Preface

Illustrations slide

When I started to write this book in 2010. Australia was in the midst of its worst and most severe drought. As soon as I put pen to paper the drought started to break. As the words began to flow, my emotions started to flood, and I could recall and relive every moment of my past. I could remember the smallest most vivid details, and word for word, conversations I had from when I was a young child.

In 1954, while hiding out in a remote farmhouse in rural Hungary with my mother, who had severely infected feet and was doubtful of her recovery or even survival, she told me many things about her past that were important to her. In 1955 my father told me his family history during our summer holiday. Almost every sunday in Hungary, my father would clean and tinker with his motorcycle, telling me stories about his life. In the summer of 1956, my Aunt Alice, who was the Director of the Hugarian National Museum at the time, told me the history of the Israelites of Hungary.

With all this knowledge bottled up inside, I was frightened to think about it, and worried that if I did, how would I handle it? When I started to write about my childhood in Hungary the floodwaters in Queensland and Victoria were at their most torrential.

Writing the book was the hardes task I had undertaken. The writing process certainly changed me. I had become a more emotional person as a result of it. My emotions can still overwhelm me but now I am able to live with them. There is still the occasional storm or heavy rain, but we need that.

This book is a personal account. I realise that I had clever, caring parents. I always knew they were generous. They passed their values to me and I've passed these to my children, which I can see they will pass to theire.

My daughter-in-law, Dorit, volunteered to do research to ensure I got the facts all right. She's a researcher by nature, an archivist by profession, and a Jewish History scholar. I told her, "No, I want to write this book as I remember it word for word" I know that a childhood memory can be distorted, which my son Gary informs me, but I don't think so!

I thank my friend Gabi for making me propmise to reveal all our secrets. Now my children, grandchildren and others can learn, understand and gain insight into how a family tree was decimated, but a few of its seeds survived, and once planted in a faraway land they sprouted again.

Paul Galy
January 2012

 
 
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