Memories, Reflections, Stories


memorial IMG_2836


For a  musical tribute we suggest viewing the  performance by Kalotaszegi románok – Zalai Táncegyüttes

Elang kolotaszegi s 

James Lang’s introductory speech to the Memorial Event:

We are gathered this morning to celebrate the life of Emery Lang

To sum up the life of a man who lived to 93 years of age, whose parents bridged

the 19th century, who survived the holocaust and who came to America with only a

few dollars and even fewer words in English,

To tell Emery’s story with all its twists and turns could merit a Hollywood production.

We are here because Emery touched us or grabbed us by the arm! Any line or bureaucratic 

red tape had to be cut; had to come from the mouth of a local and not a map. My father was hardware, solid state, just like an ipad he had no moving or loose parts; he was direct and live.

But he is gone and that is almost inconceivable for a man who was so present! His attitude was that of a youngster in mind, spirit and body. Ageing or becoming redundant was not part of his vocabulary. Emery is gone and we are here today to take note of the cruel absence that surrounds us but also to celebrate and cherish the wonderful contributions that he made during his life.

I will now give the word (and the mike) o family members and to anyone who has a story to share.

I will then conclude the ceremony with a poem and a moment of silence.

Thank you. 



Madelaine Lang remembering Emery.

EMERY LANG was a born sportsman. As a young boy he played soccer with the other kids living on the farm and since they had no shoes, he went barefoot too. He made a rag ball until finally his father bought him a real soccer ball. Going to school was a real challenge; he skipped classes and rather played ball with a few kids. Growing up and moving into the higher grades he entered the Junior League at a younger age than the others.

 By the time he graduated from high school the war started and he got into a labor camp. He carried his shot put with him and after a day’s work, when others were tired and resting; he went into the field and threw the shot to keep his muscles strong. For that everybody respected him and the cook in the camp’s kitchen gave him double portions.

When the war ended he was helping rehabilitate the youngsters, who had survived without parents. He taught them calisthenics in the refugee camps, before leaving his homeland and eventually arriving in America. Here he joined a soccer team but they were such beginners, he had no patients to struggle with them – instead at the advice of his best friend, he became a partner in his business.

During the years that he was married and raised a family he taught his sons to be active in swimming and athletics, in addition to having to do their schoolwork. It was only by chance that Emery started an import business with Italy and there on the Arno River he tried out a single skull, rowing for the first time in his life. The American businessman coming to buy shoes in Florence found him happily rowing on the Arno.

It was a given when he retired that he would seriously take up sculling – this time in Sarasota, FL. He could not talk enough of the beauty of this sport, being alone on the water in full control gliding past the houses on the bank. He became very good and entered some races, including International regattas in Hungary as well as in Canada. At age 90 he made the front page of the Miami Herald as the oldest rower. Meanwhile the Ergometer, the best rowing machine, became very popular and he used it on his pool deck every morning until his last weeks.

We all admire and value his enthusiasm of this sport that gave many young people – both young and old the inspiration to follow him.



Mireille Lang, Matti and Oscar read a poem from Louis Aragon:

J’arrive où je suis étranger.

Rien n’est précaire comme vivre
Rien comme être n’est passager
C’est un peu fondre comme le givre
Et pour le vent être léger
J’arrive où je suis étranger
Un jour tu passes la frontière
D’où viens-tu mais où vas-tu donc
Demain qu’importe et qu’importe hier
Le coeur change avec le chardon
Tout est sans rime ni pardon
Passe ton doigt là sur ta tempe
Touche l’enfance de tes yeux
Mieux vaut laisser basses les lampes
La nuit plus longtemps nous va mieux
C’est le grand jour qui se fait vieux
Les arbres sont beaux en automne
Mais l’enfant qu’est-il devenu
Je me regarde et je m’étonne
De ce voyageur inconnu
De son visage et ses pieds nus
Peu a peu tu te fais silence
Mais pas assez vite pourtant
Pour ne sentir ta dissemblance
Et sur le toi-même d’antan
Tomber la poussière du temps
C’est long vieillir au bout du compte
Le sable en fuit entre nos doigts
C’est comme une eau froide qui monte
C’est comme une honte qui croît
Un cuir à crier qu’on corroie
C’est long d’être un homme une chose
C’est long de renoncer à tout
Et sens-tu les métamorphoses
Qui se font au-dedans de nous
Lentement plier nos genoux
Ô mer amère ô mer profonde
Quelle est l’heure de tes marées
Combien faut-il d’années-secondes
À l’homme pour l’homme abjurer
Pourquoi pourquoi ces simagrées
Rien n’est précaire comme vivre
Rien comme être n’est passager
C’est un peu fondre comme le givre
Et pour le vent être léger
J’arrive où je suis étranger.

Louis Aragon.



James Lang’s concluding poem dedicated to Emery,

Dear Father,

What was it with you, and rowing that was so special?

Was it the movement, to slide, to pull

To move graciously over a

Body of water 

Breathing, exhaling, breathing

As the world passed

Under your oars

You could defy memories of 

A deadly history

Your Parents, your Sisters

Deprived of their lives

Exterminated while You, survived.

Perhaps on your boat, father, you relived the minefield

of Dangers      that you dribbled past with fearless agility

But on your boat you also carried a new prosperity

That nobody really knows how you concocted…

Could it be you were born with an overmastering love

of life?  You created your style, you created your own waves,

Touching, impressing, seducing people with your passion

That only you could make wielding an axe an art

As you split giant logs in Tappan before my stupefied eyes!

Then there are pictures showing you throwing a shot-put in a

Work Camp in Slovakia -from where did that drive come from, from where?

