The long voyage



Kelt 1945 Agusztus 8kán

Kedves anyukám élek
Eszt a levelet Buda Pesten
Irom Hogy hova
Megyunk nem tudjuk
hogy hova visznek
Aszt csak ök tudjak

Csokolak
Szászor
Apud

Karasz Pálné
Részére
Békés Megye
Orosháza
Köségi posta 133/31
Dated on 8th Agust

Dear Mommy I am living
This letter I write
On Buda Pest. We do not
Know where we go
where they take us
Only they know it

I kiss you
A hundret times
Daddy

For
Mrs. Karasz
Békés county
Orosháza
Post office 133/31




Kelt 1945 Agusztus 9kén

Kedves anyukán hálistenek életben vagyok
Semi bajom nem történt csak az fáj
Nagyon hogy Magyar országon keresztül
Visznek benünket Romániába valami munkára
De majdcsak megsegit a Jó Isten hogy egyszer
Viszont látjuk egymást, hogyha megérjük
Üdvözlöm nénémet Böncikét Mamájékat
És az Öszes rokonokat és barátokat
Akik élnek, Csokolak Milioszor ate Apukád

Sógoromrol semitsem tudok 1 holnapja

Karasz Pálné Részére, Békés Megye
Orosháza köségi posta 133/31

Karasz Pálné
Részére
Békés Megye
Orosháza
Köségi posta 133/31

Aki megtalálja
Sziveskedjék
A cimzetnek
Elküldemi
Dated on 9th Agust

Dear Mommy thanks God I’m alive
I’m healthy, it only hurts that
They take us through Hungary
To Romania to some work
But the Good God will help me that once
We will see us again, if we live to see it
I greet my sister, Böncike, my Mum
And all the relatives and friends
Who are alive. A million kisses from Daddy

I know nothing of my brother-in-law since a month

For Mrs. Karasz, Békés county
Orosháza, village post office, 133/31

For
Mrs. Karasz
Békés county
Orosháza
Post office 133/31

If you find it
Please send it
To the Addressee



Kedves férje aug. 10én Szolnokon utazott keresztül a fogoly vonattal Románia felé, de reméljük rövidesen visszasegíti őket a jó Isten és újra viszontláthatják egymást! Szeretettel köszönti Csikos Imréné

Hadifogolylevél

T. Karasz Pálné
Orosháza
Községi posta 133/31
Békés megye

[Feladó:] Csikos Imréné, Karczag, Petőfi u. 14.
Your dear husband traveled through Szolnok with the prisoners’ train to Romania on Aug 10, but he will be hopefully brought back soon by the good God, and you can see each other again! Warm greetings from Mrs. Imre Csikos

POW letter

To Mrs. Karasz
Orosháza
Post office 133/31
Békés county

[Sender:] Mrs. Imre Csikos, Karcag, Petőfi 14




Kelt 1945 Agusztus 10kén

Kedves anyukám ezt a levelet
Mezőturol irom a lezárt vagonbol
Sajnos hogy nemtudok haza
Jöni Semi bajom nincsen
Csak nagyon fáj hogy még csak
Nemis láthatlak újra
hoszu távollét után de hogy
Mikor látjuk viszont egymást
Az utunk Romániába vezet munkára
Édes anyukám Csokolak Milioszor
Apukad

Csokolom Mamájékat
Csokolom Nénémet
Kis Böncikét
Pali,

Ha a Jo Isten hazasegit életben
Akorboldogokleszunk

Karasz Pálné
Reszére
Békés Megye
Orosháza
Köségi posta 133/31
Dated on 10th Agust

Dear Mommy I write this letter
From Mezőtúr, the sealed cattle car
I am so sorry I cannot come
Home I have no problem, only
It hurts that I even canot see
You again after such
a long absence, but
When will we see us again
Our trip leads to Romania for work
Dear Mommy, a milion kisses
From Daddy

Kisses to Mum
Kisses to my Sister
To Little Böncike
Pali.

