Dr. Andrew Renny & Mrs. Barbara D. Harvis

Dr. Andrew Renny & Mrs. Barbara D. Harvis

Dr. Andrew Renny & Barbara D. Harvis wish to establish this endowed scholarship fund in memory of Catherine Pollak Renny and Marcell Renny, who met in Hungary and were married in 1945.

Catherine Pollak Renny was born on May 21, 1924 in Törökszentmiklós, Hungary, moving to Szolnok, Hungary, where her family lived a comfortable life as furniture store owners. They were largely unaffected by the Nazis until 1944. Barred from the university because of Jewish quotas, Catherine worked in the family store. During this time, she met Marcell Renny who was working nearby in the Hungarian forced Labor service. By June 1944, after the German occupation of Hungary, the family was homeless and forced to move into a four-room house in the Szolnok ghetto with forty-five other people. The family was then transferred between various concentration camps until liberated by the Russians in Strasshof, Austria, in April 1945. Catherine walked, hitchhiked, and took trains back to Budapest, reuniting with Marcell on April 15, 1945.

Marcell Renny was born on December 21, 1918 in Budapest, Hungary. While in school, Marcell became involved with the Boy Scouts, and with the help of one of his friends from the Boy Scouts, Marcell set up a textile factory. The revenue from the factory was largely responsible for his survival during the war. In 1942, because he was Jewish, Marcell was forced into the Hungarian Labor Service which transferred him from place to place for the next two years. In September 1944 Marcell escaped to Budapest, where he was able to get his parents and two sisters out of the Budapest ghetto. He obtained forged Christian papers for his entire family and they were able to hide in Budapest until they were liberated by the Russians in 1945.

Catherine and Marcell were married on July 25, 1945, continuing to live in Budapest until the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. They then escaped with their two sons and two small suitcases— first to Vienna and ultimately to the United States. They settled in New Jersey where Marcell worked in various textile factories, starting as a janitor and working his way up to vice president. Catherine worked as a bookkeeper and office manager. They had eight grandchildren.