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Talking with Angels

{ documents }


Talking with Angels
Hanna Dallos

Joseph Kreutzer
Gitta Mallasz

Lili Strausz
the witnesses
  Eva Dános
  Agnčs Péter
  Erzsébet Rusznyak
  Other witnesses



  Eva Dános


Eva Dános was born on 4 June 1919 in Budapest into a Hungarian middle-class Jewish family. In 1943, she obtained a doctorate in Economics and began teaching at the Secretarial School of the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion.

When the Nazis invaded Hungary in the spring of 1944, she joined the “war effort” factory in Katalin which, under the guise of making shirts and trousers for the army, hid about a hundred Jewish women and children in a former school on the hills of Buda. Gitta Mallasz managed the factory while her friends Hanna Dallos and Lili Strausz looked after the smooth running of the workforce. Eva was very good with her hands and she quickly became an expert in sewing machines. She befriended two young women, Agnčs Péter and Erzsébet Rusznyak. Hanna, Gitta and Lili quickly adopted them and invited them to attend some of the last Dialogues of Talking with angels in the director’s cabin (witnesses).
On 1 December1944, the infamous Hungarian Nazis the Arrow Crosses raided the factory. Eva was deported with Hanna and Lili in the last convoy of Jews to leave Budapest.
Eva Danos ŕ Budapest en 1946
 Eva Dános (1946)
(Courtesy of the Langley-Dános family)

After several weeks in Ravensbrück, north of Berlin, the three friends were assigned to work in a factory in Burgau, a satellite camp of Dachau, Bavaria.

Prison on wheels
On 17 February 1945 began a sixteen-day journey in appalling conditions. Eva watched helplessly as first Hanna and then Lili died before her eyes.
The camps’ ordeal was not over yet: Eva would have to fight to survive, first in Burgau and then in Dachau until the liberation of this camp by the Americans on 29 April 1945. She was treated in a German military hospital under American control, where a Benedictine monk advised her to write down what she and her companions had endured to help ward off her nightmares. This was how the Hungarian manuscript Mozgó Börtön was born.

She then moved to France where she published the French version of her story Prison Roulante from 15 May to 14 August 1948 in Le Pontissalien, a weekly newspaper from the Haut Doubs region.

In 1949, she left for Australia where she rebuilt her life. After studying to become a librarian, she founded a mail-order lending library on children's issues. She became Mrs. Eva Langley, was happily married and led a peaceful life surrounded by her children and grandchildren. At the insistent request of her daughter-in-law, she translated her story into English; this was published by Daimon Verlag in 2000 under the title Prison on Wheels. Shortly before her death on 19 April 2001, she had the great satisfaction to see the publication of the German version Zug ins Verderben that she had been anxious to finish. Albin Michel published in 2012 a new French translation under the title Le Dernier Convoi, with an afterword in which her publisher at Daimon Verlag, Robert Hinshaw retraced her journey at length.
Eva Danos 1998
Eva Dános (1998)        (Photograph R. Hinshaw)

Françoise Maupin

Messages received by Eva Dános

Eva Dános, who attended several talks in Katalin in October and November 1944 (witnesses), remembered her scepticism in the early days. She was raised in the Catholic faith - her father was Jewish – and she was puzzled by this “world of unimaginable wonders”. She shared her doubts with a young Jesuit. He replied that the Church did not deny the existence of angels but advised her to be cautious. Eva also confided one day to Hanna: “Perhaps if the same would happen to a critical mind like mine, then I could believe in the possibility of  receiving such words.” Little did she know that, shortly afterwards on 16 October 1944, words would come to her as she was meditating in the chapel. She felt it was important to immediately write them down.

Until the eve of her arrest on 1 December1944, she received twenty-four messages, excerpts of which were published (DC, p. 153-160). Later, on her return to Budapest, she received a few more messages from September 1945 to February 1946. But neither Hanna nor she got any at Ravensbrück:  “No. It  wasn’t a place for messages. We were struggling at the most debased  level of existence. Survival took up all of our strength.”

The psychoanalyst MáriaTörök, one of the few survivors of the Pest Ghetto (who died in 1998), revealed that a number of similar phenomena had occurred in the Hungarian Jewish community at that time. This was corroborated by Agnes Péter who attended Dialogue N°85 in Katalin and witnessed the transmission of messages by Adrienne Frankovszky (Adri) and Erzsébet Rusznyak (Ruszi) in Gitta Mallasz’ workshop after the war in 1945-1946.

Eva Dános confided to Robert Hinshaw the circumstances of these messages: “It was at once terrifying, humbling  and up-lifting that such poems came out of me. I’m sure it  wasn’t me at all. It was an inspiration. It was the only time when I laid down the systematic approach and gave over in writing to the  spontaneous.” Robert Hinshaw said: “Eva, not attributing these messages to her conscious will, but  also not able to define the source of their provenance, felt how greatly they helped and sustained her. While not denying that they  might come ‘from angels,’ she preferred to call them inspirations in an extreme period of despair.” Eva added: “You know, these were exceptional times and we were leading an out-of-the-ordinary existence. We had  been stripped of so much. We didn’t know what would happen to us from one hour to the next. We were deprived of every security one normally has. I think the danger – the palpable danger and  uncertainty – gave rise to a finely-honed heightened sensibility for  things we normally wouldn’t perceive.”

Source : (PW) Eva Langley-Dános, Prison on Wheels, Daimon, 2000

Eva Danos et sa famille 1985
Eva Dános, her husband and cildren (6/09/1985)

Translated by Treharne Translations