22: The Arrival of the Americans
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The Arrival of the Americans
We were mistaken. The world was so thoroughly out of joint that it took time for the
balance to be re-established, even to a slight extent. The clash of arms had died away,
but the effects of propaganda were still potent. Too much injustice had been done, too
many horrors perpetrated and endured, for people to be able to suppress their urge to seek
revenge and to exact punishment. The victors turned a blind eye to the fact that the
Soviets had also committed countless crimes against humanity. By reason of their pact with
Hitler, their partition of Poland, their attack on Finland, their rape of the Baltic
Republics, their war of aggression, their war crimes: Katyn (1),
to cite only one.
In Hungary's case, her 'crime' consisted in having recognized the Soviet Union for what
she was: Hungary's implacable enemy(2). With the collapse
of Poland and later through the unsuccessful German attack on Russia, the Communist menace
drew nearer our borders, enhancing the danger of the whole south-east of Europe. Today
there are few people left throughout the world who see either wisdom or justice in the
measures of the Morgenthau plan, in the insistence on unconditional surrender, in the
decisions of Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam, in the Paris Peace Treaties of 1947, in the
methods of denazification and demilitarization or finally in the trials of the vanquished
by the victors. These measures were dominated by Soviet influence and safeguarded Soviet
interests above all others. That Germans and Japanese should, seven years after the war
ended, be welcomed as allies of the free nations would in 1945 have been regarded as the
ravings of a fevered imagination. I feel no urge to say "I told you so", nor to
express bitterness at the experiences that have been forced upon me. Rather, I feel wonder
and amazement at the vagaries of humanity.
The three American Generals who entered Schloss Hirschberg on May 1st, 1945, the
Commander of the 36th Division of the Seventh Army(3), his
Chief of the General Staff(4) and his Artillery Chief,
impressed me very favourably. They asked to be allowed to meet my wife and they invited us
to tea. The next day they moved on.
In the afternoon, an American Colonel appeared who, his manner courteous and correct,
informed me that General Patch(5), the Commander of the
Seventh Army, wished to meet me and invited me to call at his headquarters. Without
suspicion, I packed my bag for an absence of several days. We travelled via Augsburg to
Göppingen, arriving there at nine o'clock in the evening. I was concerned at keeping
General Patch waiting so long.
The villa outside which our car drew up had small resemblance to an Army Headquarters.
Nor could I understand why I should be kept waiting in the car for a quarter of an hour
before being asked to enter the house. I was taken to a drawing-room where some young
American officers were making themselves at home. When I was asked for my personal papers
and whether I had any money, arms or medicine on me, I decided that the joke had gone too
far, and I demanded that the officer should take me forthwith to General Patch. I was then
told that General Patch was in Paris, that I had to consider myself a prisoner of war and
that I must spend the night where I was. A lieutenant who spoke Hungarian conducted me to
a small room on the first floor, in which the furniture consisted only of a bedstead.
I refused to tolerate this, and after long deliberations I was finally taken to another
villa. There I was taken into a room which contained two beds, one of which was already
occupied. Again I protested and, as apparently there was no other accommodation available,
I declared I should spend the night in the car. As I said this, the occupant of the bed
sat up and said: "Your Serene Highness might perhaps wish to stay. I am Field Marshal
The next day we were both moved to another villa, where we found Field Marshals Leeb(7), Baron Weichs and Rundstedt(8).
I was, therefore, in good company, and at our common meals and during our walks we talked
animatedly. I heard many details about Hitler's methods of warfare and about the war in
Hungary, enough to make one, according to one's temperament, weep with grief or roar with
fury. What was not pleasant was that we were, in a sense, on show. The first invasion was
made by two dozen journalists from Paris; this incident passed with no outstanding display
of tactlessness. After four days, we were all moved to Augsburg, together with the
We went from the frying-pan into the fire. Instead of being housed in a villa, we were
now immured in a labour camp which was guarded by noisy Puerto Ricans. My quarters,
however, two rooms and a kitchen, were clean and tidy. The food was chiefly tinned, and we
were given the freedom to continue our talks while walking in a large meadow.
There is nothing quite like military secrecy. If General Patch had really wanted to
make my acquaintance, he went about fulfilling it in a very unusual way. One morning, a
stranger asked me how I was; I countered by asking with whom I had the honour of speaking.
My interlocutor replied that he was General Patch. He was accompanied by his whole staff.
His tall, slender, military figure impressed me favourably and I should have preferred to
have talked with him privately; I could have dispensed with the ubiquitous photographers.
I was still given no inkling of what the future held for me.
Meanwhile, the camp was gradually filling. Cars and coaches were constantly depositing
new prisoners, including Hermann Göring. He, however, was segregated from the rest. One
day, Ferenc Szálasi arrived; he was later handed over to the Budapest Government, tried
and convicted. He was executed on March 13th, 1946. The Hungarian-speaking American
officer who had been detailed to assist me put me in touch with Colonel Pajtás(9), the Commander of the Crown Guard, who, together with five
NCO's, had succeeded in smuggling the iron chest containing the coronation regalia out of
Hungary. Colonel Pajtás told me that the Americans had placed the locked chest in a place
of safety. The Holy Crown, however, was not in the chest. As before in Hungarian history,
it had been buried in Austrian ground. Later I heard that it also was safely in American
The tidings I received concerning Hungary were horrifying. The looting, rape and
violence that had followed upon the entry of the Red Army into Budapest surpassed the
horrors with which we had grown familiar in reports from Vienna and Berlin. Neither small
girls nor old women were spared. Cases were known of women in Russian uniforms knocking
down men who would not do their bidding. Commando troops with special equipment searched
for gold and other precious metals. In the banks, safes were broken open, and the
contents, whether they belonged to Hungarians, foreigners or even allies, were looted. The
pillage went on for weeks, and banks, business firms and private houses were searched time
and time again. The Jews were treated no better than the rest of the population, who were
picked off the streets(10) and set to work. This was the
fate even of the Minister of Education and of one of the Mayors of Budapest, and they were
freed only after days had passed. In the neighbourhood of Gödöllô the first of the
concentration camps was built, and deportations to the East began in earnest.
I remember May 8th, V.E. Day, which fell during my Augsburg period, as a happy day.
First an NCO brought me a radio message to say that my son Nicholas, together with
Kállay, Leon Blum(11), Schuschnigg(12),
Badoglio's(13) son and a few other former inmates of
Dachau and Mauthausen concentration camps had been liberated by American troops at the
Pragser Wildsee in South Tirol. It was the first news that I had had of my son for seven
months. On the same day, I was allowed a visit to my family, who were still at Hirschberg;
parting with them after a few hours, due to the uncertainty of my further fate, was very
Before long, I was being moved from place to place. I had the pleasure of meeting the
brothers Keresztes-Fischer, whom I had believed to be dead; one of them had for several
years been our best Minister for Home Affairs, the younger had for a long time been the
Chief of my Military Chancellery. The invitation of the Camp Commandant to dinner, at
which my friends were to tell me the rest of the story of their escape, I was unable to
attend, as I was suddenly being flown to the Headquarters of General Eisenhower. I was
prepared for unpleasant surprises, but this time my luck was in. On May 11th, 1945, I was
taken to the delightful little castle of Lesbioles, near Spa, which was provided with
every comfort. The Commandant was a Major of the British Intelligence Service. Not only
were we excellently cared for, but we received many attentions: we could play the piano,
have a game of billiards or chess; there were opportunities for interesting conversations,
especially with Ambassador Franz von Papen. The former German Minister of Food, Darré(14), was also at Lesbioles while I was there; he had fallen
out of favour with Hitler as early as 1942.
