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Today (20th of July) we heard that Toma Sik is dead - overrun by a tractor during a
nightly walk home through the fields to his newly-bought old farm somewhere in a forgotten part of Hungary which should have fulfilled his dream of establishing a commune of Organic - Humanist (and Vegan) "new peasants".
GUSH SHALOM - pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 www.gush-shalom.org/
Toma Sik 1939-2004
Today we heard that Toma Sik is dead - overrun by a tractor during a
nightly walk home through the fields to his newly-bought old farm
somewhere in a forgotten part of Hungary which should have fulfilled his
dream of establishing a commune of organic-humanist (and vegan) "new
He was a pioneer of the Israeli-Palestinian search for peace, a
forerunner of the present day pacifist-refusniks and actively involved in
many struggles. For decades his friendly bearded face was to be seen at
any demonstration. Arriving on his bicycle he would take down bundles of
leaflets, written in his inimitable style and which he produced on his
old stencil machine.
Nobody could fulfill all the criteria which he set, not even himself - as
he would gladly admit with a sense of humour rare among heavily
principled people. His being anarchist, vegan, pacifist, world-citizen
and the rest of it didn't prevent him from giving his all to
organizations with less universal goals such as Gush Shalom, where he
played a central role until he left Israel in the late 1990s and
ultimately settled down again in his country of birth.
For those who remember him and for those who don't we decided to publish
what he himself wrote some years ago.
PUZZLES OF A LIFETIME
by Jesa'ajahu Toma Sik (Schuck Tamas)
1997 It is now the fourth year that the Palestine Liberation Organization
and the Government of the State of Israel are negotiating and - extremely
slowly - implementing the agreements in the so called Peace Process.
Just today, 4th March, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Nethanyahu has
stated he is going on with the erecting of a new zionist settlement on
the outskirts of Palestinian Arab East-Jerusalem. This, in spite of the
agreement not to change situations before the stage of negotiations on
the final arrange-ments takes place; in spite of the Palestinian National
Authority's President Yasir Arafat being wellcome today by U.S.A.
President Bill Clinton, who has condemned the Israeli act; in spite of
international, including the European Union's objection.
The Palestinians have swallowed so far every frog in order to have a
little bit of dry land, the water of which has been pumped away by the
zionists. Still, the Palestinians are being continuously and constantly
harrassed, humiliated, expelled and expropriated by those with whom they
are peacefully negotiating for a resolution of the historical conflict.
They are reconciling, the zionist continue to harm them and demanding
that "the Palestinians should prove themselves"... and the world is
afraid to say loudly and firmly anything against the (un)Jewish State,
the least to apply any sanctions against it. Because of "anti-semitism",
because of the Nazi afflicted Holocaust. But anti-semitism has been
taking place for 100 years in Palestine, against the Palestinian Arab
semites, by European Jewish colonialists. A mini-holocaust. And
apparently not everything is yet known or will be known ever. How can it
be stopped? Is it, that the World is afraid of the Simson Syndrome that
now involves the World's sixth nuclear power?!
This year I'm going to be 58 years old. My birthdays always have been
great events, at least those which I recall. And every event brought up a
puzzle, anew a puzzle.
My first birthday, the very day when I was born, happened on August 17th,
1939. Exactly two weeks before the outburst of WWII. I was born in
O(ld)buda, a semi-village quarter of Budapest, Hungary, into a Jewish
Hungarian family where my mother Ilus(h) and her mother, my granny, two
housewives, spoke Austrian German between themselves.
I didn't know my grandfather S(h)andor Wilhelm, but mother told me he was
a head of a workers-group in the clay-bricks factory on the outskirts of
its workers-quarter we used to live. When my mother was born, they were
living in the Hungarian region of Slovakia. My father, Endre/Nathan
Schuck was a printer apprentice. My grandfather Schuck Mor/Moshe, was a
rabbi in Karcag, a township in North-Eastern Hungary. In addition to his
rabbinical studies, he had also a doctorate from Munchen University,
Germany, from where he also brought his wife, my other granny. My mother
used repeatedly to tell me with pride, that grandpa was an "elected
rabbi". I never had seen any of them in their and my life. Also I didn't
know all these data but years later. Actually I had only the opportunity
to eat this granny's bake of giant loafs of country bread that she used
to send by parcel-post to me and my mother, after the War.
