if walls could speak

One of my English students is a professor of German at the Technical University (Hello Piroska!).  She lives in the same building as our office dowtown on Batthyány utca.  During our lesson today, she told me the amazing story about the building in which she lives. 

The building was constructed in 1936.  During WW2, it suffered a lot of damage from bomb shells.  Nothing worked, but the roof was still intact, so all of the families stayed. 

After the war, the state forced the families to abandon those flats which were uninhabitable and to move into the flats of their neighbors.  In Piroska’s 75 sq. meter flat, there were three families living from 1946 to 1966.  Twenty years.  They shared one kitchen, one toilet, and one bathroom. 

Of course, under Russian socialism, they lost the ownership of this property and became renters.  Because of these living conditions and the lack of ownership, the flat was virtually in disrepair.  After twenty more years, two of these families had all died, leaving one family in the flat.  And one old lady remained, living in the flat. 

At some point, Piroska and her husband became renters of one of the smaller flats in the building.  They decided to exchange flats with this elderly woman since she didn’t need so much space.  After 1989, they were able to purchase the flat.  Today the building has been repaired, renovated, and it is in good condition. 

Occasionally I see this elderly woman, known as the grandmother of the house.  We exchange a few words, and I wish I could really hear the stories she has to tell. 

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