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My Life Story
by Edith Duci Gluck Kuchar Schwartz

While going through things in my mother's house after her passing, we came across something she had written a few years earlier. This was after I wrote my hesped, eulogy, to her, so it's interesting to see what my mother thought on some of the issues on which I touched.

As you can see from the writing, English was not my mother's mother tongue -- she spoke and read English well, but didn't do too much writing. So I have taken the liberty to edit it slightly and to publish it here for others to read. I have added my tuppence worth in square brackets, but only to enhance readability, not to correct her English.

Also, her story ends just before I was born. I have no idea if she intended to write more, or what you see below is all she intended to tell us (it ends half way down a page). I can only assume that she wrote it for her kids and she figured we already know the part of her life story from after I was born.

My mother used to write all of her names if she thought someone may recogonise her through one of her former names. I have done the same for her here. Given the power of the web, who knows what new contacts or information posting this story may yield.

I came 52 years ago [December, 1950] to Australia from Paris where I had lived for two years. It was the longest time in my life away from the country where I was born, Kosice, C.S.R. [Czechoslovak Republic] and lots of things happened in my life.

I am from a very loving family of ten children. Our mother was a special person, a doctor for the whole street, without a degree, and a wonderful mother to her family. She and my father worked very hard in their food shops. After school we helped with deliveries to the customers. We did everything with a smile and it was in our nature to do our job.

My father was very involved in the synagogue. It was also a social venue to meet his friends and to have a schmooze. He needed to get out of the shop, but my mother was the rock of the business.

We always had live-in help, but we all also had to help. There was plenty to do. My sister, Magda [the third of the ten children; my mother was the seventh], was my mother's right hand. She really was an angel. She helped us all, even in Auschwitz. [My mother was in Auschwitz together with four of her sisters.] There she was our little mother. She knew exactly how to divide the [meagre] portions of food between us, who is weaker, who needs more. We loved her and trusted her.

1945 saw the end of the war. We came home but it was very hard to accept that our dear parents had been murdered.

Life [re]started and we settled back in Kosice where our family used to live. We were very lucky to get a business in the middle of the city. Rozi, my sister, was a milliner. She conducted the workroom and I was the salesperson. We were very lucky that Uncle Nandor [Treitel] was very good to us. He had connections in the [sic] factory and he sent us whatever materials he could find -- at that time all the shops were empty. It was a present and it was a good start. For us it was a big help because whatever we sold was straight profit. We didn't have to pay him back. The business was better day by day. We started to have a life without worries -- while it lasted.

We used to go for lovely holidays. We just closed the shop and for a few days had a good time in the [nearby] Tatry Mountains. We had plenty of friends, but we didn't want to jump into marriage. We were financially independent and we wanted to have freedom after the camp and enjoy what we could.

Then Rozi met Karol, got married and moved to live in Prague. I continued managing the business on my own.

[Number one:] Auntie Annus had been in Theresienstadt [Concentration Camp] during the war with Sani Miko. As [on his return] he didn't find anyone from his family alive, he stayed at our grandparents' home for a few days. We became very close friends. He was accepted to the Prague University in electro-engineering. Our friendship lasted till 1948 when I left for Paris and he to Israel.

Number two: Uncle Nandor Gluck had a brother-in-law, a doctor serving in Kosice in the army. He was after me all the time, but somehow I didn't have any feelings towards him. He wanted to settle down, but I was not ready. Uncle was very disappointed in me.

I had a few other close friends. Why not a good looking girl and very tuchtig [enterprising], like everybody said. [I think what she is trying to say is that she was very eligible, so why wasn't she getting married.]

Number three: I went Prague to visit my sister, Bozi. There I met my darling husband, 'Emilko'. There was a spark from both sides, but it did not continue as he was involved with Miri. Until she went to the USA to find a millionaire husband.

Number four: Everything was looking rosey until the Red Army occupied us [Czechoslovakia]. It was again time to pack. Luckily Auntie Margit sent me papers from Paris. The Sas [Bozi] and Rodny [Rozi] families were already there [and many uncles, aunts and cousins too]. First I lived in a hotel with the family, but later Laci [Bozi's husband] found me a lovely, one bedroom flat in Bois de Boulogne, in a lovely quarter on the outskirts of Paris.

One day Laci met Miku Licer. He also had plans to go to Australia. We met and soon became inseparable. Everyday we visited different castles, museums, parks -- whatever there was to see. He lived with his sister, brother-in-law and their baby. He also had a brother in Sweden who owned a bakery. He wanted Miko to come and help him and earn enough money to help his sister. He wanted me come with him and we would get married.

My plan [however] was not be separate from my family. I had papers to Canada as well as to Australia. We [Miko?] decided that we shall meet up later in Sydney. But things changed behind my back. Emilko was in contact with Bozi and told her that things [with Miri] were not so hot any more. He also started to write to me.

When my ship arrived in Melbourne [where Emil lived], he was in Sydney meeting two other girls but he already had 'Me' in mind. So started the story.

Emil had lived in Melbourne for two years, but so we could get to know each other [better] he moved to Sydney. He found a room in Korda's flat. They knew each other through Imre [Klein] in Melbourne. It was a good and handy place to see each other everyday. Within a short time we became inseparable and really in love. We knew that we would get married -- we just had to find a place to live.


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