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Talking with Angels

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Talking with Angels
  quotations
  Gitta's notebooks
  Lili's notebooks
  from Budaliget to Budapest
  Morgen
Hanna Dallos
  
Joseph Kreutzer

Gitta Mallasz
  
Lili Strausz

the witnesses
 

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  Talking with angels

Historical background

Four young Hungarians (Gitta Mallasz, Lili Strausz, Hanna Dallos and her husband, Joseph Kreutzer) received unique teachings over a 17 months period during WW2. According to them, the teachings were originating from an inner master or an angel. Gitta Mallasz had some Catholic upbringing, but the others, all three with Jewish origin, didn’t have any specific religious upbringing.  Hanna Dallos and Gitta Mallasz were graphic designers, Joseph designed furniture, and Lili was a movement therapist. None of these professions inclined  them to mysticism.

This challenging time urged them to raise questions about the biggest issues. The Horthy era brought anti-Semitic laws in the 1930’s, and forced labour became mandatory for young Jews in 1939. But the “Final Solution”, demanded by Hitler in 1942, was refused by Horthy. Mass deportations lead by Eichmann started only in March 1944 when Hungary was invaded by Germany. 440.000 Jews were sent to extermination camps, mainly to Auschwitz, between the 15th of May 1944 and the 9th of July 1944, when Admiral Miklos Horthy decided to stop deportations. Thereafter 230.000 Jews remained in the country, half of these survived thanks to his decision.

In 1943 Hanna and Joseph rented a house in Budaliget, close to the capital, where all four of them met regularly to try and recover some serenity. They raised questions about the meaning of life, had long discussions and wrote down their thoughts. On the 25th of June 1943, Gitta was reading her answers out loud, when Hanna suddenly warned her: “It is not I who will speak to you.” (page 21). This is how the first of a series of 88 weekly teachings - Talking with Angels - began  (Dialogues from now on).

Only the first 40 Dialogues were in Budaliget, because after Germany invaded Hungary on the 19th of March 1944, the four friends thought it would be safer in Budapest, where the Jewish persecution had not yet begun. Joseph and Hanna decided to move to Pest into the flat of Hanna’s parents who had already fled from Hungary. Despite all this, Joseph was deported on the 3rd of June 1944 and he never came back.

While trying to save her friends from the ghetto, Gitta was approached by one of her friends, a Catholic priest, Father Klinda. He proposed that Gitta should take charge of a factory for making military clothes, to aid in the cause of saving Jewish lives. She accepted, as long as Lili and Hanna would be on the list. The factory was set up in former Katalin (Catherine) College, in one of Buda’s residential sections. The three friends moved in together in the middle of June 1944. Gitta stayed in a wood house in the garden, this is where the last dialogues took place.

The Hungarian Nazis were suspicious of the Katalin factory, and after close monitoring they raided it on the 2nd of December 1944. All of the workers but 13 managed to run away. Among them, Hanna and Lili decided to surrender themselves, to save Gitta’s life. They were convinced that only Gitta would be able to share the spiritual teachings conveyed by the Dialogues. Hanna and Lili were deported to Ravensbrück. Only one out of the deported women survived: Eva Langley-Danos. In her “Prison on wheels” memoir, she reports Hanna and Lili’s long agony in a crowded railway carriage during their unending transfer between two camps. Joseph died in a camp in Hungary at about the same time as his wife. Gitta stayed alone with the small black covered notebooks. After spending fifteen years under the Communist  regime, she emigrated to France in 1960, and began  to translate the Dialogues into French. After publishing Dialogues avec l’ange she was engaged with sharing its teachings until the time of her death in 1992.

The protagonists

Who were Hanna, Gitta, Joseph and Lili?

The father of Gitta Mallasz was a general in the Hungarian army. Gitta was an independent person, open to adventures. She became an Olympic swimmer and a national celebrity when she was quite young. Then she considered all the adulation this brought to be empty and thought it wasn’t so good to exercise only her body, so she returned to an artistic career. Hanna Dallos, who she first met in the decorative arts School of Budapest, and who Gitta was in a very close friendship with, helped her to refresh her drawing skills.
Hanna was the deepest thinker, the most sensitive and most receptive of the four of them. She had married to Joseph Kreutzer, her cousin, a reserved man. The three of them worked together in a graphic design studio. Gitta knew Lili Strausz from the time of her swimming days. Lilli was a movement therapist, which was uncommon back then. She was born as an unplanned child into a family with many children. She suffered a great deal as a young child from lack of love, which left it’s mark on her.

And the angels?

At the start of the Dialogues, Hanna just had time to warn Gitta (the only person present) “It is not I who will speak to you”. Gitta recalls this as “It is Hanna’s voice that I hear, but I’m absolutely certain that she is not herself speaking: her voice is serving as a kind of instrument” (1. Dialogue with Gitta). Gitta also said elsewhere, that “Hanna was never in a trance, or in a special state, and she didn’t even close her eyes”. Later in the book, the word “angel” appears more often in Gitta’s explanation text, than in the text itself.

Gitta described angels as our “Self of Light”, referring to their words to her: “You are my exact likeness, only denser” (14. Dialogue with Gitta). It’s easy to recognise while reading the Dialogues, that the teachings targeted a particular person, everybody had their own angel. Lili’s is “the one who helps”, speaking gently, while Gitta’s, “the one who shines” is a lot more severe (33. Dialogue with Gitta).
In Budapest, while the mass deportation of Jews was beginning, instructor angels, according to Gitta Mallasz, gave way to the “choir of angels (...) powerful beings, infinitely distant”.

