Born in 1938 into a family of Hungarian Székely nobility, John's life was neither privileged nor wealthy. He was an infant when his family was reduced to poverty by an accidental fire that destroyed the paper-money wealth of an entire community. Shortly after, in accordance with an international treaty, his tribe were relocated to an area in Yugoslavia that is currently part of Serbia, a location that soon proved to be just another temporary home.
Six years old and already twice a refugee, he faced the most physically and emotionally demanding of his family’s moves to another hoped-for permanent home, a journey on foot that was to take more than seven months while World War II raged around them, often sharing the road with retreating or advancing troops and watching aerial dogfights between German and American aircraft overhead. At each and every one of these territorial relocations, John’s family were participating witnesses in the transnational power shifts that determined where and how they would live.
From the ages of eight to nineteen, John was a participating witness in the Communist experiment, as Hungary’s Russian liberators became their totalitarian masters. He remembers the hardships of being a farm family forced into the collective by high taxes and the ever-present fear of even whispering disapproval of the government. He obeyed the advice of the kind collective farm chairman who had recruited him to oversee a recreation program for the collective’s young people: "This is the world we live in. Let’s make the best of it."
In 1956, after briefly participating in that year’s unsuccessful revolution against the Communist government, he fled Hungary, only to suffer hunger, deprivation and sometimes abuse in refugee camps before finding his way to Australia, his final refuge.
Throughout history, the lives of ordinary citizens have fallen victim to tyrants addicted to the intoxicating power of territorial expansion. The voices of those who have lived these historic moments at grass roots are history’s only hope to inch closer to the truth. Lukacs John Varda is one of those voices.
- Biography & Memoir, History, Nonfiction
- White Hair Press (Kustantaja)
- maaliskuu 2023 Starts: 2023-03-01Valmis: 2023-03-27
- On Sale
- Australia, Kanada, Norja, Romania, Unkari, Uusi-Seelanti, Yhdistynyt kuningaskunta, Yhdysvallat
- LibraryThing Work Page