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Helen Rodak-Izso

The Last Chance to Remember



Chapter 7. ZSUZSI

I can't go on without mentioning our devoted live-in help Zsuzsi (Susie).who actually was a plain village girl, but born with fine character. After living with us about for 20 years she belonged to the family.

In 1938 the south part of Slovakia fell to Hungary, including our home town and this meant that we had now a border between our grandparents and us. According to the new regulations Jews were not allowed to own a passport or of course cross the border. We wrote often and got some answers but we couldn't meet or see them. When we didn't hear from them for a longer time, our Zsuzsi was the one who volunteered to find out the truth.

When she arrived, she couldn't find them any more. The house was locked, the windows covered with plywood; not a soul was anywhere; just silence.

Poor Zsuzsi couldn't take it. She didn't know how to break the terrible news to us. When finally she returned, she became depressed and was ill for a long time. We were all busy with her and when no doctor or medication could work any wonders and didn't help her, we sent her to Abauj-Kér, to our dear aunt Ella, my mother's older sister. She had a summer home there with a beautiful flower garden and there was she resting, until very slowly she became herself again. This place was our second home.

She was always trying to help us in those complicated, critical days; we all wholeheartedly, deeply appreciated this. We never dreamed that the time will come, when we needed her honesty more than anything. In those days it was an invaluable feeling to have such a trustful, honest friend. Always, but especially now this was the most important help. She was deeply disturbed and shocked at what she could see first hand.

After her arrival with the painful news about our dear grandparents, my mother's beautiful black, shiny, thick hair became white overnight.

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