Title: The Story of the Kolliners
Author: Peter Kolliner
Publisher: Self Published
Place of publication: Melbourne
Year of Publication: 1987
Location of Book:
Cities/town/camps: Hungary: Budapest
Note: those cities/towns/camps underlined are those which are most central to the narrative
On the occasion of his son's barmitzvah, Peter Kolliner compiled a book of his family's history for his children. 84 pages long, the book also contains numerous photographs and family tree diagrams. Kolliner begins his family history in the 1800s.
Kolliner's family lived in Budapest during World War II (pages 57-61). Both his father and uncle were taken to Hungarian forced labour camps. Peter was only a small child at the time. As the anti-Semitic measures increased, Kolliner's family converted to Catholicism. Even thought the laws were then changed such that anyone with a Jewish grandparent was considered Jewish, regardless of conversion, Kolliner's family managed to buy documents granting them a Catholic identity.
For a time Peter was hidden in a small village, only to be spotted and reported by a Budapest resident. He was jailed for two days before his mother managed to secure his release through bribery. When Peter was eventually taken to the ghetto, his mother again secured his release, this time utilising false Red Cross papers. Peter then lived out the remainder of the war in Budapest. At one point a bullet grazed the back of his head, rendering him unconscious for two weeks.
After the war's end, life began returning to normal. Peter's family, however, decided not to return to their Jewish identities but to remain Catholics. Following the nationalization of his father's business, Peter and his family emigrated to Australia in 1950. Interestingly, Peter Kolliner's Jewish identity remained unknown to him for much of his life. His book was self-published in 1987.