Deutschkreutz
Deutschkreutz, Austria
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Towards the tower resolutely

Dostupné v: English | Magyar

Two women, a teenager girl Katalin Mester, and her mother were left by their smuggler in the night of November 26, 1956 in the border zone. They decided to leave Hungary after the 1956 revolution, following the example of some of their friends and acquaintances. They wanted to go to the United States where Katalin's father was living. He, as a former cavalry officer, had chosen the emigration to avoid being pestered by the political police. So the two women remained alone on the edge of the wood. They were looking at a distant church tower illuminated in the night, which according to their guide was in Austrian territory. They took their bottle of rum, they drank a bit and they began to walk in the direction of the light. They knew that they had to keep going in that direction, because veering off the path to the right or to the left meant remained in Hungary. "I was just walking and walking and suddenly I noticed that my mother didn’t come after me. I looked back, I noticed her struggling with something on the ground. I rushed back to her. She was caught on barbed wire. She didn’t dare to call me. She thought that there was somebody who had caught her by her back, " she recalled. So Katalin freed her mother. It was a relief for them, they understood that they had arrived at the border. They were in the so-called "nobody’s land". After a while they heard some water gurgling. There was a brook nearby, which they hadn't expected. Katalin and her mother climbed down the steep bank in the dark and lowered their bags carefully. "Then, helping each other not to sink, we succeeded in crossing the river. We took our bottle of rum, we sat down for a bit. Then to our great alarm we lost sight of our aim. The region was full of hills. We lost hope.” They continued to walk, they couldn’t do much but to go on. They roused a nest, the birds were alarmed and flew away with great noise. "All of a sudden we smelled dung nearby,” she recalled. It was obvious that a village was close. They considered it a miracle and they proceeded in the direction of the odor. At first they noticed a street lamp, then the houses of the village, they looked around and saw a sign that said "Deutschkreuz." At that, they sat down and cried.

Katalin Mester

Katalin Mester

Katalin Mester was born as Katalin Nádasy on January 28, 1944 in Budapest. She was born to a family of well-to-do businessmen on her mother’s side, and on her father’s side, landowners and state functionaries. Her father, Gyula Nádasy, served as cavalry officer. During WWII he was on the Eastern front in the Soviet Union. Her mother escaped with her newborn baby to the West before the siege of the Hungarian capital in the winter of 1945. Her father withdrew with his soldiers to Austria where he became a prisoner of war. At the end of WWII her mother returned with her child to the family house in Kőbánya. Her father returned to Hungary, too, after having been released. He couldn’t continue his life as an officer, so he managed the family’s Vince Benes’ Chemical Factory. In 1948 the communist state security forces contacted him as an ex-officer and tried to recruit him to be an informer. He chose to leave Hungary indefinitely. He managed to escape across Lake Neusiedl. At first he settled in Frankfurt am Main at his sister’s, then he moved to the United States. After the nationalization both of the family factory and other family properties the family lost its means of subsistence. Her mother was forced to sell their house. They moved to the flat of the paternal grandparents which was transformed to co-tenancy in the communist regime. Her mother learned to be a secretary, then she worked as a draftsman, but as an emigrant’s and officer’s wife she lost her jobs one after the other. Finally she was engaged at VIFOGY as a blue-collar worker. Katalin Mester spent her childhood with her paternal grandfather Dezső Nádasy and she attended a primary school in György Dózsa street where children of communist cadres learned. After his grandfather’s death her mother divorced, then she married the solicitor Béla Spett. The family moved to a new flat in Buda, and Katalin Mester could continue her studies in a primary school with children of middle-class families. Her family survived the 1956 Hungarian revolution in their flat which was near to the Southern Railway Station on the road where the Soviet troops came into Budapest. A few friends of her mother emigrated after the revolution and so eventually her mother decided to leave Hungary. Katalin Mester and her mother traveled to Kapuvár by train, where acquaintances of the family helped them find a guide. They took a train with their guide, but had to jump off because of a raid in the outskirts of Balf. They were lying on the ground until the train got in motion again with those who were arrested by the soldiers. They relaxed a bit in the home of the smuggler, and then they left for the border across the stubble. The man who led them, left the two women and returned home. They continued alone. The mother was caught by the barbed wire which had been torn. Katalin freed her and they went on to nobody’s land. They knew that they had to go in the direction of an illuminated church tower, but since there were a lot of hills around, from time to time they lost sight of their aim. A brook also hindered them, but they managed to cross it with their bags. It was dawn when they smelled dung. They understood that they had arrived in Deutschkreutz. They contacted Katalin Mester’s father from Wien who invited them to the United States. The Nádasy family was re-joined at Christmas 1956 in Buffalo, New Jersey. Katalin Mester and her mother settled down there, where Katalin finished her schooling. She married and had a daugther from her first husband. Today, she lives in California with her second husband, the chemist professor Zoltán Mester, son of the former state secretary Miklós Mester.

Deutschkreutz

Dostupné v: English | Magyar

Deutschkreutz is a small Austrian town in Burgenland. It belonged to the territory of Hungary until the peace treaty of Trianon in 1920, which ended WWI for them. Its Hungarian name is Sopronkeresztúr. The town is near the southern part of Lake Neusiedl, so the lands north to Deutschkreutz are cut by brooks and small channels and are part of the lakeside Hanság. The Hungarian border line is north and east of the town. At its nearest point it is two kilometers away from the Austrian municipality. After the Hungarian revolution of 1956, the illuminated church tower of the Deutschkreutz served as a lighthouse for those Hungarians who tried to flee their country in the night. Despite Deutschkreutz and the Hungarian Kópháza being very near one another, during the era of the Iron Curtain there was no traffic or contact between the two places. Both the road and the checkpoint were built as late as 1989 at this part of the frontier. The checkpoint was active until 2007 when the Republic of Hungary joined the Schengen Zone and the borders of the European Union were moved to the southern and eastern frontiers of Hungary.

Deutschkreutz

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