Georgina: Holocaust Memoirs

Georgina: Holocaust Memoirs


Non-Fiction - Memoir
128 Pages
Reviewed on 04/30/2017
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

Gabriella Kovac was born in Hungary, Just after the Second World War had drawn to a close. She lived through the Hungarian uprising against the Communists in 1956, and remembers vividly Russian tanks sitting under her bedroom window.

Through the genius of her mother Georgina, their family managed to leave the Communist bloc and come to Australia in 1957. Gabriella is a passionate public speaker, chef (her favourite dish is Hungarian Goulash) and has been very successful in fashion design. Throughout her life, Gabriella has been inspired by her mother's amazing tenacity, enthusiasm and will to live.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Georgina: Holocaust Memoirs is a non-fiction memoir written by Gabriella Kovac and Oliver R. Shead. Georgina was a force of nature. She had been raised by her successful father to believe that she had a protective bubble around her; he had impressed it upon her repeatedly as the two were driving home from his mill in the family’s Rolls Royce. Vilmos, her father, was the son of a Scot who fell in love with a Hungarian Jew, converted, and spent the rest of his life in her native country. Hungary was torn at the seams by politics and the vagaries of war, and Jews were in particularly precarious positions at the best of times between the two World Wars, owing to widespread anti-Semitism and stresses over Communism. But, at first, those issues seemed not to affect Vilmos Glasgall, his wife, Irma, and their two children, Andor and Georgina. Georgina met her soon-to-be husband outside his bicycle shop, and their marriage festivities seemed out of proportion to some guests when considering the escalating perils. Shortly thereafter, a virulently pro-German and anti-Semitic former ambassador to Berlin was appointed as the Prime Minister of Hungary, and one of his first acts was to begin working with SS Colonel Adolf Eichmann to carry out The Final Solution in Hungary. Irma refused to deny her Jewish heritage and wore her yellow star, but Georgina was determined to survive by any means possible.

Gabriella Kovac and Oliver R. Shead’s non-fiction memoir, Georgina: Holocaust Memoirs, is a gripping and suspenseful look at the history of Hungary during the early and mid-20th century and the plight of Jews in that country between the First and Second World Wars. Gabriella, Georgina’s daughter, weaves her family’s tale with precision and grace, sharing parts of Holocaust history that are lesser known to most. I have long been a student of the Second World War and the Holocaust, and found that Kovac and Shead’s narrative illuminated unfamiliar landscapes in this tragic and ugly part of history. Georgina is a marvel, truly a force of nature who combines courage, ingenuity and certainty in exactly the right measures. The anecdotes and memories Kovac shares about her mother are unforgettable and poignant, and the fact that, unlike so many other survivor stories, Georgina’s family did survive intact is a triumphant note shining above the discordance of that awful time. Georgina: Holocaust Memoirs is most highly recommended.

Kitty Smith

Fascinating and inspiring survivor's tale

I've read a number of survivor stories from WWI and WWII, but I've never come across one that featured an individual quite like Georgina. At times I found myself irritated with her, empathizing with her inlaws who were furious over her squandering food and money for a wedding when a war was coming down upon them. When the communists were watching like hawks she bought fine furniture and wore stylish clothing, almost as if she was daring them to come and get her. And yet that was much of her charm, her determination to never let the bad take the good away from her life. Indeed she is no Pollyanna flitting about amid the misery of others. Georgina was the first one to step up and do what needed to be done, even if getting caught doing it could mean her death, and that attitude is likely what kept those around her alive as well. Her father told her she lived in a magic bubble and I can't help but think he was right.

The story was also a major eye opener for me with regards to Hungarian history during the two world wars. In high school history we were taught precious little about Hungary's role during that time, so I found the historical detail every bit as fascinating as Georgina herself. It's an inspiring survivor's tale about a woman who lived life to the fullest even when it was at its most harsh.

