Jean Greenstein

גרינשטייין ז'אן

Grünstein Jenő ‘Icu’

Born in Nagyszőllős (Veľký Sevľuš) on 9.7.1924

Died on 24.2.2018


There were six brothers in his family. Jean’s father was a dentist. At the time of the German invasion into Hungary (19.3.1944) he stayed in Nagyszølløs. In April, when the Jews were concentrated in the local ghetto, Jean and some of his friends decided to set up a hideout in the mountains. Following the draft of his comrades to forced labor units, the plan was altered and a hiding place was prepared in a basement within the ghetto, where Jancsu Fried (Ya’acov Paran), his sister Ilonka, and Tuli Rosenberg (Anton Roland) found refuge together with Icu. After a few weeks, in August, they all left the basement only to find the entire ghetto abandoned. They were caught by patrolling soldiers who handed them over to the gendarmerie. On their way by train via Kassa to Budapest, Icu managed to jump out of the window but was caught again and transferred to Toloncház, where he met his three comrades. He escaped and arrived at the Jewish Community building on 12, Síp Street. Following Adonyahu Bilitzer’s advice, he identified himself as a refugee of Schwab (German) origin and joined a German military unit. While wearing the German uniform, he went on various missions, and rescued Jews, mainly women and children, from deportation. He escorted them to the Spanish legation where he met Perlasca, Spain’s chargé d’affaires of Italian origin. On the day of liberation (18.1.1945) Jean stayed at the Glass House. In August he immigrated to Eretz Israel via aliya bet, and in 1947 joined the Hagana. Later he served in Pal-Yam, the Marine Corps of Palmah, and completed his service as the deputy commander of the Jaffa port. By the end of 1949 Jean immigrated to the United States and studied at a university.