TABLE OF CONTENTS
1: Memories...bits and pieces
Chapter 2: Gyurika
Chapter 3: The Ghetto
Chapter 4: In Limbo
Chapter 5: The War
Chapter 6: Aftershocks
Chapter 7: Iby's Homecoming
Through the Eyes of a Child
published by the
Concordia University Chair in Canadian Jewish Studies
Copyright © Gisele
Hungary, Satoraljawjhely (town in
Hungary), Ragaly (town in Hungary), Putnok (city in Hungary), Budapest, Zagreb,
Yugoslavia, Christian convent
Author was born on February
12, 1936. Narrative is written from the point of view of a child,
the information and perceptions limited to the awareness of a child
from the age of 6 to 9 years old. Relates impressions of family
life and childhood experiences from early 1940s. Family moves from
Satoraljawjhely to Ragaly. Schooling takes place in city of Putnok.
Recollections of 1944 when Hungarian gendarmes came to arrest her
mother and older sister, leaving her with her older brother and
baby nephew. Brother leaves her and baby in care of relatives. She
is separated from nephew who is taken by paternal grandmother. Jewish
ghetto established in Budapest. Description of living conditions
in the ghetto, Horthys resignation and the further restriction
of Jewish life. Meets uncle who appears to be an official in the
Judenrat. She is assigned to woman who accompanies her to
a convent in Buda where she joins adults who are being sheltered.
Descriptions of life in convent under constant bombing by Allied
aircraft. Extreme conditions: food shortages, lack of sanitary conditions,
vermin and lice infestations. Group moves to air-raid shelter where
conditions are more severe. She remains there for three months.
German soldiers retreating before the Russians seek to rest in the
shelter: they leave and soon after Russian soldiers appear. At the
end of the war, she is taken to view the destruction of the city.
In spring of 1945, she is informed that a cousin has come looking
for her. Records dream of winter 1944. Reunited with cousin who
takes her to the dwelling of an aunt; she describes the sight of
the devastated city. Lives with aunt and cousins. Together with
some 25 other children, she is sent to Zagreb, ostensibly for a
two-week summer vacation. Unhappy experience since she realizes
that the real purpose of the trip is to have the children adopted
by the Yugoslavs. Only the prettier and healthier children are selected.
She and a companion are not chosen and their stay with a silent,
forbidding couple adds to their misery. She returns to aunts
home in Budapest. In autumn, 1945, her older sister, Iby, appears.
She learns that her parents and brother have been killed, along
with Ibys husband and child. Iby returns to the parents
home in Ragaly to find it emptied of all belongings except for a
few photos. Their former maid admits that she had taken Ibys
wedding dress. Iby takes it back.