Guest Post: Beth Alexander
Battling for my children on foreign soil in a foreign community - alone - without any family here is challenging, to say the least.
My parents thankfully came to visit this June and as much as they came to see me and support me, they were of course so much looking forward to seeing their beloved grandsons, Sammy and Benji again. They don't want to see museums or galleries - my visits with the children are what they so eagerly wait for and these precious days are always the highlight of their trips.
The boys saw them on my Tuesday visit - June 17th and were ecstatic! They ran into their arms delightedly and clung to them the entire visit. 'Bobby! Zaidy!' they kept exclaiming, scrambling onto their knees and throwing their arms around them! We had one more brilliant day together on Sunday 22nd June when we went boating along the Danube in the dazzling sunshine. Sammy and Benji's little faces beamed with excitement and pure delight. None of us will ever forget that precious day. My parents have watched our memories published on youtube over a hundred times so far with tears, a combination of anguish and joy in their eyes.
Just as we prepared for the next visit - my dad bought little fishing rods for them since the twins were so fascinated by the fish in the water and my mum was all geared up to cook up another delicious feast, the father dropped the bombshell. He had 'spontaneously' decided to take the children away on a week's holiday and the remainder of visits during my parents' stay were cancelled. I was informed by phone on Tuesday afternoon by the visiting centre and this was later confirmed by email by the Tuesday handover lady.
The kindergarten doesn't break up until the end of July and it must be very unusual for a doctor to suddenly take a week off work without giving notice to his boss and staff in the hospital. However, there was absolutely nothing we could do about the painful news.
Denying contact is a familiar pattern. My visits are regularly cancelled and Mr Schlesinger also ensured that the paternal grandfather - his own father - was also denied access to his grandchildren. In 2011, just after he was awarded sole custody, he forced me to sign a declaration in court banning me from allowing all further contact between the twins and their grandfather during my visits with the threat of losing my own precious visits if I refused.
This week, through his actions, he also prevented my doting parents from seeing their grandchildren.
This means the only grandparent with whom the children have contact is their paternal grandmother, Tamar: the same woman who fought for ten years in the courts to deny her ex husband all contact with his own children, Michael and his sister Tina. Tamar: The same woman who was an accomplice in trying to have me committed to a mental hospital on fabricated grounds and the same woman who didn't even apply for visitation to Sammy and Benji until 12 months after her son was evicted and could only have supervised access to the twins. Once she did, I immediately granted her request because I felt it is so important for the children to have family in their lives.
While my parents were always kind and generous to us during our short-lived marriage, Mr Schlesinger repaid them by taking them to court in Vienna and attempting to sue them for 15,000 Euros. He had to pay rent for me and the children while they lived with me and tried to extort that money from my parents who had flown over to Vienna to support me in 2010. Of course his case couldn't hold up and the court rejected his outrageous claim.
Children need role models to teach them love, trust, tolerance and cooperation in order to become decent, caring and sensitive adults.
Just what lessons will Sammy and Benji learn from the example set by their father?