Every breath was painful
Andrea left Budapest with her female neighbour on 27 November 1956. They took a train to Mosonmagyaróvár. The next night they went on foot to cross the border. Andrea and others walked for hours, physically and mentally exhausted. "We reached a deep ploughed land where walking was very difficult. Every step we took was felt like being crushed by the weight of the clog we had been dragging. I suspected it was no one’s land - the frontier line. Though it was dawning we couldn't distinguish one color from another. We were inclined to think that we saw a flag about 50 meters away on the other side of the line, but first of all we had to cross this rough sea of mud where we could still be seen. Heaven forbid them to use searchlights - not now because that would be the end. Poor Julia could hardly walk. Her stamina left her. She wanted to sit down more and more. 'I don't even care if I die here' - She groaned. The men certainly did their best to proceed on their way, so I had to drag Julia single handed. Every breath was painful, we were both wheezing. 'We mustn't stop now-we are almost there' – I comforted her still dragging,” she remembered. It was dawning. This leg was through woodland. They took shelter here in order to have a bit of rest hiding under the trees. By the time they woke up it was morning. “We can see now, but can be seen as well. Being scruffy, tired and muddy we looked pathetic. And our tell-tale looks would have given away the purpose of our journey to anyone. No one would have possibly thought that we were taking our morning walk,” she continued. At that point, they took sight of a house on the clearing below them: "So I set off towards the house. I knocked. – 'Guten Morgen' – I stammered when the door was opened. – 'Jó reggelt!' The man’s face broke into a wide smile. Despair and exhaustion must have been written all over my face, because he quickly changed the language. 'I beg your pardon-he apologized in German. – I was only joking. This is the right place. You are in Austria. You know everybody speaks Hungarian as well -here by the frontier region.' I almost fell on his neck. Then the others also took the risk to come closer. The household was very kind. We could wash our hands and faces and they gave us new bread spread with butter and coffee with milk. I haven’t eaten such delicious food of that sort ever since. At last we were able to warm up.'We are free!' – we shouted with joy.” Then the Austrian farmer took them to the nearest village in his tractor. They converted the school gymnasium to provide shelter for the refugees. “Refugees kept coming and going. The only thing I can recall is that I took off my boots and then I must have fallen asleep before touching ground. I came round for a minute when someone got sick and lay down next to me, but slept back immediately and woke up only at dawn the following day. We set off on 27 November and made it to the “free world” on 29," she recalled.