PUZZLE No.1: a. Was WWII a birthday present to me or did I bring it to
the World as a surprise gift?
b. And why was I born as an almost surely candidate to be killed very
soon? Or was it my later salvage from the horrors, my real birthday
My first clear memoirs of childhood are concerned with military:
The first memoir:
A German language "leader" or song: "Wann die Soldaten durich die Stadt
maschiren, ofnen die Maetchen Fenstern und die Turen; warum? darum, nur
weigen tchin da drassa bum bum bum" ("when the soldiers are marching
along in town, the maids are opening the windows and the doors; why?
because of the.... [brass and drums band sounds]").
The second memoir:
It could be my 4th birthday. For a period of time preceding it, the
central issue of my life was "the officer's suit". My aunt Irma took
measures of me and I was promised I was going to have it: "the officer's
suit"! Time passed and I was thinking much of the "officer's suit", but
it failed to arrive. Finally it was made and I had the opportunity to
wear it, on my birthday. Look at the picture. My memory of concern and
interest, as I recall it, doesn't correspond with the expression that I
can see on my face of that photoed child. I wonder what had happened to
"the officer's suit" when we were compelled to move into Budapest ghetto.
Never I have seen it or heard about it anymore, only my memory recalls it
from time to time, or the photo.
PUZZLE No.2: Were the song and the "officer's suit", a pacifist education
of a Jewish Hungarian kid?
The third memoir:
It could be late 1943 or early 1944. My most valuable uncle, Jeno, was
seen in a picture mailed by him to us earlier, photoed somewhere "on the
front" in a Hungarian soldier's uniform: trouser, shirt and a simplest
soldier's hat that looked like an upside down boat, without an emblem...
He was neither a sailor nor a battle soldier. He was a compulsory field
worker, digger of tranches at most dangerous sites in the war, for the
Hungarian army on the side of the Germans against the Soviets. Because he
was a Jew, he was untrustable to hold weapons and was fit only for hard
work and for grave dangers. Although he was a talented lawyer. (He was
highly trusted by all concerned, when he made the arrangements for my
parents' divorce a year earlier, when I was three years old. My mother,
with whom, it was decided, I was to remain, always spoke with admiration
of him.) Now he was dead. The first of my family who died in WWII. He
died both because he was in uniform and because he was a Jew. Was he? I
never had had the chance to ask him...
The fourth memoir:
1944!!! I was standing in the middle of the two-way high street,
Vorosvary Ut, on which we were living. I just had bought some new-old
stamps: small size, bearing the faces of historical leaders of the
Hungarian nation, from the times of the conquest and Hungarian settlement
of Pannonia (Latin) or the Karpat Medence or Basine, some less than
thousands of years earlier. This was the old part of the stamps. The new
part was, that they were overprinted: "Temesvar hazater!" or "Kolozsvar
hazater!", meaning: "Timisuara Returns Home!" or "Cluj Returns Home!" or
"liberated" - from Roumania. (The first are Hungarian, the latter
Roumanian names of the same.) I didn't know then anything about history,
politics, even not about the war that was taking place, I even didn't
understand the situation in which all this was taking place, that the
Germans "granted" these towns to the Hungarians "for their good
services", not for justice, at the expense of the Roumanians...; or that
historically these were places of Hungarians or not, or that people were
living together, side by side or mixed, in different cultures... *)
The fifth memoir:
Same year, one day, the street became noisy. I went out to the
pedestrians walk, finding there crowds lining up along the road, on both
sides of it. The Nazi-German troops were marching into Budapest on this
highway from Vienna. In front of me, a small and thin woman with long
hair was moving jumpingly; she also wanted to see the marchers. As she
was moving jumpingly, she didn't stop shouting: "Heil Hitler! Heil
Hitler!" But she couldn't see anything, because she was small. "Wann die
Soldaten durich die Stadt maschieren"...
