A Hungarian Memoir, P.O.W. Part 8

(This particular story of my fathers is one of the longest and most retold over the years.  I will break it down in a series of posts. ~Kati)

“The Potato Story, Chapter 1”

The previous night I didn’t sleep well.  Not because some unusual thing bothered me.  What bothered me regardless of the day or night was my hunger, but this time the hunger was extraordinary special.  The day before while working in the factory a few truck loads of frozen potatoes was delivered to the camp.  Covered in canvas and fenced in with barbwire.  In the case the reader does not know, I have to explain  Once the potato is frozen it can not be defrosted, because it becomes highly perishable, especially in large quantities.  In the Russian dictionary, the word freezer was missing or not in existence.  Or it may be possible the Germans took all the freezers and coolers away.  I really never questioned why because if I did, my day would pass like any other day; being hungry and hopeless in knowing I could do nothing about it.  This day I had hope, I had a dream; believe me my hopelessness was closer to reality than the average Russian.

My dream came from the fact that lots of potatoes, never-mind it was frozen or not, I was not picky at all; lay on the ground right by our barracks.  After breakfast, I miserably went to our room which was on the second floor.  I blew some hot air on the frozen window and scratched the ice enough to see outside.  It was the most beautiful scene I ever saw.  My eyes like a x-ray penetrated through the canvas, the only thing I saw was the potatoes and lots of them.  Even though I just finished my so-called breakfast and half my daily allowance of bread, the hunger was never-ending.  I went and laid down on my bunk bed, which was only bare wood and made the plan of my dreams.

A little while passed by before the other wood-workers started to come inside the room.  There was thirty of us, and I was the youngest at eighteen.  The older cabinet-maker who I always admired and respected looked down at me and smiled.  I smiled back, and then to my surprised he said, “I know what you are thinking about,” I didn’t answer.  Then he said, “the potatoes outside there bother you.”  I just got up and walked back to the window, taking another look at the “potato field.”  I then turned around and told everyone who was present in the room, “if I die, I will eat from it!”  It was a serious remark, one I knew I had to stick to.

(To be continued:)


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11 Responses to A Hungarian Memoir, P.O.W. Part 8

  1. This could be a movie or a drama/documentary with your father’s words spoken over the acting. His voice is so real. I can see the scene playing out before my eyes.x

    • magyarok27 says:

      Thank you! My mom always says that. She tells me I should contact Steven Spielberg lol. I’d be happy just to get it published, so I’m learning manuscript publishing software. I wish my father could have been around to do that. I try to stay as close to his words as possible, but his English writing wasn’t the greatest. I believe it’s the best way to capture the emotions behind the words and at the same time hope the readers can imagine a man speaking with a accent. 🙂

      • I don’t know that the accent is so important. It is something in the quality of his words. There is honesty and truth that shines. I think his youth comes across too. There is a certain element of bravado in his willingness to take risks, even covertly.
        You are making a grand job of conveying all of that. Your mum is right. Steven Spielberg could do a lot worse.x

      • magyarok27 says:

        Now that you’ve said that, I think your right. It isn’t fancy words like a grand novel or something. Just a young man, speaking of young times in a difficult situation. The risk has only begun in this particular story of his. 🙂

      • Exactly. It’s his youth and his personality that shine. His integrity and courage become evident through the adversity he encounters. So many people who experienced it don’t want to talk about it. But these letters and your knowledge and research reveal an insight that is otherwise lost.x

  2. What an amazing life your Father had, living through that experience. Those words are so full of life, death, everything. You are an amazing writer, and I believe it is a very precious gift to the world to keep the stories, to share the stories, and inform the next generations of this history. This could very easily be turned into a filmed documentary. There is so much wisdom here.

    • magyarok27 says:

      Thank you, it means a lot to me to know his stories have meaning for others as well and hopefully one day that might happen. War is many things I’ve always said; there is no clear line between right and wrong. The only thing we can all do is learn from past mistakes, and withhold judgment unless we’ve walked in their shoes. 🙂

  3. katalin temesvari says:

    I am waiting for the producer , Mr. Spielberg,s response. I am sure he will be happy to make a film out of the stories.

  4. katalin temesvari says:

    He would be a fool not to do it.

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