Emil Pasztor’s father was a baker who opened his own bakery just in time to be wiped out by the Crash of 1929, but who managed to open another in 1939. Emil was just beginning medical school in 1944 when the siege and occupation of Budapest by the Russian army occurred. He was seized by the Russians and marched off, ostensibly to captivity and forced labor, but by incredible luck managed to escape. He finished medical school and married his wife, also a doctor. Together they decided, after the 1956 Revolution was crushed, to remain in Hungary to contribute what they could to the country. He subsequently (1973-1993) became director of the National Institute of Neurosurgery in Budapest, which included a 150-bed free-standing neurosurgery hospital, the third largest in the world. An American colleague called him “a leader with courage, vision and high personal competence…I place him in the top five of all medical academics I have met.” (Dr. Frederick Holmes, professor emeritus, University of Kansas Medical Center, personal letter.) Dr. Pasztor comments about his trips to medical conferences during Communist times and about the changes in life after the collapse of Communism in 1989.
Discursive Table of Contents: Family, education during World War II—Siege of Budapest 1944, capture by Russians, escape—Work as glazier, medical education—Marriage, 1956, choosing to remain in Hungary—Professional meeting in Washington and Sao Paulo—Changes after 1989