Our grandfather Johann Lux (1891 - 1978) was a master mason as well as a farmer in Kalaznó. He worked for many years in America and built his new house from the money that he had earned there. He was not alone overseas, as several other craftsmen from the same area were working in America as well.
The house was finished in 1942. Alas, the Lux family could not enjoy the fruits of their labor for long. They were forced to leave their brand new home soon after moving in.
The ethnic Germans were expelled from Hungary after the Second World War. The new settlers who moved in were themselves expelled from the province of Bukowina (now part of Poland). The family Lux would never return to this house again.
Johann Lux’ son, Henrik Lux (1920 - 2007), our father, married the sixteen-year-old Erzsébet Ábel at the age of twenty. They had a great wedding feast, but their happiness lasted barely a year. The fate of our father turned out to be the worst of all the family members – as he was a soldier at the Russian Front, followed by four years of imprisonment as prisoner of war in Nikolaew, Russia.
The expelled Lux family had to relocate first to Szakály. For a long time they had no news from their father, who had returned home to Kalazno in 1948, but was no longer permitted to pass over the threshold of his own front door.
Our mother was already living in Königstein, Saxony, Germany, as she was resettled with her parents. When she learned that her husband returned home from the Russian prison, she secretly was trying to sneak back into Hungary. However, she was arrested at the border and imprisoned for a month.
After the (family’s) return home, it took a long time and a lot of perseverance until the family could begin a new life out of nothing in Kalaznó. In the seventies they left the village and built a new home in Hedjeß / Hôgyész.
Our parents lived for many years following those many atrocities. In 2005 they celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary, the "iron wedding". In 2007 our father already left us, but our mother lives in Hedjeß and is 87 years old.
Two years ago we bought back our old (Kalaznó) house. Last year we renovated the barn and opened the "Johann Lux Stallgalerie" (Johann Lux Barn Gallery), and we now opened our second exhibition there. In due time the house is also to be renovated, and we are also planning to set up a German ‘Heimatstube’ full of old artifacts, clothes and souvenirs.
We want to honor our Lux ancestors with this Gallery.
... about the LETTERS
by Károly Csorba
originally published in 2011 in GEMEINSCHAFTEN DER UNGARNDEUTSCHEN newsletter
Earlier this year, we found nine letters that Henriik Lux wrote from the Russian prisoner of war camp in Nikolaew, Russi, that he sent home to his parents and his wife.
Prior to those letters there was no news from him for a long time; we did not even know whether he was still alive. The letters were never spoken of in the family, and the events of the past were only reservedly mentioned. They must have been afraid to say the truth. Often we asked our father to write his memories down, but he never did fulfill this wish.
The first letter reached Kalaznó in 1946. After that he sent the other eight letters in 1947 to Szakály, where the family’s first stop on the expulsion route lead. All the letters were tiny and written in the same format: the first page was preprinted in Russian and French. Those tiny pages were tightly written with hardly any full sentences. He used even the smallest space to write. His thoughts were full of worry and love. Of course all the letters were censored. One could not complain or write about the atrocities. …. Do not worry, I’m fine … was a repeated text.
The pain and the worry about the son and the husband can be only imagined, as for years there was no news from him.
As our father told us, he had a bit more luck than many other war prisoners there. Even though he suffered badly, there was also a bit of silver lining in that dark cloud.
Thanks to his many talents and as the fate wished, he became the housekeeper of the prison hospital. Besides speaking German and Hungarian he very quickly learned Russian, so he was also able to work as an interpreter.
He had to witness the deaths of many people who died of hunger, of the terrible work stress, or of the various diseases. He was also able to help many people to be sent home sooner, especially those who arrived in hospital in a critical condition. Those people returned home much earlier than him and did bring the news from that far away place.
From his letters to Szakály it is evident that he had known that the family was forced to leave Kalaznó and to leave the beautiful house and farmland behind. That house, for which the grandfather and the family worked so hard for, was lost forever.
The son’s pain and anxiety are clearly felt between the lines. Perhaps he was even more worried about the helpless family than they were about him. In the eighth letter he wrote that he was very glad to recognize his father’s handwriting. He must have doubted that his father was still alive. Was he even in a position to emotionally cope with the events that happened at home and the loss of all they possessed?
When the possibility of coming hope came closer - but where to? Where then was his new homeland?
The question now is who suffered more? The father or the son?