My Blog – In Memory

The “Open Arms” Conversion Project is dedicated

In Memory of

Lilly (née Kallos) and Alexander Enten z”l

candle-Converted-02-4 Lili Enten

     The Program was generously donated by Lilly (nee Kallos) and Alexander Enten as a  contribution to the perpetuity of the State of Israel and in loving memory of their families who perished in the Shoah

Lilly Enten was born to Henrick and Elsa Kallos on 3rd of October 1918 in Gyor, Hungary, one month before the end of World War I.  Lilly’s father came from humble beginnings, living in a poor neighborhood with a dirt floor in his home.  He rose to become of the city’s pre-eminent lawyers representing the elite and the Benedictine Order.  Her mother Elsa was a refined woman.  Lilly had a sister named Magda.  In addition to running a prosperous law firm, Henrick also performed a lot of community and charitable work, something Lilly would continue with throughout her life.  She supported a number of charities and was active with the National Council of Women.

Lilly was lovingly spoiled by her father, and was deeply affected by the his untimely death in the mid 1930’s.  His exalted position in the community allowed him a funeral parade through the center of town.

Lilly excelled in rowing and swimming having learned and practiced on Lake Balloton where she eventually met her first husband.  At the time, Lilly was a liberal religious Jew, and her family would joke that to satisfy her curiosity she would have to marry a Rabbi.  During the year of mourning for her father, Lilly said Kaddish during the year of mourning.

Deportation to the horrors of Auschwitz followed and she watched her mother Elsa, her sister Magda and her 8-year old niece Eva be sent by Josef Mengele to their deaths while she was assigned hard labour.

After the war, Lilly was totally alone. Her entire family had perished.  When she tracked down her husband, she found that he had a new partner and they formally  divorced.

Having made the decision to escape Communist Hungary she was placed in the hands of human traffickers and was caught on the border and jailed. Not deterred she successfully tried again. I am unsure why she ended up in Australia and more exactly in Tasmania but it was most likely due to her trying to get to the furthest place away from Europe. After nursing in Tasmania she came to Victoria and met my Great Uncle Shanyi (Alexander). They married on 21st February 1951.

Alexander Shanyi Enten was born in 1905 in Erzsebet just outside Budapest, Hungary to Lajos and Josephine Enten.  He was one of 12 children. He was a charming man who enjoyed crosswords, playing the piano, socialising and playing bridge. His family pooled their resources and sent him to England to study baking where he remained during the Second World War. At the close of the war, he was sent to Australia and the United States to sell baking equipment.

After marrying, Lilly and Shanyi they moved to a new home in a Bentleigh where the road had not been sealed. He worked selling baking equipment and she proudly worked in the Premier’s office in Spring St. Melbourne where she thrived professionally as well as socially. Wilma St Bentleigh became a secure home where she formed close bonds with her neighbours who became her extended family. Unfortunately her and Shanyi decided not to have children, a decision she would later regret.

Together  they travelled to Europe and North America as well as around Australia, something she would continue after his passing. In her 50s with her husband’s health failing Lilly learned to drive. Apparently Shanyi bribed the driving instructor to skip the reverse parking section of the driving test. She never learned to park and when arriving to her destination her car was always some distance away where she could enter forward in to a parking spot.

Shanyi passed away on 10th January 1980 at the age of 75 from heart disease. Lilly maintained her daily 1600 metre swims and continued working at the Premier’s office and travel overseas. Having dodged bowel cancer she then had to endure open heart surgery and hip surgery and even back then, thought she had passed her ‘time on this earth.’ After each of these trials she would attend rehab and return to her former good health. During the last decade, after a series of strokes, her health deteriorated and she suffered from isolation and constant pain until she died at the age of 96 on 2nd July 2015.

Overall she was an amazing lady who suffered the horrors of Auschwitz losing her entire family. She was able to come to a new country, learn a foreign language and culture, prosper, build a new life and be very successful . She will be remembered as one with a terrific sense of humour, outspoken and strongly opinionated to the end.

Lilly was always a supporter of Israel and Jewish charities. Upon her passing she donated over 3 million dollars, the vast majority of her estate to JNF and UIA. By doing this she was able to contribute to the land of the Jewish people, something that was vitally important to her.

Submitted by Peter Enten