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Book Highlight: Arpad Gergely, "The Face I Hide Behind"

I’m too young to be this old,
My name is different, I was told,
But until I find myself, Oh God..


A historical novel, By Arpad J. Gergely

The year is 1956. The people of a small nation in Central Europe are rebelling against their government to demand human rights; and for a few days, the glimmer of hope for real freedom in democracy blooms in Hungary. But, as the whole world watches in disbelief, Soviet tanks crush those who reject communism. Thousands die, the distraction is tremendous. In the aftermath, more then 200,000 Hungarians flee their country to escape retaliation.

Erika Molnar, a not yet sixteen Jewish schoolgirl is the main character in this novel. Orphaned during the 1944 Holocaust, she is raised as Christian by one of her father’s employees. When her "grandfather" is killed in the revolution, she retaliates with a Molotov cocktail. Now she must escape from the turmoil and run for her life, but in the refugee camps of Austria she comes into another world that is just as dangerous for a young and naive teenager.

It is the story of Erika and Ken Williams, an American Red Cross worker; a romantic match of a misled communist with a moderate Catholic; the dreams of the deprived combined with the materialist’s ideals. But it is also the story of a select group of suddenly ‘free’ men and women, who find a rare opportunity in their lives to change their names, ages, religions, and even marital status, to alter their past, to suit their present, and modify their future; to change everything but their faces.

“In 1956 the entire free world reached out to be part of this unbelievable historic event. With this book, perhaps I can reach the ones who are still with us and remember, and the ones who only learned about it from history books. I felt obligated to create this memorial. I feel proud to be able to.”

Arpad J. Gergely’s ambitions to become an entomologist were broken in 1956. In his new world in America he had managed to become a successful businessman and a journalist. Publishing several hundred business articles and news items in different medias, now he tries his skills in fiction. Married to the former Ilona Kazinczy Nagy, a descendant of the linguistic fame, the couple has two children, Zsuzsanna Putnam, an accomplished artist and the creator of this book’s cover, and Tenzi Moscato, an aspiring writer.

As one of book’s refugees, Gergely lived through the novel’s historical events. His fictional characters are guided through their lives with the help of his firsthand experiences.

Today, the Gergelys reside in sunny Brownsville, Texas, but during the summers, they hide from the tropical heat in the Catskills of New York.

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