Family Story Uncategorized

Memoirs of Alex Hacker

Győr related excerpt

My Grandfather “Sándor” or “Sanyi” moved to the west-Hungarian town of Győr at the end of the XIXth century – he was the son of Jacob and Julia – and I do not know whether he moved straight from Burgenland or some other intermediate place. He married a Caroline Unger “Lina” and eventually built or occupied the house at 8 Batthyányi tér (square) in Győr. They had over ten children in the following order approximately:

Mihály (Max), Charlotte (Sari), Armin, Emil, Imre (Emery), Eugen (Jenő), Flóra, Margit, Jolán, Laci, Feri.

Possibly, I am missing some and I think there were some who died young.

Uncle Mihály

They all grew up in the family house in Győr – the same place where I spent many summers as a youngster up to the outbreak of the War when I was about 14. It was an old, old house probably built for a landowner before the city of Győr expanded to that spot – it was one story high and dissected in the middle by a tunnel-looking big entrance way through which in old times you could drive a wagon through. It was more like a “country house”. After you walked through this coach entrance you arrived at a yard and saw that there was a terrace and another smaller entrance to the left where our family lived – while on the other side of the yard the house had a wing rented to tenants.

The family house

At the back of the yard there was a huge formal garden, about two acres in size, with lovely flowerbeds, walks and a stone paved sitting area under an old chestnut tree. There were several chestnut trees in the garden.

In the garden: me,my Father Laci, Uncle Imre, Uncle Emil, Cousin Pali Varga and sitting Aunt Margit

As you entered the house you were immediately aware of the importance of food and cooking in this place as the largest single room right behind the entrance terrace was a huge kitchen from where at all times great aroma of meals in the making emerged. There was always great stuff to nibble on usually laid out on a large wooden table. The kitchen was presided over by the peasant-cook-maid Erzsike – she had been with the family since times immemorial and always appeared to me as another of my many aunts who ran the house.

By the time I arrived at the Győr scene the house was occupied by my father’s favourite older brother: Imre or Emery – a very distinguished looking, quiet nice man, a lawyer and local community leader. He was the vice-president of the Jewish Community in Győr. Aunts Jolán and Margit lived there too, Jolán was a widow and Margit never married. They spoiled me to death, while Uncle Emery would try to instil in me some of his convictions many of which he picked up in schools ran by the “Bencés” (Benedictines), a Catholic order. It did not have anything to do with Christianity – it was more universal about the need of controlling one’s body to let the spirit rule … and he looked at sports as a spiritual exercise to show the body who is the boss… Uncle Imre was an avid rower and we belonged to the local Rowing Club on the Little Danube that is flowing through the city. Győr, an old industrial town was criss-crossed by rivers, the Little Danube, Rába and Rábca, so water sports were on everybody’s mind.

Uncle Imre

My summers at Győr were great and I looked forward to going there on the train by myself as I was growing to be a bigger boy – it took less than two hours on the fast electric trains. This must have been the beginning of my fascination with trains, locomotives in particular and I remember writing something of a thesis on electric locomotives at a much later time. When in Győr, I usually slept in Uncle Emery’s room, in an old bed with huge soft eiderdowns. It was very cosy…

Let me show you an excerpt of my family tree:

Excerpt of my family tree

Finally, let me remember my Cousin Vica and his little son, Péterke, both killed in Auschwitz:

Cousin Fodor Vica and son Péterke

Images: © Alex Hacker, incl. featured image (those on this picture: Aunt Jolán, Uncle Mihály, Uncle Imre, Aunt Flóra, my Father Laci, Aunt Margit