Of General Eisenhower we saw nothing. We had no idea why we had been brought to this
place. Three years later, the answer was given us. One of my friends, who now lives in
Belgium, wrote me that he had been invited to Lesbioles. During his visit, the owner of
the castle had told him that Lesbioles had been occupied by the Americans as they
advanced. After they had moved on eastward, he was allowed to return and found everything
in perfect order, except that, to his surprise, he found that in every room, on the
ceilings above the lamps, plaster rosettes had been placed. He had them removed and in
each was found a microphone. It is obvious, therefore, that it was known to the Americans
that I was friendly with von Papen, and that it was hoped that, in discussing various
matters openly, they might be able to find out something interesting. To make the presence
of von Papen less obvious, a third person had been included, quite a clever scheme.
I was assured that I was not a prisoner of war but merely in 'protective custody'. On
Whit Monday, May 21st, our Odyssey continued. As the Headquarters was moved to France, we
had to leave Spa and were taken to the Luxembourg resort Mondorf, some ten miles from the
capital of Luxembourg, where several high-ranking 'war criminals' and prisoners of war
were concentrated. Here comfort was lacking. In spite of my protests, I was taken to a
markedly dirty little hotel. If my old valet had not brought bed-linen and a fur rug, I
should have had to sleep under a medley of garments as the others did. The food was mainly
cold and unpalatable; it made me feel sick. One day, as I was rising to go to my room, I
fainted. The perturbation of the camp doctor and the camp Commandant, who came rushing up,
was so great that I decided to exploit my indisposition. I stayed in bed for two days, and
after that conditions improved materially.
As the guard-towers of the camp were not yet ready, we were not allowed to go for
walks. I was depressed by hearing nothing from my family, especially as I was very worried
about my son's health, after the many months he had spent in a concentration camp. Apart
from that, the news we were receiving was not of a nature to hearten us. The American
papers contained very little about Hungary. Of course, would it have been pleasant to read
detailed accounts of the inhuman behaviour of the Communist soldiery, whose excesses were
on the level of those of the concentration camp guards. The newspapers gave space only to
the latter. The political news soon made it clear that Benes, as in 1918 and 1919, was
trying to act as an omniscient adviser on south European questions, naturally at the
expense of Hungary. He was plainly unaware that the treaty he had concluded with Russia
during the war would be of no use in preventing the transformation of Czechoslovakia into
a 'people's democracy' a few years later.
At this stage, they began to take an interest in me. Of my resistance to Hitlerism, for
which I had had to pay with imprisonment and danger of life, the Allies knew nothing or
pretended to know nothing. From the American newspapers, I gathered that Tito had placed
my name on the list of war criminals, holding me responsible for the atrocities committed
at Ujvidék in 1942. Later I was told that Tito's request for my extradition had been
refused by Britain and the United States of America.
Opposite our 'hotel' at Mondorf, a prison camp was under construction. A three-storied
hotel, surrounded by barbed wire, was reserved for political prisoners and prisoners of
war; among them were Göring, Ribbentrop, Keitel and Dönitz. I was asked if we wished to
enlarge our circle by including one or two of the 'gentlemen across the way'. After a word
with von Papen and Darré, I named Baron Steengracht(15),
the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and Artillery-General
Boetticher(16); these two men did indeed join us on June
25th. The youthful Baron Steengracht had displayed intelligence and courage, and had
apparently been able to circumvent several of the plans of his Chief, Ribbentrop. He told
us many things that confirmed the 'organized disorganization' of the Third Reich, as he
termed it. "The fundamental trait in Hitler's character was mistrust," he told
us, "which led to many sound people being thrust aside while a ready ear was lent to
those who advocated violence or who voiced irresponsible suspicions."
All prisoners at Mondorf, except for our small group, were under the command of the
American Colonel Andrus. Later he became the head of Internal Security in Nuremberg, where
he was not particularly liked by his underlings. He did all he could to get the five of us
in his power, and finally he succeeded. His first act was to order my luggage to be
searched and everything with which I could have hanged or injured myself to be removed.