Later, I was already a "big boy" then, 5 years old, I don't recall
whether my birthday took place before, after or in the course of all
these events, that went on speedily: Jews were compelled to wear yellow
stars on their clothes (aunt Hermine and I would sit at the window and
count the yellow-stared people passing by on the street... like after the
War with uncle Armin, who was also in the War a compulsory worker but
survived like his wife and daughter who were hidden by some good
Christians - we counted buses driven through in front of his flat); being
forbidden to go to cinema or theatre (but my mother took the yellow stars
off her and my clothes and we had a journey into the city - I remember
only the fearful journey, not the show that we saw...); to live in
"Jewish houses" signalled with yellow stars; and lastly to be
concentrated in Budapest ghetto that was setup in the VIII. Quarter which
was the urban center of Jews with the main synagogue of the city in it.
*) Recently, in 1996, the Hungarians and the Roumanians, now free from
both National-Socialist, Fascist-German occupation and State-Capitalist,
Soviet-Communist occupation, came to a peaceful and peace-promising
agreement about Transylvania where these towns are with a majority of
Hungarians that will not demand annexation to Hungary but will be granted
cultural rights. Actually, Hungary has many national minorities all over
its territory, and Hungarians are living as national minorities in all
the surrounding countries.*
The first Jewish House where we lived shortly was that of my uncle Viktor
Kornfeld and aunt Irma. Many interesting things happened in this house
with many friendly neighbours and many children, boys and girls. There
was also a boy there who in order to join us, always had to run away from
his home that neighboured our courtyard. His mother used to shout after
him: "Don't go to play with those stinking Jews!" But he did and enjoyed
our company, although we harrassed him a bit because he was fat. However,
what left a strong impression on me was the event that followed a playing
on the street.
Kiscelli utca (street) is one that climbs onto the hill to a former
aristocratic castle by the same name. Towards the end of it is a school
that later was that where I had my first three elementary grades. Almost
opposite to it was a Jesuite monastery just before the hill started to be
steep. As I was playing outside, I noticed a crowding mob about the
monastery and something made me afraid, so I went into our courtyard.
Some minutes later, a goodlooking, serious man with a loving and caring
face looked in to us through the gate and told: "Brothers, danger is
approaching, lock the gate firmly!" So it was done with bars and locks
and cabinets staged to back the gate, and that saved us from the
attacking mob. People in the house said that the warning man who was
formerly a Jew, was a humanist. I still love this man very much although
I don't know what and who he was and whatever happened to him.
Some time before the ghettoization, we were already in the third Jewish
House: my mother, granny, my aunt Hermine (her husband, Basch Mor, my
beloved agricultural uncle who worked with horses and lived in a
Christian family's farm in the middle of our quarter, and I loved riding
with him in the cart - was then already deported to Auschwitz from where
he didn't return, like later aunt Irma) and my seven years older brother
Frici/Frigyes/Shlomoh. One early morning, maybe at 3-4 o'clock, rude
knocking on the door woke us up. Three Hungarian fascists in leather
coats came to take away my mother. She was 40 years old. I cried and
screemed very much. The chief fascist showed a nice face and told me:
"Don't cry child, your mummy will come back in the afternoon!" It became
apparently a very long and dark day, that lasted until the end of the
War, maybe half a year or more. Then came back my mother, in such a
shape, that I was afraid to sleep in the same room with her, for two
PUZZLE No.3: Maybe, this last anecdote is the reason for my utmost love
for truth and utmost hatred of lie and deceit? The reason for which I'm
terribly deeply hurt whenever facing untruthfulness?
Then had come the time to enter to the ghetto. Many Jews were pushed into
it brutally. My cousin Annus(h) Feher's husband, Mihaly, had a non-Jewish
acquaintence with whom he had friendly commercial rela-tionship. That man
was a fascist-party member, apparently not an enthusiastic but a
compelled one. That man carried us gently into the ghetto, even pulling
the hand-cart loaded with our few remaining belongings. He also had
hidden my cousin's family until the war ended, then they had a
partnership in a conditory where I used to eat a lot of mixed sweet
fallouts of the portioned cakes.
Ghetto, war, air-raids, hunger. Amazingly, I know there was hunger but I
don't recall anything concerning that. On the contrary: once my aunt
Hermine took me out from the shelter, we went along to the street corner
in danger. Outside there was a steaming great pot. We were given a bit of
a red-like deluted liquid in a small dish, I tasted it on the spot, spit
it out because its dull and odd taste, we spilled the liquid and went
back to the shelter. I even don't recall disappointment!...
My brother was, at the age of 12, a messanger for the Juden Raat, the
Jewish Council, that administered the ghetto for the fascists. Whether it
was collaboration or self-help in very hard times - no one may or can
judge now accurately, and the debate is still going on. What relates to
me is, that the Juden Raat had made some arrangement for children in the
ghetto to have better living conditions. They concentrated them in the
school-building. My aunt Hermine didn't let me out from her hands: "His
mother deposited him to me, I'm responsible for him" - she said. So I
stayed with her. When the Soviets attacked the town, their pilots were
looking for big, factory-like buildings. So the children were bombarded
there. Not I, thanks to my beloved aunt Hermine.
Many years later, in 1984, there was published information about a 1944
Swedish attempt to save children from Nazi occupied countries, mainly
from Hungary. The zionist were requested to cooperate. David Ben Gurion,
the political forefather and architect of the "state-on-the-way" and
later of the State of Israel - refused to cooperate, because the Swedish
wanted the children to be taken to Sweden and he wanted them in
Palestine... Somehow, in my psychology, there is an opposite correlation
between aunt Hermine and Ben-Gurion.
Was it on my birthday or not, one morning a group of soldiers in gray
long coats entered our crowded shelter, in the middle of which a woman
was laying with a wounded abdomen. The soldiers ordered everyone to get
up from their seats and themselves set down instead. Maybe a quarter of
an hour they sat than left. That was liberation, because those were
Soviet-Russian soldiers. A kind of a birthday.
Somehow we returned to our original flat after my mother returned too. It
was occupied by a Christian Hungarian family with some young women in it.
We got one room and they kept one. Every night the Russian army visited
the flat; the other room...
One day, again the crowds were on the pavements. Again an army was
marching, this time the Russian/Soviet Communist Red Army. As I came out
of our courtyard, I recall it sharply - I saw the same little woman
moving jumpingly, wishing to see, but she couldn't because she was too
small... "Kogda soldati vdolyy gorod marshas..."
Liberation from the ghetto and from the Nazi occupation was also
celebrated by my birthday some time later and then by entering to
elementary First Grade and becoming a pupil. Three consecutive years I
spent in the same school with different boys and girls of my age. I was
happy and advancing. There were extra Jewish religious classes and I was
singing in the synagogue's choir, not with much enthu-siasm. All of a
sudden, the small Jewish community that remained and obviously became an
even smaller minority than it was before the War, decided they wanted to
renew the Jewish school. So they did, when I entered 4th Grade. The
"whole school", we were in one classroom, some 4-5 grades, each bench a
different grade. The teacher was symoultaneously "teaching" each bench,
moving between them. I hated this. Luckily enough, 5th Grade was a
Secondary School and I moved back with all the children of the
neighbourhood. And I quit the synagogue quite quickly, deciding about it
by myself, with my mother consenting without any trouble.
I hardly remember any birthday present that I ever received. I do
remember that I was lusting for an electric train set. It was very costly
and it remained a dream until I was paid my first honorarium as a youth-
journalist. For that minimal sum I bought a set of electric model train.
