14 January 2015

In Nazi Captivity – Chapter from a Memoir in Progress


The Margit Boulevard Military Barracks was the headquarters of an Arrow Cross detachment of the Hungarian military police operating in collaboration with the Gestapo.
 
You talk. We write”, said the wrestler. I stood there as the three men who arrested me sat with pen and pencil in hand staring at me. My heart was pounding. My mind was racing. I felt a bit wobbly. I couldn’t think of what to say so I remained silent and tried to compose my thoughts. After a few seconds the three men looked at me and at one another with apparent surprise.
 
The girlish-face rose, stepped toward me and said in a flat tone: “Mr Horváth, you got nabbed. Your friends are arrested also. Almost the whole crazy group got caught. We need you to piece together all the details. You assist us so that we can help you. Think for a few minutes. We will leave you here alone.” All three left the room. I took a deep breath and tried to calm myself. Our group had rehearsed a scenario a few times during the previous weeks: invent a scaled-down story made up of events, places and persons already known to the interrogators.
 
The three returned a few minutes later parading before me two fellow students who, obviously under duress, told me my only hope was to cooperate with the interrogators. The students were taken away, and then the three men each argued that, for my own sake, I had better talk. I decided my best option was to start talking as much as I could while telling them nothing of value that they didn’t already know.
 
The interrogators soon grew impatient with my longwinded story and started asking specific questions. They kept throwing names at me, and with each name they asked three questions. “When did I last see him? When will I meet him next? Where was he at this time?” With some I was directly involved in underground operations. Others I had met and worked with in the past. Some I had only heard about, while some were wholly unfamiliar to me. The main targets within the student movement included Emil Majsay. Within the higher political sphere they asked if I knew the hiding places of the leaders of the Smallholders’ Party: Zoltán Tildy, Ferenc Nagy, Béla Varga and others. I could sense they were on a fishing expedition, and I dodged as many questions as I felt possible. It didn’t work for long.
 
They took me to another room and began resorting to a whole gamut of physical and psychological cruelties including electrical shocks. Worst of all they tied my wrists to my ankles, hung me on a rod, and repeatedly struck the soles of my feet. The pain was excruciating. I decided to make up a story.
 
I was taken back into the interrogation room. Again Emil Majsay was one of the main targets of inquiry. I claimed that I was scheduled to meet him one afternoon on Kálvin Square, but I could not remember the exact day and hour without deciphering my pocket calendar. They produced my calendar pages for the week, and I pretended that a disguised entry on Saturday at 2:00 pm was a coded reminder to meet Majsay. The gamble worked. I was led out of the military prison headquarters building and across the courtyard to the actual prison building. I was so weak and in such pain that I could hardly stand up. The soles of my feet felt as if they were on fire. Every step was excruciatingly painful.
 
The guards took me to cell 305, a large room at the northeast end of the third floor of the military prison. About twenty-five men were lying on strawsacks in rows on both sides of the room. My escort assigned a sack to me around the middle of the left side next to a man who had quite obviously been ruthlessly tortured. After the guards left the room he spoke in a hoarse and barely audible voice: “The Russians will be here in a few days. If you can hold on they may arrive in time to rescue you. I’m dying. It’s too late for me, but if you play for time you may survive. String them along. They will keep you alive as long as they think they can get useful information from you.” I managed to mutter a weak “Thank you”, and then lost consciousness.
 
When I awoke, it was daylight, and the pain in my feet and head was severe. My cellmates told me that I had missed breakfast. They had tried to wake me, but I did not respond either to words or shaking. I looked for my neighbour, but his straw sack was empty. I was told that he was a young communist who had died during the night.
 
The interrogation resumed just before noon and lasted until evening. My lie about meeting Majsay the following day had bought a reprieve from the beatings. The guards took me back to the prison headquarters building into a room where my three captors were waiting for me. Occasionally two of them left so that only one interrogated me. Other people repeatedly came or were brought into the room and sat behind me. I couldn’t see them. My head and feet were throbbing with pain. I was forced to look into a bright fluorescent light. I had to look at hundreds of photographs and to answer a variety of questions. How could Christians talk with communists? Who was Jewish or communist in the student resistance? Who were the communists in the Peasant Federation? How could they find István Csicsery- Rónay and others? What did I know about the disguised ambulance limousine?
 
