David Grünwald ‘Coca’

Grunwald David

Grunwald Bela “Coca”

Born in Vencsellő on 5.5.1925

Died in Israel on 15.5.1985

Member of “Hanoar Hatzioni”

In 1942 David joined the movement in Budapest. Prior to the German occupation of Hungary, he went on missions to provincial towns in order to awaken the local Jews to what lay in store for them. David obtained Aryan documents and distributed them among Jews. On March 19th, 1944, the day the Germans invaded Hungary, he was arrested, together with other members of the movement, and detained in a camp (Toloncház) where many prisoners were being held. A few days later he was released without any explanation. Other comrades, though, were sent to Auschwitz.
At the beginning of April, David resumed his underground activities. His major assignment was to travel to country towns in order to supply forged documents to members of his movement, as well as to other Jews, and save them from deportation to Poland.
On April 12th, 1944, David traveled to the town of Vencsellő to smuggle his parents out of the ghetto, but they refused to leave. According to his movement’s instructions, in May and June, David remained in country towns in order to help the local Jews.
He returned to Budapest on October 12th, where he was caught and imprisoned even before he could continue his activities. He managed to escape on the following day, and resumed his underground work, obtaining and distributing forged documents, and assisting Jewish orphanages. He maintained contacts with underground activists of the Hungarian Communist Party, gave them forged documents and received important information that was necessary for the continuation of the underground activities. He set up bunkers and equipped them. He made contact with an SS lieutenant who helped him to set inmates free (the lieutenant was put on trial after the liberation, exonerated and even praised).
Wearing a fascist uniform, David managed to penetrate the Centre of the Hungarian Legion (Hungarista Légió), and obtain a certificate for the establishment of a hospital. Members of the underground hid in that hospital posing as patients, nurses and doctors.
After the liberation, David continued to work in the movement. In 1951 he made aliya. In Israel he taught physical education.