Fascinating memoir

Fascinating memoir

Georgina: Holocaust Memoirs: Holocaust Survivor Stories Fron The Darkest Days of the Holocaust is by Gabriella Kovac and Oliver R. Shead. This is the story of Gabriella’s Mother’s history in Hungary before and during the Holocaust. This memoir is a piece of the fabric of the Holocaust. As survivors are dying off, we are left with only these pieces of memory that the survivors have left us. We are having to rely more and more on their testimony.
Georgina Glasgall was born into a family with ties to Scottish royalty in March, 1917. Her Scottish Grandfather who was related to Scottish royalty was traveling in Hungary when he met a Hungarian girl and fell in love with her and stayed in Hungary. Her Father always told her that she was in a magic bubble since she was the descendant of two races. Her family was wealthy and Georgina grew up as a “little princess”. She was beautiful and smart too. “The streets are paved with gold. One just needs to know how to pick it up.” She was not aware of what was happening in her world. Her father took her everywhere with him and instilled in her a feeling of power. That she could do anything she wanted and there was no obstacle she could not overcome, even her gender. She was sent to a Swiss finishing school. Upon her return, her world turned upside down.
By 1935, the world was in turmoil. The economy was unstable in Hungary and her father was having financial difficulty but tried to conceal it from his family. The Depression hit and it hit his family financially and broke him. After his death in 1935, her mother took them back to her family farm. Georgina didn’t want to live on a farm and decided to go to Budapest and try her luck. Her older brother Andor was studying at the university as a dentist but with the quota on Jews, he was not allowed to continue. However, he wanted to return to Budapest. He was to look out for his sister. He had non-Jewish looks with the red hair of his ancestors. Georgina had black hair and golden eyes. She started working in the carpet industry while Andor attended college as an Aryan in engineering. They worked hard but played hard as well.
As things got worse for Jews, Georgina took every setback in stride. She managed to find a way to get around not owning a store, etc. She married Imre Gomori, a bicycle shop owner, in November 1943. For business purposes, in January 1944, she, with the help of a friend, attained a false ID as Maria Sabbics. When the Jews were told to wear the Star, she didn’t and dyed her hair blonde to make it easier to pass. Her Mother, who was living with her, proudly wore the Star, but she stayed home most of the time. With whatever change came along, Georgina took it in stride and made adjustments to her business and to her life. Life still went on and there was nothing to do but to carry on as usual. When men were called up to serve, Imre and some friends took to going behind the Germans as a Repair Unit. They used Imre’s job as a mechanic and fixed the motorcycles for the Germans. He would successfully do this until the end of the war; but Georgina had little contact with him.
The stories of what Georgina had to go through to get through the war and after the was as well are in this book. It is quite interesting as she led a different life from those of other young women at that time. Gabrella was not born until the war was over, (1946) She was actually named by the doctor who delivered her.
The book is very good and very well written. The story of how she and her brother survived is amazing.

Casey Living

An inspirational story

I have been reading quite a bit of historical fiction lately that uses World War II and the Holocaust in the stories. These stories have really touched me and made me want to reach out for some real life tales of survivors during this time. I picked up author Gabriella Kovac's "Georgina: Holocaust Survivor Stories", which recounts the struggle of her mother in Hungary during this dark period. I found this to be an incredibly well-written narrative that both gave me a feel for the central character and for the period in which the events are taking place. A very intense and inspirational story of survival.

