Out of Darkness by John O Friend; About My Family

About My Family

My father and my uncle on my mother's side, Dr.Farkas Mozes, met at university and became friends. My father married Mozes' youngest sister - she became my mother.

My grandparents had twelve children, my mother being their youngest. One of my mother's brothers became an industrial chemist and another, a solicitor. When my grandfather died at a relatively early age, my third uncle took over the management of the shoe shop from grandmother.

Before the First World War there was, a tannery in Cluj named Renner. This tannery was liquidated after going bankrupt and my Uncle Dr. Farkas Mozes, the solicitor, bought it. The three brothers became majority shareholders in that concern.

I know that my uncle Eugene (Pronounced in Hungarian Yeno) was sent to America to study industrial leather and shoe manufacturing and that he brought back machinery from the States. I have photos that were recently sent to me by his son showing my Uncle Eugene at Niagara Falls. Another photo is of the ship on which he travelled - the "Hamburg", and lastly an image of the machinery being delivered to the factory on rail trucks, with him in the foreground.

When the First War broke out, the Austro-Hungarian army required boots and the tannery was ready to supply the leather for these. Eventually the factory expanded to manufacture shoes, leather harnesses and transmission belts. Dr. Farkas became the general manager, while the younger brothers, Jeno and Joseph became directors of the leather and shoe factories respectively. Other members of the family were also involved: Heller Alexander became the director of the tannery, and Farkas John managed the forty shoe shops that were part ofthe concern.

During the 1927 Depression, the bankrupt shoe factory Turul in Timisoara (Temesvar) was acquired as an extension of Dermata enterprises, as the family business was then named. Dermata become the second largest producer of shoe and leather goods in Europe, second only to Bata. Dermata stores could be found in just about every major city in Romania. Nearly everyone in Cluj was working or in some way involved in our factory, which was probably also true for the factory in Timisoara (Temesvar).

When my mother married by arrangement, she was supposedly forced to sign over her share of her father's inheritance to her brothers, though I never found out why. We received a monthly sum of 8000 Lei (equivalent to about fifty five Pounds Sterling in pre-War times) from the factory as compensation for my mother's loss of inheritance.

The family ran my grandfather's self-named shoe shop in his honour until about 1944. After the War and when the Communists took control, the family lost the factory because it was forcibly nationalised. It eventually became bankrupt and closed under the Communist Regime.

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Out of Darkness by John O Friend; About My Family, I am a survivor of Holocaust. This is my story.