All my valuables were taken from me, in exchange for receipts. He ordered my valet, who
had been with me for twenty-four years and had never been a soldier, to be moved into the
prison camp. I sent in a written protest, but in vain.
On August 9th, we were moved again, this time to Wiesbaden, after spending the last
night in the Mondorf Palace Hotel. Why? Twenty-five of us were billeted in two villas in
the friendly, peaceful little city. I was assigned to the house of a famous eye
specialist, where I once more had the use of a bathroom. Our meals we ate in common.
During our walks in the garden, I came to know the brother-in-law of the former Crown
Prince and later King Umberto(17) of Italy, Prince Philip
of Hesse(18); Schwerin-Krosigk(19),
the Reich Minister of Finance, Field Marshal Kesselring(20),
Major-General Blaskowitz(21), Grand-Admiral Dönitz and
other high-ranking naval officers. From Prince Philip, who had tragically lost his wife in
a concentration camp, I heard the details of the sufferings of the Mauthausen inmates. He
also told me that my son, after his liberation, had been taken to Capri. Nicholas, he
said, had believed throughout that he was to be executed, but had endured all physical and
psychological torture remarkably well.
Grand-Admiral Dönitz, whom I came to know well, I found an exceedingly interesting
man. He told me details of his short period as head of the state at Flensburg, during
which he had made a last vain attempt to conclude an armistice in the West to enable him
to hold out a little longer in the East. Dönitz also told me of the submarine warfare. I
was amazed to hear that, in the autumn of 1939 to 1940, there had been only thirty to
forty seaworthy U-boats available. The first phase of the U-boat war had been terminated
by the British radar system, and after that the snorkel device had been developed. He told
me that the losses of U-boat personnel had been 25,000 dead out of a total of 40,000.
Dönitz was removed from Wiesbaden after a fairly short time. I was to meet him twice
more. At the request of the other naval officers, I occupied the room his departure had
My first interrogation took place shortly before this, on August 28th, nearly four
months after I had been taken prisoner(22). The pleasant
American major(23) who conducted the interrogation was
especially interested in the importance of Hungary during the war and the part she played,
and also in the details of my arrest by Hitler. I owe it to his kindness that I soon after
received my first letter from my wife since I had left Schloss Hirschberg.
I was taken next to Oberursel, near Frankfurt, a camp which most of the inmates will
remember as detestable. We were a group of fifty, well housed, well cared for, allowed to
play bridge every evening. But, irrespective of person, rank or age, we had to perform
menial tasks, to clean our rooms, for instance. A naval officer and, after he left, a
vice-admiral, in spite of my protests, very kindly insisted on doing my share. On
September 24th, we were moved, again by lorry, to another unknown destination. It proved
to be Nuremberg.
I thought of Dante's famous words, "Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch'entrate",
as we entered the courtyard of the high walled-in five-story penitentiary. The four wings
formed a cross. We were placed, in solitary confinement, in one of the wings.
Although Colonel Andrus had assured us that we were only to be witnesses, three weeks
passed before we were moved to another wing. The cells were no different there, but the
doors were kept open, and in the mornings and afternoons we were allowed to go for
two-hour walks, a pleasant concession in that beautiful autumn of 1945. It was less
pleasant to have to join a huge queue for food, though the Germans arranged that I should
not have to wait. We had to clean our own utensils in enormous tubs, another annoyance to
which one had to grow accustomed. We were at any rate spared one hardship meted out to the
'war criminals', who had to go about shackled to a guard. Nor were our cells lit by
searchlights from dusk till dawn as were theirs. We were given soap, clean linen, razors.