But that was in the 1950s in Israel/Palestine. What happened in Obuda
some 10 years earlier was, that I had a schoolmate, a neighbour boy, who
did have an electric train. But his mother was not very willing to let us
play with it. So, what we did was like this: we walked over to the nearby
bricks factory, where my grandfather used to work, much earlier, and we
had stolen from the shelves some drying clay bricks before they were
burned in the kilns. We re-wetted them, kneeded them and made of them
long narrow plates. Into these, we carved "tracks" in which we rolled a
wooden reel of tread that had run out. That was our "tram". I enjoyed
this game very much in all its stages, the creative and productive and
the operational. Nevertheless, the lust remained and trains became an
important factor in my life. @)
With this background, in 1950, at the age of 11, I spent my birthday on a
ship floating from Venezia, Italy, to Haifa, Israel/Palestine. Before
that, I still had two reminders of my uncle Jeno: on the train from
Budapest to Vienna I was wearing my hat from the commu-nist children's
movement, a blue turned-over-boat hat... We were sitted in the cabin with
a Jewish couple. The man permitted himself to grab my hat and threw it
out through the window with a gesticula-tion: "You won't need it there
anymore!" - he shouted with a self-appointed authority and pride. I was
terribly hurt by this act of him. I wished I could stop the train and go
looking for my hat, that was of course impossible. Later, I met that man
at the port of Haifa, when we went to pick up our belongings. He was
involved in some smuggling affair... the big enthusiast!...
The other reminder happened at the borderpost before stepping out, or
rather rolling out to Austria. Hungarian border police checked our
luggage. My mother kept with her that same picture of her late beloved
brother Jeno, in Hungarian military uniform of WWII, without an emblem...
the picture was confiscated! It could be used as a sample to sew fake
Hungarian - now Communist - soldier's uniform and "harm the people's
republic". Could it? My uncle Jeno's, who was not let even be a soldier
but only a tranch digger?...
@) When the first time I made a journey from Israel to Europe, in 1973,
as an adult, I made it by boat and train. The train took from Greece to
England through Yugoslavia, Austria, then... Germany. At the moment the
train passed the border to Germany, the monotonic knocks of the wheels on
the tracks started to "play" to me: "..where are the tracks leading...
where are the tracks leading..." Then I had written a little poem: "In
Germany I'm Jewish, In Palestine a Palestinian Arab, In America an
Indian, In Vietnam a Vietnamese..."
Before our departure from Budapest, my mother had known for months that I
was objecting to leaving Hungary, that I was a "Hungarian Communist
patriot". She also knew that she was not a zionist who wanted to settle
Palestine with Jews. It was her longing for my elder brother that made
her decide to emmigrate to Israel.
My brother, on the other hand, was an innocent survivor of Budapest
ghetto, 13 years old in 1945, when a zionist youth movement grabbed him
and took him to Palestine. It took him 3 years to arrive there, following
a "journey" in Europe, reaching out to Belgium, spending some time also
in Cyprus in a British camp. He arrived in Palestine at the age of 16,
just to join the establishing of a new zionist boarding school at a
kibbutz, and after a few months of "schooling" - he went to fight for the
zionist statehood, against the miserable Palestinian Arabs who were
living anyway under foreign occupation for some 500 years...
He and many other survivors from the horrors of Nazism, Holocaust and
war, at different ages, involved themselves in afflicting similar fates
on themselves again and mainly on people whose only fault was that they
happened to live as indigenous people of the Biblical "Holy Land", that
the zionists designated as the site for a Jewish state, while apparently
a part of the Palestinians are genuine discendents of ancient Israelites
and Judeaites and other Cana'anites. A persecuted minority in Europe
became a persecu-ting minority of a foreign country's innocent and anyway
suffering majority, turning it to a minority in its homeland and itself
to a majority but remaining a minority in the wider, regional sense - too
much complicated? Look at the map of Israel/Palestine, and the Middle
East, at the historical and up-to-date statistical data - you'll
understand it better.
