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George Palfy

George Palfy, Holocaust Survivor, Veteran, US Army
George Palfy, a longtime Brownsville resident died on October 17, 2011, at the age of 80. His mother, Ann, had taken care of him for many years because of a bad motorcycle accident that he
George was born March 6, 1931, in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, and enjoyed a happy childhood until 1939 at the age of 8 years old when he, his parents David and Margaret and other family
members were sent to a labor camp. They suffered the indignity of working as slave laborers. In August of 1944, at age of 13, George and his family were herded like cattle into railway cars and shipped to Auschwitz.
All except George and his father were killed by the Nazis in the gas chambers. They were sent to the sub-camp Gleiwitz where the Jews served as slave labor. Dr. Josef Mengele, the Angel of
Death, made the selections of who shall live or die upon arrival at the railway siding.   He approached 13-year-old George and asked him his age.  “I am 18.”  Mengele tested George by
hitting him with a strong blow to the chest.  George stood strong and took it.  Mengele said, “You will be kitchen help”.
One day George snuck a piece of bread to his father and was caught by a Nazi officer. The Nazi punished George by having him run to the electrified fence to touch it but stopped George just
before he touched. This went on for nearly 6 hours.
Five months later, on December 24, 1944, they were told to gather their meager belonging and march with the other detainees to the west due to the Russian Army approaching. George and his father walked steadily for 3 days and 2 nights arriving at Blechhammer where they collapsed from hunger and exhaustion. Three hours later the Nazis woke everyone up to continue the
forced march. George and David were too exhausted to move on and instead laid among the
dead and dying for 3 days and nights. On January 2, 1945, they and the other few survivors were liberated by the Red Army.
After the war, George and his father travelled to Cuba, a frequent waiting place for Jews hoping to get into the United States. It was there that George’s father David met and married Anne, who
adopted George. The three of them left Cuba for Florida to live with Anne’s family – then it was off to New York. This fit well into George’s scheme of life because he was always adventurous.
George joined the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged.
In the late 1950’s, George and his mother, Ann, moved to Brownsville where George started a store selling electronics.  They were members of Temple Beth-El and Ann participated in
sisterhood and Hadassah events.  George enjoyed motorcycling but had a bad accident that left him partially paralyzed.  George continued his business in Brownsville and, despite his trials,
always had a smile on his face and a kind word to say.
George is buried near his dad, David, in the Hebrew Cemetery.