I gave lengthy evasive answers. I talked about my formative years in the Boy Scouts and in Soli Deo Gloria. I talked about the famous Hungarian authors, poets and politicians who had helped to shape my world view. I noticed that they got angry whenever I mentioned the name of Count Pál Teleki, the former Prime Minister and national leader of the Boy Scouts.
 
The next morning I was shaved and given a bigger pair of shoes. I noticed that my coat had been mended. Repeatedly the interrogators rehearsed with me what I was to do and say at the anticipated rendezvous with Emil Majsay. I went through the motions dreading what was going to happen when Majsay didnt show up. The decoy ambulance limousine took us to Kálvin Square. Four people sat with me, and one pointed at another civilian automobile in escort. They kept showing me the loaded guns in their pockets to remind me I should not think of any careless move while waiting for Majsay on the street. We waited at Kálvin Square for twenty-five minutes. Then I was taken back to the limousine, and the convoy returned to the prison.
 
The interrogators didn’t hide their anger. On the way back in the limousine they gave me an ultimatum: “If you want to save your skin you had better lead us to the hiding place of Majsay!” Not knowing where his hideout was, I told them that obviously he had disappeared after learning about the arrest of his colleagues. I complimented their remarkable skill in catching all of us, not that it did me any good. When we arrived back at the military barracks they let loose their fury.
 
Over the next nine days I was subjected to endless torture. My feet swelled to more than twice their usual size, yet every day I was forced to walk from my cell on the third floor of the prison down the stairs and across the courtyard to the prison headquarters building where the interrogations were held, then back again to the cell in the evening. Sometimes, during the questioning my body would lapse into unconsciousness only to be awakened by a swift kick or punch or a bucket of cold water. At one point Sándor Kiss was brought into my room. He had obviously been through torture as vicious as mine. We looked sadly into each other’s eyes without saying a word. Another time, Tibor Zimányi, the leader of our explosives division, was brought in. He, too, was in a wretched state. By that stage though I was already delirious and did not recognise him. I remember at the time thinking he was Majsay, although I later found out that Majsay was never captured.
 
Occasionally a young Arrow Cross officer of aristocratic demeanour would come in to observe the interrogation. He wore a spotless, perfectly pressed uniform and a white silk scarf, and always carried white gloves. Usually he remained silent, but in the afternoon of 24 December he lost patience with the interrogators, accusing them of incompetence. He put on his white gloves, picked up the electrical rod, and said: “I’ll show you how to make him tell the truth!”
 
He asked me question after question and sent electrical shocks through my body after each of my answers. He could not understand how a Christian could work with the communists. I tried to explain that it had been clear for a long time that Germany had no chance of winning the war. Our movement had tried to save Hungary from becoming a battlefield of the war. We were trying to put our country in a stronger position for dealing with the Soviets who would occupy Hungary after the war. I began to recite my favourite poem by Endre Ady:
 
Presently it is the orgy of the inferior epigones,
But we ready the stones and tools,
Because we shall bring forth the grand design
To build the magnificent, and beautiful, and human, and Magyar.
 
By now the aristocratic Arrow Cross officer was seething with rage. He told me that I had better start praying. I began: “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name”. This only made him angrier. “You Satan!” he uttered as he put down the rod and stormed out of the room. I later learned that his name was Bálint Balassa and that he was an accomplished musician. After the war ended, both Cardinal Mindszenty and I were instrumental in saving him from the gallows. There was so much hatred in the air that it was poisoning the atmosphere. I wanted to demonstrate that it is better to forgive and move forward. Nevertheless, a few years later, after the communist takeover of the government, he was executed.
 
Late that afternoon as the guards were escorting me back to my cell, I fell as I attempted to climb onto the first step of the staircase. The guards immediately lifted me up by the arms, pushed me forward, and tried to force me again to step up, but I hadn’t the strength. The prison warden who was standing nearby said: “Why do you bother? Just put him in one of these empty cells here. The gallows are waiting for him. He’ll be executed in the morning.” I was delirious with pain, but those words startled me back into consciousness.
 
One of the guards replied: “We have our orders to return him to his cell.” They again tried to force me to take a step. I couldn’t so they dragged me by my armpits up several flights of stairs. After what seemed like an eternity we arrived to the third floor where they dragged me down to the end of the corridor to cell 305. There I collapsed onto my straw sack and mercifully lost consciousness.
 
