The Secret of my Father, Tamàs Szabó, Savior in Gestapo gap

05-05-2013, by Johanna Lutteroth, ed.

Google traduction from the german version

He was nine years old when his father disappeared for months in 1953 in the torture chambers of the Hungarian State Security: But Tams Szab never learned why. After the fall of the Iron Curtain in the years of research he found out that his father was a hero – and victim of a perfidious intrigue.

The very first childhood memory I have of my father Kroly Szab, dates from the year 1947. I was just three years old. My father ran back and forth in our apartment in Budapest and grabbed his suitcase because he had to travel. We wrestled around a bit.Suddenly he came up with the idea to put me in the trunk and carry it around. I found this incredibly funny, even though it was very dark in the case. It was one of those glcklichen, serene moments of deep burrowing into my Gedchtnis.

Six years later, on 7 April 1953, my father suddenly disappeared. He was arrested on his way to work on the open road. For half a year we did not know where he was and what happened to him. Anxiety and concern given our everyday lives. In November 1953, he was then suddenly again outside the door – a broken man His clothes and his shoes were in tatters. He had fresh red scar on the head. His condition lie to only one conclusion: where he had been, he had been brutally tortured.

Father rarely spoke about what had happened to him. Until his death in 1964, he entrenched himself behind the wall of silence – and with it my mother. The fear of those who had tormented him about six months writing and signed him to silence, berschattete our existence. Even as a child I felt this fear in 1969 finally brought to me to leave Hungary and go to the West.

Despite, or perhaps because of this dark chapter of his life lie rid of me never. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, I began to investigate. The Hungarian journalist Maria Ember assisted me. The more sources we frderten evident over the years, the clearer it became apparent that my father had become a victim of intrigue, their masterminds were to look at Highest point in the communist power structure of Hungary and the Soviet Union.

A daring plan

I knew that my father had worked at the Swedish embassy in Budapest as a typewriter mechanic in 1944 and 1945 and there a narrow Verhltnis one of the diplomats used: Raoul Wallenberg. In spring 1944, the Germans occupied Hungary and immediately began the deportation of the Jews. The Swede Wallenberg was involved for their rescue. He fed thousands of Jews with Swedish Schutzpssen and brought them under Swedish protection in so-called houses, which he had rented for them. The more I frderte over the last two years of the war revealed, the more I realized that my father’s fate must have to do with Wallenberg who disappeared in January 1945.

By October 1944, the good diplomatic contacts Wallenberg sufficient to bring the Hungarian Jews to safety before the German machinery of destruction. But then the National Socialist Arrow Cross Party took over under the guided tour of Budapest Ferenc Szlasi the power and instituted a reign of terror by Nazi model. Jews were indiscriminately arrested, deported or shot down. Wallenberg’s contacts with the old Horthy regime could no longer cause. He had to come up with something new.

In this situation, my father came into play. Because his childhood friend Pl Szalai was not only a senior Arrow Cross but also a high official in the Hungarian police. Given this contact forged Wallenberg and his helpers a daring plan: they learned of an arrest campaign, my father dressed as a Gestapo officer should show up in the Arrow Cross, and « officially » request on behalf of the German occupier throughout the release of the captive Jews. Szalai DAFR should get him about the necessary certificates and authorizations, which he did willingly.

« The man in the leather coat »

Several witnesses reported coincidentally, my father gehllt in a black leather jacket appeared several times at the Arrow Cross, they anbrllte bossy and ordered the return of the people. This he waved the papers Szalai had worried him. His self-conscious performances always took effect. Intimidated by the sporty, slim, blond man with his blue eyes, the Arrow Cross did what he asked. In the jewish community, he was quickly given the nickname « The Man in leather jacket. »

The biggest coup succeeded on 8 January 1945. On this day, the Arrow Cross streamed a house that was under the protection of the Swedish Embassy, ​​and deported 154 Jews. They were divided into groups and had, like so many Jews before them, marching down to the banks of the Danube. There they were to be executed. « Shortly after our arrival were suddenly police trucks loaded with policemen, » said Eva Lw, which belonged to the exiles recalled. Angefhrt was the party of Szalai and my father. They stopped the action and brought the Arrow Cross to bring 154 people back down again into the Swedish shelter.

Among the rescued were located and the entrepreneur Lajos Stckler achtkpfige and his family. Stckler played a leading role in the Budapest Judenrat, and sat down heavily since 1944 for the food supply in the Budapest ghetto. He should also nine years later a victim of intrigue of the communist power structure, which is the underlying had sent my father.

