A memoir of life under Nazi and communist rule in Hungary and Romania, this book provides an eyewitness account of the social and political upheaval that shook Eastern Europe from the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s. As an underground resistance fighter, political prisoner, fugitive, and Communist Party official, Egon Balas charts his journey from idealistic young Communist to disenchanted dissident.
Attracted by its anti-Nazi stance, Balas joined the Hungarian Communist Party in 1942, after Hungary had entered the war on Hitler''s side. He helped organize work stoppages and distribute anti-war leaflets. In his memoir, he offers a compelling account of his eventual imprisonment and ordeal under torture, followed by his adventure of escape and hiding.
Later, Balas rose to high positions in postwar Romania. Arrested again, this time by the communist authorities, he spent two years in solitary confinement. Unbroken, he was released after Stalin''s death but was never forgiven for his refusal to cooperate in the staging of a show trial. Disenchanted with the regime, Balas started a new life as a self-educated applied mathematician. After several unsuccessful attempts to leave Romania, he was finally able to emigrate in the mid-sixties.
The book gives detailed information about the destruction of Transylvanian Jewry, and offers devastating indictments of communist procedures and personalities, particularly the ordeal that would-be Jewish emigrants faced with the Romanian Securitate, which controlled exit permits.
Egon Balas, a renowned mathematician, has been a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University since 1967. In 1995 he was awarded the John von Neumann Theory Prize of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.
If You Enjoy "Will to Freedom: A Perilous Journey Through Fascism and Communism (Hardcover)", May We Also Recommend: