Sidharta Books & Print

Sidharta Books & Print

Book Publishers

From the Land Beyond the Forest

John Irtel

From the Land Beyond the Forest
Previously Published Book

John Irtel was born in Transylvania, a land rich in traditions and populated by resilient people. Somewhat naively, John absconds in 1947 to escape the ravages of change in postwar Eastern Europe. He lives in Austria as a refugee and tries to immigrate to Britain but is unsuccessful. In 1949, he teams up with a Viennese friend to cross the snowbound alps on foot, only to be caught in Italy as an illegal visitor and interned on the Island of Lipari, Italy, under harsh conditions.

John somehow secures a passage to Australia, arriving destitute and penniless. He is sent to South Australia where he embarks with the determination and enthusiasm of youth upon a course of learning to become a successful citizen of his new country.

Eventually, John joins the Commonwealth Public Service where he works in various departments until his early retirement in 1979 due to ill health. He then develops a bush block into a hobby farm in New South Wales, providing him with great pleasure, renewed hope and a purpose to survive until further health impairment brings his former activities to a halt.

John returns to his homeland as a visitor through these years, and to see once again the beloved family he left behind …


'But now all our Saxon people have gone from Transylvania and a new face has risen. The church bells can no longer be heard. The Transylvanian Saxons no longer walk the footpaths their forefathers built.

I remember clearly my escape, my wanderings and life as a stateless person. I did not plan my life's path. When I embarked on my life's journey, I stood at the brink of my destiny like an albatross floating in the air, to be taken to a far-flung shore to dwell'