(March 5, 2020 / JNS) Eva Szekely, a Hungarian Holocaust survivor who later became an Olympics multiple award-winning swimmer, died on Feb. 29 the age of 92.
During World War II, fascist militants in Hungary came to take Szekely, then 17, away to kill her along with others at the Danube River. Her father convinced them to leave Szekely alone by telling them she was the swimming champion of Hungary, and that “one day you will be happy you saved her life.”
The Germans recruited her into a labor battalion, but Szekely escaped by jumping onto a passing streetcar during a forced march through the city. She returned to her family, who were living in a two-room safe house and stayed there until they were liberated, according to The Guardian.
Throughout her career, Szekely broke six world records, won 44 national titles, took home a gold in the 200-meter breaststroke at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952 and earned a silver in the same race at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956.
She was at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, during the Black September massacre and even had coffee with one of the victims, wrestling coach Moshe Weinberg, the morning before he was killed.
Szekely married water-polo player and Olympic medalist Dezso Gyarmati. Their daughter, Andrea, grew up to be a swimmer and Olympic medalist.
In 2004, Szekely was named one of Hungary’s “Athletes of the Nation.” In 2011, she received Hungary’s prestigious Prima Primissima award.
Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision
JNS is more than just another news website and syndication service. It is an organization devoted to nonstop reporting, and telling the truth about Israel and Jewish issues unburdened by the biases and institutional blinders that distort so much of what we read, hear and see about these topics elsewhere in the secular and even Jewish press.
At JNS, you get the facts about Israel and Jewish issues without the bias that so often tilts the argument against the Jewish state. JNS articles and columns are republished every week by digital outlets and print newspapers across the globe. But in the age of round-the-clock news coverage, advertising and syndication revenues are not enough to support our continued growth. We need your financial help to keep JNS on target as we continue our fair and accurate reporting.
Please help us take JNS to the next level with a tax-deductible sponsorship, either on a recurring monthly basis. Jewish News Syndicate is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.