P. Blevins

Fascinating memoir

Georgina: Holocaust Memoirs: Holocaust Survivor Stories Fron The Darkest Days of the Holocaust is by Gabriella Kovac and Oliver R. Shead. This is the story of Gabriella’s Mother’s history in Hungary before and during the Holocaust. This memoir is a piece of the fabric of the Holocaust. As survivors are dying off, we are left with only these pieces of memory that the survivors have left us. We are having to rely more and more on their testimony.
Georgina Glasgall was born into a family with ties to Scottish royalty in March, 1917. Her Scottish Grandfather who was related to Scottish royalty was traveling in Hungary when he met a Hungarian girl and fell in love with her and stayed in Hungary. Her Father always told her that she was in a magic bubble since she was the descendant of two races. Her family was wealthy and Georgina grew up as a “little princess”. She was beautiful and smart too. “The streets are paved with gold. One just needs to know how to pick it up.” She was not aware of what was happening in her world. Her father took her everywhere with him and instilled in her a feeling of power. That she could do anything she wanted and there was no obstacle she could not overcome, even her gender. She was sent to a Swiss finishing school. Upon her return, her world turned upside down.
By 1935, the world was in turmoil. The economy was unstable in Hungary and her father was having financial difficulty but tried to conceal it from his family. The Depression hit and it hit his family financially and broke him. After his death in 1935, her mother took them back to her family farm. Georgina didn’t want to live on a farm and decided to go to Budapest and try her luck. Her older brother Andor was studying at the university as a dentist but with the quota on Jews, he was not allowed to continue. However, he wanted to return to Budapest. He was to look out for his sister. He had non-Jewish looks with the red hair of his ancestors. Georgina had black hair and golden eyes. She started working in the carpet industry while Andor attended college as an Aryan in engineering. They worked hard but played hard as well.
As things got worse for Jews, Georgina took every setback in stride. She managed to find a way to get around not owning a store, etc. She married Imre Gomori, a bicycle shop owner, in November 1943. For business purposes, in January 1944, she, with the help of a friend, attained a false ID as Maria Sabbics. When the Jews were told to wear the Star, she didn’t and dyed her hair blonde to make it easier to pass. Her Mother, who was living with her, proudly wore the Star, but she stayed home most of the time. With whatever change came along, Georgina took it in stride and made adjustments to her business and to her life. Life still went on and there was nothing to do but to carry on as usual. When men were called up to serve, Imre and some friends took to going behind the Germans as a Repair Unit. They used Imre’s job as a mechanic and fixed the motorcycles for the Germans. He would successfully do this until the end of the war; but Georgina had little contact with him.
The stories of what Georgina had to go through to get through the war and after the was as well are in this book. It is quite interesting as she led a different life from those of other young women at that time. Gabrella was not born until the war was over, (1946) She was actually named by the doctor who delivered her.
The book is very good and very well written. The story of how she and her brother survived is amazing.

Sherralynne Dewhirst

I enjoyed this book because of the factual content. I didn't know much about Hungary's participation in World War Two, so learned much about the situation there. Reading about Georgina's post war experiences was really interesting too. Thanks

Shar B. S

Easy read, entertaining, historical timeline which was easy to follow. The story moves along quickly, not so much everyday occurrences more how they adapt to what is happening around them. The life of a woman destined to succeed , not letting herself think otherwise.

Jeff Hedberg

This is a quick read and very good. Georgina was an amazing, positive person who would find a way to succeed and survive. I think if she was born in more recent times, she would be a female Tony Robbins. She truly was in a protective bubble.

cbyankee

Truly enjoyed every activity from beginning to end. I enjoyed the realistic nature of the book. The historical facts are very accurate.

Robert R. Smith

Magical! Gabriella Kovac brings history to life as she introduces us to an incredible woman: her mother Georgina. Georgina's resourcefulness and unflappability will inspire anyone who "meets" her.

Steve Warne

Truely Iinspirational and Enjoyable Read

I was really inspired by Georgina courage and determination to go through these horrible times. Well written and easy to read. Highly recommended read.

Anton

Interesting story

The imagery in this book is stunning – it was very interesting to know inside story of young woman life during Holocaust and brutal communist regime after it. Author really goes extra mile to paint an accurate picture. It was hard to put it down.

Ezeminski

Inspirational Story

I started this book and couldn't put it down. What an amazing story of ones life during such a horrific time. Truly an inspirational story of a courageous woman. I recommend it, you won't be able to put it down.

ROSA

Heartfelt and emotional.

Most hearfelt, emotional and beautiful story written through the eyes and memories of her daughter. I felt inspired by the determination of Georgina and her surviour for herself and her family, in a time of hardship and war.
Loved it, would highly recommend this to everyone, well done in capturing the past.

Herbert Jelinek

This book is a lovely personal account of how war and politics impacted on a family and how some ingenuity brought these people through a terrible time in history. It is well worth a read for its humour and reflections of a time in Hungary's history.

Great book

Wonderfully written by the daughter of a brave survivor,some intimate details may be missing, but historically keeps the reader interested