top of page

A Hungarian Memoir


Red Danube intertwines politics and history with fly-on-the-wall glimpses of life spiced by a challenging relationship between the author and her mother, Erzsi.

It tells of everyday events that might happen anywhere in the world.  The stroke of a pen in the signing of a treaty, or a small change in the law, for some citizens meant the loss of way of life, or status, or security.   These stories are about betrayal and unexpected grace, loss of trust and kindness from odd corners, loss of identity and finding a new one. 


The characters are fallible, everyday human beings brought to life through tales peppered with a wry humour.

Book Price:  $29.95
Free postage within Australia

Vera Hartley, with great skill for detail and bringing characters to life charts one Hungarian Jewish family's experience of the calamitous events of the twentieth century. She effectively brings to life the places and faces of a period which spells the end of the hopes of the majority of Hungarian Jews.  From the end of World War I through to the Hungarian uprising in October 1956, Hartley captures the actions, feelings and spirit of the times through close examination of all parties involved.  I found the story compelling, yet tragic and highly personal. One really gets to know the characters and this creates a special intimacy for the reader.


Dr Michael Abrahams-Sprod, University of Sydney

Roth Foudation Lecturer in Israel, Jewish Civilization and Holocaust Studies

I read it compulsively every free moment over the past week and it truly moved me on every level, I laughed and I cried through it.  


The points at which I was reminded the narrator as an adult slowly recognising and identifying the effects of trauma were truly magnificent! This book will help people to understand how a person can live a very long time in a disconnected state from memories of their experiences, even when the body remembers, words still cannot explain what is known and also not known.  The effects of trauma are slippery.  I feel personally enriched by the experience from reading it... 

Dawn Mears, councellor and psychotherapist


In RED DANUBE, Vera Hartley crafts a deeply personal family story that also vividly renders the arc of history, pre-war Hungary, Hitler's Holocaust, the oppressive Communist years that followed and then the migration to Australia.   


A beautiful book trembling with courage.


Joyce Kornblatt, novelist and teacher

bottom of page