Author(s): Bela Zombory-Moldovan
The budding young Hungarian artist Bela Zombory-Moldovan was abroad on vacation when World War I broke out in August 1914. Called up by the army, he soon found himself hundreds of miles away, advancing on Russian lines or perhaps on his own lines and facing relentless rifle and artillery fire. Badly wounded, he returns to normal life, which now strikes him as unspeakably strange. He has witnessed, he realizes, the end of a whole way of life, of a whole world. ecently discovered among private papers and published here for the first time in any language, this extraordinary reminiscence is a deeply moving addition to the literature of the terrible war that defined the shape of the twentieth century.
This is the world premiere of this beautiful, haunting memoir of World War I, recently discovered among the artist Bela Zombory-Moldovan's private papers. Publishing in the 100th anniversary year of the War, Zombory-Moldovan's account of the almost-apocalyptic carnage of 1914 is executed with a painter's eye for color, detail, and heartbreaking symbolism in every image.
Bela Zombory-Moldovan (1885-1967) was born in Munkacs (now Mukachevo), in the east of what was then the Kingdom of Hungary, part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest, he established himself as a painter, illustrator, and graphic artist. Wounded in action in 1914, he served the rest of the war in noncombatant duties. He enjoyed some renown, especially as a portrait painter, during the interwar years and was the principal of the Budapest School of Applied Arts from 1935 until his dismissal by the Communist regime in 1947. Out of official favor and artistic fashion in the postwar years, he devoted himself to the quiet landscapes in oils and watercolor that are his finest work. The writing of his recently discovered memoirs probably also dates from these years of seclusion. b>Peter Zombory-Moldovan has co-translated Arthur Schnitzler's Reigen and is working on a new version of Bertolt Brecht's Furcht und Elend des Dritten Reiches for the London stage. He lives in London.