In the lurch
Katalin Mester and her mother Éva Nádasy woke up in the dirty hole that the smuggler had dug in the outskirts of Kópháza in the night of November 26, 1956. They decided after the 1956 revolution to leave Hungary and to try to go to the United States where Katalin’s father was living. Gyula Nádasy, a former cavalry officer, had fled his motherland in 1948. The two women were ready to leave in a matter of minutes. Their guide told them "to keep an eye on him because there were watch towers all around - we could see them - and he had to check whether there were soldiers in them,” she recalled. It was sleeting. They walked on the frozen stubble in the dark. They stumbled on the uneven ground with their bags but followed their guide as they could. They arrived at a forest: "There were a lot of fallen leaves there; when we walked on them we were as noisy as wild boars. The smuggler shuddered at every noise. It was obvious he was afraid. On the other side of the forest he made my mother stand by a tree. I didn’t hear what they spoke about but at the end he said he wouldn’t go on because he had a child and a wife at home.” They had not other choice but to accept his decision. They didn’t even arrive to the border line of barbed wires. Éva Nádasy paid for his service: "My mother, I was told later, had a lot of jewels hidden in her coat under the lining. She had money, too, I don’t know how much, but she paid as much as she could. Thank God she wasn't knocked down, and me neither. He might have done it and gotten his money that way, too.” Finally the smuggler showed them where to go ’that tower is a church tower. It is illuminated every night for the refugees, to orientate them, to show them it is Austria.’ The two of them remained alone in the dark, unprotected. They could have made a mistake; if they had lost sight of the light, or turned slightly left or right, they would have remained in Hungary. They couldn’t even return to Kapuvár or Balf from the unknown land.