Fresh Voices from the Periphery:

Voices from the Periphery is evidence that history matters – not only the study of the past – but also by shedding light on how events of the past have impacted lives in the present. You are holding in your hands a collection of thought-provoking essays written by young people whose families have lived as minorities in various countries in east-central Europe for four generations. They became minorities not because their families migrated to different parts of Europe, but because the borders were changed overnight by the Treaty of Trianon after the end of the First World War.

Much has been written about the outcomes of Trianon, but this book is very different. These essays are the result of a competition for students and young professionals who live in minority status in four different countries surrounding Hungary: Transylvania in Romania, Slovakia, Transcarpathia in Ukraine, and Vojvodina in Serbia. The writings of several Canadian students on this topic are included as well.

Voices from the Periphery examines how the current generation of young people perceive the impact of the treaty that has had such a long-term effect on their lives. Their essays not only examine the painful legacy of the past, but also recommend pathways to a more positive future. Their voices must be heard.

A Rough Road (Andrew Heinemann)

The life of Andrew Heinemann represents the quintessential Canadian success story. His is the narrative of a life well lived, of a man who worked incredibly hard and overcame the hardships of building a life as a refugee to Canada. His is the story of a man with many talents who has been enormously generous in giving back to society. As a young man he lived through the brutality of the Second World War. He fled the Communist regime in Hungary only to become one of millions of refugees seeking freedom first in Austria, then Sweden. His memoir reflects the historical realities of life as a refugee in Western Europe and later, in Canada in the 1950s.

Andrew Heinemann has supported educational causes supported by the Rákoczi Foundation in Canada: scholarships for deserving students, school lunch programs in some of the most poverty-stricken parts of east-central Europe, and Students without Boundaries, a scholarship exchange program for Canadian students and those living in minority status in five different countries in central Europe. 

Andrew Aladár Heinemann has been unassuming in his charitable giving. It is with pride and gratitude for all he has done that the Rákoczi Foundation sponsors his memoir translated into English so that Canadians may also be able to learn about this amazing man.

Outcasts: A Love Story (Dr. Susan Papp-Aykler)

Yitzhak Livnat was a survivor of the Holocaust in Hungary who started his life over again in Israel after the end of the Second World War. He was born Sándor Weisz, nicknamed “Suti.” His sister Hedy had reconnected with a family friend from Nagyszöllös (today: Vynohradiv, Ukraine), Béla Aykler and his wife Susan. Suti had heard that they had started this unique summer program called Students Without Boundaries. The program was interesting for Suti because he was particularly engaged with the fate of the people from Transcarpathia, the region where he was born and raised. The program included students from five different countries, including students who live in minority status in Transcarpathia, presently part of Ukraine. 

In 1997, Suti came to Budapest from Tel Aviv to meet the participants of the program and was so moved by what he saw, that from that year forward, he attended the closing ceremonies each year and became a generous donor.  A few years passed and Susan Papp, writer and documentary film producer, whose ancestors also came from the region, wrote a book of historical fiction about the story of the two families and the love story that took place between two members of the Weisz-Aykler family. The story unfolds at a time when romantic liaisons between Christians and Jews was against the law. Outcasts: A Love Story has since been published in English, Hungarian, Hebrew and most recently in Italian. 

In 2009, a documentary film about the story was commissioned by OMNI Television in Toronto, Canada. In the film, Sándor Weisz and Béla Aykler relate the story of the interconnectedness of their families through the love story of their older siblings. Suti, as a fourteen year-old also relates how he survived Auschwitz, both he and Béla relate how they lived through the brutal events of World War II.

Each year, the documentary film, Outcasts: A Love Story, is shown to all the participants of the Students Without Boundaries program.  Following the film, the main storytellers, Suti and Béla, are always greeted with tears and are surrounded by love from the participants. Although neither Suti or Béla are alive at the writing of this text, we the organizers still feel it is important to show the documentary film, believing that seeing this film has a tremendous impact on the lives of these students and in expanding their knowledge of the Holocaust.

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Link to Outcasts – Book launches >>

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Link to “Dundurn” publisher >>