Our washroom, mending room and bathroom also alleviated our situation considerably. We
were at last given postal facilities so that I was able at least to keep in touch with my
Among the witnesses were generals and field marshals, diplomats, cabinet ministers and
deputy secretaries. Small language groups were formed, and chess enthusiasts organized a
tournament. Books were exchanged and lively discussions arose over the news we read in the
American soldiers' paper Stars and Stripes, the dropping of the first atom bomb, for
instance, and the end of the war in the Far East. At that time, elections were being
organized in Hungary which, to the astonishment of the Communists and the all-powerful
Marshal Voroshilov(24), gave an absolute majority to the
Smallholders' Party, for whom all with patriotic leanings voted. That was their response
to the Communist methods of 'liberation', and it clearly revealed the Magyar spirit of
independence. Those circles who had believed in the possibility of a Hungarian democracy
were soon disappointed. By his behaviour, Zoltán Tildy, the President of the
Smallholders' Party, facilitated the Communist domination of the country. When we spoke of
Hungary at Nuremberg, and innumerable questions were asked me about it, I found my German
fellow prisoners full of understanding for the millstone predicament in which we had found
ourselves. Questions concerning Hungarian matters played no part at all in the frequent
interrogations. They only wanted information against Hitler and against the two Nuremberg
prisoners, Ribbentrop and Keitel. When, in November, the American judge handed me a
questionnaire in which to write my answers, he put an unexpected question to me. He asked
whether I did not need the assistance of my son, who was in Rome. My reply was an eager
"Yes". The judge smiled and said, "Well, I will send for him." On
December 1st I had the over whelming joy of embracing my only remaining child. The
American judge left us alone for an hour and a half; after our separation of fourteen
months, and what events those months had seen, we had much to say. Not before this moment
had I known that he had been in solitary confinement in that ill-famed concentration camp
of Mauthausen, over the crematorium and next to the torture chamber, so that night and day
he smelt burning flesh and heard the screams of the tortured. He had expected every day to
be his last, for he had been told that he had been condemned to die by strangulation. One
hundred and fifty people, of whom he was one, had been taken from Mauthausen to the Dachau
concentration camp, then to Villa Bassa, where they had been liberated by American
soldiers of the Fifth Army on May 4th. The leader of the prisoners' convoy, an SS
Hauptsturmfuehrer, was found to have on him an order from Himmler to the effect that all
political prisoners were to be killed lest they should fall into Allied hands. My son
described the fervour with which the newly liberated prisoners had attended a religious
service in a small mountain chapel at which Pastor Niemöller(25)
had preached the sermon and Mgr. Neuhäusler(26) had said
Mass. The spirit of community at that moment had appeared to him a guarantee of a happy
future and a lasting peace, but his hopes were soon shattered. Allied nationals were
segregated from other nationals, and even when they were transferred to Capri and Naples,
full freedom was denied them.
My son was housed in a requisitioned villa and we were able to meet daily. He was
present when the American Chief Justice Jackson(27) came
to inform me that no prosecution against me was pending from the American side, and that
Tito had been informed of this. I surmised that my arrest had indeed been for protective
custody, so that, had the Russians insisted on extradition, the United States of America
could prevent it by laying claim to my person.
Jackson enquired most courteously after my wishes. "My home," I told him,
"is occupied by the Russians. I cannot return there. You will understand that a man
of seventy-eight has only one wish: to spend his remaining days in the midst of his own
family. Whether in Bavaria or elsewhere, it is immaterial to me." Jackson replied
that, though he sympathized with me, the decision did not rest with him. He would have to
I was expecting that months would pass before any decision was made. Three days later,
on December 17th, I was released from Nuremberg penitentiary. In the night, at 1:45 a.m.,
the light was suddenly switched on in my cell. An American officer who was a stranger to
me came in and asked me to pack my effects as speedily as possible. The car was waiting.
