THE HERITAGE OF MY SWABIAN GRANDMOTHER / Borbála Balázs
Ornate Cabinet with China Thimbles
I got this set of thimbles from my great-grandmother in 1983. I remember that she stayed at Hotel Astoria, where we visited her. I think that was the first and only time I ever met my maternal great-grandmother, whose first name I was given. Back then I did not understand the language she and my grandmother spoke, and I did not know either who those uncles and aunts were who used the same foreign language and spoke Hungarian with a strange accent. I learnt the basics of what had happened to them and the other Swabians in the village of Nagykovácsi only later, in 1990, at my grandmother’s burial.
In 2016 I found all the preserved documents regarding the deportation and the forced settlements in Nagykovácsi. These papers refuted everything I had learnt about the history of that period and topic, and the remnants of my, by that time rather shrunk, faith in human nature, as well.
Wooden Jewellery Case Containing Old Jewels
The jewellery case belonged to my grandmother. I learnt the personal story of my great-grandmother and my grandmother only in 2001 from a sibling of my grandmother living in Germany. I was told that my grandmother’s father was not the same as the father of her siblings. Her father had been stabbed to death in a pub before she was born. He had only been trying to separate two people having a fight.
My grandmother never knew her father, my mother never knew her grandfather. They did not even know his name, for my great-grandmother never told them. By the time I discovered the truth in 2016, neither of them was alive, so I could not tell them that their father and grandfather had had a name (Ferenc Pfitzner), an age (21), a job (day-labourer), a life, and a reason for his death (stabbed wound in the chest).
My great-grandmother wrote to my grandmother:
Teri, Josi and my Juditga
many many Greetings
from your parentz and siblingz.
My sweet daughter please
write just one word. I won’t
last mutch lonker
pecause I cannot say the pain”
School Notebook and Calendar
I retained one of my mother’s notebooks from school and a calendar which she and her parents used for leaving short messages to each other.
Sometimes they could travel to Germany to visit the mother and the siblings of my grandmother, but one of them always had to stay in Hungary, so as to prevent the emigration of the whole family. Therefore, all the photos taken in Germany show only two of the family members: my grandmother and my mother or my grandfather and my mother, or my grandmother and my grandfather.
My mother was able to reconnect with her family in Germany after the death of my grandmother. Since my mother died, as well, I also lost touch with them. The people who expelled half of my family from the country, succeeded seventy years later: finally, we are completely torn from each other.
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