Posted in 1940s, Historical fiction, Imre, Writing

WeWriWa—Leaving Budapest


Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. I’m now sharing from Chapter 45, “Imre’s Revenge,” of my hiatused WIP The Strongest Branches of Uprooted Trees. This week’s snippet comes about one page after last week’s.

After a violent fight with a former gendarme, Imre Goldmark is being smuggled out of Budapest and into Italy to join his girlfriend Csilla and their friends. Imre is afraid he killed the gendarme, and his mother doesn’t want to take any chance.

Imre’s sister Júlia announced she wants to escape too, and Mrs. Goldmark granted permission. Now they’re on their way to a train with their smuggler, with both their luggage and Csilla’s recovered valuables.

A Brihah train in Austria, 1945

The Brihah man pulled the sled down the stairs, and Imre and Júlia followed after him in the dark. Every step of the way, Imre prayed the pain wouldn’t decide to make a sudden reappearance. He could already feel people looking at them strangely, though people carting around a lot of luggage hadn’t yet become a completely foreign sight in these early postwar months.

The Brihah man led them around to an unguarded train standing still on the tracks. He first tried the coal cars, then began trying to open the cattlewagons. Near the end of the line, a door finally slid open, to the sight of several large cows and their calves. Without wasting a moment, he hoisted the luggage-laden sled inside, and then Júlia climbed inside with the skis, globe, and bag of food. Imre climbed in last, the weight of the postal sack heavier than before.

“Good luck,” the Brihah man said. “Remember what I said about kicking the cows if you absolutely need to make any noises.”


Writer of historical fiction sagas and series, with elements of women's fiction, romance, and Bildungsroman. Born in the wrong generation on several fronts.

7 thoughts on “WeWriWa—Leaving Budapest

    1. I got the idea from a biography of the Bielski brothers. Asa Bielski’s wife and baby were being smuggled out of the Soviet Union or Poland after the war, and the smuggler advised her to kick the cows as hard as possible if she had to make any noise.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What a great idea, Ursula!

        Yes – there were a lot of spots of Eastern Poland which became Soviet post-World-War II or the other way around.


  1. Just an absolutely amazing journey they’re going on…I found the snippet fascinating, trying to imagine doing this, having no other recourse BUT this…I love the way you bring history alive in your stories.


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