My Parents and Our Family

My brother and I were not my Father's only children. He was obviously so much older than the fathers of other children of our generation. He was born as one of the seven children of Alexander von Metz and Wilhelmine Frederike Grunwald on the 11th of May 1861 at Budweis, Austria. During his long and very successful military career he was highly respected and repeatedly decorated as one can learn from the Austro-Hungarian Army - Rudolf Ritter Metz von Spondalunga web page from where we have taken two pictures; first as a Lieutenant and then in later life as a Lieutenat General.
The biography may be viewed here.

My Father was a dedicated military man who was a heroic leader of his regiments on the Russian Front during WWI, from 1914 to the end of 1918. He received serious wounds in 1915 and 1916 by always leading from the front. His belief was that an officer never can relax until his men are safe and rested. He had never been involved with politics, as politicians are the people who, to a great extent, make the wars and send military men to the battle fields. Most of these men become heroes, living or dead. After the wars are over, the politicians decide on the fate of the surviving nations with their peace treaties.

My Father as a young Lieutenant von Metz and after promotion to Lieutenant General Rudolf Ritter Metz von Spondalunga

From his first marriage to Adele Augusta Maria Miller was born a son - Rudolf August Victor- (1890-1923) whose first name was engraved on our family crypt as Rezso. He had married Sarolta Korda von Magyarcseke of Hungary and produced a daughter Marta Elizabeth in 1921. When I was born in 1934 so many years later, I was Marta's aunt, which fact still tickles her a great deal.

Rudolf August Victor Metz as a First Lieutenant at the old home in Klotildliget in 1915, and as a Captain in 1920.

Rudolf August Victor Metz as a First Lieutenant at the old home in Klotildliget in 1915, and as a Captain in 1920.

After the death of Augusta my Father married my Mother, Margit Berta Anna (1902-1989), (pictured here in 1930)

Margit Berta Anna

on the 20th of December 1932 at Budapest. Margit was the youngest of the four children (Laszlo, Jeno, Maria and Margit) of Bela and Berta Gunya of Hungary.

My Father's and Mother's family crests

My Father's (left) and Mother's (right) family crests

Unfortunatelly Berta died when my Mother was only a year old and because of that her aunt Anna (1854-1935) attended her as a child. My grandfather Bela died three years before I came to this world. Anna was a gentle and loving mother substitute for little Margit. Anna had some voice training for her beautiful soprano and occasionally performed in the Opera House in Budapest. My Mother must have gotten her musical inspirations from her since she later excelled in playing the piano. Anna died in 1935 in an unfortunate accident. She was climbing the steps of a streetcar when it suddenly started to move. She fell under the car and to her death on the Plaza Calvin at Budapest.

Grandfather Bela at Budapest around 1900

Grandfather Bela at Budapest around 1900.

The handwriting on the pictures above, (Bela) and below, (Anna) is my dear Mother's.

Anna and Maria Szalay

On the left is Anna at Budapest around 1900 and on the right, Maria (1890-1970), sister of Margit in the early 1900s.

I don't remember ever seeing a picture of my Metz grandparents. Alexander von Metz was a General in the Kaiserjaeger Regiment. The Metz family got von Spondalunga after he had distinguished himself during the defense of South Tyrol in 1866. He was an excellent fencer and had published a book on the subject first in 1863, then later the second edition in 1883. Grandfather Alexander also was an amateur artist and painted landscapes in oil. I remember a fairly large painting hanging in our living room before the War.

Fecht-Buch fur die Prim-Auslge by Alexander Edlen von Metz

This is a copy of the Second Edition cover of the "Fencing Book" that Alexander von Metz had written and published in Vienna in 1883. Currently the book is the property of the Hungarian Military History Museum in Budapest.

Spondalunga

Grandfather Metz distinguished himself in the defense of South Tyrol, Spondalunga, illustrated here in a 19th century aquatint, on 11th of July 1866, and when my Father was raised to the rank of Ritter, von Spondalunga was added to his name.

Shortly after their wedding my parents had rented a large apartment on Margit Blvd., at the Buda side of the Duna (Danube) River. The apartment was at the foot of the Margit Bridge and the huge corner windows were over-looking the river. My brother, Rezso Miklos was born in the month of April 1933, and 16 months later I came along to join him.

More about this here.

On the advice of my Father my Mother regained her post as a 3rd grade elementary school teacher in a close-by public school. Nanny Teri was hired and she lived with us until her marriage in 1938. My Father had had a foresight of the upcoming war and the predictable change of the regime.

Little Rezso and my Father with me sitting on my niece Marta's lap and my Mother with little Rezso and me, Marta (niece) and Nanny Teri standing behind at Margaret Island, Budapest 1935

On the left are little Rezso and my Father with me sitting on my niece Marta's lap and on the right my Mother with little Rezso and me, Marta (niece) and Nanny Teri standing behind; both at Margaret Island, Budapest 1935.

