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Sunrise Senior College Online Course Registration

Budapest Blackout: The Diarist as Witness to the Holocaust

with Dr. Jim Oberly



Only 4 days left to register!

Join Dr. James Oberly as he uses materials from his recent publication “Budapest Blackout” to take us on a defiant journey into Nazi occupied Budapest using the memories of Mária Mádi (1898–1970).  This Roman Catholic Hungarian physician practiced medicine in Budapest in the 1920s and 1930s and was a single mother caught up in World War II Budapest.  Being stuck in Budapest during the war, she began writing daily using a mix of English and Hungarian, vowing to become an eye witness to horrific events as they unfolded.  She kept this diary to chronicle her everyday life, as well as the lives of her Jewish neighbors, during a very violent period of war, genocide and foreign occupation from December 1941 until she was able to secure an immigrant’s visa to the US in December 1945.   

In this course, we will look at Dr. Mádi's life using excerpts from the diary, so you can appreciate how and when she wrote and her unique ability to use the diary as a coping tool for an imagined correspondence she could not have with her family in the US.  She had lost all contact with her daughter and her family who had moved to the U.S. in 1941 with the United States’ subsequent entry into the war after Pearl Harbor.  Through these excerpts from the doctor's diaries, Jim will help guide us in understanding the Holocaust that was experienced in Hungary in 1944-45, how Jews first lost their citizenship, then their property, then their freedom of mobility, and ultimately, their lives.  It will take you back to what life was like in 1944 Budapest for the Jewish family that Dr. Mádi sheltered and what daily life was like in Budapest through the arrival of the Russian “Red” Army in February 1945, and subsequent imposition of a communist regime.  Finally, we will look at Dr. Madi's subsequent emigration from Hungary to the US, her career as a practicing physician here in state mental hospitals in Massachusetts and Ohio, and her advocacy for humane treatment of her patients in the 1950s and 1960s.

The material for this presentation was provided though the courtesy of the Mádi family who had donated the entire collection of her diaries to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.  We must never forget.

Instructor:  Dr. James Oberly holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Rochester and is a retired history instructor and seasonal resident of Washington County.  Jim is the editor and led the research team that transcribed, edited, and annotated a selection of Dr. Mádi’s writings into the book “Budapest Blackout: A Holocaust Diary”, published August 2023 by the University of Wisconsin Press.

Class Information:  This is a hybrid class - held in-person in UM@M’s room Science 102 and via Zoom.

All facilities at the University of Maine at Machias (UM@M) are fully handicap compliant.  The facilities used by Sunrise Senior College (SSC) at the college have ramps, elevators and handicap accessible bathrooms.  Our offsite functions and activities have various limitations and restrictions and may not be fully handicap accessible.  SSC will endeavor to identify limitations at these to you in advance.


                                                    IMPORTANT:  See Below

This class is available to all current Maine Senior College (MSCN) Members. The general public not wishing to join Sunrise Senior College at this time may attend this class for a $20.00 fee.

Important, if you are not a current member of Sunrise Senior College (SSC) at this time but are planning on joining SSC as a member today, make sure you answer that “Your SSC membership is current” when checking out so the we can properly bill you for this class.

Sunrise Senior College (SSC) is a membership-based organization. Our SSC members receive special benefits as current members when they register for this course. Any member of another MSCN college is also able to enjoy this course, but may occur some additional charges. If you are a member of the general public, you can take this course but will have to pay additional fees associated with being a non-member. For any attendee that is not a current member of Sunrise Senior College, any materials required for the course are your responsibility. When checking out, please carefully read and answer the questions asked associated with this specific course so that you are charged appropriately for this class. Failure to do this may result in your being cancelled from the course. We hope you enjoy this offering.

  • Feb 14 - 28th, 2024
    Wed for 3 weeks from 10:00 - 11:00 am

Umm Science 102 & via Zoom

For directions, call us at (207) 255-1384

Location map for Umm Science 102 & via Zoom

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