That night I repeatedly awoke in extreme agony only to fall back into unconsciousness. At one point I sensed that someone was at my side. István B. Rácz was delivering our evening oatmeal. I couldn’t eat. It was forbidden for the prisoners to talk, but István in a low voice quickly told me that the following morning, Christmas Day, our group of twelve would be tried and convicted.
 
Sándor Kiss, Tibor Zimányi and I would be executed immediately, but they might execute as many as six of us. He asked if I had any final words, and I began to quote the poem by Ady. István put his hand on my shoulder, squeezed it, and looked into my eyes. Even in the dim light I could see the tears in his eyes. He could barely speak. “Goodbye”, he whispered in a choking voice and moved on to serve the next prisoner. I soon drifted back into unconsciousness.
 
Around midnight I awoke to the sound of gunfire. Although I was only half awake, I listened for a few minutes and realised that the gunfire was getting closer. I wondered if it could be the Soviets. Had they finally reached Budapest? Could I dare to hope that I would be saved at the last minute? Eventually the gunfire ceased, and again I drifted into unconsciousness.
 
Early the next morning all the prisoners, approximately eighty of us, were called into the courtyard. I got there with the help of my colleagues. The guards called out our names, and we were directed into waiting buses. What was going on? We had heard that the Szálasi government had abandoned Budapest and moved west to Sopron near the Austrian border. I wondered if they were taking us to Sopron to be tried. When the buses pulled out of the prison they didn’t turn west toward Sopron. Instead they turned east toward the Danube. Less than ten minutes later we arrived at the Main Street (Fő utca) Prison. This had been the main Gestapo prison ever since the German invasion of Hungary the previous March. When our Arrow Cross guards turned us over to German officers with their swastika arm bands, I actually felt a sense of relief. Perhaps there would be no trial. Perhaps there was still a chance that I would survive.
 
We learned eventually that the previous day the Soviets had surrounded Budapest, and the Battle of Budapest had begun on the outskirts of the city. At midnight one Soviet battalion had briefly made its way to Széna Square next to the military prison where we were held. The Soviets quickly withdrew, but the prison officers and our guards were ordered to the front lines.
 
Within hours of our arrival at the Main Street Prison I was taken to an SS captain for interrogation. He quickly perused my documents, noticed the Nostra Warehouse Corporation, and asked in German if I had worked at the Gyáli Road depot for the Swedish Red Cross and other international agencies. I told him that I had. He found that interesting and pursued that line of questioning. Over the course of the questioning, three prisoners – two men and a woman – were brought in one at a time to see if we recognised each other. I didn’t know any of them. After about an hour the captain received a brief telephone call. He jumped up, clicked his heels, grabbed his overcoat and rushed out of the room. After another hour one of his deputies took me to a prison cell. I quickly detected that these prisoners were some of the “big fish”. Among others there were two French prisoners of war, one Polish officer, and Count Miklós Esterházy, a member of the Upper House of the Hungarian Parliament.
 
I was questioned repeatedly during our stay at the prison, and it became obvious that the Gestapo knew little about our case. I made up a story saying that on the day of my arrest I had foolishly rushed out of the office on an urgent mission without my identification papers. I pleaded that I was needed back at my job at Nostra. My colleagues made up similar stories, but to no avail.
 
Several days or perhaps a week after our arrival about forty or fifty of us, including all twelve members of the Free Life Student Independence Movement, were lined up in pairs and transferred out of the Main Street Prison. Guarded on both sides by German SS soldiers, we were marched several blocks down to the ice-covered Széchenyi Chain Bridge. There we were forced to cross to the Pest side of the Danube in the midst of intermittent artillery fire. Dead bodies, defunct vehicles and bomb craters were scattered on the bridge. My wretched feet could hardly carry me, but I had to keep up or be shot immediately. Seeing my predicament, István Kemény, a medical student who had a lame leg, offered me his walking stick, and I gratefully accepted it.
 
I was limping along in stride while leaning on the stick when the end of the stick got stuck in an ice cleft. It did not yield, so I tried with a jerk to free it. The handle separated from the stick, and there in my hand was a two-foot long dagger! I was sure that I would be shot immediately, but at that very moment two artillery mines exploded on our side of the bridge. The guards shouted: “Take cover! Lie down!”
 
In this mêlée I managed to free the butt of the walking stick and reassemble it with the handle, and miraculously I was saved. As we resumed our march, another member of our column was not so lucky. He slipped through a bomb crater and fell into the icy Danube.
 
After crossing the bridge we turned north and continued on in the direction of the Parliament building, our destination. After a very tense and painful hour-long journey we were within 20 or 30 feet of the entrance to the south wing of the Parliament when we noticed a Soviet artillery airplane approaching from the northeast.
 
Run”, shouted the guards.
 
I could not run. Everyone else was safely inside the building or under the large portico next to the entrance when I reached the side of the building. I pressed my back against the wall trying to make myself as flat as possible. Just then a black curtain of bullets fell less than six inches in front of my shoes. Miraculously I was not hit.
 
As the airplane flew away, I moved as fast as I could into the building and joined my fellow prisoners. We were led into the basement of the northern or upper house end of the building. This became our home for the next ten or twelve days. Our guards were a German Gestapo unit commanded by a reserve officer captain. The captain, who was a doctor in civilian life, kept shouting with a high-pitched voice that we Hungarians were ungrateful to the Germans. His unit was charged with investigating and meting out sentences, but fortunately our records were in disarray and nothing came of it.
 
In the Parliament basement we were able to rest and recover our health to a degree. The twelve Student Independence Movement members were finally able to talk to one another. Those of us who were in the worst shape physically received much needed aid in the form of medicine, blankets and food from aid agencies. I was one of the beneficiaries of these goods brought by the Reverend András Hamza, my brother-in-law. He was quietly amazed to see me as it had been reported that I had been executed on Christmas Day. My wife and my mother learned through him that I was still alive. Some of us knew that he was one of us, and that he had taken a prominent role in some of our underground projects. Those who knew this were especially impressed with his courage.
 
From around 10 January, we were transferred to several different locations in rapid succession. From the Parliament we were loaded into trucks and taken to the Budapest City Hall. The official in charge claimed that he was not prepared to accept us. We were kept in a corridor during the negotiations. One member of our group of approximately forty managed to escape. Upon discovering the escape, our furious guards lined us up and planned to shoot us on the spot in retaliation. The guards were pointing the guns and waiting for the command to shoot when a higher-ranking officer appeared with orders to transport us to the Arrow Cross National Headquarters at 60 Andrássy Street.
 
Our stay at that infamous address lasted only one night and was uneventful for the most part. The following day we were transferred again, back across the Danube to the Gestapo Headquarters at the Interior Ministry in the Buda Castle. This is where the highest-ranking security officers in the city were located, and we feared that they might deal with us summarily. Fortunately for us, they had only a blurred vision of our identity and were busy interrogating prisoners of war just captured on the front line. We stayed for one very long, very cold night sitting in chairs underneath broken windows in the basement of the building. Our biggest fear was that we might freeze to death.
 
The next morning we were loaded onto four trucks to be taken back across the Danube to our next destination, the Markó Street Prison. While speeding through Tabán district towards Erzsébet Bridge, our convoy was attacked by Russian airplanes spreading machine-gun volleys. The drivers halted the trucks, and we all ran into the surrounding buildings. I ran up to the second floor of the Szarvas Restaurant and hoped to escape, but I could not devise a reasonably safe plan. Had I been caught I would have been shot on sight. I decided that there was safety in numbers. However, several members of the Student Independence Movement hid together in a basement and managed to find their escape.
 
The rest of us returned to the trucks. Again we crossed the Danube and headed north to the Markó Street Prison. When we arrived the warden refused to accept us saying that our guards didn’t have the proper papers. An argument ensued. It seemed that no one wanted us. The warden sought instruction from the Ministry of Justice, and learned that it had moved to Sopron. Finally it was decided that we should be moved to the local Arrow Cross headquarters.
 
An Arrow Cross brigade came to escort us to their headquarters at 2 St István Boulevard, next to the destroyed Margit Bridge. They were filled with bravado and acted and sounded as fearful as their reputation. A young teenager, walking next to me holding a submachine gun, explained to me that it took only a tiny turn of the disc to finish a case. He bragged that it was their responsibility to perform all functions of an emergency government, and that our lives were in their hands.
 
When we arrived at the headquarters we were immediately subjected to a screening in the courtyard. One of the staffers, scrutinising my curly black beard and the slope of my forehead, speculated that I was a Jew. He dropped the hypothesis only after further physical examination. Next we were led into the basement. Later Sándor Kiss, Zoltán Nyeste and I were taken back to the courtyard for further questioning. One of the Arrow Cross officers recognised Zoltán. They had been grammar school classmates. The two carried on a short private conversation, and I believe it was to our advantage.
 
