~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ George Schwimmer, Ph.D.
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Heddy and Me

by Susan Varga

HEDDY and ME

When Adolph Eichman enters Hungary behind eight German divisions in March of 1944, the lives of all Hungarian Jews become hostages to fate.
 
For the next year, Heddy fights fiercely
with everything at her command to save the lives of her two small daughters. Fleeing
from one part of Hungary to another, losing her husband, father and favorite brother, she escapes the clutches of the Nazis, the Russians and the Hungarian Fascists, and finally overcomes the obstacles of trauma, separation, disease and death.
 
She reconstructs her life in Sydney, Australia with a new husband, but now her daughters, Susan and Judith, must come to terms with having been traumatized, uprooted, and replanted in strange soil.
 
This is the story of two generations caught in the web of conflict, and how each learned to cope with the inner legacies of World War II and with each other.
 
 
"I notice, and not for the first time, that
Mother glows when she talks of the war
years, whereas her face fades and strains
when we get to the present. Back then, the
stage was large, and irrational forces dictated
events. Now the wars are subtle and small
and there is never a clear victory. Fighting
your loved ones over well-worn territory.
Fighting, in a way, over the outcome of those
big years."

OTHER PHOTOGRAPHS

Budapest, 1947
Susan, Judith, Heddy
Susan, Judith, Heddy

 
FELLOWSHIP OF AUSTRALIAN 
WRITERS LITERARY AWARD - 1994:
Winner, Susan Varga, HEDDY and ME
 
From the judges' report:
 
"Heddy and Me is a thoroughly compelling nar-
rative, both autobiographical and biographical. The author, whose father died in the Holocaust when she was still a baby, left Hungary for Australia in 1948. The long, painful discovery of her Jewish Hungarian past, the life that her mother led before and during the War, and the meticulous and clear-sighted piecing together of the terrible inhumanities of the Holocaust, give this story a rare urgency and moral seriousness. Heddy and Me is a disturbing, powerfully moving, and wonderfully accomp-
lished work. It steps straight into the front rank of autobiographical writing in this country."
 
Canberra Times, Sara Dowse:
 
"This is a challenging, complex, rich, and above
all, humane book. Into the process has gone great
frankness and courage, and hard-won recognition
of the potential for destructiveness in the closest,
most loving relationships."
 
 
Heddy and Me is currently being developed for
a motion picture by George Schwimmer.

Susan Varga
Susan Varga

 
Susan Varga was born in Budapest in 1943, came to Australia with her mother, Heddy, her sister, Susan, and her stepfather, Gyuszi Varga, after the death of
her father, Feri Schwimmer, in a Nazi labor camp in Hungary.
 
She has a Masters degree in English Literature
and a law degree. She has worked as a teacher,
in film and video, as an arts administrator,
journalist, and lawyer.
 
She now writes full time. Heddy and Me was her
first book. Published in 1994, it was immediately 
an Australian best-seller and has sold steadily
ever since. In addition to the FAW award for
biography, the book was short-listed for three
other awards. It has been translated into
German and Hungarian and has received
critical acclaim in both countries. Heddy and
Me is currently being used in several univer-
sity courses in Australia and is firmly embedded
in the country's literature.
 
Ms. Varga has since written a novel, Happy
Families, and collaborated with Anne Coombs
on Broomtime, a book about the town of
Broome.

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George Schwimmer, Ph.D.