Born: Budapest, Hungary
January 4, 1912
Sandor grew up in Budapest where his father was a furrier. Sandor attended a Jewish school until he was 14 and then entered a business school run by the chamber of commerce. After he graduated in 1929, he entered his father's business. Sandor then spent a year studying at the Sorbonne in Paris before entering university in Budapest to study economics.
1933-39: As a Jew, I was in the minority at the university because anti-Jewish laws enacted in the 1920s had set quotas that limited Jewish applicants. When I was 23, and had finished my coursework and just had my doctoral dissertation to write, I resumed working for my father's business. I had no choice, really; because I was Jewish there was little chance for me to get a job in my field.
1940-44: In 1940 the first Jewish men were drafted by the Hungarian army as conscript labor; for three months I did farm work and drained swampland. Two years later, in 1942, the same year I finished my doctorate in economics, I was drafted for conscript labor again. In 1944 the Hungarian army sent me to the Russian front to build bunkers and dig trenches. After retreating, I was captured by the Soviets. We Jews had been conscripted for hard labor by one side, and then punished as enemy prisoners by the other.
Sandor was sent by the Soviets to POW camps, first in the Carpathians and then in Ukraine. After the war, he returned to Budapest.