I have just read your Feb. 4 article “Accused Nazi dies before denaturalization trial” about Peter Egner. A Yugoslav native, he came to the United States in 1960 and was accused of being part of the Nazi mobile killing squad in Belgrade, having participated in the murder of 17,000 Serbian civilians. What the article does not state is that among these were thousands of Jews. I should know, having only just now been informed by the researchers at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., that my dear father, Markus Mordko Wald, was killed in Serbia by Nazi killing squads. They took the men of the town of Nis, to which my father had fled from Vienna, and brought them to a hill called Bubanj, where they systematically shot all the men. (The women, by the way, along with all the children, were subsequently taken by vans to the countryside where they gassed them.)
The terrible irony is that my father had already been in two concentration camps, Dachau and Buchenwald, where he had suffered for about one year under the most horrible conditions. By the way, while in Buchenwald he risked his life to save a fellow inmate who had been too ill to work.
My mother managed to get my father out of the concentration camp by a ruse, so he would leave Austria; she had obtained a fake permit to go to Palestine from a cousin who lived in there. Only he had nowhere to go. My brother, sister, and I were already in the United States and my mother had a visa to come here also, but when she begged the American consul to also let my father come, he rejected her plea, citing the quota system and the fact that my father was on the very tiny Romanian quota.
My mother wanted to remain with my father, but he would not hear of it; he insisted she go to America to the children. We will be grateful to him for this forever because, had he not sent her here, she would also have been killed.
So now, my father had his whole family here; he had a brother and a sister here also, who had guaranteed that my father would never be a burden of the government. Yet, when we appealed to President Roosevelt, to the governor of New York, to our representative and even to Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, to whom I had written a heartbreaking appeal thinking she would have a softer heart, all was in vain.
But the Nazis who had been the perpetrators of unspeakable crimes gained entrance to America. Is this not galling?
And now I read that one of the murderers in Serbia a1so came to the United States, and he lived out his whole life here in peace, totally undisturbed. He might very well have been the one who shot my father. I cannot describe to you how disturbing that is to me.