Hit Me One More Time
22/01 - 15/03/20

Fr | NL


© Patrick Galbats, series "Hit Me One More Time", 2015-2017

Born in the inter-war years to a couple who ran a shop, my grandfather grew up in a period strongly influenced by nationalism. Hungary was still in shock from emerging from the First World War on the losing side, which led to the amputation of two-thirds of its territory. The young Imre Miklos Galbats fled his homeland ahead of the invading Russian army at the end of 1944. Having spent three years in displaced persons’ camps in Germany, my refugee, stateless grandfather met a young French woman who became my grandmother, near Metz in Lorraine. He persuaded her to leave France in 1949 to live and work in Casablanca in Morocco, where he joined her a year later. A few years later, they divorced, and Miklos remarried. He continued to live in Morocco until 1969, when he moved to the outskirts of Avignon in Provence, where he lived for the rest of his life.

I never met Miklos Imre Galbats, but his absence fed my child’s imagination at the time and was the starting point for the work presented in this book. It was through seeking my roots that I was able to explore the country that my expatriate grandfather probably regretted leaving for all his life.
The country that had made him understand the meaning of the words saudade and Heimat. On his Third Reich-issued passport, he had scribbled the words of the Hungarian national anthem in pencil.

Even today, almost seventy-five years after the end of the Second World War, millions of people, from Afghanistan, the Levant and Africa are fleeing endless wars. As the first Schengen-area country encountered by the refugees coming from the East to Western Europe, Hungary responded to their arrival by closing the Balkan route, bringing down a new iron curtain along the border between Hungary and Serbia.

Having grown up at the heart of an open Europe, where national borders have almost ceased to exist, we sometimes forget that this Europe has its limits too. The anti-migrant barrier in southern Hungary is concrete evidence of these limits and it significantly changed my point of view during this work.
This new wall contradicts the image of the great defender of human rights that the European Union likes to give itself. The decision-makers in Brussels were unable to prevent the building of that wall, among others. A dilemma that perfectly illustrates the situation in which European politics finds itself at the moment. Founded on noble principles such as peace, justice, openness and freedom of movement between its different member states, the Union cannot hide its divisions.

Demagogues such as Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister, are setting off down a slippery slope when they legitimise their decisions by talking about our Christian culture, our civilisation and thus our Europe. Such ideas force us to think in black and white and paint a picture of a world where they are not like us and therefore don’t belong here.

These were the thoughts in my mind as I travelled through Hungary, investigating my origins, against a background of a Europe divided by its history.

Patrick Galbats, 2018. Translation: Chris Bourne.


Supported by the National Audiovisual Centre (CNA), Luxembourg and the Ministry of Culture of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg.



Patrick Galbats, «Hit Me One More Time»
Berlin, Peperoni Books Publisher, 2018.
Size: 23 x 19 cm, 156 Pages.
70 Pictures, colour and monochrome,
Hardcover, clothbound with embossed title.
Text records by Patrick Galbats, György Dalos and Joël Le Pavous.
ISBN: 978-3-941249-24-0
Price: EUR 36