"Where are we going?" I queried. "I can't tell you," was his answer,
which filled me with renewed apprehension. This was not lessened when Wiedemann, the
former German Consul General in San Francisco and before that Hitler's aide-de-camp,
joined me. We put all our luggage, my valuables had been returned to me in the office, in
a closed car and soon Nuremberg was left behind. It was easy to guess the direction in
which we were heading; the waning moon was on our starboard beam. We were therefore
driving south towards Munich.
I began to think I had rejoiced too soon as we turned off the main road and drew up
outside a prison. But only Wiedemann was asked to alight, and the rest of us merely made a
halt for breakfast. When we set out again, the American officer whispered in my ear,
Weilheim was the town in which my family was staying. For the whole eight months of my
imprisonment, I had been longing for this moment of happiness. So great was my emotion
that I could only clasp the officer's hand in silence. Just on nine o'clock, we arrived at
Weilheim and then had to search for the house to which my family had moved. I stayed in
the car while the officer rang the bell. As my wife opened the door, I heard him say,
"I have brought you a Christmas present." "From my husband?" "No.
Your husband himself."
Since that day, I have been a private person. Only once more have I had to play my part
as Regent of Hungary: at the Nuremberg trial of Dr. Veesenmayer in March 1, 1948. I
limited myself to answering the questions put to me which dealt chiefly with the nature of
Dr. Veesenmayer's function in Hungary and with the persecution of the Jews.
As I learned much later, a Hungarian lawyer on U.S. Government mission in Nuremberg,
Dr. Alexander Páthy, was instrumental in having me and my son brought to Nuremberg. I
never met him personally but I had known his brothers well. One of them had been closely
associated with my son for a number of years and the two others have been respectively the
Hungarian Consul General and Consul in Egypt. Instead of conducting the routine
interrogation and cross-examination, he wrote a questionnaire for me to answer in my own
way and words. He created an objective and unbiased atmosphere around me, which permitted
me and my son to be evaluated without prejudice. I am grateful to him for all that he did.
I appreciate the fact that he did not reveal his identity to me throughout his and my stay
in Nuremberg, or, for that matter, even after he left.
I cannot, unfortunately, make a similar acknowledgment to another Hungarian lawyer,
whose name I prefer not to mention. He also was present during one of my interrogations
and he did his utmost to discredit me. The kind of questions he tried to put to me
indicated that they were inspired by the prevailing Hungarian regime. He was, however,
refused permission to ask these silly questions and vanished from a scene he should never
We spent four years at Weilheim with no means of subsistence of our own, depending
entirely on the help of kind friends. First UNRRA(28)
supported us; when that Organization closed down, we received care parcels from American
friends, in particular from the last two American Ambassadors in Budapest, Montgomery and
Pell. After the many disappointments and disillusionments of the recent years, the ready
help given us by our American friends was profoundly moving, and will never be forgotten
by us. Our gratitude to His Holiness Pope Pius XII is also very deep. He, as Cardinal
Secretary of State and Papal Legate had been our guest during the Eucharistic Congress of
1938. Our plight was made known to him and he arranged for money to be sent to us. We were
thus preserved from the sad necessity of having to sell items from the care parcels, a
practice that was perforce common in Germany. Our grateful thanks are also due to the many
German and American families who threw open their homes to us and gave us so much
hospitality and so many happy hours.
Our home naturally tended to become a focal meeting-point for my countrymen. Many of
them who had come to Germany before the end of the war, either voluntarily or under
compulsion, tried to carve themselves a new life. Western Germany, however, was filled to
overflowing with refugees from the East. Only the unemployable, the old and the sick
tended to remain and were usually in sorry circumstances. Thousands of the able-bodied
emigrated; others returned home when, after the great electoral victory of the
Smallholders' Party, Ferenc Nagy(29) became Prime Minister
and a free and democratic development of Hungary, in accordance with the tenets of the
Atlantic Charter, was generally expected. But before long, these expectations were dashed.