For some reason I was soon taken up to the administration room on the next floor, where the local director questioned me for about half an hour asking why I wasn’t fighting. I told him that my arrest was a mistake and I was needed for important work back at Nostra. Three or four Arrow Cross goons came in with two prisoners: Lajos Kabók and Sándor Karácsony, senior officials of the Social Democrats. The goons were in a jubilant mood because they had caught two important people, and they immediately began viciously beating them. The local Arrow Cross chief told them to wait until he questioned them. After a few minutes of questioning, the brutal beatings resumed. The two were quite bloody by the time the chief ordered that I be taken back to the rest of my group in the dark basement. We learned later that the two Social Democrats were taken that night to the bank of the Danube and shot.
 
Around midnight a high-ranking official came into the dark basement and ordered a few people including me to stand in the light of an electric bulb. Among the group was an older man named Stumpf who was there with his son. The official looked us over and held a flashlight into our faces one by one. When he pointed the flashlight into the face of the elder Stumpf, he paused and asked him a question. Stumpf initially refused to talk. After further prodding, he responded, and the fatal recognition followed.
 
I know you!” replied the high official. “Eight years ago I spoke about National Socialism in Csepel, and you ridiculed my speech and caused the audience to laugh at me. Now we will see who has the last laugh.” It was very dark, but the few of us there, including his son, saw the guards grab him and drag him away. We learned later that he, too, was taken to the bank of the Danube and killed immediately.
 
The next day Sándor Kiss, Zoltán Nyeste and I were among forty men taken to the Vörösmarty Street Scottish Mission School, which had been turned into a base for punishment squads. When we arrived we were summoned to join the fight and told that those who excelled and survived would be forgiven, but any hesitation would be punished with instant death. Zoltán Nyeste somehow managed to sneak away. He found his way to the nearby home of his fiancée where he hid in the coal bin of her building for a few days until the Pest side of the city was liberated from the Germans.
 
The rest of us were taken into a large room that looked like a gymnasium where approximately one hundred fifty men, guarded by Arrow Cross troopers, were held. I wanted to check out the conditions and learn more about the place, so I grabbed two buckets and asked a guard to take me to the water tap. He guided me into the basement where after two turns along the semi-dark corridors we spotted the only functioning water tap in the building. I filled the buckets, carried them upstairs, and distributed their contents. Then I set out alone to repeat the process. I placed one of the buckets under the tap, and stood up to look around.
 
Suddenly a man appeared from around the corner. I had to rub my eyes in disbelief. It was the writer, Gyula Gombos, dressed in a purple morning gown and carrying a bucket. I knew him well as he was active in the resistance movement. He was astonished that I was alive, and I was astonished that he was there standing before me. Quickly he signalled that I should follow him toward his hiding place. I answered that I wanted to go back for Sándor Kiss. I filled the bucket, went back upstairs, and summoned Sándor who grabbed a bucket and followed me back to the basement. Gyula led us through an elaborate labyrinth to his hiding place in the basement of another house. There, to our amazement, Sándor and I found Zoltán Tildy and our old friend, the Rev. Albert Bereczky, who were both hiding there along with their wives and other family members. It was the hiding place of some of the most sought-after leaders of the resistance movement.
 
There was no time to celebrate our escape. Our friends shared what little food they had as we exchanged vital information. For the sake of minimising risk, Sándor and I had to be whisked out of that place as soon as possible. In short order we were shaved and clothed for departure. Both Zoltán Tildy and Albert Bereczky were Reformed Church ministers. They gave us their clerical suits, ecclesiastical mantles and Bibles. Thus disguised we walked through the rubble and corpse- filled frozen streets of Budapest pretending to bury the dead. We had decided to hide out at Reverend Bereczky’s church, the Pozsonyi Street Hungarian Reformed church on the north side of the city next to the Danube bank.
 
The church was a hiding place for Jews and members of the resistance movement. To reduce the danger of discovery by Arrow Cross search squads, we decided to hide in the separate church tower rather than the church building, even though the tower was riddled with holes from repeated artillery strikes. There we sheltered until 17 January 1945, the date that the Soviet troops finally cleared the east side of the Danube of the Germans. As the Nazis retreated to Buda, they blew up the two remaining bridges connecting the two sides of the city. The Battle of Budapest raged on in Buda until the Germans finally retreated into western Hungary on 13 February 1945.
 
