National Geographic : 1957 Mar
427 + Half an Hour out of Bondage, a Happy Fiddler Plays a Waltz For several nights I watched hundreds of Hun garians pass through this farmhouse. One pattern seemed common to all: Their cold-nipped cheeks were a healthy red, but their faces were frozen in shock. Some said nothing at all; others giggled hysterically. They glanced about nervously, as if fearing a trap, and could not bring themselves to sit down, even to drink tea. Farmer Nadas passed around a leaflet that read: "Give thanks to God that you have arrived safely in Austria. After you warm up, eat, and drink. a bus will take you to the nearest village. The Red Cross is there, and if you are sick a doctor will help you." As this friendly message sank in, faces softened. Men removed berets and leather coats still wet from the fog. They began to relax, to believe at last that they were safe. I saw this man, a Budapest watchmaker, peel off several sweaters and open his violin case to check if moisture had seeped in. A girl urged him to play. Smiling, he launched into a Strauss waltz. Then a farm hand at the door announced the impending departure of the "Andau Express." This rubber-tired hay wagon, drawn by a tractor, bore the refugees on a cold, bumpy ride to the village of Andau, 12 miles away. There a camp, hastily improvised, gave them their first night's sleep in the free world (next two pages).