’He buried Horses, Mines, Ruins’ A Boy’s Diary from the World War

Mandiner - 19.04.2022. (Endre Sal)

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  • 2022. April 19.

Miklós Marót was 16 years old when the siege of Budapest started in the Second World War. The young boy survived the horrors in the shelters of hospitals and private houses and wrote a diary during the bombing. His diary was also published in the volume ’Diaries from the Shelter’ which shows the siege of Budapest in World War II from the point of view of the civilians’ sufferings. It is his diary we are quoting from.

Tuesday, 12 December 1944, Tuesday

Dad could not be talked to the whole afternoon. He tried to figure out how I could avoig being conscripted. He asked me if I had any acquaintance from the countryside. He wanted to get me a fake birth certificate or tried to find a disease in me by all means. I am absolutely not a nervous type but this afternoon I was unable to do my homework. I saw the letters but did not understand the text.

Tuesday, 2 January 1945

There is an airstrike out there. Planes are squeaking, Bombs are banging. If we stay here for one more week, the whole hospital can be transformed into a mad-house. The morale is such that if a German soldier would be brought here, he would be taken apart. There are no airstrikes right now. Shellfire is growling. Not in this damn life are we going to get out of here!

Sunday, 21 January 1945

Hospitals are in ruins, empty. Russian scouts are marching in and out collecting everything that still can be stolen. The devastations of the American attack cannot be distinguished from the present devastations. The streets are totally empty. We see only some people carrying water. On the Hungária road Russian artillery was set up camouflaged as usually with sheets and white curtain. (…) In the amusement park the roller-coaster and the slipping boat stopped halfway. Ruins, ruins everywhere! (…) Yesterday shellfire was unbaerably intense. The front reportedly lies now in the ghetto. We are told horrors about what happens there.

Friday, 16 February 1945

I could finally see the fate of the bridges. The are all blown up left unserviceable. At the Duna shore downtown houses are still smoking and I could see Russians going in and out thorugh the gates. The Duna shore at the Buda side shows also a tragic picture. The castle is burnt down, houses are burnt down, too or bombed. (…) During the siege of Buda 49 000 enemy soldiers were killed and 110 000 were taken as prisoners. (…) What is the Hungarian Youth’s job? (…) To start everything over, but not with a sudden flush of enthusiasm but with an enduring work that is to be planned for years ahead. It would seem to be slow and uncoloured compared to the rushing speed of the recent events. There is no problem since it is spring, the sky is blue the sun is shining, and trees are starting to turn green.

The diary ends here.

Miklós Marót survived the hororrs, graduated in 1946 and started the French–Hungarian–History studies at the Pázmány Péter University. He was also a student of the Eötvös Collegium until he had to leave due to political reasons: he was considered to be from the intelligentsia. For many years he worked at the Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library then at the ELTE University Library. He participated in the edition of several books, like the Hungarian Biographical Lexicon. He was also a founder and a frequent lecturer of the Society for Dissemination of Scientific Knowledge. He passed away in February 2006.

Source: „Eltemette a lovakat, aknákat, romokat” – egy fiú naplója a világháborúból - mandiner.hu (2022.04.19.)


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