Long after my mother and I left Budapest near the end of World War II, I tried to recreate the grandeur of that city we so loved. I relied on some pictures I had and memory. I treasure the postcards I have from my father which he carried during the war. The palace was not there while I lived there. It was bombed by Adolf Eichmann. The palace has only recently been restored and is now a museum.
The Danube river holds a very special place in the cultural life of Budapest. My family and I always walked there on weekends where many cafes and restaurants lined the shore.
Although I don’t remember well my childhood in Budapest, it hurts me now to revisit that time in my memoir We Are On Our Own. You never knew who to trust, relationships were tested. Everybody was trying to preserve their life. Like my mother kept saying in the years following our harrowing escape from the Nazi regime, it is hard to imagine those times. The decisions you were forced to make all alone.
Miriam Katin’s 2006 graphic memoir We Are On Our Own was recently reissued from Drawn & Quarterly.
Miriam Katin was born in Hungary during World War II. She later immigrated to Israel and then the United States, where she worked in background design for animation studios such as MTV and Disney. She is the author of the award-winning memoirs We Are On Our Own and Letting It Go. She currently lives in Washington Heights with her husband and a giant Ficus benjamina tree.