eble plej fama kaj kontraŭdira financisto de la 20-a jarcento George Soros. Post reveni el la rusia militkaptejo, kiun li trafis dum la Unua mondmilito, li eldonis en 1924 rememorojn “Modernaj Robinzonoj”, en kiuj priskribis sian fuĝon de la militkaptejo en Fora Oriento kaj vagadon tra siberiaj arbaroj. Eble tio restus lia sola verkista kontribuo al la esperanto-literaturo, sed en la afero enmiksiĝis la fortoj tiom grandaj, ke la tuta mondo renversiĝis kaj ĉiuj antaŭaj planoj ŝajnis esti naivaj revaĉoj. Holokaŭsto en Hungario daŭris en sia aktiva fazo malpli ol unu jaro kaj kulminis en amasaj deportadoj al la naziaj koncentrejoj en la lastaj kelkaj monatoj de la milito, kiam la lando jam estis okupita de la germanoj kaj ĝia registaro tute subiĝis al frenezuloj de la Tria Regno. Do kiel sukcesis nia heroo postvivi tiun teruran tempon? Ĉu li kaŝis sin en iu kelo, fuĝis al fora montaro aŭ vegetis en subtegmentejo kiel familio de Anne Frank? Tute ne. Plejparton de tiu ĉi periodo li loĝis en la centro de Budapeŝto en sufiĉe komfortaj apartamentoj aŭ hoteloj, promenis laŭ stratoj, renkontiĝis kun geamikoj kaj eĉ regule ĝuis naĝejon. Ĉu li estis riskema aventuristo? Tute inverse, temas pri precize kalkulita konduto de la homo, kiu kutimis pensi memstare kaj sekvi ne subkonsciajn impulsojn kaj amasajn ŝablonojn, sed siajn proprajn konkludojn. Do kiam komenciĝis la persekutado de la hungaraj judoj li komprenis, ke sola efika respondo estos ne kaŝi sin, nek kuniĝi kun samgentanoj, sed... maljudiĝi kaj rompi ĉiujn ligojn kun la antaŭa mondo. Li komprenis, ke individuo ne povas kontraŭstari la maŝinon de teroro, do li prefere malaperu de ties vido, dissolviĝu kvazaŭ nepalpebla efiro. La lerta advokato, li rapide sukcesis akiri novajn dokumentojn por ĉiuj familianoj (kaj poste faris tion por pluraj aliuloj) kaj ordonis, ke ili ĉiuj disiĝu. Oni povas nur imagi, kiom malfacilega estis tiu paŝo – forlasi siajn familianojn fronte al la morta minaco. Sed tiu neŝablona strategio malhelpis identigon de la familio, kiu ne plu ekzistis kiel videbla tuto. Dum Tivadar mem loĝis en iu apartamento, lia edzino translokiĝis al alia loĝejo kaj lia filo iris al la tria. Poste ili ofte ŝanĝis loĝlokojn kaj nomojn, fojfoje eĉ veturis al iuj vilaĝoj, jen renkontiĝis, jen disiĝis denove. La aŭtoro priskribas tiujn ĉi aventurojn trankvile kaj ofte eĉ kun kutima por li humuro, kiu sonas iom specife inter mencioj de amasaj ekzekutoj kaj totala timego. La ulo sagaca kaj elturniĝema, li diris, ke la judoj faras grandan eraron, plenumante la naziajn ordonojn. Almeti la flavan stelon sur vestojn, registriĝi ĉe judaj administrejoj, translokiĝi al la novkreitaj getoj – ĉio ĉi estas strategio de sinmortigintoj, li diris, ĉar ne eblas superruzi ŝtalan maŝinon de la teroro, nek interkonsenti kun ĝi. Dum pluraj jarcentoj la judoj alkutimiĝis al persekutadoj, do esperis, ke ĉi-kaze ili plian fojon grupiĝos kaj kune eltenos la portempan atakon, eĉ se pli kruelan ol antaŭe. Sed ili eraris. La nazioj ne volis ĝeni judojn, ili volis ekstermi ilin. Do, konkludis Tivadar Soros, la plej racia vojo estus ne kuniĝi, sed disiĝi, ne fortigi judajn organizojn, sed likvidi ilin, bruligi arkivojn, forĵeti antaŭajn identigilojn kaj fuĝi, dissolviĝi en la komuna homamaso, kie ĉiu sekvu sian propran vojon kaj respondecu nur pri si mem. Tiukaze perdoj ankaŭ estus grandegaj, sed oble pli da homoj tamen postvivus. Pravecon de tiu ĉi strategio li pruvas en siaj 300-paĝaj rememoroj, kiuj detale priskribas aventurojn de liaj familio kaj proksimuloj. Malgraŭ pluraj danĝeroj kaj minacoj ili ĉiuj sukcese saviĝis kaj postsvivis la amasan buĉadon, kvankam troviĝis en la centro de tiu neniiga stormo. Eĉ pli, li transvivis tion brave kaj kun rideto sur la vizaĝo, kirliĝante en la historia tajfuno kvazaŭ en vera maskerado, ŝanĝante la maskojn kaj kaŝante sin de kontraŭuloj, kies vizaĝoj ankaŭ ofte estis ŝirmitaj. Viktimoj de la venĝo La libron finas alveno de sovetiaj militistoj, kiuj post kruelega batalo forpelis la naziojn kaj liberigis Budapeŝton, savinte la lastajn tieajn judojn. Tivadar Soros plurfoje dankeme mencias la alvenintojn, kvankam la komentisto rimarkigas, ke ili faris plurajn maldecaĵojn kaj eĉ krimojn kontraŭ la civila loĝantaro, inkluzive de filo kaj edzino de la aŭtoro. Kompreneble mi ne volas pravigi tian sintenon, sed indas ankaŭ memori, ke temas pri homoj angoraj kaj kolerigitaj, kiuj dum kvar jaroj paŝis laŭ sia forbruligita lando, perdis plurajn parencojn kaj amikojn, vidis senfinajn barbaraĵojn kaj nun alvenis al la ĉefurbo de la lando, kies soldatoj invadis ilian patrujon, postlasinte sangajn spurojn de Ukrainio ĝis Stalingrado. Ili vidis en budapeŝtanoj homojn, kiuj sendis al ilia lando siajn filojn kaj edzojn por sklavigi, perforti kaj murdi kaj tiu vidpunkto ne estis tute malprava. Oni povas diskuti pri morala bazo de la venĝo, sed ĝiaj kialoj estas pli ol evidentaj. Modesta aspekto, valora enhavo Mi legis la duan eldonon, aperintan en 2001 en Roterdamo sub redakto kaj kun komentarioj de la eminenta esperantisto kaj profesoro Humphrey Tonkin. La libro aspektas modeste, sed ne aĉe. Mola kovrilo kun malklara brunkolora bildo, papero grizeta kaj folioj sufiĉe bone algluitaj, sed eble forfalontaj post kelkaj relegoj. Meze de la libro enestas kelkaj paĝoj kun nigro-blankaj fotoj de la aŭtoro kaj ties familianoj. Mi iom miras, ke la rememoroj de la patro de la unu el plej riĉaj homoj en la mondo aperas en tiom ĉipa eldono. La teksto estas vere zorgeme prilaborita. Tajperaroj malmultas kaj nur vortuzado fojfoje ŝajnas esti malkutima. La plej valora kontribuo de la redaktinto evidente estas la 50-paĝaj komentarioj, kiuj legeblas kiel aparta teksto, kio por mi kiel (iama) skrupula historiisto estas la plej alta laŭdo. Ne malpli utilas la listo de cititaj verkoj kaj indekso de la personoj, menciitaj en la libro. Do temas pri la vere sciencnivela eldono, kiun povas kaj devas uzi ĉiu esploristo de la Holokaŭsto en Hungario. Tiun libron vi povas fiere montri al via amiko, starigi sur librobreton kaj eĉ... legi. Kredu min, en ajna kazo vi sekvos ĝustan strategion.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Edith

