In 2002 a Jewish man recalls the dying days of the Hungary’s Nazi occupation and how, as a fourteen-year-old, he and his family were to be sent to the death camps before coming under the protection of legendary Swiss Vice-Consul, Carl Lutz. – An excerpt from Iván Sándor’s haunting novel, newly translated into English.
"For the truth is, my boy," he always told me, "is only the pawns matter, the major pieces are always the first to be exchanged." So that was my father's lesson to me. I of course disregarded his advice, and thereby demolished his reality, the imaginary one based on unwritten codes; usually using two knights, the occasional rook helping out from the background.
The last few years have been abundant in books specializing in understanding and interpreting the attributes and the behaviour of Hungarians. János Lackfi experiments with well-known elements that have been on the periodic table of Hungarians for decades, and tries to create a new and interesting compound.
"I don't get to the Opera as often as I'd like. I'm too busy crawling on my belly, wiping out my fellow men", István Örkény wrote from the Russian front in World War II. His play "Voronezh" commemorates the fatal offensive against the Hungarian Army, launched seventy years ago.
Their love was not an idyll without tensions as the textbooks would have it, yet that is precisely what made it an indissoluble bond, still alive today. Fanni Gyarmati, who was 100 last year, is still living in the apartment that the couple used to share.