I didn't know all this at that time. Although I was a "Communist", so-
called, of course I was only an 11 years old child. Though emotionally
quite sensitive, apparently loaded with an accumulated experience of
horrors and observations, I was totally unaware of the political and
social situation in Israel/Palestine called by us simply Palestina. When
still in Budapest in the late 1940s, I recall, I happened to look at a
weekly picturious magazine - A Figyelo - The Observer - in which there
was a report about some Jewish underground's military operation. What I
recall is, that it was some clash between Jewish groups. The term Arabs
was not in my consciousness, nor conscience.
We arrived in Israel/Palestine on 21st August 1950. Nobody knew of were
my brother's kibbutz Mavqi'im was. We had only a post-office-box address
in Tel-Aviv for it. After sleeping overnight in a bus at the Central Bus
Station, next morning we found the bus to Mavqi'im. Two hours of slow and
hot journey with endless stops. The bus drove through a number of empty
clay-hut villages; others could be seen at some distance from the road on
the plain and on hillsides. Empty, no one in them. I wasn't bothered. My
concern was to find finally a reasonable place to stay at, until I'll be
able some how to get back to "my homeland". Finally we arrived. I had
plenty of days to look around. The kibbutz was on a hill overlooking
around a beautiful fruit-jungle. There were grapes of several different
sorts, almonds, olives, apricots, plums, sicamores, cactis. The grapes
were creaping on the sand and up the sicamore trees or the cactis. Most
of this jungle was unirrigated. Actually, I know that part of it was
irrigated only because I saw the water-pump near the highway and heard
its characteristical monotonic but melodical sound when the gasolene pump-
engine was operating. I'm still able to hear it in my imagination as a
kind of liric music of childhood.
My brother with his wife Tamar - an Austrian Jewish girl who fled from
the Nazis to England and was educated there - were living in a tent.
Once, when I was deeply furious about my imposed staying faraway from "my
homeland", I set fire to their tent. Fortunately, it was saved before it
was burnt down. I was angry and tensed, although I liked very much the
fruit and the sight around.
On weekends, there were football games taking place on a plain ground...
surrounded with empty clay-huts.**) Apparently, it was the central square
of the Palestinian clay-hut village, now empty: Barbara. I wondered,
where the inhabitants were, but I didn't ask anything. Also, near the
highway, opposite to the pump-house, there was a long block building. It
served as an electric carpentry shop using electricity from a local
generator nearby. I wondered: how was that, that my brother was living in
a tent like other kibbutz members, the first - Swedish - wooden houses
were just in the process of being erected, and the carpentry shop was in
a block building?! And I asked. The answer I got was, that the block
building was a former school!.... I was tought in "indoctrinative"
Communist Hungary, that the work of children, pupils, is to learn. Where
were the pupils? - I asked myself. Nobody answered my question. I must
have had become quite emotional about this then, because this school-
building and the village of Barbara became my conscious "second birth-
place". In the course of years, the clay-huts diminished slowly, then
bulldozed, only the mosque was still standing and a cowshed was erected
near to it. Later the mosque disappeared too. Now only a eucaliptus wood
indicates to the educated, were Barbara was standing. But the school-
building still exists. It's now neither a school nor a carpentry-shop
anymore; it's a halfway-house, mini-market and restaurant. The pump-house
and the generator-hut also disappeared, due to the new system has set a
new infra-structure. Even the old dirt road on the northern side of it
was replaced with an asphalt road on the south.
Once or twice a week, the kibbutz members decided to have a ride to Al-
Majdal (the name of the Palestinian town world-famous for it's canvas
also called "Gaza"; now the town is called Ashqelon and Al-Majdal is
"its" "old city"...), to eat Polish ice-cream and to see a film. The
narrow main street of Al-Majdal was full of Jewish visitors from the
surrounding new kibbutzim and moshavim established just a year or so
earlier. We used to walk to the end of the street where the ice-cream
shop was, and there the way was blocked. Also it was impossible to go out
to side streets. I wondered why, but there was no answer.
