THE RECLAIMED WEDDING GIFT / Judit Váradiné Csapó
My father had two siblings. He and his brother were both taken to labour service, and both of them survived. My father escaped twice from labour service: the first time he was captured by the Germans, the second time by the Russians. At last he came home on foot. His brother also returned from labour service, taking shelter in one of the yellow-star houses, but the Arrow Cross troopers herded the residents to the bank of the Danube, and made them strip. As my father’s brother always said, he had never been one to stand at the front of any line, and this saved his life. In the midst of the killing Wallenberg appeared, and put an end to the massacre. The survivors were taken to a large house where they were given clothes and allowed to go free. My father’s brother hid in a half-demolished house, where he drank water from a dripping tap and ate the uncooked egg barley he found there. To his joy, he also discovered a golden ring in a crevice in the wall, and he hoped this would help him start anew when the war ended. But this was not to be. When the Russians showed up in the street, he went to welcome them with joy, because he regarded them as his saviours, but the Russians immediately took the ring from him.
This story is not only about my father and his brother, but also about their sister Magda. Magda lived in Nyíregyháza with her husband, parents, and her twelve-year-old son. Her husband was president of the Milling Industry Bank. In June 1944, the entire family was deported to Auschwitz, and murdered on the very day of their arrival.
Before taken to the brickworks, Magda sent a postcard to her brothers in the labour service, telling them that she had to leave, and everything was all right with the house, only the gutter needed cleaning. The two men understood the coded message.
After the liberation, the two young men went to Nyíregyháza together. Other people were now living in Magda’s house. The brothers asked for a ladder from the new residents, who then watched in amazement as they retrieved a jar full of water out of the gutter, with the family jewels floating inside.
The new inhabitants also gave the brothers a small battered suitcase, which contained a seashell, a tablecloth embroidered with initials, and a silver dinner service. They said this was all that was left from Magda.
In the meantime, the neighbours also learned of the arrival of the Csapó boys. One of them claimed that it was he who had given the silver dinner service to Magda as a wedding gift, and as Magda was no longer alive, he now wanted it back.
The brothers returned the dinner service without saying a word. The jewels are now long gone, the seashell is in my china cabinet, and I still use the tablecloth to the present day.
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