A new Hungarian historic story in English. Susanna Lapossy, the authoress went through the extremely happy or tough periods of the 20th century Hungary. The title of the book is: Life behind the iron curtain.
The main topics of the book are some
unknown facts of 20th century Hungary through a middle-class family in WWI, Trianon pact, pre-war peace time, WWII, German- and Russian invasions, communist rule, iron-curtain relocation, 1956 revolution, socialist time
Buy your copy!
Susanna Lapossy Life behind the iron curtain
The mystery of the tunnel
After Verecke we travelled to Akli for a month, where to also mother came with us.
With the three children and lots of luggage she didn't want to change over to another train, so we travelled from the Southern Railway Station in Budapest to Kádárta, where a two-horse chaise that was sent for us by uncle Franz was already there waiting. The whip, Uncle Valentine in beautifully decorated pelisse and the two white, wonderful Lipicza horses took us home on the long winding way in the forest. Mother with my two brothers sat in the back, I beside Uncle Valentine in the front, who told us exciting stories about the vast forests of the Bakony hills. He told that in the old days from there highwaymen (betyárs) had attacked the defenceless chaises, stage-coaches passing by unexpectedly quick and stuck its passengers up. Professedly, they didn't harm the one who gave his values unopposed, they took only the money and jewels away from them and left on their lightning quickly running horses. Uncle Valentine told me moreover, that not far from Akli there was a spot, a highwayman lurking-place, that he knew and could also show me; I just had to ask permission from the boss, Uncle Franz.
It was a long way home and Uncle Valentine still had numerous exciting stories i.e. that in snowy, cold nights it was not advisable to travel neither on chaise, nor on sleigh. In the old days fell horses, but sometimes also people prey to wolves.
After these stories I was eagerly waiting to arrive, because in the meantime it was already dark and in the back mother and my two brothers were sleeping.
This summer I acted as a detective, because I always came up against the mysterious past, which excited my fantasy.
I convinced Uncle Franz that the next Saturday afternoon we should have a look at the lurking-place of the highwaymen. We four took the road to Bakonybél, which is Uncle Franz, Uncle Valentine, brother Géza and me. We also had a telescope. After some miles the chart stopped at the brink of the forest and Uncle Valentine stayed there with the horses and we three walked into the woods. After walking about ten minutes we could discover a huge, deep hole. On Uncle Franz's command we grovelled to the brim of the hole and looking down we could see the vertical cliff on this and the on other side. We could be at such a high place as the Gellért-hill in Budapest said Uncle Franz and asked us to have a look at the cliff wall opposite to us where at the bottom some cave-like holes could be seen. The outcasts hid and lived there in the old days, where to none, neither police nor other people dared to descend; only the birds were flying above that ravine.
This was a very exciting and interesting sight for us. On the way home we constantly asked questions from Uncle Franz and Uncle Valentine.
At home, when we told Aunt Helen our fantastic experiences she told us if we were so very much interested in such stories, she could tell us even more fantastic ones. We eagerly waited the next day when the promise should have been fulfilled.
Akli heath could be found around 14 kilometres from Zirc north of the Lake Balaton, beside the road leading to Bakonybél. The site belonged to the Citercit Order of Zirc until WWII.
On the left side of the road, on a slope stood a smaller, one-storey residence with agricultural buildings, surrounded by a tall stone fence. Behind the castle could the 10 acre big apple garden be found and also a small cold store. When we were there, we could also see a beautiful flower garden. This building used to serve as a vacation house for the monks.
Aunt Helen and her family lived there, on the ground-floor of the L-shaped house, in a ministerial lodging. In the smaller part of the L shape corridor could the office of uncle Franz be found, the kitchen, the pantry, a separate room for the maid, before it there was a big hall, where in the evenings the workers of the farm were always waiting to give uncle Franz account of what kind of work they have completed.
In the longer part of the L shape dark corridor, from where the rooms opened, first the living room, the dining-room, the salon, sleeping room, bathroom and one for the guests. From the end of the corridor opened a small chapel, the inner entrance of which Aunt Helen made walled up. One could enter there only from the court afterwards. Every Sunday and feast day a clerical, a monk from Zirc hold a mass celebration in the morning.
I should write these so detailed, because only after all these could brother Géza and I understand the following legendary story, which Aunt Helen told us.
In the old days, around 1848 the red monks lived in the building, but that time it still didn't have a chapel, only a bit further away on top of a hill. There is arable there right now and no building, but the wall pieces, cups and bowls that the deep plough brought to light all prove that the chapel was there. The pieces found could now be seen in the Zirc Abbey Museum. Reputedly between the far away chapel and the building there was a tunnel.
We three, Aunt Helen, brother Géza and I ascended upstairs, where empty, stuccoed rooms with wonderfully ornamented tile stoves and nice tiled floors could be seen. From there we went up to the attic, where she showed us a deep hole covered with an armful of reed. We saw that between the ground- and the first floor there was a narrow platform, where a ladder could be put into on the straight, what I could at the same time clearly imagine.
What could be there down in the bottom, how deep would it be and where could it lead to?
To these exciting questions I also made an investigation plan and for the implementation I received Aunt Helen's permission on the condition, that neither shall I do it on my own, nor tell Uncle Franz a word.
First I needed helpers, who didn't live in Akli and could stay silent. I had good luck. At the beginning of our holiday I got to know a nice brother and sister, who spent the summer in the other end of Akli, at the relative of an agricultural worker.
The girl had the same age as I did, her brother was three years older and this summer started to count the quantity of the harvest.
Their father worked in the Ganz MÁVAG Works as gang boss. I got to know Judith and Stephen through Aunt Helen's cook.
I elected them to be my helpers, who took happily part in this thing.
First of all we looked for a long ladder and a strong light electric torch.
We three started to puzzle the mystery out and we told our plans only to Aunt Helen. We helped Steve and gave him up the ladder to the attic, which put the ladder down unto the platform. When he descended on the ladder, he lighted the bottom with the torch and there was an earthed floor. He threw down a burning sheet of paper so that we should know, whether there would be enough oxygen there or not?
Luckily the paper was burning slowly, so there was air there.
After that I descended down the ladder to the platform and let first the ladder down to the bottom, on which again Steve went down first. From the bottom he reported what he saw.
The tunnel became a bit wider, but one could stay there only stooping or on the knees, because it was very small-built. One of its walls was walled with bricks and as we knocked it, gave a hollow tone. Here could the beginning of that certain tunnel be!