the 19th of May 1996
carried on, "he went with me and my mother ... shall I
tell you another story?" Dagmar beamed, "yes!
Please tell me."
She continued, "I was four or six months old.
You see in those days you could not rent things, so you had
to take on the train all the things you needed, even
furnitures, and for mother and father specially their things
for painting, the easels etc.
had made from iron a folding bed and all the things they
needed. In autumn already. Finally it came the problem of
me. Mother was still nursing me. And mother did not know
cooking. But father knew a little, because in his childhood
he had to look after his baby brother. Mother never learned
sewing either, but she cut material and put me into frocks
etc. So, finally they reached with all this luggage (boxes,
paint-boxes and brushes and what not) Munich.
But they arrived via Vienna. And in Vienna was the
customs. The custom man opened everything one after the
other, examined and passed it. And then the custom officer
saw mother carrying the little box (all padded with cotton
wool) in a sling across her shoulders with me inside. And
what is in this, he demanded, expecting to find jewelleries
in it. Mother was a little shy (although she was not a shy
person), still, she could not say that there was a baby in
it. So the officer grabbed the box and threw it on the
floor. And then the child in it started howling. Nothing
happened to me because I was so well wrapped-up. So the
officer looked at the baby and laughed. Mother took it over
her shoulder again. Then the officer took his stamp and put
a huge stamp on the box. No customs for this, was his
made both Elizabeth and Dagmar laugh out aloud. "This
story the whole family knew," said Elizabeth and she
"In Munich my father took always the same studio
every year. It was in the Maria Theresian Strasse near the
Pinakothek. First time as a baby, I stayed in Munich for six
months. They used to go back home to Hungary in the summer,
and be in Munich in the winter. His 'guru' had his school in
Munich, the famous artist Simon Hollósy [Elizabeth
pronounced the name Shimon Holoshy].
There were no lifts in those days, of course.
Father's studio was six floors up. Very good light up there,
of course, for painting etc. So there were those very hefty
strong German men helping mother and father. These huge
Germans carried all their things up to that 6th floor. When
the folding bed was carried up, my mother was standing in
the room with me in the box over her shoulders. To better
tell the men were to place things, she put my box right in
the middle of the room. The men had also become curious
about the box. So my mother asked them to open it. And those
Germans, they became like soft butter. Huge men with big
bones, they all knelt down and spoke
German 'ein Kindlein, ein Kindlein'. My mother said it was
alright to pick me up and those huge big people were so
sweet and so gentle. - To my mother it remained a kind of a riddle after what
happened later on and during the war in Germany.
Years later in India, I told my mother that we should
do one more exhibition in Munich. After our stay in Japan,
remember? My mother wanted to have an exhibition in England
of our Indian paintings. So after that exhibition in
England, she wanted to show me Europe, show me all the
museums and great works of art, of course." Dagmar
asked, "that was in 1938 was it not?" "Hm,"
Elizabeth, "a strange thing happened on our way in the
train to Munich. We were looking out of the window, all of a
sudden our train stopped. Another two trains passed by. In
one of them Hitler was going, in the other Chamberlain, in
opposite directions. We did not see them, but we were