Elisabeth was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1932, and moved to Vienna in 1939. In 1951, when Austria was under Russian occupation, she and her father managed to immigrate to Montreal. Once they had saved enough money, they were able to bring her mother and brother over as well. Elisabeth worked for an Italian company painting religious sculptures for 11 years before getting a job with a bank. She describes her life as difficult; her father was abusive, and she had to care for a mother with Alzheimers for 13 years. The biggest challenge of her life came when her brother, Rudy, with whom she had lived for 68 years, died from cancer in 2010. Having hardly known a life without him, Elisabeth fell into a deep depression. Seeing a psychiatrist helped her a great deal, and she realized she had become so used to caring for others, that wasn’t accustomed to only caring for herself. Her brother had always told her she needed to love herself more, and she has been working on that since his death.
Elisabeth is in good health, but last summer had a knee replacement, which left her unable to to walk for a period of time. ““I realized for the first time in my life, the first first time in my old age, that I was vulnerable.” It was a wake up call, after a life of never asking for help, to realise that even she couldn’t do everything on her own. She is working on being more ok with accepting help from others. Sometimes Elisabeth feels lonely, being the last of her family to survive, but she is proud of the person she is today. She’s proud of how hard she’s worked and how compassionate she is capable of being.