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Helen Rodak-Izso

The Last Chance to Remember




Uncle Antal, the eldest brother lived with his large family in Stropkov, Slovakia, very modest and hard working, religious people. At the unfortunate time they had to leave their home and join the rest of the distraught people. Their fate brought them to Chelm, Poland and the unbelievable hardships brought them together with our dear grandparents. From this tragic place it was somehow possible to write home on postcards which even had a return address. They wrote just a few lines asking for help. Our father immediately sent the allowable 35 RM, which they miraculously received. Among the short notes they notified us that our dear grandparents did not suffer any more. We will never know what really happened at this terrible place. The only consolation in this painful tragedy was that our relatives were there at the critical time and maybe were able to be helpful, if it was still needed or possible.

These valuable cards were deposited in the Yad Vashem Museum, Jerusalem and registered in their archive under #6903. The date on this card was 1942, June 22 and after a short checking we had the shocking news that this particular camp was liquidated the very next day. The gentleman who looked after these things was very interested in every detail, even in our own experiences, in this hell. He listened with real interest and attention. They were very grateful for every little bit of information that they were able to get and save for the next generations.

Stropkov was a very small village, a God forsaken remote place. The family and the whole place was very religious. Many years ago I attended a wedding for one of my cousins. It was held in the most antiquated way, observed everything as it was years and years before. It was a colourful event. The whole neighbourhood was invited. It was interesting to watch them, as these people normally lived unbelievably modestly and quietly, but now nothing was missing and the celebration was not over in one day. The music was playing tirelessly and food was inexhaustible, so the mood was good. Despite showing some tiredness already, the show went on and these God fearing, pious people tried to make themselves and each other happy in their own way. Uncle Armin, was the next brother, who lived in Hajdu Boszormeny, Hungary, with his wife, Rose and daughters, Magda and Ilonka. Unfortunately, Ilonka perished; she was a pretty girl, and wrote poetry. Magda married in time to get out with her new husband, Ernest Young; they still had a chance to emigrate to Chile. They had two wonderful boys and worked hard. They owned a sportswear factory, where Magda was still active, until the year of 1972, when Chile had political problems and they had to flee. One of their sons, George lived in Israel with his young wife on a kibbutz so they brought the parents over and lived in the same place, only in a separate apartment. They lived there for long years, made themselves useful and slowly became accustomed to the new lifestyle.

Uncle Henry was the youngest brother. He lived in our city with his wife, Gisella (Giza). This was a childless couple.

In our city lived a large family Friedman, from our dear father's side. They were blessed with large families and were religious people. They worked diligently and became part of the community. They established the very prosperous crystal and porcelain business under the name of "Gupa.".

It is impossible to remember everyone.

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