This is my sister, Iren. The photo was taken in Cluj Napoca in 1932.

My sister, Iren, was born in Baia Mare, in 1904. She was very intelligent. Like every one of us, she went to high school too, but she had something extra: she was a self-taught girl, she read all the time, she had an amazing general culture, and she spoke of things that were unknown even to college graduates. And she owed all this exclusively to the books she read and to her ambition to know more. Had she lived in another environment, or had she had the material resources, she would have become at least a researcher, I think. She had a special personality. She resembled our mother, as she was determined and knew what she was doing. I respected her and her opinion weighed the most because of that remarkable inborn intelligence.

Poor her, she was unlucky in life: she married the wrong man. This is how fate had its revenge; my sister couldn't live with a man who was far below her level. They simply didn't manage to adjust to each other. There was no room for argument, for she was very intelligent and told him, 'Look, the two of us can't get along, we don't think alike, so why torture ourselves?' He was rich and had everything he wanted, but he lacked the proper degree of intelligence. So they divorced. Then my sister moved to Cluj, where she lived with our sister, Margit. She got a job and she provided for herself.

Iren and my other sister, Margit, were taken to forced labor to Germany. There was this ship that was supposed to carry girls for labor to one of the Baltic countries - Estonia or Latvia, I'm not sure. Germany had ties with these countries, and whoever volunteered to leave the camp and go there was sent there. My sisters, this girl told me, thought things would be easier over there, so they boarded, the poor them. Well, the ship ended up just like the Titanic [it sank].

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Elza Fulop