Anna Nyerges

| 25 Apr 2022 | 04:38

Anna was and is a special person with many admirable qualities but especially she was a giving and loving person to her family and all she met. Her favorite advice to her family was, “You have to love yourself” She would first ask if you loved yourself. If you did not respond, she would say, “You have to love yourself! I love my self” and then she would start kissing her hand. She was born in Hungary and became a U.S. Citizen but in her heart, she remained a true Hungarian. When watching an Olympic event and there was a Hungarian competitor she would scream at the top of her lungs to cheer them on and if they did not place she would start crying. She had a favorite poem that she would often like to recite. Even after she had Alzheimer’s she would over and over recite the first verse of the poem.

The name of the poem is: Magyar Vagyok (I am Hungarian)

Magyar vagyok, magyarnak születtem (I am Hungarian, I was born Hungarian)

Magyar nótát dalolt a dajka felettem, (My nurse sang a Hungarian song over me)

Magyarul tanított imádkozni anyám (My mother taught me to pray in Hungarian)

És szeretni téged, gyönyörű szép hazám! (And to love you, my beautiful country!)

Each one of us is special and we all have our unique life story. Below is a short life story of Anna.

Anna (Vajjer) Nyerges. Born in Csév a small town in Hungary on September 13, 1929. Her family moved to Budapest when she was about six years old. They lived at Hunfalvy – ut 9 on the Buda side, the older and hilly side of Budapest. The Danube River separates Buda and Pest. Her mother, Emilia Lapitka, had 12 children with Vajjer Karoly her father but only five made it to adulthood. She is predeceased by her husband of 52 years Jenő Nyerges and her four siblings, Maja Várkonyi her sister and four brothers, János (John),István (Steve), and Gyula (Julius). She is also predeceased by her daughter-in-law Lorraine Susan Nyerges.

All through her teenage years she, her sister Maja and Magdi, another girl were inseparable friends. They went to St Anna church and belonged to a girls club organized by a priest Father Tony (Anthony). The girls called him (Toni bácsi) Uncle Toni. On one winter day when the girls were gathered inside one of the girls needed to go to the bathroom, and since it was too cold to go to the outhouse, she decided to pee in the pot on the stove. When Fr Tony found out, he started to investigate to find out who had done it. One by one, he took them aside to question them. When it was Anna’s turn she told him she knew who it was but she was her good friend and no way would she tell him.

Fr Tony and Anna remained good friends. He also immigrated to the United States. When she was 14, she worked at the Ference-Jozsef bakery. When she was 15, she went to a place, Cseri Varoda to learn sewing, but instead of learning how to sew the owner had her cleaning, sweeping the place. One day when she was sweeping the owner started yelling at her saying, “Why are you starting at the back and sweeping towards the front? Are you stupid?” He was superstitious that she was sweeping out good luck through the front door. Anna replied to him “You know who is stupid? You are!” With that, she walked out and never went back. When her mother told her to go back and get the umbrella she left there, she said to her mother “You want the umbrella? You go and get it!” Anna was a fiery little girl and remained that way in her later years. From 18 to 20 years old she was a telephone mechanic. When she was 24, she met her husband, Jeno Nyerges. On February 13, 1954, they were married. She claims her lucky number is 13 since she also met Jeno on the 13th and she was born on the 13th. Her husband had a son Jeno from his first marriage who was raised by his first wife’s (Emma) parents. In 1955, his son Jeno moved to Budapest and she became his mother.

