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intrepid 04-12-2015 05:39 PM

an anniversary
 
Friday was the anniversary of the birth of my beloved Judith's mother, Charlotta Chudy. She was born on 10 April 1917 in a small city called Uzhgorod in the Kingdom of Hungary and what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Great War was still raging. Four weeks earlier Czar Nicholas II of Russia had abdicated and four weeks later Imperial Germany arranged for Vladimir Lenin and several other Russian revolutionaries to travel in a sealed train from Bern, Switzerland across Germany to a Baltic port, thence to Russia via Sweden to foment the beginning of the Russian Revolution. People in Uzhgorod spoke multiple languages, the principal ones being Hungarian and Slovak since only the Uzh River separates the city from what is now Slovakia. The Versailles Treaty placed Uzhgorod in newly-created Czechoslovakia but as a result of the boundary revisions of WWII it is now in Ukraine, about midway between Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, and Kiev, capital of Ukraine.

So she was a happy young woman in the late 1930s, waiting for the stetl matchmaker to arrange her marriage

Came Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, and Uzhgorod was overrun in the early moments of the Wehrmacht blitzkreig. The Uzhgorod Jewish stetl was stifled and in time all of its inhabitants were either sent to the German gas chambers and ovens or to slave labor in Germany. Charlotta was amongst the fortunate ones, sent to slave labor in a German munitions factory near Hamburg. Until the late winter of 1945 when she was transferred to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp for extermination. Lucky again, the Brits liberated Bergen-Belsen a few days before her scheduled elimination.

Thence to a 'displaced persons' camp for restoration to sufficient health for repatriation; they chose to send her to Prague where she met and married her husband, Roman Chudy and gave birth to my Judith.

So Friday Judith and I visited her at the Wesley Health Care Center, five minutes from where I sit ant type this, with a vase filled with multi-colored roses to celebrate her 98th birthday. Her mind is as clear as mine, her body not so good, essentially in her room almost all the time and basically not really happy that she cannot simply leave. But there is so much to love in that room, especially being mindful of just what she has seen in her long life.

God bless, and thank you for letting me share this.

tazandjan 04-12-2015 09:50 PM

Seth- Tell her Happy Birthday for me. Jan's father was actually in WW-I in the Navy, but he is long gone, as are all the WW-I vets. He would have been 117 this year.

Habsy 04-12-2015 10:07 PM

Seth, fantastic story thanks for sharing.
Happy birthday to her, and i wish her many more!
Paul

brettgagnon 04-13-2015 07:04 AM

Seth,

Raised one in her honour on the weekend. I will be travelling back to my wife's old country (Czech R) and will do the same in Prague when we arrive.

Fantastic


brett

intrepid 04-13-2015 07:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brettgagnon (Post 612258)
Seth,

Raised one in her honour on the weekend. I will be travelling back to my wife's old country (Czech R) and will do the same in Prague when we arrive.

Fantastic


brett

Brett, Judith and I will be traveling to Prague next year for her high school class reunion! Where are you in Canada, east or west? or middle? We spent four wonderful days in Quebec last month and are just three hours south of Montreal.

550_Maranello 04-13-2015 09:25 AM

Seth,
great story, happy for her luck in that bad period of European hystory ...
Thanks for sharing with us.

Happy birthday to her, and i'm happy for you that still have your mother, also if her body are tired ....:party-smiley-046:

I remember the last months of my father ..... but now i would that he was here ....

Fabio

brettgagnon 04-13-2015 09:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by intrepid (Post 612266)
Brett, Judith and I will be traveling to Prague next year for her high school class reunion! Where are you in Canada, east or west? or middle? We spent four wonderful days in Quebec last month and are just three hours south of Montreal.

We live in Toronto, and I spend a sixth of the time in Vancouver, so to answer your question: middle and far left ;) I am a Montrealer by "home city".

We plan on doing a trip in Gertrude this summer to NYC, if things work out, maybe we can catch a beverage together.

Prague is a gorgeous city, I am sure you will enjoy greatly.

Brett

Scott K 04-13-2015 11:11 AM

Seth:

Thank you for sharing your Mother in law's story with us here.

Cheers,
Scott

intrepid 04-13-2015 11:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brettgagnon (Post 612330)
We live in Toronto, and I spend a sixth of the time in Vancouver, so to answer your question: middle and far left ;) I am a Montrealer by "home city". We plan on doing a trip in Gertrude this summer to NYC, if things work out, maybe we can catch a beverage together. Prague is a gorgeous city, I am sure you will enjoy greatly. Brett

Brett, Judith and I visited Prague three years ago, spent almost a week. She and her best friend from childhood put me on 1600km forced marches each day, sayhing that Praha is a walking city; yeh, but the city didn't do the walking, we did! We then flew to Paris where I had taken a studio flat for a week in the 5eme arrondissement, ten minute walk from where I lieved, doing graduat law studies in the 1960s. I turned around the adage - Prague is the Paris of the east, into: Paris is the Prague of the west.

When you drive to NYC, if you go via Montreal and down the Adirondack Northway, its exit 15 is five minutes from my home; suggests a drink if not a meal.

Italian Lover 04-13-2015 11:40 AM

Seth, simply wonderful to be able to share such a personal saga, what one has and had gone through, unbelievable. My respect to her.

Which brings back my parents', what they had to go through, maybe not as dramatic as hers.

As I read your reflections, I cannot help but parallel things to our current on going world incidents, different players but similar scenarios. Looks like we humans have not advanced much and still doing the same stupid mistakes in geopolitical terms. I wish I had a more positive outlook. Probably it is just me.

