Viera Kalinová

* 1949

  • "Mom said the most important thing for her was not to give up. To always keep her humanity. Some people neglected themselves; they didn't care about anything. She wanted to survive so she could talk about it. I wrote a short memoir that was published thanks to Yad Vashem in Israel."

  • "We could take whatever we wanted to Jerusalem. We were arranged by a company that helped immigrants. We rented one container and put furniture and a piano there. We brought it to Israel, filling the whole small apartment we were given. The beginning in Israel was difficult. It was completely different. We started going to the Ulpan language schools for immigrants. We went there for three to six months. Then I went to high school. I wanted to go there because I knew we won't be able to take piano lessons, and there was a piano class at the school. "

  • "We moved from the West Side to the East Side. It was a beautiful Tuesday day, and I walked through Central Park to work. It was about two and a half miles from my house. When I got to work, my husband called to see if I knew what had happened. We had the TV there, so we all went to look. I went to get my son from his school. He was in about fourth grade at the time. I know the town was completely quiet. It was two years after my mom died. I told myself it was a good thing she didn't see it. It must have been terrible for her to have to experience that much hatred from people again. We lived pretty far from the World Trade Center, but for a long time, it smelled of burned buildings and people. It was a time of uncertainty and fear of what was to come. How could they do this? We lived pretty close to the home of former New York Mayor Rudolph William Louis Giuliani. That night, we heard helicopters around five in the morning, waking us up. I never found out why helicopters were flying over the East River at five in the morning. I still think Giuliani or the people around him must have known something was coming. But that's not what they're talking about."

  • "During World War II, my father wanted to save his father. He wrote to Tiso that his father had helped to save Christian relics from the Presov church. He asked for a pardon so he wouldn't have to board a transport, but it probably didn't reach him."

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    New York City, 30.11.2023

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In the U.S., she experienced the fall of the Twin Towers and the financial crisis

Viera Kalinová was born in 1949 in Bratislava into a Jewish family. Her grandparents and most of her family perished during World War II or in concentration camps. Her mother, Margita, survived the Plaszow labour camp, the Auschwitz concentration camp and the death march to Bergen-Belsen. She was liberated by the English. After the war, she came to visit her uncle in Bratislava and met her father, László Klein, who had been hiding in Bratislava for nine months. When she was seventeen, they emigrated to Israel, from there to Germany and in 1965 to the USA. Viera studied Russian literature at Brown University in Rhode Island. From 1971 to 1978, she studied Slavic Studies at Yale University. She met there with the conductor and musician Gilbert Lavin. She married in 1976 and had two children. She worked for four years at a Boston bank. She worked at the Bank of Tokyo - Mitsubishi in New York for thirty years. She lived through the attack on the World Trade Center on November 11, 2001, and the financial crisis of 2008. Today, she is retired and enjoys taking classes, swimming and spending time with her family.