On October 23, 1956 a revolution started in Budapest against communism and the Russian presences in Hungary since 1945. It was short lived and on November 6th when the Russian tanks crossed the Ukrainian border into Hungary the revolution came to an end. Jeno, her husband, needed to leave the country since he was involved in the revolution. He told her that later on he would bring her and their son legally. A week went by and Anna said to her son “Jeno, there is no way your father is going to bring us out legally. I am leaving tomorrow. You have a choice of coming with me or go back to your grandparents.” Her son Jeno said, “I am coming with you.” Going from one side of Budapest to the train station on the Buda side was a challenge since public transportation was halted because of the revolution. She and her son took an all day train ride to a city Szombathely near the Austrian border. Next day they took a train that goes along the border. The train was packed with people with the intention of leaving Hungary. About 200,000 Hungarians left the country after the revolution. There was much confusion about which station was safe to get off since the Russian soldiers were trying to prevent Hungarians from leaving the country. Some of the local passengers said here is a good place to get off; some said NO it is not. Because of the confusion at one of the train stops, her son got off but Anna stayed on the train. At the same stop, Russian soldiers got on the train and were checking everyone’s ID cards. Anna remembers them saying “Dokument! Dokument!” If your ID card showed that you did not live near the border they hauled you off to the Russian army headquarters. Anna being from Budapest was taken. When the Russian captain questioned her, she broke down sobbing and wouldn’t stop screaming that she lost her son at the last stop. After much cursing at her by the captain they finally drove her back to the previous stop and told her that when she finds her son she must promise to go back to Budapest and help, rebuild the city that was in a rubble because of the revolution. She replied “Yes! Yes! Yes! I will” Of course she didn’t go back. A woman at the stop told her she saw a young boy (her son) with a group going across the border to Austria. Anna gave the woman her last month’s paycheck from the phone company she worked for {which she picked up on the way when she was walking across Budapest to the train station} The woman promised that if she doesn’t find her son she can come back and she would return the money to her. She headed towards the border afoot. Reaching the border, she was stopped by the Hungarian border patrol. They said “Mama, where do you think you’re going?” For some reason they called her mama even though she was only 27 years old at the time. She answered sobbing, “I have to find my son, and I was told that he went across the border.” The soldiers answered “What makes you think we’re going to let you go across the border!? What do you think we are here for!?” Then one of them smiled and winked at Anna and said, “Go ahead mama. Hope you find your son. Tomorrow we ourselves shall all be going across” After going across the border to the nearby village she found her son with the other people that crossed and were in a classroom at the village school. When she saw her son sitting and having a hot bowl of soup (it was a chilly November) she went up to him and hugging him and sobbing, “I’m going to kill you.” What a relief! She and her son were grateful for the hospitality and friendship of the Austrian people. Red Cross and Catholic Relief Services also were helping out with the 200,000 refugees. Anna and her son were transported to a small town, Hohenberg in the mountains. It was a lovely little village in a valley surrounded by mountains. They spent five months there.

Once Anna found out her husband was in the United States it was time to board the plane and on March 16, 1957, they landed and spent a few days at Camp Kilmer an army base in New Jersey. From there they went to Monroeville, PA where a distant relative, Helen Iksic (Ilonka neni) and her husband Lou (Lajos bacsi) sponsored them. Helen Iksic was the aunt of Anna’s sister Maja’s husband. In Monroeville, Anna worked at cleaning motels and at the Miracle miles dry cleaners. In 1959, they moved to Rochester, NY they rented at 924 Joseph Ave. She and her husband attended night school to learn the English language and American history and on July 24, 1962, they became U.S. citizens.

They both got a job at Eastman Kodak. Anna was a camera repairperson. Eventually they purchased a home near Rochester in Holly, NY where they built a dog kennel, had several German Shepherds, and were raising Hungarian Vizslas. After retirement she and her husband moved to Shady Drive, Newport Ritchie, Florida in August 1978, and then in October 1988 to Lamson Avenue in Springhill, FL. After her husband’s passing in 2006, she moved up to Sparta, NJ in 2007. She was a member of Our Lady of the Lake in Sparta.

She is survived by her son Jeno of Sparta, her stepdaughter Klara Sipos of Rochester, NY, and her six grandchildren: Amy and her husband Dave Andreola of Rockaway, NJ, Jill and her husband Mike Mincolelli of Union, NJ, Jon Nyerges and his wife Akemi of Sparta, NJ, Cristina and Mark Mikulak of Lutz, FL, Sue and her husband Dan Grillo of Rochester, NY and Peter Sipos of Rochester, NY. She is also survived by fourteen great-grandchildren: Kelly, Dean, Josseline, Lucas, Nico, Maya, Gigi, Nina, Kayla, Lucy, Ryan, Maya, Layla and Anya.

A visitation will be held on Friday, April 29, 2022 from 5-8 p.m. at Smith – McCracken Funeral Home, 63 High Street, Newton, NJ 07860. Phone: 973-383-4600. A funeral mass will be held on Saturday, April 30, 2022 at 9:30 a.m. at Saint Kateri Church, 427 Stanhope Sparta Rd, Sparta, NJ 07871.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to:

Alzheimer’s New Jersey, 425 Eagle Rock Ave. Suite 203, Roseland, NJ 07068 or Karen Ann Quinlan Memorial Foundation, 99 Sparta Avenue, Newton, NJ 07860.