All twelve of the members of the Free Life Student Independence Movement who were captured by the Arrow Cross survived the experience. The twelve were: Sándor Kiss, Tibor Zimányi, Zoltán Nyeste, Pál Jónás, István B. Rácz, Imre Lajos, István Fiam, István Kristó-Nagy, Miklós Takácsi, Ernő Bálint, Ottó Elek and myself.
 
I went home to my wife and our little daughter. The fighting continued in western Hungary, but the outcome of the war was no longer in doubt. The country was raped in every possible way. We had to rebuild, and there was no time to waste. People immediately started the work of clearing the rubble, burying the dead, and rebuilding what they could while trying to keep from freezing and starving in that bitterly cold winter.
 
The next two years were two of the most difficult, most exciting, most inspiring, and ultimately most heartbreaking of my life as we Hungarians rebuilt our devastated country and struggled to establish a free and democratic society in the midst of a ruthless dictatorial occupation by the Soviets.
 
Postscript: Sándor Kiss and I, plus five others of the twelve Free Life Student Independence Movement members who were arrested by the Nazis, were later arrested by the Communists and imprisoned for many years.
 
 
 
 
Editor’s Notes

 
Albert Bereczky (1893–1966) was a Calvinist bishop and politician active in the anti-Nazi resistance. He became head of the Hungarian Calvinist Church in 1948, but resigned during the 1956 Revolution.
 
István B. Rácz (1923–1994) became one of the junior MPs on behalf of the National Smallholders’ Party after the War in 1945, but was arrested by the communists on false charges in 1948, and sentenced to work in the Recsk prison camp. He participated in the 1956 Revolution, and emigrated to the US, where he was active in emigré politics and taught sociology.
 
István Csicsery-Rónay (1917–2011) was member of the leadership of the underground Hungarian Independence Movement during the Second World War. In 1945–47 he was Head of the Foreign Affairs Department of the National Smallholders’ Party. In 1947 he was arrested and imprisoned by the Communists. In 1949 he emigrated to the US, where he founded Occidental Press (1953), an important emigré publishing venture. After 1990 he was again active in political and cultural life in Hungary.
 
Rev. András Hamza (1920–83), the brother-in-law of János Horváth, survived the War. He emigrated to the US, served Hungarian communities there as a Reformed pastor, and was an organiser of emigré cultural life.
 
Sándor Kiss (1918–1982), Calvinist minister, was a leader of the Free Life Student Independence Movement. He remained active in politics, and was imprisoned for “Conspiracy against the Republic”. He was active in the 1956 Revolution, and emigrated to the US, where he remained prominent in religious and community life.
 
Emil Majsay was the head of the Free Life Student Organisation at the Arts Faculty of Pázmány Péter University in 1944. He was not caught by the Gestapo, and withdrew from politics after 1945.
 
Ferenc Nagy (1903–1979) became Prime Minister in October 1945. In June 1947, after his political contacts were arrested in the show trial called “Conspiracy against the Republic”,he asked for political asylum in the US and lived there until his death.
 
Zoltán Nyeste (1922–2001) Calvinist minister, remained active in politics after 1945. In 1949 he was arrested by the Communists, and sent to forced labour in the Recsk camp, together with B. Rácz, Zimányi and others. From 1956 he lived in the US, where he was active in emigré public life.
 
Zoltán Tildy (1889–1961) became Prime Minister in 1945, President of the Republic in 1946. He was removed under the Communist takeover in 1948 and was under house arrest until 1956. In the same year, during the Revolution, he was Minisiter  of State in the Imre Nagy government. He was condemned to six years in prison in 1958, but released in 1959 on account of his feeble health.
 
Msg. Béla Varga (1903–1995) was chief organiser of the network hiding Polish, Jewish and Allied civilian and military refugees during WW II. In 1945 he became Speaker of the Parliament. In late 1947 he asked for political asylum in the US. In 1990, he returned to Hungary.
 
Tibor Zimányi (1922–2007) studied engineering, and was prominent in the student resistance movement. In 1945–47 he worked in the new democratic police. In 1948 he was arrested and sent to the Recsk forced labour camp. He was active during the 1956 Revolution, and was imprisoned in 1957. After 1990 as an MP he was active in demanding moral and financial compensation for former political prisoners.
 


(
As told to Linda Horváth. The previous chapter was printed in our November 2014 issue.)



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