Our hearts sank as we heard eye-witness accounts of the horrors being perpetrated by the
Soviets and their Communist disciples. Though, in spite of the Russian occupation,
eighty-three percent of the electorate, demonstrating to the West their true feelings, had
rejected Communism in the election held on November 4th, 1945. The Communists soon found a
way to exert pressure on the Minister for Home Affairs, who controlled the key positions
of State Police, Economic Police and Security Police, so that they dominated the economic
life of the country and were able gradually to oust the Smallholders' Party. Until the
Paris Peace Treaty of February, 1947, which redrew the Hungarian frontiers as they had
been fixed by the Treaty of Trianon, except for certain alterations favouring the restored
state of Czechoslovakia, the Russians maintained the outward forms of democracy. In the
elections held on August 31st, 1947, such scruples were no longer necessary. The
Smallholders' Party lapsed into insignificance. The Communist 'Agrarian Reform', which
aimed at creating holdings too small to be economically self-supporting in order to drive
the peasants into communal farming, turned the Hungary that in 1946 had been a wheat
exporting country into a wheat-importing country. Meanwhile, the peasantry had to content
itself with the assurance that "the Hungarian Communist Party aims at a prosperous
The whole of the free world now knows what the Soviet concepts of 'democracy' and 'free
elections' mean. Behind the Iron Curtain, the rule of brutal terror prevails, depriving
the individual of all rights, which was made manifest in the spectacular trial of Prince
Primate Cardinal Joseph Mindszenty(30). The Cardinal now
lies in gaol, a Hungarian martyr of the Catholic faith, and there is not a Hungarian in
the world, whatever his faith may be, who does not utter his name with the most profound
reverence. His lot is shared by many a bishop and by many a cleric; no denomination is
exempt. And there are also the hundreds of thousands of the innocent nameless who have
been condemned with no semblance of justice and deported. They cry out against a regime
which can only be maintained by hermetic isolation, by barbed-wire fences and minefields.
But even though the Communist rulers can impose silence on the Hungarian nation, yet
beneath this cloak of oppression the Hungarian heart still beats and the Hungarian spirit
of liberty survives. They are the guarantee that one day Hungarian servitude shall come to
From the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, my thoughts turn constantly eastward, to the
banks of the Danube, to my beloved Fatherland. No country on earth, however beautiful, can
take the place of my own land in my affections. Though conditions in Germany improved
considerably after the currency reform, we had to leave Bavaria's raw climate on account
of my wife's health and seek a new asylum. That our choice fell on Portugal can be
ascribed to a fortunate chance. My son knew the Portuguese Minister in Berne; he kindly
offered to provide us with a visa. Owing to his efforts and those of the American Consul
General in Munich, Mr. Sam Woods(31), the military
authorities granted us a 'Temporary Travel Document in lieu of Passport', and on December
18th, 1948, we left Weilheim. After a short stay in Switzerland, we travelled through
Italy to Genoa, where we boarded a steamer for Lisbon. Before our departure, we had the
joy of meeting Premier Kállay at Rapallo.
Friends placed at our disposal a villa in the beautiful flower-starred Estoril. Here we
found old friends and rapidly made new ones. From all over the world, we receive letters
from our Hungarian countrymen expressing their attachment, which gives us great
satisfaction. We are deeply grateful for the hospitality that has been given us. It is
with the utmost interest that I follow the rise of Portugal under the leadership of her
wise Prime Minister, Dr. Oliveira Salazar(32). May his
country have the happy future to which the diligence of its lovable people entitles it.
1. In 1939 the invading Soviets systematically massacred some 4,250
(4,800 according to some reports) Polish army officers at the village of Katyn, near
Smolensk. In 1943 the Germans found the mass graves, and invited forensic experts from
neutral countries to the investigations. The Soviets did not accept responsibility for
these murders until 1992.
2. The reader may be reminded that Hungary violently rejected the
Soviet regime in 1919.
