After Dr. Maria Madi's family decided to share her journals from World War II with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, her story has inspired many. Her journals detail her harrowing experience during the war as she hid two Hungarian Jews in order to save their lives.
Dr. Rebecca Erbelding, Archivist of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, was the staff member who worked with new paper material at that time…
Today, Madi’s journals are described as fantastically significant for historians.
“You have a well-educated woman writing in English about what she’s seeing on an intimate level, the rumors circulating on the streets, the claustrophobia of living under occupation, daily and existential worries, loss, and love,” explains Erbelding.
According to the Museum, the handwritten diaries consist of approximately 1,200 pages and include newspaper clippings, propaganda leaflets, photographs, and even a piece of shrapnel from an Allied bombing raid.
“They’re really compelling,” Erbelding says. They “give us the opportunity to understand what a non-Jewish, but generally sympathetic, person was experiencing in wartime Budapest.”