ALL MATERIAL: COPYRIGHT CALIFORNIA EUROPEAN CULTURAL INSTITUTE/MEMORY PROJECT
Elizabeth Dömötör, 1956er
Born Kwasnika Erzsébet, Elizabeth Dömötör was born and raised in 1938 in Budapest, Hungary. She became a school teacher by the time she was 18, but because the authorities knew she attended church in secret, and because no one is her family was a member of the Communist Party, her first teaching assignment was in the small eastern village of Mátyus, on the border of Hungary and Ukraine (then the Soviet Union). She had never been outside of Budapest and this assignment was seen as a punishment of her background.
Elizabeth, or Böbe, was only in Mátyus for 6 months in 1956 before the Revolution broke out. They had almost no information about the events in Budapest, but because they were on the border with the Soviet Union, they saw more active troop movement and soon realized the Revolution could not end well for Hungarians. Böbe's fiancé, Gyula Dömötör (also interviewed in the Memory Project archive) was active in the Revolution in Budapest and fled to Austria as the Soviets were closing in. But he came back, on his motorcycle (he was a champion Hungarian motocross rider), to ask Böbe to leave with him to the West. She did, although once they were in Austria they were separated. They were sent separately to the United States, to Camp Kilmer, where they met on Christmas Eve. They were married shortly after in 1957 and are still together, now living in San Bruno, California. Gyula was a printer in Hungary, and together with his wife they established a successful printing business in the San Francisco bay area. They were active members of the Hungarian House in San Francisco from the late 1960's until Gyula's printing press (including a successful patent) kept them too busy.
Interview Conducted by Réka Pigniczky in San Fransisco, CA in 2017.