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Families 1956

Erzsebet Guti

My father and I left Hungary in 1956 shortly after the revolution. I was about 6 years old at that time. We spent about two years in several refugee camps in Yugoslavia and ended up in Italy. From there we found sponsors in Canada and arrived at Halifax harbor on January 18, 1958 after a two-week voyage across the Atlantic. Our ship was called Vulcania, and it sailed out of Napoli harbour.

The voyage was very rough most of the way and we were glad when we finally reached Halifax. The weather was very cold and we had to wait for a while to leave our ship. I had no winter coat and I remembered how cold it was. We were sent to a big building where my father had to produce some papers. I remember many strange faces and a lot of confusion on what would happen next. While I was waiting I fell asleep on one of the wooden benches they had in the waiting area, then we were ushered in to talk to some official looking people. It was all strange to me and I still remember wondering what was going to happen, particularly when I was left alone while my father attended to his papers. A man in a uniform came over and said something but I didn’t understand him. When he left he smiled and waved bye to me. But I do remember that everything smelled like the sea and kind of a fishy smell, but that was probably from the ocean outside, and that it was VERY cold.