One Perfect Day is the very personal account of a young woman's experience growing up in communist Europe, amid great poverty and widespread fear as a result of a ruthless security police force.
It tells her story from the time she was six, and reunited with her parents after being separated in the war, through her teen years living in Budapest and finally her escape after the trauma of the Hungarian Uprising, including the death of her best friend.
Veronika Csosz's story gives voice to the brutal and traumatic circumstances of everyday life under Soviet rule. Standing outside the radio station when security police fired on students, the boy beside her was killed, the first in a series of events that drove her eventual overnight escape across the border into Austria with nothing but the clothes on her back. She fully expected to die on that journey, but preferred to risk her life rather than the oppression and reprisals that Hungarians knew would come after the Soviets crushed the Uprising.
In that border crossing, Veronika met her future husband, and one year later they arrived in Melbourne as refugees.
The events of the 1956 Hungarian Uprising were pivotal in what became the unravelling of the Soviet bloc. This period following the Uprising led to the largest refugee experience after the war, and was the first time that the UN Refugee Agency and the international community had had to deal with a refugee crisis of this size. One Perfect Day highlights the events that led to this crisis, from a woman's perspective, and the universal push for freedom that drives the refugee experience, whether in Syria, Afghanistan or Hungary in the 1950s.
Sandy Watson is currently completing a PhD with a focus on media representation of refugees. Together with photographer Susan Gordon-Brown, she also created 56 Faces, an exhibition capturing the experiences of Hungarian refugees who settled in Australia after the 1956 Uprising. 56 Faces was exhibited in Australia and Hungary as part of the 2006 worldwide events commemorating the 1956 Hungarian Uprising, and has more recently been exhibited at Parliament House, Canberra. She lives in Victoria, Australia, with her partner, Dave, and their sons Monty and Felix. This is her first book.
One Perfect Day
Author: Sandy Watson