Bela (Béla) Gosztola
|First name||Bela (Béla)|
|Country of Origin||SOPRON, HUNGARY (Austro-Hungarian Empire)|
|Date of Birth||4/17/2009|
|Year of Arrival in Australia||1949|
|Submitted by||Attila Urmenyhazi|
Dr. Bela Gosztola (1909-1988)
Hungarian Army medical officer, public service medical practitioner & surgeon, District Medical Officer in Australian administered Territory of Papua-New Guinea.
Béla Gosztola was born on 17 April 1909 in Hungary when the country was part of the dual monarchy of Austro-Hungarian Empire, more precisely in the town of Felszopor, Sopron county in the North-West, near the Austrian border. He grew up in the city of Sopron and completed his secondary education at the Lutheran college there. He continued his studies at the Budapest Pázmány Péter University’s Faculty of Medical Science and obtained his medical degree in 1935.
In his years as a medical student, to acquire hospital-medical practice he served in a faculty coordinated venue, the military sanatorium at Budakeszi near Budapest where he further served seven months following graduation. Béla then worked in the surgery department of the Erzsébet Korház (Elizabeth Hospital) of Sopron as assistant surgeon, occasionally entrusted to carry out surgical operations alone. At the Budapest Polyclinic (Budai Irgalmasrendi Korház) he had prepared himself for the examinations leading to Specialist in Womens Health when he was called in for military service in the Army’s medical corps.
With the outbreak of World War II, when Finland rejected the unacceptable Soviet USSR’s territorial demands, Soviet forces attacked to invade but met fierce resistance by the Finn’s.
Hungary, in solidarity with and support to their ethnic cousins, had sent a military combat company made up entirely of volunteer officers and soldiers. Béla worked as one of the unit’s busy officer-surgeons, receiving high recognition with the Finnish ‘Order of the White Star’ for his grueling and devoted service. From 1942 to the end of WWII he served as lieutenant medical officer in the Hungarian Army eventually receiving the ultimate award, the National Defence Cross, also numerous citations and decorations for high diligence and valour throughout his military-medical career.
Having arranged his immigration to Australia, in February 1949 Béla left Hungary where a communist regime had been established. Heading for Austria he then made his way to Naples to board the migrant ship that would bring him to Australia after more then a month long journey of endurance. Termed officially as a Displaced Person, he arrived in Australia, went to Bonegilla migrant hostel/refugee camp and pursued employment. Handicapped by a total lack of English, he worked in G.M. Holden’s car assembly plant in Melbourne for several years, spending his first two years obligatory assignment as assembly line worker whilst trying to master the English language for pursuit of a professional career.
Béla Gosztola married Livia Illés in 1952 and in 1953 their son Paul was born. As his Hungarian medical qualifications were not recognised by the medical registration board, he decided to follow a medical career in Papua-New Guinea, then administered as an external territory of Australia where there was a severe shortage of medical professionals. His application in 1957 for a position in the Department of Public Health was accepted and he served his first two years in Buin, Bougainville Island.
See Part 11