Photo taken in:UzhgorodYear when photo was taken:1957Country name at time of photo:USSRCountry name today:Ukraine
This is our family. From left to right: my wife Adel holding our daughter Adela; I, Stepan Neuman, with my older daughter Judita . We were photographed in the summer of 1957 in the yard of our house in Uzhgorod.
I knew the family of my future wife before the war. Adel was just a child then. Her parents Maria and Janos Takacs lived nearby. They were Hungarians and lived in Slovakia. They were Catholic. They were poor and could hardly make ends meet. They had two children: older son Ernest and daughter Adel, born in 1929. They were born in a village. The family moved to Uzhgorod in the early 1930s.
When I returned to Uzhgorod Adel lived with her mother. Ernest moved to Czechoslovakia shortly after Uzhgorod was liberated and the father disappeared at the front. They had a very hard life and could hardly afford to buy wood in winter while I was living in an empty house. I had no idea about housekeeping, I had to go to work, and routinely issues regarding the house and my everyday life were becoming a problem. I couldn’t cook or wash and I had no time for this. I came home from work late and went to bed immediately.
Then somebody got to know that I was rarely at home and there was nobody else in the house and they began to steal furniture and other belongings. So I told Maria and her daughter to move in with me. ‘You won’t pay me for living here, vice versa, I will be giving money for food to you, and you will probably cook something for me, too.’ They moved in with me.
I was 22 and Adel was 16. We spent the evenings together. Maria and Adel were my family, or the illusion of a family, until Maria’s husband returned. The Americans had taken him in captivity, and he came to Uzhgorod in 1945. Janos and Maria decided to move to Czechoslovakia, where their son lived, in the town of Volkovce. He had gotten married and they had a baby.
When they began to pack, I understood that I couldn’t live without Adel and I proposed to her. We got married on 10th November 1945. We had a civil ceremony and then had a wedding dinner. My brother Frantisek was at the wedding. After the wedding Adel’s parents left.
Adel didn’t know a word in Russian. We spoke Hungarian or Czech at home, but Russian became a state language and it was necessary to know it. When my salary was not enough to make our living we lent a half of the house to Russian military men. Talking to their wives Adel picked up Russian. Adel didn’t work. I was raised so that a man had to bring money home and support the family. And the woman had to take care of the house. I insisted that Adel stayed at home. Our first daughter Judita, named after my deceased sister, was born in 1951. In 1954 our second daughter was born and I named her Adel after my beloved wife.