Then we went to the cinema. Already at the first time I noticed: it was a
former school, the walls between the classrooms being knocked down.
**) Clayhuts are not built by bricks but are made of clay-mud mixed with
small stones and hay built up like a sculpture. Also in Hungary there
were such earlier.Now ecologistic architectures say that't the healthiest
building material. In Yemen there are beautiful palaces built of clay.
Years later, when living in a boarding school some hundred and fifty
kilometers norther from there, a brother in law of a schoolmate of mine
visited him. We spent some time together. The man was living in Al-Majdal
in a one room flat of former Arab residents, where I later visited him.
It was in the former Arab ghetto, some tens of meters from the ice-cream
shop... He told us, how in 1950 he was running on the roofs of the houses
in Al-Majdal with his Uzzi sub-machine gun in his hand, guarding the
ghettoized Palestinians. These were simple peasants from the surrounding
villages. According to the UN Resolution 181 on the Partition of
Palestine, the whole area was supposed to be a part of the Arab State in
Palestine. In the war of 1947-49, Israel, the Jewish State in Palestine,
occupied this area and made its Palestinian residents into "equal rights
citizens". However, later I got informed by a pacifist friend who visited
Al-Majdal on 8th October 1950 - less than 2 months after my arrival
there... - and through an old newspaper clipping from the Jerusalem Post,
dated 25th October 1950 --- that every two weeks Palestinians were
evacuated to the Gaza Strip refugee camps eversince the Armistice
Agreements were signed in 1949. The last evacuation took place on 24th
October 1950, ten days after I was confronted with another imposition:
life in a boarding school without my beloved and caring mother, where I
was supposed to be indoctrinated to become a "good citizen of Israel
I had my birthplace in O(ld)Buda in Hungary, I was attached emotionally
to empty Barbara in Palestine and I was to be "re-born" at Aloney-Yitzhaq
Youth Village. I refused but had no powers, only 11 years old.
Nevertheless, in December I ran away together with another friend, who
was from Hungarian Transylvania in Roumania. He had another set of
reasons for his act. The whole Israel Police in the region was on the
alert looking for us. They were in panic, although we took the most
reasonable and simple way: an official bus ride. No one looked for us on
the once-in-a-day bus line to Mavqi'im! They were concerned with
"murderous infiltrators" in the area, those expelled miserable
Palestinian peasants who came back to fetch something from their forcibly
abandoned property in the empty clay-hut villages. Only later, when the
historical facts were disclosed to me, I understood why they paniced
about us and why they didn't think logically and straightly when looking
for us: "The hat on a thief's head is burning!...
PUZZLE No.4: What is clay for?
PUZZLE No.5: What is Minority and what is Majority?
I was returned to the boarding school. In spite of my actively
rejectionist behaviour, quite quickly I learnt the Hebrew language, but I
didn't become again a good pupil as I was before in Budapest. I contacted
the Legation Office of Hungary in Tel-Aviv and for my 13th birthday I got
a permit to return to Hungary. My mother didn't sign up for her
affirmation to this. But later, in 1988, I was informed by my cousin
Annus(h) that my mother wanted us to return "because of me", maybe also
because of her own misery and loneli-ness. However, my cousin could take
to hers only me. To this my mother could consent neither. So, I was
compelled to continue my stay in the boarding school which for me was
like a - partly pleasant - refugee camp.
I was constantly conscious of my situation: being a Hungarian but being
unable to implement this; not being a Jew - actually, I refused to the
ritual of Bar Mitzwah, the Confirmation; not willing to become an
Israeli. What was I then? - rised the question of identification.