She is one lucky lady to have the kind of people around her, which she duly deserves.
:thumbsup:

Thank you for sharing.

w/ smiles
Jimmy

Scottish16M 04-13-2015 12:57 PM

Thanks for sharing Seth, many often fail to remember what our elders have gone through and the wisdom we could all learn, no matter how old or young. Just a pity man refuses to learn from history & keeps making the same mistakes!

Happy Birthday to the Princess she is to you all & as we say in Scotland 'Lang may her lum reek' which means long may her fires burn!

brettgagnon 04-13-2015 01:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by intrepid (Post 612426)
Brett, Judith and I visited Prague three years ago, spent almost a week. She and her best friend from childhood put me on 1600km forced marches each day, sayhing that Praha is a walking city; yeh, but the city didn't do the walking, we did! We then flew to Paris where I had taken a studio flat for a week in the 5eme arrondissement, ten minute walk from where I lieved, doing graduat law studies in the 1960s. I turned around the adage - Prague is the Paris of the east, into: Paris is the Prague of the west.

When you drive to NYC, if you go via Montreal and down the Adirondack Northway, its exit 15 is five minutes from my home; suggests a drink if not a meal.

Paris and Prague are very similar, Paris is just the Barry Bonds of cities, on steroids. Walking on cobblestones, drinking and eating, and walking some more. My feet hurt thinking of it.

Will do on the trip, detours in the name of food and wine in a Ferrari are what they are all about.

Brett

intrepid 04-15-2015 07:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scottish16M (Post 612570)
Thanks for sharing Seth, many often fail to remember what our elders have gone through and the wisdom we could all learn, no matter how old or young. Just a pity man refuses to learn from history & keeps making the same mistakes!

Happy Birthday to the Princess she is to you all & as we say in Scotland 'Lang may her lum reek' which means long may her fires burn!

We will never forget.

Seventy years ago today the Royal Army's 11th Armoured Division liberated the German Bergen-Belsen Death Camp, just five days after Judith's mother's birthday. She was 28. Time Magazine reports:

At the Gates of Hell: The Liberation of Bergen-Belsen, April 1945
In the spring of 1945, photographs and witness accounts from the liberation of camps like Bergen-Belsen afforded the disbelieving world outside of Europe its first glimpse into the abyss of German depravity

Bergen-Belsen: Photos From the Liberation of the Notorious Camp, 1945

We will never forget.

NickBongio 04-15-2015 09:25 AM

Great story Seth, wish her all the best!

Scottish16M 04-16-2015 06:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by intrepid (Post 613546)
We will never forget.

Seventy years ago today the Royal Army's 11th Armoured Division liberated the German Bergen-Belsen Death Camp, just five days after Judith's mother's birthday. She was 28. Time Magazine reports:

At the Gates of Hell: The Liberation of Bergen-Belsen, April 1945
In the spring of 1945, photographs and witness accounts from the liberation of camps like Bergen-Belsen afforded the disbelieving world outside of Europe its first glimpse into the abyss of German depravity

Bergen-Belsen: Photos From the Liberation of the Notorious Camp, 1945

We will never forget.


Military men such as us never will, we stood to ensure others could live as they do today, unfortunately too many others continue to forget... :wall:

intrepid 04-16-2015 07:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scottish16M (Post 614210)
Military men such as us never will, we stood to ensure others could live as they do today, unfortunately too many others continue to forget... :wall:

Peter, last August my old ship U.S.S. Intrepid, a WWII attack carrier and now a museum in New York harbor, had a wonderful celebration of the anniversary of the ship's commissioning. Over three hundred former crew members returned, including my old yeoman Frank Stratton whom I hadn't seen since 1958. A truly wonderful day. After the ceremonies as Judith and I were on the flight deck sort of winding up our visit a man approached us wearing a "former crew member" baseball cap as I was and asked when I had served aboard Intrepid. I told him, asked him the same (we hadn't served together) and we visited for several minutes exchanging memories. He took my hand again, smiled and said "thank you for your service" then put his arms around me and hugged me as I thanked him and hugged him back; then he turned away, his forearm wiping tears from his face. I was near tears myself as I turned to Judith and said - no one can really understand what happened here just now if you haven't served.

Scottish16M 04-16-2015 10:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by intrepid (Post 614234)
Peter, last August my old ship U.S.S. Intrepid, a WWII attack carrier and now a museum in New York harbor, had a wonderful celebration of the anniversary of the ship's commissioning. Over three hundred former crew members returned, including my old yeoman Frank Stratton whom I hadn't seen since 1958. A truly wonderful day. After the ceremonies as Judith and I were sort of winding up our visit on the flight deck a man approached us wearing a "former crew member" baseball cap as I was and asked when I had served aboard Intrepid. I told him, asked him the same (we hadn't served together) and we visited for several minutes exchanging memories. He took my hand again, smiled and said "thank you for your service" then put his arms around me and hugged me as I thanked him and hugged him back; then he turned away, his arm wiping tears from his face. I was near tears myself as I turned to Judith and said - no one can really understand what happened here just now if you haven't served.

If we ever meet our conversations would be most interesting. I am meeting a retired UK Royal Marine who served 15 years this morning, we've similar operational backgrounds & enjoy a similar mindset, unfortunately, he suffers 25 years PTSD and has horrid flashbacks, but he still lives & knows he is one of the lucky ones, as do I every day!

Will man ever learn! :wall:

Bluebottle 04-17-2015 01:21 AM

Very moving post, Seth - stories like that bring history alive and remind us of how lucky we are to live in a more politically stable world (or at least the more stable parts of it).


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