The UK Historysite WWII

By the second half of 1939 World War II was in full force. In 1938 Rudolf and Margit had decided to move the family out from Budapest to Piliscsaba, a village about 28 km to the Northwest of the Capital. My Mother quit her job and prepared her family for the move. Interestingly enough, our new home was the villa that once belonged to my Father in his earlier years when he had been stationed at the near-by army camp. This part of Piliscsaba was named Klotildliget for all the lovely gardens and its tree-shaded streets.

Dedication of WWI Memorial 1926 Dedication of WWI Memorial 1926 Dedication of WWI Memorial 1926 Dedication of WWI Memorial 1926

The four pictures above were taken in 1926 at Piliscsaba on the occasion of the new war memorial being erected. My Father was stationed and living there at that time and is on the pictures wearing the hard military hat (csako).

Mother's relatives with my parents at the front of our villa in Klotildliget, Summer 1939.

My Mother's relatives with my parents at the front of our villa in Klotildliget, Summer 1939. Left to right; Uncle Laszlo, Mese Neni (Uncle Jeno's wife), Uncle Jeno, Aunt Maria (Keresztem), my Father and Mother. Sitting in the front is Anno Neni (Uncle Laszlo's wife) with her granddaughter, who is my second cousin, the two years old Ildi in her lap.

My Mother's relatives with my Parents at the gate of our home in Klotildliget. Summer 1939.

My Mother's relatives with my Parents at the gate of our home in Klotildliget. Summer 1939.
Click on the picture for a bigger version please.

The Metz Family under their apple tree, Klotildliget. 1940

The Metz Family under their apple tree, Klotildliget, 1939.

In the pool

Rezso and me cooling down in our little pool, looks like I had some problems keeping my ball inflated. Summer 1939.

Rezso soon was enrolled for his first grade in the local school, and I was to follow him in the next Fall. An old villa was converted to a one- room schoolhouse, where four classes were held at the same time. We only had one teacher, an old maid named Iren Neni, and a very young Catholic priest, Father Ruzsik who came once a week to teach us the Catholic religion. Life was peaceful and full with little friends with whom we had discovered the beauty of the lush meadows and the forested hills.

Ligeti Iskola 1941

Ligeti Iskola 1941

My parents were occupied otherwise. More than one half of our two acres was about to become a farm. Fruit trees were planted and a huge vegetable garden was created with the help of the hired hands. Chickens and ducks were bought to fill up the fenced-in chicken coop.

The von Metz Family in their garden at Klotildiget, Hungary in the Summer of 1942

The von Metz Family in their garden at Klotildiget, Hungary in the Summer of 1942.

By the summer of 1943 most of the larger cities in Europe had already suffered major destruction from the frequent bombing raids. Budapest and the other larger cities in Hungary were no exceptions. With us living in the countryside our lives had still been safe.

After he finished his fourth grade, my brother was sent to a Military boarding school at Koszeg, a small medieval city close to the Austrian border. I was to finish my fourth grade in the local school. Shortly afterward my Father became gravely ill. With the war going on no local doctors or nurses were available for his care. My Mother had nursed him for 5 weeks without professional care or medications. He died in my Mother's arms at home on the 21st day of October.

The funeral took place at the cemetery in Piliscsaba, and was conducted with the highest military honor. My Mother had decided not to bring my brother, Rezso home after only a few weeks of him being in the school. A month later Mother and I took the train to Koszeg and visited Rezso for a few days. I took this picture after I was trying to focus by backing up few steps and fell in an open manhole.

After my Father's Funeral

In the mean time in 1944 Hungary was completely occupied by the Germans. For the summer months Rezso came home from Koszeg just to go back in September. By the month of November the battle front was all around us. Rezso was brought home again from his school, because the teachers and some of the students were defecting to Austria.

On the night of Christmas Eve my Mother had decided to take shelter with us in a wine cellar at our neighbors; the rifle shooting and the heavy artillery fire were coming very close to us. On Christmas Day morning the first Russian soldiers carrying machine guns were raiding our home. It had become quite evident that it was impossible for us to return. By the following day more soldiers had appeared in a very intoxicated condition. While one of them was shooting holes in our neighbors' ceiling five other soldiers took advantage of two of the women who were also staying with us. In the dark of the night very secretly we had escaped to a friend's house, but after a scary encounter with other drunken soldiers we had to move on to another friends' home. Here we stayed until the snow melted in early April, and Hungary was gloriously "liberated".

  1. Home Page
  2. My Parents and our Family
  3. The Lean Years after World War II
  4. The Turning Point and Escape
  5. My new Family in a new Country
  6. Our New Life
  7. Visits and Achievements
  8. My Second Marriage
  9. Travels and Changes
  10. The Golden Years
  11. Reflections

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