“In Tomas' own words:
My name is Tomas Oszlár. I am 64 years old, born in Frederikssund in 1959 to Hungarian parents who fled to Denmark in 1957 after spending a year in various refugee camps in Yugoslavia, where they got married in order to settle in the same country. I was born on Svanholm Estate, where my mother worked as a maid and my father as a handyman, after estate owner Sandberg brought them from the Dronningmølle refugee camp.
When I was one year old, we moved to Odense after my father's job. About six months later, we moved in with some Hungarian friends who were also refugees from Yugoslavia and lived in Rødovre. My parents became Danish citizens in 1967, and the following year they received amnesty from the Hungarian state, and we visited their parents and siblings for the first time in 12.5 years. We drove down there in our first car. I was nine years old. There, I saw how my grandfather and grandmother lived, in a clay-plastered house with a clay-stamped floor that my grandfather had built himself, with no electricity, running water or telephone. The house was quite nice, painted with yellow ocher and a white base. It was like traveling back over 100 years in time. The whole experience was fantastically instructive for a 9-year-old boy, and I loved being there.
My mother got very sick while we were in Hungary and was admitted to the hospital. She was dehydrated and lost 25 kg, which is a lot for a small woman of 156 cm. She was brought back to Denmark by ambulance plane and admitted to Rigshospitalet. A week later, my father and I drove back home alone from Hungary. My mother had two more breakdowns in 1970 and 1972, and both times she was hospitalized for several months. Back then, it was called a nervous breakdown, but today we know it was PTSD, probably caused by her being imprisoned for 3 years without trial in Soviet-occupied Hungary and having seen things she shouldn't have. I found out about this four days before she died.
I started my working life at the age of 15 when I could no longer stand going to school because I was so bored. Since then, I have had a varied career that has spanned 49 years. I have had different jobs as a laborer, a driver for Irma (a Danish supermarket chain), a warehouse worker, and a taxi driver for five years. Unfortunately, the last year as a taxi driver was very traumatizing when I was attacked three times - once in my own home and twice while working at night.
One of the attacks was particularly traumatic when I was held hostage for two hours by a drug addict with a knife to my throat. Another night, I drove a very drunk man who paid me and went into a large house in Hellerup without turning on the lights. I followed him and found him at the other end of the house. As I approached the living room, I saw a woman with a large knife sticking out of her chest and a large black pool of blood around her. Blood is black in moonlight. After the traumatic experience, I was interviewed by the police, stayed away from work for two weeks, and ended up quitting after a few months.
After various odd jobs, I ended up on a course that allowed me to make use of my knowledge of computers. I got a well-paid job and at the same time became a father and got married. My son became the most important thing in my life, which made me accept being exposed to psychological abuse in my marriage for 6 and half years, until my wife found someone else and I moved out.
I lost my well-paid job, but found another job that paid better, but was not as interesting. Three years later, I was fired when my role in the company as the EBD man was played out. I found a good job as a field technician, but lost it in 2009 due to the financial crisis of 2008.
The fourth and most recent time I started over was in November 2018, when my father had just passed away the month before in October under duress from the job center. My father had just died.
My mother became more and more demented and spent her last 6 months in a nursing home, slowly fading away, trapped in the trauma her mind had endured. However, she could still recognize me and her grandchild until she peacefully passed away in April 2021.
I have started my work life from scratch three times before, and the fourth time was eight years ago, when 3 and a half years ago I ended up burning out and getting sick with stress, depression, anxiety and PTSD.
On April 25th, I am finally starting with a psychiatrist, where the first priority is my work ability or lack thereof. My hope is to be awarded an early retirement pension, so I can finally have peace and quiet in my life. I am burnt out and long for peace and a slightly better income than welfare for singles.
So there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.”
It is my hope that the pictures help Tomas a little on his journey. It has been an extremely rewarding and inspiring experience to witness Tomas' openness about his life, which gives me the courage to also be open about mine, and I hope that others can benefit from it, in these times where many of us may have difficulty expressing how we feel.
Thank you and good luck Tomas! 🙏🏿😊♥️