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An Incredible Man--Interview
Chenequa Country Club is where 72-year-old Loren lives most of his fall days. Whether on the golf course or tennis courts, it would appear Loren has lived a relaxing and peaceful life for quite some time. But upon hearing his life story, nothing could be further from the truth.
Loren was born in 1938, during the era of World War II, in the city of Buda, Hungary. The Nazi army had taken control over most of Europe, including his country of Hungary.
“My father was forced into the Nazi army and my mother had to care for me and my two older sisters by herself,” he says.
Loren was too young to even remember his dad.
During the war, there were constant allied bomb raids. And day after day, his mother would take her three children to her neighbors’ cellar. During one of these raids, Loren’s house took a direct hit; where his house once was, there was now only a crater.
“Everything I once owned was destroyed. We had nothing. I was saved by my mother and God gave us a pass.”
After his house was destroyed, life for his family and him was a struggle for the next six months. They had nothing to eat and they had to live with neighbors and friends. As the war neared its end, bomb raids became more frequent. And became so bad that Loren and his family had to live in their neighbor’s cellar for seven weeks.
“We didn’t leave the cellar once and didn’t see sunlight for what seemed like years,” he says.
The war in Hungary ended in March of 1945 and the family finally left the cellar.
“There were mountains of dead people everywhere.”
Loren had mixed emotions about his situation. He was thankful to be alive, but upset to have lost everything.
The war had ended and the Russians took over Hungary. Loren and his family now were able to go to the neighboring city of Pest to see if they could live with their Grandparents.
When they arrived, they found the Russians had killed his Grandpa and looted the house. The family had nowhere to go.
Living on the streets for the next six months, life seemed hopeless. At the age of six and a half, Loren only knew a cruel world. His house and city were in ruins. He was starving and dirt poor. Russians killed his grandfather. His father was killed fighting in the war. He had only been acquainted with death and suffering.
But things became better and schools eventually reopened. He was taught all of the basic subjects and shop.
“Every boy was taught shop because they were most likely the oldest male of the house due to casualties of the war.”
Loren went to school six days a week and ten months every year. He enjoyed playing soccer and tennis growing up and graduated high school at 18, excelling at these sports and his education. While he was waiting to be admitted into a university, the Hungarian revolution erupted.
“Things turned bloody and nasty.”
Except now, it was between the Russians and the Freedom Fighters of Hungary. Loren joined the rebellion siding with the Freedom Fighters; however, the penalties for this were unforgivable to the Russians and anyone caught fighting with the rebellion would be subject to hanging.
After evaluating what he might be getting himself into, he and a friend decided to flee the county. They eventually made it to the border where Loren and his friend were caught by the Russians and put into a death camp. They were going to be killed for attempt to flee the country; therefore, he and his friend decided to try to escape. If caught, they would be shot on the spot. With help from a local man, they escaped to Vieana, Austria, where Loren was then air lifted to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, as a refugee.
He came to America with nothing but the clothes on his back. He knew nobody and no English. The one attribute Loren had: the will to better his life.
Loren stayed at the camp until a sponsor family came and found him a job and a place to live. He taught himself English and later was accepted to Princeton on a Hungarian Refugee Scholarship. He played on the tennis and soccer teams.
After graduating, Loren worked a steady job for 13 years before starting his own company. His company became the largest packaging industry for cosmetics across the U.S. In 1999 Loren sold his company and retired at the beginning of the new millennium. He was 62-years-old.
“I lived the true American Dream. If you are willing to work, you can get ahead and be somebody.”
Whether it is shown through his incredible life story or simply his aspiration to work on his tennis game at Chenequa Country Club, Loren’s willingness to work can be seen anywhere.