Alexander Gajdos and Irena Gajdosova

This picture shows my first wife, Irena Gajdosova, and me, Alexander Gajdos, at the beginning of the 1950s. Her maiden name was Irena Rothova. She was born in 1926 in the town of Kajdanove in Subcarpathian Ruthenia. Kajdanove belonged to the Mukacevo district. She was from a devout family, but after the war she wasn't that devout any more. After the war she returned to Subcarpathian Ruthenia. She found out that all of her girlfriends that had survived the war had dispersed all over the world. One of her mother's brothers lived in Karlovy Vary. As luck would have it, it was Mr. Kleinman that my future wife came to stay with. I met her at my father's friend's, Mrs. Katzova's. I came to her place for supper, and my future wife was there, too. Mrs. Katzova and Mrs. Kleinmannova were friends. So we met 'by chance.' We had a Jewish wedding, under the chuppah, in Karlovy Vary, in 1946. But the officials there didn't count that as an official wedding. We had a civil wedding in the fall of 1948. We celebrated our wedding, the Jewish one, at the Kleinmans'. About 20 people gathered there. My wife survived the war in Auschwitz, from there she got to some factory and finally ended up in Terezin. Her parents died in Auschwitz. Besides her parents, she also had two brothers. Both survived the war, and moved away, to Israel. They were named Imre Roth and Bela Roth. I later met Imre in Karlovy Vary. He was here two or three times. I haven't met his brother. My wife met up with him someplace in Budapest. After my wife died I lost contact with them. But I think that they're not alive anymore either. My wife spoke Hungarian and Yiddish, and of course Czech. I speak Czech and Slovak, and can also get by in Hungarian and German. After the war we observed the high holidays. We didn't observe the Sabbath very much, only my wife in the beginning lit candles, later not even that. We also celebrated Passover. My wife would prepare Passover supper, soup with matzah balls.

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Alexander Gajdos