21. (1959) Farewell to Sweden and Onward to Europe and Israel
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FAREWELL TO SWEDEN AND ONWARD TO EUROPE AND ISRAEL SOON, I WOULD be saying farewell to Sweden. Two weeks before I was to leave, I gave up my job and hotel and went to live in Stockholm . I wanted to spend quality time with Magda and her family before departing. Magda and Meir told me that the Austrian woman was pregnant. Meir suspected it was my child. Later though, when the baby was born, Magda sent me a letter saying that the baby was the husband’s because it looked like him. I will never know for sure, and it doesn’t matter because she bore the baby she longed for. When the time came to go, I had difficulty saying good-bye to Magda and her family and to my friends at the deaf club. Magda and Kristina both bid me farewell at the train station. My trip began by staying with Jenő in Denmark for two days. I knew it would be a while before I’d see him again. From Copenhagen , Denmark, I boarded a ferry headed for Hamburg, Germany. The highlight on board was the seafood, which was excellent. From Hamburg, Germany, I boarded a train to Paris, France. When I arrived in Paris, I went directly to my hotel. Then, immediately consulted my World Deaf Club Directory and went to find the local deaf club. At the French deaf club, the members asked where I was from. When they found out I was Hungarian, they said they had a goodsized membership of Hungarians and that all the Hungarians hung out at the local coffee shop. I stayed for a brief period, then headed to the coffee shop. There, I met up with a man named Mr. Grunfeld. He was from Budapest and had been a student at my institute, but he had left the school just as I had enrolled. He recommended that I go and see the Follies, the museums, and other city highlights. I asked him whether he knew a man named Imre Bokor because I had 148 21 C H A P T E R (1959) ch21_193032_Gallaudet_Dunai 5/14/02 11:48 AM Page 148 suspected Imre had moved to Paris. Mr. Grunfeld replied that he knew him very well. Simultaneously, we signed to each other, saying Imre was “the smart and intelligent one.” Then, we both nodded and laughed. Mr. Grunfeld offered me Imre’s address while expressing his complaints about the man. He said that Imre criticized French people , telling them they were uneducated and low class and adding any other put-down he could think of. Apparently, Imre felt superior because of his fantastic command of the French language. I was astounded that Imre, although deaf, could grasp the language without ever being taught French! I listened to everything that Mr. Grunfeld had to say, then thanked him and left. The next day, I went to visit Imre. He did not know I was coming. His apartment was on the fifth floor, the roof level, because the rent there was cheapest. The building had no elevators, so the rent was lower at each higher floor. I knocked and rang his doorbell. Imre opened the door slowly, peeking his head out. He stared at me, wondering who I was. Quickly, I said, “Hello. I’m Izráel Deutsch.” “Oh my God!” he said excitedly. “I remember you. I’ve thought of you often.” Imre invited me in. We immediately began discussing what had happened to him back in Budapest because we had spent time together in the Red Cross camp. But, at some point, when the Arrow Cross soldiers were dividing us up by age and so forth, I didn’t see Imre around. At the time, I figured he had been taken to a camp or shot along the way. So Imre explained his story. He had been on a trolley car returning to the Red Cross camp when he saw the Arrow Cross troops dividing everyone up. He decided to stay on the trolley car, riding to the edge of town and becoming a fugitive. There, he went into hiding, and later, he fled to France. Our visit was truly a heartfelt reunion for us. We spent our time discussing politics; Imre claimed he was a Communist. Unfortunately , he wasn’t happy with the way that Russia was handling matters and, during our discussion, tore up his communist book. I shared that I agreed with him. FAREWELL TO...



Subject Headings

  • Jews -- Hungary -- Biography.
  • Holocaust survivors -- Biography.
  • Dunai, Harry I., 1934-.
  • Jewish children in the Holocaust -- Biography.
  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Hungary -- Personal narratives.
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