A version of the article was published as the Featured Op Ed Article: “The Serb Houdini – The King of the Pickpockets”, Britić, The British Serb Magazine, Sunday, September 17, 2014
BORRA MIT ZWEI “R”
There was not much that brightened your days in post war Austria in 1949. For hapless Yugoslav refugees, such as my family, the future, if in fact there was to be one was uncertain. Food was rationed, fuel scarce, days damp and cold. Scarce pleasures were to be relished and became indelible memories.
One day billboards and posters went up all over the small town where we refugees had been billeted. The circus was coming to Bregenz, the provincial capital of the Vorarlberg Province some miles away. The featured performer was the magician Borra who spelled his name “mit zwei ‘R’”, with two “R’s”.
Borra, would you believe was a Serb, a magician, once a rising star whose fancy cabaret performances my Mom and Dad had attended in Belgrade before the war. Even then he was hailed as the next Houdini, the next Blackstone, an act not to be missed. Somehow my parents managed to come up with the money to have us travel and attend a packed performance. I do not recall much about it, after all I was 9 years old; I might well have dozed off midway. But I do remember that my Grandmother, Mom, Dad and my older brother extolled and breathlessly relived the experience for weeks thereafter. Ah, yes I remember that well.
This week I was searching on eBay for a birthday present for someone who happens to be a collector of vintage posters when I chanced upon some for sale that triggered my memory: