Letters from Mother and Father
József & Margit Strausz
Some 13,500 Jews lived in the city of Munkács, representing more than 40% of the local population. Alongside the Orthodox and Hassidic communities was a Hebrew Gymnasium (school). The engineer Eliyahu Rubin taught at the school and later served as its principal. One day, József Strausz, a Roman Catholic municipal clerk of German origin, approached Rubin and asked that his son, József Strausz Jr., be allowed to attend the school so that he could learn Hebrew - something that would help him attain a career in the Christian clergy. The boy was accepted into the school, and the Strausz and Rubin families became friends. Following the German invasion of Hungary, Rubin turned to his friends, the Strausz family, asking them to hide his son, Amos. Strausz and his wife immediately agreed to hide Amos and offered to hide the entire Rubin family. However, Eliyahu Rubin did not accept, fearing that this would put them and his son in greater danger. In April, 11-year-old Amos arrived at the home of the Strausz family, carrying only a small package of possessions. His parents were moved into the ghetto and were deported to Auschwitz in May. Before they left, they managed to give the Strausz family a package of pre-dated personal letters, to be given to their son from time to time, so that, no matter what their fate, the boy would be able to draw encouragement from the belief that his parents were alive and well. Strausz, his wife Margit and their 18-year-old son, József Jr., did everything they could to ease the boy’s suffering during his six months in hiding. They provided him with food and clothing, and took care of all his needs. They also brought him books to read, and gave him the letters they “received” from his parents. The boy remained in the house and never ventured outside until the area was liberated by the Red Army in October 1944. It was only after the liberation that Amos found out what had really happened to his parents. Miraculously, however, his mother and father were among the very few Munkács Jews who came back from the camps. In the summer of 1946, the Rubins immigrated to Eretz Israel. They remained in contact with the Strausz family for many years.
On October 13, 1964, Yad Vashem recognized József and Margit Strausz as Righteous Among the Nations.