In Budapest, elderly Holocaust survivors in need of a hot meal, a social worker, or medicine can find these necessities through programs funded by the Claims Conference. But sometimes there is a need for companionship and stimulation that goes beyond these daily, life-sustaining needs. Café Centropa, a program of the Vienna-based Central Europe Center for Research and Documentation, uses Claims Conference funding to bring together survivors for afternoons of coffeehouses, lectures, music, and discussion.
Attending these programs are people like Mariann Szamosi, 85, who runs her own publishing company; György Vágo, who at 80, is a councilman in his district of Budapest; Livia Révész, 79, who operates a telephone drug hotline; Blanka Pudler, a French translator well into her 80s; her friend Eva Baik, a Russian translator; and Tibor Kosa, who retired from his job as an optician nearly two decades ago, but still stays active at age 101.
They come together and tell their stories, as only one survivor can to another. They have lived through a long and troubled century, yet their spirits, clearly, still burn brightly