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A sad time for Europe

March 02, 2022 — BarryK

We are daily seeing the brutal attack on Ukraine, on TV and the Internet and newspapers -- except you won't be seeing this, or rather you will be seeing a censored version of events, if you live in certain countries that control the media.

These events have reminded me of my step-mother's escape from Hungary, in 1956. She was a young single woman, age 23, and she and her sister had employment working in a clothing manufacturing factory in Budapest.

One day she was waiting in a queue to use a public telephone, when suddenly a fight erupted between Hungarian freedom fighters and Russian soldiers. A stray bullet hit my step-mother in the stomach.

She was taken to a hospital, and operated on. Russian soldiers came to the hospital, looking for anyone who had been admitted with gunshot wounds. They walked around the wards, and the Doctor told them she had just been operated on for appendicitis -- fortunately, the wound was just in that same place.

However, the soldiers looked at admittance documentation, and saw her name and admitted with a gunshot wound. The hospital authorities were able to warn her that the soldiers had looked at the records and had her name and home address.

She and her sister packed their few belongings and left. They walked for many days, in extreme cold, mostly hiding during the day. They crossed the border, I think it was Austria, but didn't realise they were over the border, and when they saw a soldier in the fog, who shouted at them, they thought that was the end -- but it was a US soldier.

They had a relative in Australia and were sponsored to come here, She arrived with nothing, just a suitcase with a pullover and toothbrush in it, and not understanding a word of English.

She is now 88. One of my sisters has recorded her adventure on a audio cassette tape.

Just an observation...

I know it is a very different situation, but I cannot help but notice the similarity of two authoritarian regimes in Europe and Asia when WW II started. Germany in Europe, Japan in Asia. Now we have Russia and China.   

Tags: ethos