Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lisa Kallai - January 28, 2008

News of Parents

And were you receiving any word from your family in Vienna or Czechoslovakia at that point?

My parents moved to Hungary. They'd crossed the border illegally to Hungary and I got Red Cross messages until they had to change their names and go underground and then that communication stopped and for about a couple of years I didn't hear anything.

So they had false papers?

They had false papers, yes and uh, so they couldn't pick up my mail and they couldn't write.

What did you think?

I was sure that uh, it was the end because I didn't hear from them 'til August after the end of the war...

August 1945?

...but they changed...because I changed addresses and they had...they didn't have my address and it took that time to find me so by that time, by that time I had heard definitely that nobody had returned to Czechoslovakia, to Habry and uh, I thought if my parents were alive they would have contacted the post office there and the post master wrote to me and he said he hadn't heard from anybody and I was sure they hadn't survived and then suddenly in August I got a Red Cross message.

Well, let's fin... let's go ahead with this. What, what, what did you do at that point when you got the message?

Nothing much. There wasn't nothing, nothing much to do.

There was...

I just couldn't get up and travel...

No, no...

...couldn't even get, you couldn't even get a telephone connection at that time.

Did you write back to them?

I presume so. I don't remember but I must have done.

So how did you...

But I had an address.


Then I saved up for a telephone conversation that was an undertaking. When we got to the telephone we just, we just cried, my parents did and I did.

When is the next time you saw them?

Uh, 1946. The summer of 1946 they came to England.

That must have been quite a reunion.

Yes it was. Not uncomplicated.

In what respect?

Respect that parents leave a child and get a grown up person back. It was very difficult to adjust. Also, our experiences were so different. I was at college by that time and, you know, we were different people.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn