Sunday, April 18, 2010

Round and round

I was told, young, that the circles on a log trunc meant a year each for their lives.

Those were from a small branch going to the Queen Elisabeth Hospital, Friday. My leg hurt, but I stopped and tried to take it with me. I mean, the photo, the image, not the branch.

The logs played an important part in my life, from very early.

My paternal grand-parents lived, and my father too when he was child, in a tiny forest village, the highest village in Hungary then Romania now. Some times, it was a frontier village and soldiers learned their trade there, from that came the name "Commando, or Kommando", but by the time my grand-parents went there, it was a village living around a sawmill.

The sawmill gave a special odour, as do the fresh cut logs to all the village and surroundings.

We used to go up, to visit my paternal grand parents, one month every summer, from the time I was born to 6. After that, they come to the town, the biggest town in Transylvania, where we went to live.

I do not remember very much about that time and those vacations with my mother and a bit less often my father too, but my cousin the same age as me was there too, and we played well together.

I remember very strongly the odours of the forest and the fresh cut logs, the taste of wild strawberries. My father's hand holding mine in the forest. My mother teaching me that I can clean myself with a big leaf. And I have some photos from that period.

The odours, looks, tastes of part of my childhood, remain sweet to me, even if all those around me then, died. My cousin and grand-parents because of the Nazi persecution, and the neighbour needing the apartment, my grand parents lived in the city. They wanted to marry their daughter.

Wednesday, we were given the word "justify" by someone, to make a phrase with it. Each justifies his or her action. They tried to justify it also, after the war when, we came back and they were found out.

I never knew what happened to my cousin, the same age as me, but I did imagine her going towards the gas chamber holding strongly her mother's hand. She was not yet ten.

My own parents died a lot later, my mother at 53, my father at 80. It is difficult to think that soon I'll be also 80 and I already survived my cousin for almost 70 years!


  1. Let me make sure I understand this: Your grandparents' neighbour wanted an apartment because their daughter was getting married (and needed somewhere to live), so they denounced your grandparents and cousin so that their apartment would become available?

  2. They denounced them as jews to be taken away by the nazis to Auschwitz, yes. It took some time, but after we returned, my father found it out.

    They of course died. He on the wagon she in the gaz chamber probably as soon as they arrived there.

    Not my cousin, who lived elsewhere, but they were alas, listed in the list of the Rabinate. We never found out anything about them. I hoped, for years... but of course, they never came back.