I Kiss Your Hands Many Times: Hearts, Souls and War in Hungary is a non-fictional account of a Hungarian family, spanning prewar and post World War II. It is the story of Marianne Szegedy-Maszák’s parents and other family, members, and how they went from riches to basic poverty during the most horrific of times.
Szegedy-Maszak’s father was a well off man, who was arrested and sent to Dachau. Her mother was the granddaughter of a Jewish aristocrat, a man who owned several factories. Those very factories were used as collateral in order for her mother and family members to escape death and enable them to emigrate to Portugal.
Szegedy-Maszák details with vivid word imagery and intense prose the extremes to which the Nazis went to in order to overtake Hungary.
Initially, there seemed to be a sense of denial that events were actually happening within their environment, and the family stayed, rather than emigrate. Whether through ignorance or denial regarding the entirety of the situation, the family felt they were being noble in their choice. Many individuals felt the same way during World War II, and Szegedy-Maszák’s family was not the only one with those ideals and opinions. This decision proved to be one that contributed to their eventual and negative fate.
There is a lot of compelling historical information within the pages. The data is not only relevant to the time period, the war, and the events that occurred, but data that is extremely important documentation in its own right regarding circumstances, events and social mores and stigmas prewar and postwar.
Some of the book’s details come from a series of letters written between both Szegedy-Maszak’s parents. Those letters describe the defining moments of their experiences during the Holocaust. They also describe the deep love that her parents had for each other, even during long periods of separation. Throughout all of the atrocities, their love survived, and they were eventually married in Budapest, after liberation.
I Kiss Your Hands Many Times: Hearts, Souls and War in Hungary brings the reader an intense look at the Hungarian situation during the war, and how it affected Marianne Szegedy-Maszak’s family, and their future together. It is an inspiring love story and one that depicts the face of survival under extreme odds.