While the newlyweds were honeymooning in Austria in July 1934, the vice-premier of Austria was assassinated by Austrian Nazis, a precursor to the beginning of World War II. During World War II, the Nazi-controlled government confiscated the Udvar-Hazy textile warehouse. Because it was not allowed for a man to own a business without joining the communist party, the couple restarted the business under Etel’s name.
During those terrible years of war, the Udvar-Hazys hid many persecuted Jewish and Christian friends, at the same time vowing to leave Europe as soon as possible. They held fast to their dream of being able to raise their sons, Andrew (born in 1941) and Steven (born in 1946) in a place where they could enjoy the blessings of freedom and liberty. Instilling in their sons these precious values, Etel and Erno often spoke of the day when their family would live in the great land of America.
But their escape was not easy. Erno, who had been a Hungarian army officer, spent ten long years painstakingly preparing an escape plan. Finally, in 1958, with only a few pieces of luggage and under the guise of departing for a week’s vacation, the family boarded a plane for Stockholm, Sweden. Leaving all else behind, the little family flew off into the future of their dreams.