The Kinszki and Gardonyi families at the wedding of Erzsi and Alfred Spatz

The Kinszki and Gardonyi families at the wedding of Erzsi and Alfred Spatz

My mother´s family. My grandfather and grandmother were David Grunberger and Hermina Brauner. They came from the Felvidek region in [in what was then Upper Northern Hungary, today Slovakia], but we didn't know too much about them. My grandfather was a tailor.

My grandparents weren't so poor, but they had many children. They had eleven children, all of whom were born in Budapest. The first two children died immediately after birth, because, as my mother put it, my grandmother must still have been very young.

My mother's family lived in a very poor neighbourhood in Bethlen Square. My mother told me that in spite of this fact, my grandmother and grandfather used to go to the Kiraly Theatre to see an operetta or something, and when my grandmother came home, she sang to the children what she had heard in the theatre.

But it happened for example that my mother didn't want to do gymnastics in PT class because she had no panties, and she was afraid that if she had to do a somersault, her behind would be visible, and they failed her for this reason. She went home crying, and grandmother made her panties. She had no time for sewing for the children, because she had to work for a living. She sewed for other people.

Sometimes [my grandparents] went to Karlsbad to the curative waters there. They happened to be there in Karlsbad, my grandfather was playing billiards, when the newsman came and said that the war [the First World War] had broken out. They say that my grandfather fell onto the billiard table and died right then and there.

The family's biggest problem was how to carry his body home, because the transportation of soldiers, of the army, had already begun. They clubbed together and managed to bring the body home to be buried here. Grandmother Hermina came home, and the nine children were at home.

Four of the boys were at the front, later they became soldiers of the Red Army, but survived. Men were all out fighting, so there was a shortage of labour everywhere. My mother was a good shorthand-secretary and worked all over the place. My grandmother had a sewing machine, and she started sewing at home.

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