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Post WW2 Hungarian Refugee

We had a very emotional reunion at the Gare de l'Est in Paris. I went to meet them & saw 3 figures coming off the platform. My parents in black coats, my brother who was 9, in a grey coat with a little hat covering his ears. And then, you know, we just held each other. Yes.

My parents were making plans to come out, but my mother was in 2 minds. She had serious depression, electric shock treatment. And I knew about this in Paris. I was in this youth hostel. I didn't know if I would ever see them again. I remember one day, I couldn't quite remember the colour of my mother's eyes & I panicked. That was a very difficult period. I was learning French.

We had a very hard journey across the border. The Russians along the border had instructions to shoot, but I remember I had no fear. I walked for miles. Adams's mother arranged for a guide who eventually abandoned us. We travelled in mining wagons. Adam & I carried an old lady at some point across the fields. The guide eventually abandoned us about 3am. He said 'Go that way'. So we did & got lost. We saw 3 lights & we had to decide which way to go. We went 1 way, as we got nearer, I noticed the chainlink fence was a different design from what I knew in Hungary. It was a good sign. We entered the village & it was an Austrian village. People were very friendly.

Antisemitism was beginning to show itself in Hungary. Adam asked me if I wanted to go with him. I liked the idea. I said 'Yes'. My father thought 'Yes, it's a good idea'. My mother was neutral. The morning I left, we kissed each other, she was still in bed. Then she turned towards the wall. I think she was quite numb & then it hit her later on.

Yes, well, for- for five years we didn’t see each other at all. She [her mother] couldn’t travel and I couldn’t travel. And… So I made phone calls through an operator [laughing] every so often. And I do admire my mother who was very difficult, actually. But when it came to the crunch, she just, she just let me- let me go. And she never reproached me for it. So she really done the maximum any mother can do, because she could have been entitled to hang on to me, because she had nobody else. But she didn’t. So I- I have to pay tribute to her…

[Escaping from Communist Hungary] And then… paid some Hungarian peasants who took us so far. And then we went on our… own. The interesting thing about that crossing, very deep snow, very cold, that I was laughing all the way through…whilst I was cross- whilst I was crossing. I couldn’t stop laughing. So it must be a nervous reaction.

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