On her 17th birthday in 1944, Magda Brown and her parents were taken by train with hundreds of other Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz.
Once at the concentration camp, she was separated from her parents and placed with other young and able-bodied prisoners apparently judged fit for forced labor by the Nazis.
“When we asked where are parents were, those who’d got there before us would point to smoke pouring out of the chimneys,” Brown, 82, who lives in suburban Chicago, recalled last week.
Now nearly seven decades later, a Northwestern University law professor has filed an unusual lawsuit on behalf of Hungarian Holocaust survivors such as Brown as well as the heirs of those who died. The suit, which seeks class-action status, targets the Hungarian State Railways for transporting hundreds of thousands of Jews to their deaths, charging it with “complicity in genocide.” Hungary was a Nazi ally during the war.