Posts Tagged ‘Robert Fisch’

Dr. Robert Fisch: Kissing the Cold, Hard Marble

January 3, 2014

Dr. Robert Fisch

Dr. Robert Fisch




I was blessed with a wonderful father and did my best to be the best father I could be as well. So I was especially moved by Holocaust survivor Dr. Robert Fisch‘s tribute to his father in his remarkable book, Fisch Stories: Reflections on Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Here are three excerpts that capture the quiet heroism of the father and the loving devotion of the son.







My father enjoyed everything life could offer: music, food, theater, playing dominoes, and so forth. He and my mother had a shop that sold poultry and game. He was an exceptionally good person, and he helped so many needy people, mostly children in orphanages. In 1944, when he was 53 years old, Hungarian Nazis took him to a Hungarian concentration camp near the German border. A survivor told me that on the way he gave his food away, saying “I (more…)

The Courage of Dr. Robert Fisch

January 2, 2014

Dr. Robert O. Fisch

Dr. Robert O. Fisch


I was privileged to interview Dr. Robert Fisch about his experiences as a Holocaust survivor. Click here to read his incredible story.

After World War II ended, and after he escaped communist Hungary in 1956, Dr. Fisch consciously chose to live with love and joy as his dearest friends instead of succumbing to hate and bitterness.

Dr. Fisch’s positive approach to life is reflected in his astonishing bravery. Here is an excerpt from his remarkable book, Fisch Stories: Reflections on Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.


In my first years of medical school at the University of Budapest, the different political parties pressured students to join. I established the Fisch Party and edited the Fisch Journal, both designed to ridicule the Communists. One spring, at a May Day demonstration, the Communists produced a poster with a cartoon of President Truman with a snake around his neck. When they asked me to carry it, I refused.

“His soldiers liberated me,” I told them. They put the poster on (more…)

Dr. Robert Fisch—Freedom, Day One

January 1, 2014

Dr. Robert O. Fisch

Dr. Robert O. Fisch



On this day 57 years ago—New Year’s Day, 1957—Holocaust survivor Dr. Robert Fisch sailed into New York Harbor. He had been persecuted in his homeland of Communist Hungary and likely would have been executed for his role in the 1956 Revolution there. Thirty-seven years later, in 1993, he received a medal of honor from the president of Hungary for his heroic actions in the liberation of Hungary.



January 1, 1957, was a joyous and auspicious day for Dr. Fisch, but it was only day one of a long and difficult process that finally led to true freedom. He explains why in the poignant and moving Introduction in his book, The Metamorphosis to Freedom.

You are most likely one of the fortunate people who were born in freedom. Only a fraction of people throughout history have been that lucky. I was not one of them.

When I was a young man in Hungary, the Nazis imprisoned, deported and killed Jewish people—including my father and many other members of my family—simply because they were Jews. Then the Communists took over my country and told me where and ow I could practice medicine, for by then I had become a doctor.

I rebelled against the Communists, escaped from Hungary and eventually came to the United States.

I waited a long time for freedom, but it did not come when (more…)

My Interview with Holocaust survivor Dr. Robert Fisch

October 6, 2008
robert-fisch

Dr. Robert Fisch


From the moment I first read about Dr. Robert Fisch, I felt drawn to him and wanted to meet him. Dr. Fisch, a native of Hungary, miraculously survived eleven months in Nazi work camps and the Gunskirchen concentration camp in the German forest.

After World War II ended, he completed medical school in Hungary, then came to America in 1957. He eventually became a University of Minnesota professor of pediatrics and an international expert on the metabolic disease PKU (phenylketonuria).

Dr. Fisch’s first book, Light from the Yellow Star: A Lesson of Love from the Holocaust, is illustrated with one of his paintings and introduced by one of the biblical quotes carved on the walls of the Memorial of the Hungarian Jewish Martyrs in Budapest, Hungary. 

Now retired, Dr. Fisch lives in a Minneapolis condo, where he graciously welcomed me and told me his story, which I arranged to have published in the February 2008 issue of The Jewish Magazine, an online journal.



ROBERT O. FISCH, M.D.

Fisch, a retired University of Minnesota professor of pediatrics and an international expert on the metabolic disease PKU (phenylketonuria), survived the two most oppressive totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century. A Holocaust survivor, he has been knighted in Hungary for his role in the 1956 revolution against communism. Fisch is also an accomplished artist. Each segment of his first book, “Light from the Yellow Star: A Lesson of Love from the Holocaust,” is illustrated with one of his paintings and introduced by one of the biblical quotes carved on the walls of the Jewish Memorial Cemetery for the Martyrs in Budapest, Hungary. The book is distributed at no cost to interested schools through the Yellow Star Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping educate young people about the Holocaust. Fisch’s subsequent books include, “The Metamorphosis to Freedom,” and “Dear Dr. Fisch: Children’s Letters to a Holocaust Survivor.” For more information, visit yellowstarfoundation.org.

My childhood in Budapest was very happy. My parents worked very hard. I had nice clothes, good food, many friends, and much love. A devout Catholic nurse named Anna Tatrai lived with us and helped raise me. I was taught to respect others’ beliefs and ways of life. I attended Friday service in the synagogue and also Sunday Mass. Just as bridges over the Danube River connect the two parts of my city, Buda and Pest, so it was in my home. Different religions were linked by love and understanding.

On March 19, 1944, nine months after I graduated high school, the Nazis invaded and occupied Hungary because the Hungarian government, which was on the side of Germany, tried to make a separate peace. From that point on, every Hungarian Jew had to (more…)