Cafe Spo­larich at József Boule­vard 37 – 39, Budapest , 1910

Long after my moth­er and I left Budapest near the end of World War II, I tried to recre­ate the grandeur of that city we so loved. I relied on some pic­tures I had and mem­o­ry. I trea­sure the post­cards I have from my father which he car­ried dur­ing the war. The palace was not there while I lived there. It was bombed by Adolf Eich­mann. The palace has only recent­ly been restored and is now a museum.

The Danube riv­er holds a very spe­cial place in the cul­tur­al life of Budapest. My fam­i­ly and I always walked there on week­ends where many cafes and restau­rants lined the shore.

Although I don’t remem­ber well my child­hood in Budapest, it hurts me now to revis­it that time in my mem­oir We Are On Our Own. You nev­er knew who to trust, rela­tion­ships were test­ed. Every­body was try­ing to pre­serve their life. Like my moth­er kept say­ing in the years fol­low­ing our har­row­ing escape from the Nazi regime, it is hard to imag­ine those times. The deci­sions you were forced to make all alone.

Miri­am Katin’s 2006 graph­ic mem­oir We Are On Our Own was recent­ly reis­sued from Drawn & Quarterly.

Miri­am Katin was born in Hun­gary dur­ing World War II. She lat­er immi­grat­ed to Israel and then the Unit­ed States, where she worked in back­ground design for ani­ma­tion stu­dios such as MTV and Dis­ney. She is the author of the award-win­ning mem­oirs We Are On Our Own and Let­ting It Go. She cur­rent­ly lives in Wash­ing­ton Heights with her hus­band and a giant Ficus ben­jam­i­na tree.