    Lately having some curiosity about George Soros and what accounts for the power and influence that he has today, I came across this book written by his father Tivadar Soros, a Hungarian Jew who survived the Holocaust in his native Hungary. The original was written in 1965 in Esperanto, a world language that Tivadar endorsed and promoted. The Germans occupied Hungary from March 1944 to January 1945...nearly ten months. During this time more than half the Jews living in Hungary were murdered. It w Lately having some curiosity about George Soros and what accounts for the power and influence that he has today, I came across this book written by his father Tivadar Soros, a Hungarian Jew who survived the Holocaust in his native Hungary. The original was written in 1965 in Esperanto, a world language that Tivadar endorsed and promoted. The Germans occupied Hungary from March 1944 to January 1945...nearly ten months. During this time more than half the Jews living in Hungary were murdered. It was the worst of times for a Jew, but Tivadar Soros, his wife, mother-in-law, and two sons, Paul and George, survived. There are no histrionics in this story...just a simple telling of the daily decisions and moves that Tivadar, a clever and enterprising man, relates that resulted in his family surviving the German murder machine. Easy-going, friendly, adaptable, and wise, Tivadar helped many Jews survive by providing false papers, lodging, and food. He was a man who easily made connections with others and could juggle many balls in the air....the kind of man you want in your corner in an emergency. In 1956, Soros and his wife escaped Communist Hungary and came to the United States. Sons Paul and George had come earlier. There is much to admire in this enterprising man and I found his account of survival in German-controlled Hungary fascinating as yet another historical account of the indomitable human spirit rising above hate and destruction.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Barun Ghimire