Four days later, on 12 January 1945, my father, Wallenberg, Szalai and the jewish doctor Otto Fleischmann, the Wallenberg massively assisted in bailing met for dinner at the Swedish embassy. What they discussed on this occasion, is not more to follow. On 13 January, Wallenberg reported to the Russians, who were standing in front of Budapest, because he wanted to win meals for the Jews after the liberation Fri. Since he was gone without a trace. The three were the last to have seen Wallenberg alive.

Moscow under pressure

The international public took the disappearance of the flagship diplomat Wallenberg, who came from one of Sweden’s most influential business families, not just down. The suspect was circulated that he was always gone in the Russian torture chambers Fri. The international pressure on Moscow grew, especially since the Soviets could oppose the suspect not much: Wallenberg 1947 was come tatschlich Lubyanka prison in Moscow killed. But rather than admit this, decided to Sowjetfhrung, 1952, to wash one’s vest in and to push someone else to the murder in the shoes.

In May 2011, over 50 years after his arrest, I was finally able to the files of the Hungarian State Security (AVH) view and stated: My father was the pawn in this game of intrigue! In a mock trial, he should be tried and Pl Szalai ffentlichkeitswirksam to bury the issue Wallenberg endgltig.

Under Stalin, the Sowjetfhrung of fteren had zurckgegriffen on this instrument to enforce their interests or eliminate political enemies. The most famous case is probably the so-called rzteverschwrung. Allegedly wanted to poison the entire time militrische and political guided tour some of the most prestigious, jewish physicians of the USSR. Although the Vorwrfe were groundless, jewish doctors were serially arrested, tortured and then publicly condemned. Several were executed.

Originally the Sowjetfhrung had wanted to represent the murder of Wallenberg also as a jewish conspiracy. The alleged perpetrators were Stckler and Miksa Domonkos – one of the leading Kpfe the jewish community in Budapest. Supposedly they had murdered Wallenberg, « because he had not done enough for the salvation of the Jews. » The two, however, were tortured so badly that they have a process neither physically nor mentally berstanden huts. Domonkos died shortly after his release in 1953. Stckler remained until his death a nursing care.

From eyewitnesses to the offender

Therefore, the torturers nderten their tactics. Szalai and my father, who had seen Wallenberg as last, who is now the Hauptverdchtigten and were arrested. The indictment sttzte to a forced from Stckler under severe torture in Mar 1953 Gestndnis: « In January 1945 Kroly Szab Pl Szalai helped Raoul Wallenberg kill. » As the Hungarian political guided tour were exchanged in August 1953 a few months after Stalin’s death, on the instructions of Moscow and aufgelst several Hungarian detention camp, recanted his Stckler Gestndnis.

In mid-September, the Hungarian State Security decided to release my father. Not only because Stckler but because the terrorist instrument « show trial » was also made after Stalin’s death to the discontinued model. The baiting was set in the context of the general de-Stalinization and also blown off the Wallenberg process in the course of.My father was dodged. The other half months passed before he finally came to walk free in November, 1953. With good reason: he had also been trimmed so bel of his torturers, that it took weeks until the tracks were at least halfway healed.

over the internet, I could now make ten people locate where my father had saved his life between 1944 and 1945. They recorded their memories and sent them to Yad Vashem, the International Centre for Holocaust Research. There, his life’s work should be gewrdigt. 2012 after over 20 years of research, it was finally time: On 12 November was awarded to him posthumously in Jerusalem, the honorary title of « Righteous Among the Vlkern ». For the first time he was so distinguished for his decent performance except publicly.

Recorded by Johanna Lutteroth.


Raoul Wallenberg’s 100th Birthday on 4 August 2012

04-08-2012, by Agnes Grunwald-Spier,

I had believed he was also responsible for saving my life because when I was in the Budapest Ghetto as a baby with my mother, the Nazis were planning to liquidate the ghetto and we would all have been killed. As a result of the media coverage to mark the centenary of Wallenberg’s birth I have discovered more about how he influenced the protection of the 70,000 Jews in the Ghetto so my Mother Leona and I were still alive at the liberation.

Read more>

F. v. Dardels dagboksanteckningar angående R. Wallenberg, 1967-1969

03-03-2012, by Fr. von Dardel,


John Dobai’s testimony

09-01-2012, by John Dobai,

I was born in January 1934 in Budapest and for the first few years I was brought up as a Roman Catholic as my parents converted to Catholicism in the mistaken belief that it would save us from persecution. Many people did the same at the time.