If the good God helps me home
Then wewillbehappy

For
Mrs. Karasz
Békés county
Orosháza
Village post 133/31




Kedves ismeretlen magyar testvér
A mezőturi állomáson pénteken este 7 orakor be érkezett egy magyar fogoj vonat, én is kint voltam és fel vettem ezt az üzenetet, és sietek minél hamarab eljutatni önek, hogy meg tudja hogy férje él, románia felé vitték öket. Beszélni nem lehetet velök, sem nem lehet látni honan dobták ki a levelet. Mikor el megy a vonat akor lehet oda menni a céduláér. Maradok tisztelettel Erzsike

Kérem legyen szives értesíteni megkapták e üzenetemet
cimem. Mezőtúr. Székeskert 19.a Rima Erzsike

Nagyságos
Kárász Pálné
részére
Békés megye
Orosháza
Köségi posta 133/131

Fel. Rima Erzsébet. Mezőtúr. Székeskert 19

fogojlevél
Dear unknown Hungarian sister
On Friday at 7 p.m. a Hungarian POW train arrived at the station of Mezőtúr. I was also there and I picked up this message, and I hurry to send it to you so you would know that your husband is alive, they are taken towards Romania. It was impossible to speak with them, one could not even see from where the letter was thrown out. Only when the train leaves, you can go there to pick up the letters. Respectfully, Erzsike

Please be so kind to inform me whether you got my message
my address: Mezőtúr, Székeskert str. 19/a, Erzsike Rima

For Respected Mrs. Kárász
Békés county
Orosháza
Post office 133/131

Sender: Erzsébet Rima, Mezőtúr, Székeskert 19

POW letter




Kelt 1945 Agusztus 11kén

Kedves anyukám ez a levél
Márt vagy a hatodik amit
Irok eszt márt a határtól
Irom Édes anyukám nagyon
Vigyáz magadra Mert csak
Te érted érdemes enyit szenved
Ni Elképzelheted hogy menyit
Szenved az Ember Eben a nagy
Hőségben mikor rázárják az
Ajtot és alig kapunk vizet
A Vörös keresztes növérek
Hoztak egykis csomagokat
De az Oroszok nemengeték
Be adni igy hát az idén
Semi féle gyümölcsöt nemetünk
Edés anyukám hálistenek énekem
Semi bajom nincsen egésegesvagyok
Ha a Jo Isten haza segit majd
Majd mindent elmesélek
Csak megtudod várni aszt az idöt
Csokolak Milioszor Apud
Csokolom Növéremet Böncikétis
Legközelebi Viszont látásig Pali

Karasz Pálné
Részére
Békés Megye
Orosháza
Köségi posta 133/31
Dated on 11 Agust 1945

Dear Mommy this letter
Is about the sixth which I
Write, this one from the border
I write. Dear Mommy, please
Take care. Because it is only
Worth for you so much to suf
Fer You can imagine how much
One suffers in this great heat
When they close the doors and we
Hardly get any water. The Red
Cross sisters brought
Us some little packages But
The Russians did not let
Them give it to us, so this year
We did not eat any kind of fruit
Dear Mommy thanks God I
Have no problem, healthyiam
If the Good God helps me home
I will tell everything
May you wait that time!
A million kisses from Daddy
Kisses to my Sister, also Böncike,
Till nearest Goodbye. Pali

For
Mrs. Karasz
Békés county
Orosháza
Village post 133/31




Kedves ismeretlen Karaszné, ha a levelet megkapja legyen szives válaszolni.
Maradok tisztelettel
Simonka

Tudom hogy meg örül a levélnek

Fogolylevél

Cim.
Karasz Pálné
részére
Békés megye
Orosháza
Községi posta 133/31

[Feladó:] ifj. Simonka Péter
Kétegyháza
N[agy]váradi ú. 98.
Békés megye
Dear unknown Mrs. Karasz, if you get this mail, be so kind to answer me
Respectfully
Simonka

I know you will be happy to get this letter

POW letter

Address:
For
Mrs. Karasz
Békés county
Orosháza
Post office 133/31

[Sender:] Péter Simonka Jr.
Kétegyháza
Nagyváradi út 98
Békés county


The Hungarian soldiers commanded by the Germans to the defense of the Reich west of Hungary, and there captured by the Red Army, were transported to the Soviet Gulag on two routes in the summer of 1945. The first led through Debrecen to the collecting camp of Máramarossziget/Sighetu Marmației, and from there by train to Kiev. The other through Arad to the collecting camp of Focșani, and from there through Constanța to Odessa by boat. The “sender” of the above letters, Pál Karasz from Orosháza was brought along the latter route.