    "Life is beautiful and full of variety and adventure. But luck must be on your side." These are the opening lines of the book Maskerado: Dancing Around Death in Nazi Hungary a memoir of Tivadar Soros (father of George Soros). I might have never known about the book if I hadn't been to Budapest recently. The book was recommended to me by my training mentor when I expressed my interest in reading something set in Budapest. He told me about this book, and I grabbed a copy of it in a local book stor "Life is beautiful and full of variety and adventure. But luck must be on your side." These are the opening lines of the book Maskerado: Dancing Around Death in Nazi Hungary a memoir of Tivadar Soros (father of George Soros). I might have never known about the book if I hadn't been to Budapest recently. The book was recommended to me by my training mentor when I expressed my interest in reading something set in Budapest. He told me about this book, and I grabbed a copy of it in a local book store near Central European University. After completing the book, I wanted to write something about it, so the wider audience knows about the book. The book is a story of defiance in the face of death; it teaches us never to give up enjoying life for its own sake and help others when possible. The memoir holds elaborate account of how Tivadar Soros managed to secure his, his families safety and other's safety during the Nazi occupation of Hungary. The memoir set during the second world war period tells the story from a different perspective. The tragedies are there in the story, but the story in itself is told with a good sense of humor. There are some many things you could focus on the book. A person's courage, his cowardice, luck, a fathers love, trauma of war, etc. Any one who has read about Nazi horrors wouldn't mind reading this version of the story. Those who have known Hungary or Budapest, in particular, would love to know more about what the beautiful place have come across during the horrors of war. For someone who is interested in the history of Hungary, horrors of Holocaust and human nature at the time of crisis the book is a must read. This book by Tivadar is interesting and appealing on so many different levels. "The soldier's story doesn't mean much unless the hero lives to tell it: the dead don't tell tales." I am thankful Tivadar Soros told us his tale. He is a hero of a different kind at least that's my takeaway from the memoir.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Agnes Kelemen

    I liked reading it for the author's humor, self-reflectiveness and empathy -he had empathy not only for his suffering fellow Jews but even for the sympathizers of the Arrow-Cross! I love the title "Masquerade", the subtitle of this edition is too commercial. The Hungarian translation was published with an even worse title title "To survive" (bad title for being an overused term in Holocaust memoirs for obvious reasons), yet this is at least loyal to the author's intention. The point of the story I liked reading it for the author's humor, self-reflectiveness and empathy -he had empathy not only for his suffering fellow Jews but even for the sympathizers of the Arrow-Cross! I love the title "Masquerade", the subtitle of this edition is too commercial. The Hungarian translation was published with an even worse title title "To survive" (bad title for being an overused term in Holocaust memoirs for obvious reasons), yet this is at least loyal to the author's intention. The point of the story is not outsmarting the Gestapo, quite the contrary, the huge role luck played in survival. Masquerade is such a great title, why can't publishers just stick to it? That being said, I am happy this Esperanto memoir was published in English and Hungarian, and so I could read it, and Humphrey Tonkin's afterword about Tivadar Soros is so interesting that it made me want to learn Esperanto.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Вестимир

    Great adventure, that got me researching more into the fate of the jews in Central Europe during the dark years of Hitler's power. Tivadar Soros is really charming narrator. The sub-title is a bit misleading, he did not outsmart Gestapo – rather he was able to survive and save a lot of family and friends, just by keeping his head down during this difficult period and taking pragmatic decisions. Every book we enjoy re-affirms some of our own ideas and biases. For me personally, this is to be reso Great adventure, that got me researching more into the fate of the jews in Central Europe during the dark years of Hitler's power. Tivadar Soros is really charming narrator. The sub-title is a bit misleading, he did not outsmart Gestapo – rather he was able to survive and save a lot of family and friends, just by keeping his head down during this difficult period and taking pragmatic decisions. Every book we enjoy re-affirms some of our own ideas and biases. For me personally, this is to be resourceful. Another idea I like is, that during dark times it is OK to supress yout pride, but not your morals. At some points Tivadar had to make some tough choices, but he always acted in accordance to his beliefs. This book also gives some insight into George's childhood, being the youngest child in the family.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Fascinating book by Tivador Soros, father of George Soros, about the family's survival in Hungary during WW II. The horrors of Nazi Occupation and the Iron Cross, and Soros' ability and determination to save not only his family but many, many others. Fascinating book by Tivador Soros, father of George Soros, about the family's survival in Hungary during WW II. The horrors of Nazi Occupation and the Iron Cross, and Soros' ability and determination to save not only his family but many, many others.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kezia

