Longtime Davenport resident shares Holocaust story

April  28, 2014

      "We can't save them all, but we can try to save some." That's what Jeno Berta's father said when he decided to shelter a Jewish family on their farm in Nazi-occupied Hungary during World War II. Seventy years later, Berta is sharing his story for the first time, as part of the annual Holocaust Days of Remembrance in the Quad Cities.

      Berta says it was October 1944 when his parents, who were Roman Catholics, found a Jewish family in a corn field near their small farming town. They hid the couple and their two children in their barn until the war ended the following spring.

      "I believe my mom and dad did the right thing. I mean, I never met a person who picked who's their mom and dad, and it was totally wrong and totally wrong today to hate somebody or kill somebody because of different religion or different color."

      When he was 19, Jeno Berta fled Hungary after the 1956 uprising against the Soviet Union. He settled in Davenport two years later and, for the past 25 years, the he has owned a local bar called Jeno's Little Hungary. 

      Berta spoke last night at the Tri-City Jewish Center in Rock Island. He'll speak again tonight at Augustana College at 7:30 pm, and tomorrow at 1 pm at Heritage Hall on Arsenal Island.