Andrea Nádasdy Nikolits

* 1933  

  • We reached a deep ploughed land where walking was very difficult. Every step we took was felt like beeing crushed by the weight of the clog we had been dragging. I suspected it was no one’s land - the frontier line. Though it was dawning we couldn’t distinguish one colour from another. We were inclined to think that we saw a flag about 50 metres away on the other side of the line, but first of all we had to cross this rough sea of mud where we could still be seen. Heaven forbid them to use searchlights - not now because that would be the end. Poor Julia could hardly walk. Her stamina left her. She wanted to sit down more and more. „I don’t even care if I die here”- She groaned. The men certainly did their best to proceed on their way, so I had to drag Julia single handed. Every breath was painful, we were both wheezing. „We mustn’t stop now-we are almost there” – I comforted her still dragging.

  • So I set off towards the house. I knocked. – Guten Morgen – I stammered when the door was opened. – Jó reggelt! The man’s face broke into a wide smile. Despair and exhaustion must have been written all over my face, because he quickly changed the language. I beg your pardon-he apologized in German. – I was only joking. This is the right place. You are in Austria. You know everybody speaks Hungarian as well -here by the frontier region. I almost fell on his neck. Then the others also took the risk to come closer. The household was very kind. We could wash our hands and faces and they gave us new bread spread with butter and coffee with milk. I haven’t eaten such delicious food of that sort ever since. At last we were able to warm up.”We are free!” We shouted with joy.

  • Suddenly we reached an asphalt road. There was a real highway running across in front of us! May that be the highway to Vienna? We should get across –at least to the other side- where there are bushes and trees protecting us from the eyes of an accidental Russian patrol. But where is the light we had been following so persistently? Even farther. At that very moment we realized we had seen the moon all the time. Thus we crossed the highway- running, as if we had been aware of getting closer to our destination. We were trudging in the bushy fields and I kept picturing a map to myself- the map of Hungary’s western frontier that was jagged and zigzagging. Consequently it could easily happen that we were roaming about a place where we’d better clear off. Not a living soul was there- we didn’t meet anybody. There was dead silence around there. How is it possible that we can’t find a human settlement? We could have walked even on the moon…

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    Budapest, 02.07.2013

    (audio)
    duration: 02:15:35
    media recorded in project Iron Curtain Stories
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I’ve left behind the past of my first 23 years too

18-year-old Andrea Nikolits
18-year-old Andrea Nikolits
photo: családi fotó

Nádasdy Nikolits Andrea was born in a wealthy bourgeois family in Budapest in 1933. His father Nikolits Mihály was appointed to be a Lord Lieutenant of Baranya County,so the family moved to Pécs. They moved back to Budapest in 1947. Andrea went to the Secondary School of Arts and Crafts in Budapest in 1948. She left it for reasons of politics in 1950 when his father was B -listed and the rest of her family resettled. She worked as a silk painter and as a bar singer afterwards. She got married in1952.Her daughter was born in 1953. She escaped to Austria through the green border without her family on 29 november 1956. She stayed in Vienna for 3 months. From 1957 to 1961 she lived in France where she worked as a housekeeper. She relocated in the USA in 1961 where she got to the top as a designer, later as a stylist. In the meantime her husband (who stayed in Hungary) divorced her and she could manage to take her daughter to live with her only in 1966. Count Ferenc Nádasdy married her in 1982. They lived in Ottawa. She retired in 1995. She returned to Hungary in 1996 and together with her husband she endowed a fund.She worked for their Nádasdy Fund till 2013.