This is my oldest sister, Bella Fulop. The photo was taken in Dej in 1939.

Bella was born in Cluj, in 1900. She was kind-hearted, always ready to help those in need. We called her Belluci. She went to high school in Cluj, where she lived with an aunt from my mother's branch of the family. People said Uncle David Sebestyen, my grandfather's brother, was the richest man in Cluj. It is in his house that my sister lived while she went to high school in Cluj. After graduating from high school, she moved to Dej. Before the war, her husband owned a hats factory; Bella ran the branch in Dej and her husband ran the one in Cluj.

She was the only one who returned after the Holocaust. She was deported and went through terrible hardships. Poor her, she had kept her good humor - in a way that set an example for me - but her health had deteriorated in the camp. The two of us lived together. I didn't let her work anymore - I thought it was the right thing to do considering what she had gone through. Between 1944 and 1963, we encountered serious difficulties - economical and of other nature - but we never regretted the fact that we supported each other. In fact, I wish those times came back, but, unfortunately, this is impossible; and I got used to this idea. She was like a second mother to me - maybe a better one. This is what she always said: you are my child. I don't think a real mother would have done as many sacrifices as she did for me. For instance, she would bring me food to the hospital every day. She died in 1963, poor her. She suffered from an incurable disease.

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Elza Fulop