Based on a decade of taped conversations between Kati (Catherine) Veres, and her son Peter Veres, KATI’S STORY: RECOLLECTIONS OF TWO WORLDS is the multigenerational story of a Jewish family. It takes us from mid-nineteenth century villages in Hungary during the Austro-Hungarian Empire to cosmopolitan Budapest before, during, and after World War II, and finally to post-war New York City.
It is also the story of a culture that transformed from tolerant to virulently intolerant in a single generation: Kati’s father served as an officer in the Hungarian army during WWI but was deported and killed during WWII. Sensing the coming disaster, Kati went to England to give birth to her first child, hoping that a British birth certificate would protect him against anti-Semitism. She returned to Budapest to be with her ailing parents, survived the war and its aftermath with her husband and two sons, and found a way to immigrate to New York to be near her brother, Gabor Carelli, who became a principal soloist at the Metropolitan Opera Company. In her new world she built on her sewing skills to become an assistant dress designer of high-end bridal gowns in the then vigorous New York garment industry and later a pattern maker at Simplicity Patterns.
Augmenting Kati’s story is a large selection of family photographs and official documents, many in color, dating back to the mid-nineteenth century, which remarkably survived the war and emigration in excellent condition. Also included are several color maps indicating places mentioned in the text, family trees, and footnotes about historical and geographical details.