Definitely I was identifying with my current, local environment: I
developed quite an enjoyable way of life, being active in the youth's
social/organizational life. We played school-democracy and I was a
central figure in that: a good and responsible worker, minimal but clever
pupil, editor, council-member, prosecutor, protector, what not, even a
rebel. I was still lusting strongly for Budapest, I was in tremendous
emotional and physical tension that were expressed in great sensitivity
and headaches. And I wondered constantly: What was I!?
Another basic question rised out of this complex situation: Am I fair?
I'm not a Jew neither an Israeli, and never I'll be; but the Jewish
Agency is feeding, maintaining and educating me at the boarding school.
It was imposed on me, but still was a fact. However, I never will be
paying this back to them in the way they expect it. I found it unfair. So
I decided I should develop a way of life in which I'll not live at the
expense of others.
Thus, towards my 16th birthday, in 1955, I decided I was to become an
intentional, conscientious and practical vegetarian, pacifist, world
citizen: I didn't want to kill other animals anymore and live at their
expense (I didn't know then, that by that I will not be harmed but will
benefit from it to my health...); if I was not prepared to take the lives
of other animals how could I kill humans as a soldier? But how could I
avoid being a soldier if being a part of a nation, a state? So I became a
world citizen. I was neither Hungarian or an Israeli anymore, just a
human being, that now has another definition too: a secular humanist
rationalist with a strong flavour of anarchist. But the three "birth-
places" - basically all being impositions... - remained a part of me,
like everything that is told in this story, and much more.
I refused military service and councelled conscientious objectors for 30
years in militaristic Israel; I have been an active secular humanist
struggler for human and civil rights for both Arabs and Hebrews of any
religious denomination; an active anarchist world-citizen denying the
right of any and all states to impose themselves on all humans who are
all world citizens; a Reichian oriented egalitarian seeking to live in a
sustainable agricultural commune - all with a great inherent active
sympathy and identification with those who are suffering; because those
who cause don't need it: they are self-righteous.
PUZZLE No.6: THE GREATEST PUZZLE OF MY LIFE: How has it happened, that so
many Jewish kids, including my brother, and adults, who went through the
same horrors, suffering, deaths and what not in the Holocaust, had become
immediately after it - nationalist, chovinist, militarist, racist,
murderous combatant zionist; while I, with the same background and
experience - became an internationalist mondian universalist anarchist,
antimilitarist and pacifist, anti-racist anti-zionist and even vegan
My conclusion from my 5 years old child's experience in ghetto Budapest
has been, that I didn't wish to aflict such a fate on any 5 years old,
younger or older person. Other people concluded: never more to our
children; and they have raised children and have sent them to the armies
to kill and to be killed...
PUZZLE No.7: How is that, that every human usually has one birth-place,
but mostly they call it "homeland","fatherland" or "motherland" (although
mostly they never even have visited at all, all that land); and I have
three "birth-places" - Obuda, Barbara and Aloney-Yitzhaq - but no
"homeland", as for me home is any place where I meet with friendly people
who share their thoughts and feelings with me; and land is any spot where
I may and can put a foothold, without pushing away anyone else.
Now I am out of Israel/Palestine for more than a year, with no intention
to go back there. Also the Palestinian National Authority has
disappointed me with their state-entity identical with their oppressors'.
It was just clear and expectable what would have take place, nevertheless
it's a disappointment for me personally. Still, the issue of the
Palestinian people's plight is bothering me. I wish I could do something
real for it. The same for the Israelis, who are in a greater trap: they
feel like the riders on the horses, but they overlook the danger of
falling down and that is well there.
NOW I HAVE ANOTHER PUZZLE, MAYBE THE FINAL ONE: WHAT WILL BE THE NEXT "RE-
BIRTH" ON THIS COMING BIRTHDAY OF 58 in August 1997?
And many more details I haven't told you yet...
P.S. Why the real and full-length Orient-Express train - London-Cairo -
cannot run, and Israel's railway system consists of one single line,
disconnected from the Euro-Asian Train Network?