Bio: Budrsch, Mathilda (Comes to America to Wed. - 1960)


Contact: Dolores Mohr Kenyon



Surnames: Budrsch, Szoljar, Johnson, Klapatauskas


----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI.) August 11, 1960


Budrsch, Mathilda (Marriage - August 1960)


Mathilda Comes from Behind Iron Curtain to Marry her Brother-in-law in County


Mathilda Budrsch, 66, who lost her husband 15 years ago, has come from behind the Iron Curtain and is now at the home of her brother-in-law, whom she plans to marry this month.


Ignatz Szoljar, of Willard the brother-in-law, was born in old Austria-Hungary in 1887, came to America in 1903 as a coal miner.  Later he married Mathilda’s oldest sister, Annie who died five and one-half years ago.


Following World War I, in which Rumania fought with the Allies against Austria-Hungary and Germany, the land of their birth was transferred to Rumania and is now a province of that nation.  In World War II, Rumania was overrun by Communists who have had control of the land and its people to the present time. 


Mathilda, who was raised on a farm, has spent most of her life tilling the soil, caring for sheep, doing housework, working in gardens and fields.  She has known hardship and suffering.  During World War I she assisted as a nurse in caring for wounded Allied soldiers.


In World War II, with the Russians in control, she felt the pangs of hunger and the rule of Communists. Although there was practically no fighting on Rumanian soil in World War II, the people lived under strict orders, insufficient food and without freedom.


At the death of her husband in 1945, she longed to come to America, which she knew to be "a land of the free and a haven for the oppressed."  It was a long, long pull.  She prayed daily that she might some day escape, but borderlines were always well guarded, and death or imprisonment was a chance for any trying to escape the country.


Eighteen months ago Szoljar decided to visit Rumania and do everything he could to bring Mathilda back with him.  Working through the state department, the department of immigration, and Congressman Lester Johnson of Black River Falls, Szoljar was granted passport.  After nine days in Bucharest he was granted - permission to travel to Oravich to see his sister-in-law, Mathilda Budrsch.  He was constantly under the watchful eye of Communist police.  He was informed at first that he must leave in nine days, but was granted an additional 30 days.


During this time Szoljar was trying to get permission to bring Mathilda back with him to America, but he could not work that fast.  When his visa was about to end, Szoljar and Mathilda bade one another "Good-bye".  He promised her that he would not give up until he had received permission for her to come to America.


After more than a year of waiting, they found things working in their favor.  American leaders in Washington and Rumania cooperated, and finally word came that Mathilda had been granted a permanent visa.


She took a plane from Rumania, May 11; May 12 she was in New York, and on May 13, she was in Minneapolis, Minn.


"It was a lot of work," said Ignatz, "but it was worth all the time and money to know that Mathilda is now a free woman."


Now, this man and woman, who knew each other as children in Austria-Hungary, both having lost their life partners, are now planning to be married and enjoy each others companionship.  They both love America, they have both seen and heard so much of Communist atrocities and despotism, that they are proud to live under the protection of the Stars and Stripes in America.


Mathilda has visited the Clark County courthouse and registered herself as immigrant.


After their marriage, the Szoljars will live in a home recently purchased in the Town of Hendren, a mile southwest of Willard, formerly owned by Mike Klapatauskas, Sr.


The date of the wedding has not been set, but it is planned for sometime later this month.



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