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Monday, 18.11.2019

Barry Blackwell: Epilogue to Ervin Varga’s biography and autobiography

 

       During the six years INHN has been in existence I have posted a dozen biographies of pioneers based on a variety of sources including extended reviews of their own autobiographies, as well as first-hand material obtained from interviews, the latter including two 100-year-old pioneers.

       Sometimes the biography has been an amalgam of the pioneer’s own literary efforts and additional material obtained by phone, e-mail or in a face-to-face interview. Occasionally, the posting of an apparently complete biography stimulates the person to submit further material. This has been the case with Ervin Varga over a six-year span from 2012 until 2018, the year prior to his death at age 94.

       Ervin was a distinguished Hungarian born pioneer whose career changed dramatically when he escaped political turmoil in his native country following World War 2 and a series of Fascist, Nazi and Communist regimes that persecuted Jewish citizens. Disappointed he could not find an opening in Europe he migrated to America.

       This brief epilogue provides the reader with a concise account of the biographies three origins. In 2016 at Tom Ban’s suggestion I contacted Ervin and began the original biography which was posted that year with the title Ervin Varga: Family, Culture, Person and Career (Blackwell 2016). This was an amalgam of my own material and Ervin’s own published account of his experiences up until the end of the Second World War when he narrowly escaped death in a Nazi concentration camp before beginning his medical education. Published in 2012 it was titled, Living and Dying in Hungary; A Jewish Psychiatrist’s look back (Varga 2012).

       The 2016 biography covered the entire period of his professional career in both Hungary and America up until age 91 when he was retired, living by himself in a condominium on the Chicago lakefront following the death of his beloved wife (also a physician) but in regular contact with both his sons, both distinguished physicians in the Chicago area.

       Stimulated by the experience of collaborating on the writing of his biography Ervin again took up his pen and at age 93 submitted more of his own ideas and recollections (Varga 2019) titled Letters from the past, Biographical Notes. This is mainly an elaboration of political events in Hungary during his early life and reflections on his personal and professional life in America, posted on INHN in May 2019 following his death.

References:

(Blackwell 2016)

(Varga 2012)

Varga E. Ervin Varga (1925-2018) Letters from the past. Biographical Notes. inhn.org.bioigraphies. May 9, 2019.

 

October 31, 2019