Agnes Grunwald-Spier is a distinguished member of Gariwo Scientific Committee. She was born in Budapest in July 1944. She and her mother were sent to the ghetto there in November 1944, and were liberated in January 1945.
A former civil servant, she holds degrees in History & Politics and Holocaust Studies, and was a founder trustee of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, a member of the Board of Deputies of British Jews for 15 years, a member of the Architects’ Registration Board and a Justice of the Peace for 30 years.
The author of best-selling book The Other Schindlers, that was also reviewed in these pages, she was awarded an MBE in the 2016 New Year Honours List for her work as an HMDT Trustee and for ‘services to Holocaust awareness’.
This year she published Who Betrayed the Jews?,a groundbreaking study that examines the various ways Jews were betrayed by their fellow countrymen during the Holocaust. In many cases they regarded themselves as a person of their nation first and a Jew second, so persecution came as a terrible shock to them. Many had fought for their country in the First World War, but this offered very little protection – not even for those awarded the Iron Cross.
They were forced out of their professions and universities. Their neighbours and school friends betrayed them to the authorities. In turn the authorities ‘legally’ withdrew their rights and also stripped them of their possessions under Aryanization policies.
Many who believed themselves to be Christian were affected by the Nazis’ ruthless racial laws and found themselves and their children categorised as ‘halfbreeds’. Bodies such as the police and railway companies co-operated with the Nazis in transporting Jews to their deaths or to be subjected to unspeakable medical experiments. The betrayal did not end in 1945.
Agnes' account of those tragic events includes the story of the slave labourers who toiled for German firms and international companies like Ford; the plight of Jewish Olympians who were murdered; and the impact of Nazi policies on Agatha Christie, Margaret Thatcher and Coco Chanel. The book is listed on Amazon, Italy, too,