On April 24th, 2015, at the Symbiosis Cultural Anthropological Festival, Eszter Zsófia Tóth, VERITAS Senior Research Fellow, gave a speech titled Remembering WWII Through Individual Stories – Man and his Tragedies in which, through her family’s example, she presented the deep personal wounds that war can inflict, the grief that derives from losing husbands and sons.
“Our last counterattack took place at the city of Nagydorna. By then the command was to fight to our last drop of blood to defend the city. We could not lose it because a lot of munitions were stored there. …Well, we Hungarians certainly suffered heavy losses there, because there as well we had to give up the city. The sheer number of Russians overwhelmed our line of defense, and that was how we ended up among the Carpathian cliffs, but for how long none of us knew.”
This wartime entry is found in the diary of my grandfather, József Tóth, who was a soldier of the Nagykanizsa 17th regiment, III. battalion, 7th company. He did not survive the hell that was WWII, laying down his life in his 35th year. My grandmother thus had to raise their two children on her own. Primarily I have had to work with her recollection and lack thereof, within the context of no one being alive from the family who had known her personally.