Memoirs will always be a personal account of a life and therefor naturally miss out areas of lesser interest. That’s the author’s prerogative.
I missed more insights into the youth of the author, spent in WW2 Hungary. Later on there is far too much detail about his life in Communist Hungary, a truly terrible period in his life and so I can appreciate the unbalance. At the same time, I was beginning to skip forward suring that section,
I would have liked to learn more about the WW2 part and felt the general statements about how Hungarian knew little about what Hitler stood for difficult to comprehend, equally the passage about the homosexual communist party official, whose ‘perversions’ gave the author an advantage.
I found it hard to listen to a female voice narrating a man’s story in the first person, which kept me at a distance to the story often.
All that said, there are great passages and informative and thought-provoking snippets.
Blurb: Alexander Domokos wrote this memoir of his years during and after the Second World War with two purposes in mind. He wanted to allow his daughter a glimpse into his past and to enlighten others about the tragedy of his homeland, Hungary.
“I remember how impatient I was with my father when he tried to talk of his youth. I also swept aside my mother’s attempts to tell me of her tragic childhood. Many years after their deaths I was fortunate to read their letters and notes, only then realizing my irreplaceable loss: their view of the world at the turn of the century. Most of their experiences are lost to me forever. Often it is only after loss that we realize value. I would like to spare my daughter that irreplaceable loss.”
Domokos believes that Hungary’s sufferings were due in large part to the unjust peace settlements after the First World War.
“As Hungarians, we were driven into the arms of Hitler by the West’s indifference to our legitimate grievances….We had witnessed horrible atrocities committed by the Communists in 1919 after the First World War. Drifting into an alliance with Germany appeared at that time to be the lesser evil.”
Even after the Second World War, Hungary underwent more suffering.
“In 1945, while the West was basking in the glory of victory, our abandoned country began a new struggle for survival. My family’s hardship was not an exception but rather the norm in that forsaken part of Europe. For us, 1945 was not the end of the war but the beginning of a new kind of struggle.”
Even though the West was the victor in the Second World War, Dokomos is asking that the people of the West open their hearts and look more deeply into the effects of the war. He hopes to challenge the victor’s one-sided view in seeing themselves as the sole protector of righteousness.