HANDMADE CARVED CIGARETTE CASE FROM THE RUSSIAN CAPTIVE / Mária Trautmann
I retain a handmade carved cigarette case from the time of World War I. Between 1914 and 1918, several hundred thousand Russian prisoners of war resided in Hungary. Many of them were employed in agriculture, staying with families in the villages. Often the relationship between the Russian prisoner of war and the Hungarians hosting him was quite close and intimate, like between members of the same family.
The style of the words carved on the case (HABORU EMLEK) indicates that the person who produced it was probably not a native speaker of Hungarian.
The case is accompanied by a letter, which also enforces my impression that the case was created by “the Russian captive”, who made it as a present for his hosts. The letter was written by the eldest child in the Lengyel family, Éva. Besides her, it was also signed by her brothers, Duci and Tomi. Their father was my grandmother’s brother, who married Mária Benedek, the daughter of the great storyteller, Elek Benedek. Duci = Dénes Lengyel, a writer best known for his collections of legends, was my dearly beloved godfather. During World War II, he was taken to the Eastern Front, and he could return only many years later. His brother, Tamás – who started a promising career in literary history – died there as a prisoner of war. Their mother was waiting for him until the end of her life. Their fourth sibling, Mária was born in 1918, this is the reason why she could not sign the letter; besides, the chronology of World War I also suggests that the letter must have been written before 1918.
Éva Lengyel’s original letter can be found at the Petőfi Museum of Literature. I donated the documents – journals, family letters, official letters, and letters from readers – inherited from my grandmother, a writer, Mrs. Laura Dániel, née Lengyel, to the museum, where the papers were registered. My grandmother’s World War I diary was also published in 2015 in the volume “… Literature is Damned Anyway” – Journals from the Time of World War I.
Köszönet a tárgykölcsönzőknek és történetmesélőknek:
FISCHER ÁGOTA ÉVA
FÜLÖPNÉ WELTZ MÁRIA
HÁTSZEGI GÁBORNÉ, JULIKA
HELLER MÁRIA (RÓZSA PÁL)
HELLER SÁNDORNÉ, MÜLLER ANIKÓ
KÁNAI GYULÁNÉ PEREDY GIZELLA
LEÁNYFALVINÉ GORDÁN ILDIKÓ
TERÉNYI ISTVÁNNÉ SULLAI VINCENCIA
TÓTHNÉ RUDI MARGIT
Köszönet a kiállítás létrejöttéhez nyújtott segítségért
TÓTH GERGELY MÁTÉ
ELEVEN EMLÉKMŰ CSOPORT
HERITAGE CONTACT ZONE
HUMÁN PLATFORM EGYESÜLET
OPEN SOCIETY ARCHIVES
Castrum Peregrini, Amszterdam
Asociatia Timişoara Capitala Cultural Europeana, Temesvár
Eleven Emlékmű / Humán Platform, Budapest
Etz Hayyim, Hanía, Kréta
European University Institute, Firenze
Culture Action Europe, Brüsszel