I was 18 years old,
living in Budapest, Hungary. My mother worked from 3 a.m. until 6 p.m.,
six days a week. Her favorite saying was, "A man is as good as his word."
From her I learned determination, endurance, and responsibility. My
father, an exceptionally good man, loved life and always helped others.
His favorite saying was, "Live and let live." From him I learned
compassion and laughter. He and I had unlimited joy together. I admired my
father above all other human beings. Our parents provided my brother and
me with every kind of education, and with things they were not fortunate
enough to have had in their youth.
I had just finished high school and was getting ready for further
studies. Because I was a Jew, I was not accepted at the university.
Instead I attended evening classes at an art school. (My older brother was
sent to Switzerland to study and to be away from the political turmoil.)
From my infancy, I had a devout Catholic nurse named Anna, who lived with
us through the years and became like a second mother to me, providing me
with unlimited love and kindness. I attended both Friday service in the
synagogue and Sunday Mass. I was taught to respect others' beliefs and
ways of life, and our door was always open to those who were less
Buda and Pest are separated by the River Danube, but bridges connect
them. So it was in my home: different religions were linked by love and
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