The Life of my Mom, Gina
We are from Central Europe, the part that was the Austrian Empire in the 19th century, under the then Emperor, Franz Joseph – from the families of Liebowitz and Krausmann. My Mom’s Mother married Milo Lukas, and my Mom was then born Jirinka Lukasova, in what was then the country of Czechoslovakia. Her name: Jirinka, translates to: Gina, in English, but the literal translation is the name of my Mom’s favorite flower, the Carnation.
Born in what was then Czechoslovakia, now the Czech Republic, Gina became the first woman in that country to graduate with an MBA. After World War II, she became an associate at the Academy for Arts and Sciences, and worked on one of the first Computers that was able to do single-entry accounting. Later, she became an Internal Auditor for the Social Services Department of the Government.
Opposed to the Communist rule of Czechoslovakia at the time, Gina refused to join the Communist Party, and as punishment was fired from her position, and forced to work as a scrub-woman, cleaning the stairs in apartment and office buildings.
Later, she was forced from that position as well, and made to work as a coal-shoveler in a boiler room. She stood her ground, refused to join the Communists, and suffered greatly as a result.
In 1969, following the Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia in August the previous year, 1968, Gina took her only Son, Victor, then 14 years old, and escaped across the border to Austria.
With nothing but the clothes on their backs, a few slices of bread and two eggs in Victor’s coat pockets, she took her Son to freedom, so he would have a chance to grow up free.
Speaking seven languages fluently, Gina soon found work in Vienna, Austria, at the United Nations. A few months later, she was granted a “Special Czech Refugee” status by the United States Consulate.
Gina was a widow, and raised her Son by herself, as a single mother, at a time when such women were looked upon as somehow flawed. But she was strong, and never faltered. She was highly intelligent, resourceful, and full of life and confidence.
Gina was an incredibly dedicated mother. In 1965, Gina’s son Victor was in a devastating auto accident which confined him to the Hospital for two years, and Gina cared for him tirelessly and selflessly.
Even as recently as a few weeks before she died, she always loved her son, and was willing to help him each day, to listen, and to offer guidance, regardless of how sick she was.
She loved her son more than her own life, and to her last breath gave all of herself for him. Her last message to him – on his voice mail the night before she died – said how she loved him, and how she was grateful for all that he was doing to help her in her time of sickness.
Gina is survived by her only son Victor, who will continue to write, to compose music, and to live – in honor of Gina, to give her the legacy for which she sacrificed so much.
Victor loves his mother very much, and will be eternally grateful for everything his mother did for him, and gave to him.