Showing posts with label Hungary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hungary. Show all posts

15 August 2012

Giorgio Perlasca (1910-1992): history, books, films.

Today is the twentieth anniversary of the death of Giorgio Perlasca. See his website in Italian. It is surprising to me that someone who, alone, has done so much for so many should still be relatively unknown, especially outside of Italy and perhaps Israel. Perlasca saved over five thousand Jews, far more that Schindler did with his "list" of Hollywood fame.

Anche in Italia indifferenza per la sua morte, con un funerale disertato dalle maggiori autorità politiche, anche locali. Un altro caso di come il nostro paese trascura i suoi eroi. Quelli veri, non quelli costruiti in televisione e in certi libri di storia.

Puoi comprare il box con due DVD in italiano qui

Unfortunately this film is not available in English.

Il film è tratto da materiale contenuto in questo libro:

Altri libri su Giorgio Perlasca sono disponibili qui.

30 December 2010

Recensione: La sublime pazzia della rivolta. L'insurrezione ungherese del 1956, di Indro Montanelli, *****

Inviato dal "Corriere della Sera" a seguire le drammatiche giornate della rivolta in Ungheria, Indro Montanelli arriva a Budapest il l° novembre, mentre i carri armati russi abbandonano la città; vi rientreranno però pochi giorni dopo. Raccoglie gli entusiasmi dei patrioti, certi di un futuro "indipendente, neutrale e occidentale". Assiste poi alla fulminea occupazione sovietica della città con cinquemila carri armati; alle "cento ore di disperata battaglia" e, infine, alla repressione violenta.

22 June 1980

Driving south, policemen and lake Balaton

We wake up at 8 after a good night's sleep and head out to visit the house where Cathy's father lived before emigrating to the United States. It's a modest house but in fairly good shape. Who knows what it looked like when he was here?

For dinner Cathy's family serves us some hearty boszcz, lots of proteins and vitamins to take us through the day. After lunch we bid farewell and head south, toward the border. No problem with Polish customs, all our stuff gets through no questions asked.

We are back in Czechoslovakia and this time we manage to get through without getting lost or running into Soviet military bases. Can't help but notice the innumerable monuments to Soviet military equipment that dot the road. Kind of eerie, anyway better than the other military we met when we transited the country northbound.

We reach Budapest in the late afternoon and start looking for a hotel, but prices are way too high for our budget, so we decide to drive on.

As we progress along the main highway we stop occasionally to look for a place to sleep. Some camping grounds are cheap enough but fully booked. We decide to drive on, maybe all the way to Italy! At this point two policemen stop us and start looking for trouble. They check our passports, Giallina's papers, our tires, everything is fine. Or almost fine: they find that the light of Giallina's rear plate is broken. They say we must pay a fine of 200 forints (about 10 official US dollars, there is almost no black market for currency here, the black rate is abut 30, only fifty percent higher). We could pay but their attitude is irritating and we decide to dispute the fine. What follows is an endless discussion, they are clearly trying to take advantage of us foreigners to pocket some cash. But we finally manage to tire them out and drive on.

It's pretty late when we reach lake Balaton and find a nice little hotel for 5 dollars per room! We are not sure exactly where we are, but the area is pleasant and well maintained. Balaton is the main resort region of Hungary and a destination for many tourists from the socialist brother countries. Our fleeting impression of Hungary is that the standard of living is higher than Poland.

21 May 1980

Visa, food and dreaming the West

Quick trip to the consulate of the Hungarian People's Republic for our visa, which we'll need as we are going to transit through the country on our way back to Italy. Ann, Andrew and I, as "locals" (because we are "permanent" students here) pay only 160 sloty, but Cathy, who is not permanent enough has to pay in dollars: six dollars to be precise, hardly breaking the bank but they want hard currency for the Western visitor.

After which we all go for yet another great lunch at Borzena's. I just can't get used to this, it's just too much. There is always a bit of a sad atmosphere during these meals, despite our by now deep friendship with the family and mutual trust. Borzena's father joins us today he has a day off work. He is a pilot. He was in the air force, but now flies small planes to spray crops in the countryside.

Her brother is a cool guy, handsome and soft spoken. He does not say much but he, too, dreams of a free life in the West. In fact our conversations at these meals are a bit repetitive when it comes to this. Our gracious Polish host do not relent in their uninterrupted litany of complaints about, well, Poland. I fully understand them, and agree with them. It's just that I feel a bit frustrated in hearing the same stories over and over again when I can do very little that is of use.

Actually maybe I can. Borzena's desire to visit me in Italy, which I will do my to fulfill, just might open the door for her (and perhaps the rest of the family?) to move to a better life in Western Europe or America. Yet their problems are the same problems of all other Poles we met in the last three months, and I certainly can't help all of them.

Lunch at Borzena's apartment