According to Gitta, the angels knew exactly what was happening in the soul of the four friends. The teachings, followed sometimes by visions, had a healing impact on them. Gitta said, it’s very difficult to describe the angels’ features, because they are the closest creatures to people, but from one moment to another they can vanish in dimensions inaccessible by humans. When Lili asked her angel about the soul, he said: “Everything is body. What for you is ungraspable soul, is for me a thick wall” (18. Dialogue with Lili).

Gitta further explains that a common law of reciprocity binds angels and men. She says that when they heard the horrors of the racial extermination, the four friends were desperate, and the angels also, because their vulnerability could jeopardise the angels’ task.  “For our way has become One. With you we perish - or with you we are purified” (42. Dialogue).

The Dialogues

The form and content of the Dialogues evolved with the events that shook Hungary. At Budaliget, Gitta, Lili and Joseph receive a personalized response to their questions. When the deportations began, and they return to Budapest, the tone changes. No more personal matters, the nature of the language changes, the rhythm becomes more pressing. Whereas at Budaliget, meetings were regularly carried out on Friday at 3:00 p.m., the angels intervene now when they deem it necessary, providing universal teachings.

The Teachings

The themes of the Dialogues are many, and yet the message can be summarised as ‘be one with HIM (Hungarian translation of the ‘Ő’ pronoun that is neither masculine nor feminine and can be identified with God).’ These 88 dialogues that speak of the human, the divine, light, strength and death, which offer a view of the nature of the universe, are not only intended to make the reader think, but also to seek other levels of understanding.

Evoking divine love and starting as a personal teaching for the four friends, these Dialogues conclude with a series of prophetic psalms. In the Apocalypse of the Second World War, in the heart of Europe on fire, they announced the end of an era, but also the birth of a new one. In the Dialogues, the universe is in constant evolution (“the germ is the death of the grain” (25. Dialogue with Lili) ) and “ the human being is called upon to transform” (29. Dialogue with Gitta).

In fact, the Dialogues call their readers to make a personal change - body, mind and soul - inviting them to progress and move towards the good (“Always thirst for the good and the New”, 16. Dialogue with Lili) rather than wanting to fight evil: "Evil is good that is being formed, but is not yet formed” (29. Dialogue with Gitta), while “the new world will  be built only of beauty” (23. Dialogue with Lili).
There are two recurring verbs which are the keystones of the teachings:

-“To ask”: The man has to make the first step - has to call his or her angel, otherwise the angel is not able to give.

- “To give” - without the feel of self-righteousness nor the desire to be rewarded, but with the consciousness to take part freely in the divine.

“The greatest gift given us by the divine is that we may give. In this way, we become - indeed, we are – a part of Ő” (61. Dialogue).

What, really, is this incredible teaching? It’s certainly not a new religion. Gitta Mallasz vehemently denied the role of ‘Guru’. What is striking though, is the universal equanimity of the teachings, some sentences could originate from a Zen monk or a Vedanta teacher. The symbolism of menorah (the seven-branched candelabrum from the Jewish tradition) keeps coming up during the whole teachings. Finally, there are numerous references to the Christianity. For example, the meetings were at 3pm on Fridays - the hour of Jesus’ death. Also, several teachings take place at Christian holidays - at Christmas, at Easter, at Whitsun, at the day of St Michael – and make explicit reference to the corresponding biblical event. Jesus is often referred to, mainly in the last teachings, when the hour of sacrifice is getting close.

According to Gitta, the Dialogues are “practical guidance in this transformational time”. This is a text with messianic accents, but one that encourages spiritual awakening, while also extolling the contemplative values of silence and joy.

Editions

The Dialogues were first published in the French language, before being published in their original language, Hungarian, and translated into 18 languages.

It was first published in English in a short edition in 1979 by Watkins Publishing, followed by a complete edition by Daimon Verlag in 1988 under the title Talking with Angels.

There are two Hungarian Editions:
- Mallász Gitta: Az angyal válaszol, Typofot Gmk, Budapest, 1989.
- Mallász Gitta (lejegyezte): Az angyal válaszol, Fekete Sas Kiadó, Budapest, 2005.

The book has been translated into German, Dutch, English, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Brazilian, Portugese, Swedish, Norwegian, Catalan, Russian, Ukrainian, (the Russian and Ukrainian translation are the work of the Soviet dissident Leonid Pliouchtch and his wife, Tanya), Romanian, Slovenian, Basque, Polish and Danish languages.

The readers

The book has reached the whole world and its audience exceeded the usual circles of reading for a book of this nature. Among the first readers were violinist Yehudi Menuhin, and the French writer Pierre Emmanuel. Spanish guitarist Narciso Yepes took part translating the Spanish edition. Various personalities, many of them artists, like Juliette Binoche, Francoise Hardy, Ludmila Mikaël in France, have described it as an important influence in their private lives. Michel Cressole, critic at the French newspaper Libération, commented in 1990 after reading: “This is the radical aesthetic manifesto!” Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, the famous American psychiatrist, has “read it and re-read it, without ever getting tired with it.”

Bibliography

- Langley-Dános, Eva (2000). Prison on wheels. From Ravensbrück to Burgau. Switzerland: Daimon Verlag..