    English version Maskerado: Dancing around Death in Nazi Hungary A personal account on how the Soros family survived the Second World War in Budapest, Hungary, by living under fake Christian identities. Written originally in Esperanto by the father of the well known philanthropist, George Soros. Despite published way back in the 60's, it mentions historical events which only recently received more coverage in the general public, like the mass murder in Kamyanets-Podilsky. The description of life in English version Maskerado: Dancing around Death in Nazi Hungary A personal account on how the Soros family survived the Second World War in Budapest, Hungary, by living under fake Christian identities. Written originally in Esperanto by the father of the well known philanthropist, George Soros. Despite published way back in the 60's, it mentions historical events which only recently received more coverage in the general public, like the mass murder in Kamyanets-Podilsky. The description of life in Budapest during the war from this angle is unprecedented too. I have never heard about this book before in Hungary, I have randomly found it in a second hand bookstore in Berlin. In addition to its historical significance, the book entertains us with the lifehacks, street smart and philosophy of the author who by the time of the plot of the book had already fought in the First World War, had been deported to Siberia and escaped. This had a tremendous effect on his views of life. His son, George writes in the foreword: "His ambition was to enjoy life. He liked to live well but he did not want to amass wealth. ... He is the only man I know who systematically decumulated his assets."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    See also Modernaj Robinzonoj. In that book, Tivadar Soros (father of philanthropist George Soros, and cofounder of an influential Esperanto literature magazine) tells the story of escaping from Russia after WWI. In this book, he tells the story of escaping from Nazi-controlled Hungary during WWII! Whit it was originally written in 1965, the Soros family commission Humphrey Tonkin (another famous Esperanto-speaker) to produce an English translation, which appeared in 2000. As an academic, he rese See also Modernaj Robinzonoj. In that book, Tivadar Soros (father of philanthropist George Soros, and cofounder of an influential Esperanto literature magazine) tells the story of escaping from Russia after WWI. In this book, he tells the story of escaping from Nazi-controlled Hungary during WWII! Whit it was originally written in 1965, the Soros family commission Humphrey Tonkin (another famous Esperanto-speaker) to produce an English translation, which appeared in 2000. As an academic, he researched the subject highly and so in addition to translating into English, he added many notes (including about some places where Soros must have misremembered the time-line) -- and was able to take some liberties in the translation, due to his research. The Esperanto version was republished in 2001, as the original text, but with Tonkin's notes.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Laurel Ferguson

    Surviving humanity Wars are hard to understand when people can change and be so hostile. Nobody really wins much but there seems to be a winning side and a losing side. I'd have probably committed suicide but it serves as a study to find some alternative instead of giving up and just being a chicken. Who wants to know how you can go on being human when there seems to be such a lack of it? Surviving humanity Wars are hard to understand when people can change and be so hostile. Nobody really wins much but there seems to be a winning side and a losing side. I'd have probably committed suicide but it serves as a study to find some alternative instead of giving up and just being a chicken. Who wants to know how you can go on being human when there seems to be such a lack of it?

  11. 4 out of 5

    Fishface

    A great read. A remarkably upbeat and hopeful book about evading the Nazis in Budapest in the last couple of years of the second world war. The author is living proof of the adage that weighty matters should be handled lightly, and light matters should be handled seriously. Gives the reader a glimpse into just how many different ways there are to skin a cat.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Griffin

    I feel bad to give this book such a low rating when it is the story of a very honorable man who spent his life as a positive influence to others during such tragic times and saving the lives of many. But this story is poorly written, perhaps because of its translation.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    The only non-fiction book I have ever read in one sitting.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joyce

    very interesting

  15. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Sztehlo

    A great fact based honest and humble account from the Soros patriach, and probably one of the first hungarian holocaust accounts to be written (1963, I believe).

  16. 4 out of 5

    Edwina Callan

    Simply fascinating account of how this man and his family survived WW2.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alex Kudera

  18. 5 out of 5

    Esperantisto

  19. 5 out of 5

    Torrey Grennan

  20. 5 out of 5

    Walter Quanstrom

  21. 4 out of 5

    Harriet

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dave

  23. 4 out of 5

    Can Dural

  24. 4 out of 5

    Angelique

  25. 5 out of 5

    Psaporito

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sue Swafford

  27. 5 out of 5

    Emma

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shana Jefferis-Zimmerman

  29. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

  30. 4 out of 5

    Joyce Ziegler

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