By Isabel Pedersen
“We were thrilled that the American bombers overhead meant the end of the war was near. On the other hand, those bombs they were dropping were landing on us.” Laszlo Biro’s comment from the labor camp in Austria reflected the reality. In 1944 when he was 15, Laszlo and his parents were moved by the Germans from their native Hungary to Vienna.
At the end of the war, they returned home where Laszlo continued his education, graduating from Kossuth University with an M.D. He finished a specialization in dermatology before the 1956 Hungarian uprising. Then he got himself across the border and came to America. A nine-month comprehensive course and an internship at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn enabled him to be relicensed in this country. Winning a New York University three-year fellowship for a residency which paid a then munificent $3,000 a year was followed by a preceptorship at Bellevue Hospital.
There was an added advantage to the $3,000 and to having been at NYU. There was a cute medical secretary there to whom he wangled an introduction. Their first date was to a movie, “War and Peace,” which turned out fortunately to be three hours long. It must not have been long enough since they married in 1961.
Dolores’ first love was the piano so she became a music major at Newton High School in Queens. Upon deciding that her piano skills were inadequate, she settled for playing the clarinet in the school orchestra. Her courses also included typing which enabled her to get a job as a medical secretary at NYU’s downtown branch. Taking NYU courses at night after work resulted, after a lot of effort, in a degree. The rest of her working life was in the OB/GYN Department at Bellevue Hospital.
Moving to Brooklyn after their 1961 marriage, Dolores became a busy mother of four. Busy also was Laszlo who, in addition to a thriving practice in dermatology, served as a Clinical Professor at the State University of New York in Brooklyn. And there they stayed until they joined us at Plymouth Harbor.
The Biros’ other home, on Fire Island, is still in the family because their children and their eight grandchildren love it. Two of their daughters live in Westport, CT, one in Brooklyn, and their son David has taken over his father’s practice and office in Brooklyn. If you want a frightening tale, ask the Biros about their son’s year at Oxford. Or you can read about it in David’s book, “One Hundred Days,” which is in our library. At Plymouth Harbor, Laszlo’s fondness for chess and Dolores’ for the piano plus volunteer opportunities should keep them busy.