A few more or less fun facts about me:
- Born in the early 1970s on the way from Paris to Vienna.
- The 1970s were the era of Bruno Kreisky1 as social democratic chancellor of Austria. During that decade, the famous assimilated and agnostic Jew publicly quarreled with Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal of poor Eastern European descent, over the way to deal with former Nazis, supporting Israel and Jewish identity in general.2
- I grew up speaking almost exclusively Hungarian in Vienna. I had to learn proper Austrian German at the age of 6, upon entering school in Vienna.
- My mother doesn’t like to cook. (She is a terrible cook indeed – sorry Mami.) My father, however, does not cook at all, except, evidently, barbecuing. (Instead, he likes to row real Venetian Gondolas, whether in Venice or Vienna.)
- Why does my name sound so Italian? Well, because it is. It is my father’s and was his father’s, although he was born next to Sziget in Romania, not in Italy.
- I was a teenager in 1986, the year the Waldheim affair shook the country, when a former intelligence officer in the Wehrmacht, member of the NSDAP3 and the SA4 became president of Austria.
- On April 26th, 1986, the day of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, we were told we shouldn’t go out in the rain anymore, nor chew on grass. No more foraging for mushrooms in the Vienna Woods, as Sigmund Freud loved to do with his family.
- The famous Vincennes University, the University of Paris VIII – of Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Alain Badiou, Jean Narboni and many others – was where I studied History of Art, Philosophy, and Film for more than a decade!
- In the late nineties, I worked, lived and loved in Le Zephyr, a rather well-rated cozy and bohemian French restaurant/bistro in Paris’ 20th arrondissement. (The friends and owners, a Jewish-Berber couple of Algerian immigrants, have unfortunately sold the place since, and the operation has been turned into a regular café. The charming art deco atmosphere is still there though.)
- On 9/11 at 9 o’clock, I was eating French toast when I saw the smoking towers from a rooftop in Crown Heights.
- Later, I lived in Israel for seven years with my family in Bnei-Brak, a suburb of Tel-Aviv, where we ran a photo studio (and even made portraits of the Chernobyler Rabbi5).
- Right now, we are living and working in Vienna, relying heavily on the city’s many wonderful coffeehouses. As they say about Viennese coffeehouses: There’s one you’d use as your office, another one as your living room and still another that serves as your salon. And then there’s the one you’d never go to.
- “Why Vienna?” asked me the magazine WINA for its 2017 June edition. Have a look at my short answer, if only to see the excellent picture Ronnie Niedermeyer took of me at Café Korb.
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- Austria’s most notable post-World-War-II politician. The social democrat leader established the small country on the world stage. See Wikipedia on Bruno Kreisky for more.
- Kreisky–Peter–Wiesenthal affair (Wikipedia)
- Germany’s Nazi Party (1920-1945)
- The SA (German for Sturmabteilung, literally “Storm Detachment”) was the original paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party (NSDAP).