3. Major General John E. Dahlquist.
4. Assistant Division Commander. The Chief of Staff of a U.S.
division is always a colonel.
5. General Joseph D. Patch (1895- ?).
6. Wermacht Field Marshal Wilhelm List (1880-1971).
7. Field Marshal Wilhelm von Leeb (1876-1956).
8. Field Marshal Karl Rudolf Gerd von Rundstedt (1875-1953) was the
commander of the Polish (1938), French (1940), and on occasions, the Russian campaign. He
commanded the German counterattack, the battle of the Bulge. He was released from prison
in 1949 on account of ill health.
9. Col. Ernô Pajtás (1896-1950) repeatedly attempted to tell
Eisenhower that the chest is empty, but he was unable to see him in person. When
Eisenhower decided to see the crown, and did not find it in the chest, Colonel Pajtás was
contacted. Under his direction a detachment was hurriedly sent to retrieve it from its
hiding place. The crown was at Fort Knox until the 1970's, then it was returned to
10. Later it was revealed that the Soviet high command reported a
greater number of prisoners of war that they actually captured at Budapest. They then
filled the quota by arresting civilians on the streets who then ended up in Siberian
prisoner of war camps. Some 120 thousand Hungarian prisoners spent an average of five
years in the gulags.
11. Leon Blum (1872-1950), writer, French Socialist politician. He
opposed the Munich Pact. He was imprisoned in Vichy France during the war.
12. Kurt von Schuschnigg (1897-1977) Chancellor of Austria.
13. Mario Badoglio.
14. Richard Walther Darré (1895-1953).
15. Baron Gustav Adolf Steengracht von Moyland (1902-1969), Deputy
16. Gen. Friedrich von Boetticher (1881-1967).
17. Prince of Piemont Umberto (1904-1983), son of Victor Emmanuel
18. Son-in-law of King Victor Emmanuel III.
19. Count Johann Ludwig Schwerin von Krosigk (1997-1953).
20. Field Marshal Albert Kesselring (1885-1960).
21. Major General Johannes Blaskowitz (1883-1948).
22. There is a conflict here. C.A. Macartney (1895-1978) British
historian and specialist on Hungary, conducted extensive interviews with Horthy in June 17
and 18, 1945, on behalf of the British Foreign Office Research Department. His report,
together with attached comments by other Foreign Office personnel is in the Public Record
Office in London filed as PRO.FO. 371. R.12545.
23. Andor C. Klay (original Hungarian name was Sziklay, ?-1996),
retired State Department employee wrote in the Hungarian-American newspaper "Amerikai
Magyar Népszava" on February 18, 1994, that under the direction of General Donovan
of the OSS he interviewed Horthy on two occasions. Once in Weilheim, another time in the
Oberursel (near Frankfurt) interrogation center.
24. Soviet Marshal Kliment Jefremovich Voroshilov (1881-1969).
25. Evangelical theologian Martin Niemöller (1892-1984). As a
vocal opponent of Hitler he spent the war years in prison.
26. Johann Neuhäusler (1888-1973), Roman Catholic prelate.
27. Robert Houghwout Jackson (1892-1954), US representative in the
28. United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.
29. Ferenc Nagy (1903-1979) prime minister of Hungary after the
war. Immigrated to the U.S. after the Communist takeover. In his memoirs he mentioned that
after the war the Hungarian Communists wanted to extradite Horthy. Stalin, however, told
him during a diplomatic meeting in April, 1945: "Not to judge Horthy. After all, he
is an old man now, and it should not be forgotten that he offered armistice in the Fall of
30. Cardinal József Mindszenty (1892-1975) was freed during the
Hungarian Revolution in October 1956 and spent some seven years in the protection of the
American Embassy in Budapest before the Communists allowed him to go to the West.
31. Samuel Edison Woods (1892-1953).
32. Antonio de Oliviera Salazar (1889-1970) Portugal's dictator.
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