The four letters which survived from the ones thrown out from the cattle car and entrusted to the solidarity of the fellow compatriots were written from 8 to 11 August 1945 in Budapest, Szolnok, Mezőtúr and Kétegyháza (marked in red on the contemporary railway map below). This road is now two hours by train. Then it was nearly four days. And then four times more followed to Focșani, where the prisoners could first get out of the crowded cattle car. I mean, the ones who survived the long voyage.

The solidarity post worked surprisingly well in the occupied and devastated country. From the six letters written until Kétegyháza, four ones reached the addressee. The route of the one written in Budapest is uncertain, but the one of Szolnok was forwarded by an inhabitant of Karcag (marked in blue), and the two other were posted by locals, accompanied with their sympathetic letters, to Mrs. Karasz in Orosháza (marked in green). To the prisoner, as he writes, it was especially painful that the train passed near his home, and he could not even look out of the wagon.


The train followed the same way as the hero of Pál Závada’s best-selling novel Yadviga’s Pillow (1997), Márton Osztatní, who was captured in Brno. He also “wrote tiny letters”, he was also from Békés county, he was also carried near his home to Focșani through Budapest, Szolnok and Mezőtúr. He also arrived there on 10 August. But he never reached Kétegyháza.

“[1945] July 17. We sleep squatting through the night. The toalet is a conic stovepipe across the floor. It’s dark and stuffy hot. I’m learning Russian, I have a Russian dictionary and grammar. I don’t follow the days. We have been traveling for five or six days, I don’t know. I press my mouth on the door fissure to get some fresh air. The food is constantly corn, sometimes cracked, bran, salted fish, suchar, that is, rock hard dried bread. Dysentery is spreading, First me, then Lieutenant Sárközi became commanders of the toalet. We let the people come three times a day, but it did not work. Many people had to come at night. Finally, there was no half hour without someone suffering. Two of the four windows of the wagon are nailed. A stench that puts to shame a ferret farm. I start my last notebook page, but only if we stand. I mostly think about my poor son, little Jancsika. Outside, the hottest summer heat. Some are fainting. Several weeks without a bath; beards, and distant, deranged glances, skinny, half-nude bodies. My God, at least we should not look at each other! I think my friend Bandi got crazy. Crying, loud praying. Some are talking in their sleep and are at home. The border! The thousand-year-old Hungarian border! We start writing tiny letters, and we throw them out when we see civilians. Some frightening news. We are not going home, but to Focșani, Romania! Then good bye, civilian life! First Romania, then Russia – slow death. They do not accept us at the frontier. Are we so vile villains? Had I not gone out because it was ordered? In our wagon, some 30-35 persons suffer from dysentery, including me. One is almost dying. We have already traveled some 20 days. Szolnok, Szajol, Mezőtúr. Oh, familiar countryside! I feel that I have no force any more. We are constantly lying. There is no more place.

And finally this was the last note of my Mother, Mrs. András Osztatní, née Mária Jadviga Palkovits: Yesterday, on August 10, 1945 I received the news, of which no more terrible can be received by a mother. My beloved son Marci died. And on the train, when he was the nearest to me! My God, how could you allow it? And how could I allow him to go to the war? I should have had to forbid it, I should have had to hide him or bring him out of the hell on my two arms. I was not where I should have been, I did not do what I should have done. We immediately run with Misu to see him. And I saw him. But I cannot describe it. I should have perished instead of him!”


Mrs. Pál Karasz preserved until her death the letters of her husband thrown out of the cattle car, along with the cover letters of the goodwill senders. From her estate they got to the collector János Fellner, who recently presented them in the Facebook group “Collectors of camp post cards”. Here we publish them with his permission.