WeWriWa—Determined to leave

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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 right 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 explains she’s terrified of all the occupying Soviet soldiers and feels a world apart from her classmates due to their disparate wartime experiences. After the smuggler asks Mrs. Goldmark if she gives permission for Júlia to leave, Júlia adds to her earlier plea.

Fasori Gimnázium, one of Budapest’s finest secondary schools
Copyright
Thaler Tamas

“I’ll attend a good lycée and keep out of trouble, though I’d prefer to go to a school with other survivors. No offense, Anyuka, but you seem to think the world is still mostly the same as it used to be. If there’d been no war and occupation, I would’ve been happy to attend a Hungarian gymnasium and get my matura, or to study abroad at a fancy Parisian lycée. We don’t live in that kind of world anymore. We belong with our own people, no matter how much more money we have than most other survivors. I’d probably be happiest in a city that wasn’t Paris.”

“If your mind is made up, I suppose I can’t deter you,” Mrs. Goldmark said. “You can pack after supper.”

WeWriWa—Determined to leave

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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 right after last week’s.

Imre Goldmark put himself in a great deal of danger by going to his girlfriend Csilla’s old house to dig up valuables she hid last spring. He got into a violent fight with the gendarme who took over the house, whom he believes he murdered. Imre fled back to Budapest with the valuables and a broken hand.

His mother quickly found a smuggler from the Brihah, a group who successfully got many people out of harm’s way in the early postwar years. Imre’s sister Júlia announced she wants to escape too, and explains she’s terrified of all the occupying Soviet soldiers and feels a world apart from her classmates due to their disparate wartime experiences.

District XII of Budapest in 1945, Foto:Fortepan/Lissák Tivadar

“How long have you felt like this? You seemed happy and well-adjusted at your new school and in this new neighborhood.”

“These feelings have been building for awhile, but I didn’t want to bring it up for fear of you not understanding. So many people want to leave Hungary and Europe, but you seem happy staying here no matter what happened. We had it easy compared to Imcsi’s friends, but we still went through things other Hungarians can’t relate to or understand. Maybe we really should all move to Palestine.”

The Brihah man looked at Mrs. Goldmark. “Do you give permission for your daughter to go with us? These clandestine border crossings are usually fairly safe, and we’ll give them enough money to bribe anyone who might discover them and squeal.”

WeWriWa—Reasons for leaving

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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 right after last week’s.

Imre Goldmark put himself in a great deal of danger by going to his girlfriend Csilla’s old house to dig up valuables she hid last spring. He got into a violent fight with the gendarme who took over the house, whom he believes he murdered. Imre fled back to Budapest with the valuables and a broken hand.

His mother quickly found a smuggler from the Brihah, a group which successfully got many people out of harm’s way in the early postwar years. However, no one expected Imre’s sister Júlia to announce she wants to escape too.

Soviet soldiers marching through Budapest, 1945

“Since when? You still have a few more years of gymnasium. Imcsi will have plenty of company with his friends, so you needn’t worry he’ll be lonely.”

“I don’t want to stay in Hungary anymore. None of the people at my gymnasium understand what I went through, living in a ghetto under false papers and terrified every single day. They didn’t lose their fathers to forced labor brigades, and didn’t almost lose their mothers to an Arrow Cross firing squad. And those damned Russians are everywhere. Some of them are really nice and helpful, but a lot of them only see someone with breasts and a skirt and want to have their way. I don’t want to spend the next few years constantly on-guard when I’m walking anywhere, thinking about which soldier might try to rape me. I’ll feel much more comfortable and safe in France.”

WeWriWa—Smuggling instructions

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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 right after last week’s.

It’s November 1945, and Imre chose to stay behind in Budapest when his girlfriend Csilla and their friends were smuggled into Italy. Hoping to prove himself a hero, he went to Csilla’s hometown Abony to recover important possessions she hid last year.

Imre broke his entire left hand after a violent fight with the gendarme who took over Csilla’s house, and is now meeting with a smuggler in his mother’s apartment. Mrs. Goldmark found someone from the Brihah (which means Escape or Flight in Hebrew), a group which successfully smuggled many Shoah survivors into safer countries and ultimately into Israel.

Nyugati Station, Copyright FOTO:Fortepan Uvaterv

“I’m taking you to Nyugati Station as soon as supper is over,” the Brihah man said. “I’ll put you aboard a coal car or cattlewagon, whichever we have easiest, safest access to. First thing in the morning, the train takes off, and you’ll stay as quiet as possible until the train reaches Firenze. If you must make any pain noises and you happen to be in a cattlewagon, kick the cows as hard as possible so their pain noises will muffle your own. You’ll be met by people who know you’re coming.”

“I’ll give you enough money to cover a nice hotel until you find your friends, plus plenty of money for normal living expenses,” Mrs. Goldmark promised. “Don’t risk writing to me. I’ll write to you first, if and only if I know no one’s looking for you.”

“I want to go too,” Júlia announced.

WeWriWa—Mrs. Goldmark’s magic

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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 right after last week’s.

It’s November 1945, and Imre chose to stay behind in Budapest when his girlfriend Csilla and their friends were smuggled into Italy. Hoping to prove himself a hero, he went to Csilla’s hometown Abony to recover important possessions she hid last year.

Imre broke his entire left hand after a violent fight with the gendarme who took over Csilla’s house, and has been advised to hide in his mother’s apartment till a smuggler can be found. Less than 24 hours later, that smuggler has arrived and promised to get Imre into Italy.

View of Pasarét, Copyright Globetrotter19

“Their ultimate destination is France,” Mrs. Goldmark said. “My beautiful Imcsi wants to study literature at the Sorbonne.”

“How did you know my address?” Imre asked. “I didn’t have a chance to tell you.”

“I took today off work, claiming a personal emergency, and asked around in all the Pest synagogues and Jewish committees. I was finally directed towards a smuggler, whom it turns out knew someone who’d recently helped with smuggling a group in Pasarét. When I spoke to this other smuggler, I got the address, and I went over there immediately to retrieve your luggage. Mirjam was shocked to learn what’d happened, but promised to keep mum. She wishes you well, and looks forward to seeing you again when she comes to France.”

*********************

Mirjam is the much-older sister of Imre’s friend Eszter. She and her roommates opened their apartment to Imre’s female friends, and found a vacant apartment across the hall for the boys. Mirjam fled home to Abony after the Nazis invaded Budapest. Though that made her fate much worse, it also enabled her to send her youngest two siblings to safety in a last-minute miracle.