If we close our eyes we can see that iron sphere sailing, ignoring gravity

Aloft the shot put carried all of Imre’s woes

Before leaving its mark on the soil

Many times whether during the war or as a young man

Trying to make it on your own

You could have succumbed to pressure

But you rowed and rowed

Those overflowing emotions

Becoming lighter with each stroke.

What is amazing  is

Emery used nothing but Will 

You spearheaded forward

Be it in the shoe business 

Partnered with your beloved wife Madelaine

You forged a New, exciting life, landing in the Empire State Builiding

You, a little Hungarian immigrant from Nyrgulai!

But despite these achievements, there was always that restless impatience in you

Your past haunted you

And only rowing could put it to rest.

Today, with Time your absence is felt

I try to hear the ripple of the waves from your oars

But there is only a cruel silence

I want you to know, somehow, if you are listening,

Offering me your hand in approval,

that I will try to stand, 

For your principals

That I hope my children will stand for your principals

Because you are a hero of adversity

A permanent beacon shining on life’s wonders.



Dear Magdi,

In the name of my whole family accept our sincere, deep compassion. We were stunned by the news, I needed a few days to recover. For me Imre will always remain that impish, smiling youthful man whom I became acquainted with in Budapest in 1978.

Take care of yourself, I promise we won’t leave you alone, even from here far away;

I will write, telephone, I am with you,

With lots of love

Judith, Agi, Jozsi, Matyi, Gabi


Hi Roger,
I heard about Emery departure with great sorrow.
I loved him a lot.
How are you and all the family overcoming this.
At least he was strong and well almost till the very end.
Send my and our regards to all the family, specially your mother.
I am attaching a picture withEmery on the left, long time ago, 1962,
In Eli Netzer and Atara’s wedding in Kibbutz Dalia,
With me as a young boy, Avri, my late  brother,
My father  and my  mother Tova (who’s birthday us today 4/1/1924),
Shoshana and Amnon Yaar and Aunt and Uncle whom I can not
Remember their name.
Eli gave me this picture on our daughter’s (Anat) wedding.

Yours, with Love,
יובל אלפן

תמונת נישואין אלי נצר


 I am so saddened to read the news. For us, your father was a unique person who inspired all in very many ways with his ever optimistic view of life and human beings, as well as his sheer, natural love of all that was around him.

I have great memories of him, enjoying the afternoons at your Tappan home, taking me to a Cosmos football game, with Pele, Baeckenbauer, Krojf (don’t know the right spelling) and others … I can still remember his ardent lust for that game, and all many kinds of sports, yet, what I really found amazing in him, was his true and utmost love of beauty.

I never encountered any man in my life who showed such a total interest in beauty. He was always attracted to anything in which he could find the “right” combination of form, colors and texture. I can still hear his voice uttering with his wonderful Hungarian accent – “Look, this is soooo beautiful”.

Although I have not met him so very many times, It was good to know that he was there, living his life on distant shores, but no one can linger here forever, I suppose.

It is great to know he survived the most terrible of all wars, and was at home in Hungary, in the US, and in Italy, of course.

I know he liked Israel too, and remember his visits quite fondly.

Overall, I would raise a good glass of Chianti – or rather Tokaji – and thank for his long, healthy and inspiring life.

Please, convey my and my family’s deepest feelings to your mother and brothers.

Wish you all the best,



Dear James,

My tears are running, don`t know why

no – I know, I liked him also! very much..

strongest memory was your birthday in budapest,

he was so so strong,he  seemed to be a giant,a rock of life energy,

I will give his painting of a castle he gave to me a special place in our new house .

happy to have this strong personal memory of him.

lass dich bitte umarmen,.. ich bin bei dir.

ich kann nicht so viel schreiben, bin wirklich traurig.

I´ll try a second time,.

please give your mother my sympathy , give Peter a hug from me , and to all family condolence



Hello,  Peter.  I tried to contact you on Skype but I imagine you’re en route to Florida if you’re not already there.  I’m really sorry to hear about your father.  He seemed indomitable so while I know his health had been a challenge, it still seems hard to believe he has died.  I wish we could be there for you in some way.  I’ll be thinking about you and your family.  With love, Marie


Dear Peter,
Sad news indeed! He always seemed like he could go forever – an inspiration in that regard alone.
I have many great memories of him from his rowing, his drawings (I am fortunate to have a couple), to his tales of war-time Europe.
Mostly, though. I remember him as a very proud father.
Give my best to your mom for me. Malcolm


Dear Madelaine, Peter, James, and Mireille,

 I am so sorry for the loss of Imre.  He was such an amazing and strong man, with so many interests in music, art and the world around him.

 We will all miss him.

 With love from, Liz


Dear Peter,

I am very saddened by your loss and I so wish we lived closer. Ingalisa and I met your dad only a couple of years ago in Miami when you put us up at your place. Alas, it was, then, Inga’s mom’s turn to go and we left after only a couple of days. We had dinner with him and Madeline, though,  and  we were enormously charmed by the man. He was so alive and interesting and lovely. I guess it is a small consolation to be able to say that he was a great dad to you and your brothers. From what you told me about him and your relationship to him, I gather that he really was that. No small achievement for him and I guess that when the pain will be blunted a little by time all these important memories will be a nice portable treasure chest for you. It is also nice to know that he was active and “well” until the end. May we all have his strength and fate.



Dear Peter,

Sad news indeed but he had a good and loving life. Astrid and I would like to send you, your brothers and mother all our condolences.

Let us know whether there is anything we can do. Is there a public funeral?




Mike letter for babbo-1


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