"Only the paranoid survive."
In September, 1936, Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Gömbös informed German officials he intended to establish a one party fascist state in Hungary. That same month, on September 2nd, András Grof was born in Budapest to secular Jewish parents. The first country to send a head of state to meet with Hitler, Hungary was dependent on the Germans for more than half its raw materials and markets. It would later send troops to the Eastern Front to fight alongside the Germans. The Soviets killed 40,000 of them and wounded 70,000 more. Later, German fears that Hungary might sign a separate peace with the Soviets or the West, led to a March 1944 German takeover of the Country. With that began the full scale deportation of Hungarian Jews to the death camps.
In the end, despite Hungarian government efforts to avert those deportations, only 260,500 of Hungary's 725,000 Jews survived the War. Grof and his mother were among them. They had changed their names (Grof became András Malesevics) and were taken in by Christians. Grof's father survived as well (but just barely) in the Eastern Labor Camps. Grof was not yet 9. It was his second near fatal experience. Five years earlier he almost died of Scarlet Fever.
The Soviets, who took control after the War, were not anti-Semitic in the fashion of Nazis but, as the Jewish son of a modestly successful capitalist dairyman, Grof experienced discrimination as "an enemy of the classes." Dismissed from a writing job in 1950 because a relative had been detained without trial, Grof is quoted as saying he "ran from writing to science." He said he "did not want to work in a profession where a totally subjective evaluation, easily colored by political considerations, could decide the merits of my work...."