In 1941 my father was sent to a camp in NE Hungary where he, with hundreds of others were made to build airfields etc. and I did not see him for 3 years. > More

The diary about the fight to get back their son Raoul Wallenberg


The search of Raoul Wallenberg

Fredrik von Dardel began writing his diary in 1952 and continued right to the end of his life in 1979. Over the course of the next year, this website will publish the text of his diary in twelve installments, one every month, until August 4, 2012, Raoul Wallenberg’s 100th birthday. Each chapter will feature a short summary of events for respective years. We will also provide the necessary background information for mentioned persons and their role in the Wallenberg investigations. We invite the public and researchers to  comment on and to  discuss the contents of the diary.

« I first met my husband’s parents, Maj and Fredrik von Dardel, when Guy and I were about to be married, in 1949. For thirty long years I witnessed firsthand the old couple’s struggle  to pursue all possible leads about  their first-born son, Raoul Wallenberg.  And he was truly « their » son  – Fredrik’s loyalty and devotion to Raoul  was as strong as for his other children, Nina and Guy.

It took an enormous daily effort  to keep track of all the contacts and petitions, new and old pieces of information that needed to be itimized and catalogued before the age of computers.  It is due to Fredrik’s diligent efforts, with close assistance by Maj and Nina,  that we now have this very important historical document which allows a glimpse into Maj and Fredrik’s private world, their hard work, the many false hopes and disappointments they suffered and the toll the uncertainty about Raoul’s fate took on their lives.

I later watched my husband Guy  (and his sister Nina) carry on their parents’ work with the same devotion and with very similar struggles.

First and foremost, however, this record represents a  triumph of the will and I treasure it as a moving testament to the unshakable bonds of love and  family.

Matilda von Dardel »

The diary is in swedish, in .pdf:

Fredrik von Dardel

Fredrik Elias August, b. 28 Aug 1885,d.1979   Maria Sophia (Maj) von Dardel, né Wising, b. November 5, 1891, d. 1979

Fredrik och Maj von Dardel

He studied law at Uppsala University and received his degree in 1908. von Dardel  became Chief Administrative Officer of Karolinska Hospital in 1940. He retired in 1950; married to Maj Wallenberg, né Wising, in 1918. They had two children, Guy (b. 1919) and Nina (b. 1921) and together raised Maj’s son, Raoul G. Wallenberg (b. 1912), from her first marriage.

By all accounts, Fredrik von Dardel and Raoul Wallenberg, were very close. When his stepson turned eighteen, Fredrik offered Raoul to address him by his first name. Wallenberg asked to call him « Pappa » (Dad) instead.

After Raoul’s disappearance in 1945, Fredrik von Dardel took on the role of « ombudsman » for his affairs. For three decades he worked tirelessly to obtain full information about his stepson’s fate, gathering and analysing witness testimonies, and keeping in close contact with the Swedish Foreign Office to press diplomats to continue to pursue the case.

In 1970 he published a book  entitled « Facts Around A Fate » (« Fakta kring ett öde », Proprius Förlag) which outlined many of the most important witness testimonies in the Wallenberg investigation for the first time in public.

Fredrik von Dardel also kept detailed notes and a diary, chronicling the actions taken by the family on Raoul’s behalf.

At age 90, two years before his death, he petitioned the Swedish government to lift the secrecy restrictions that governed documentation in the Wallenberg case. The government instead decided to merely reduce the secrecy requirement from fifty to thirty years, which kept many important documents inaccessible to the family.

Maria Sophia (Maj) von Dardel

Daughter of  prominent Swedish physician Per Wising. Married Raoul Oscar Wallenberg in 1911.  Her husband fell ill and died of cancer before the birth of their  only child, Raoul Gustaf Wallenberg, who was born on August 4, 1912.

After raising her son alone for six years, she married Fredrik von Dardel, a lawyer, in 1918. After Raoul’s disappearance in 1945, she and her husband, as well as their two children, Guy and Nina, devoted their lives to secure his release from Soviet captivity.

Shortly after Raoul Wallenberg’s disappearance, she met with the Soviet Ambassador in Stockholm, Alexandra Kollontai. Kollontai told  Maj von Dardel that her son had been detained by Soviet forces but that he was well and that there was no cause for worry.

Through three decades, Maj kept up far a reaching correspondence, sending personal appeals to international political leaders, including Josef Stalin and Eleanor Roosevelt, as well as human rights organisations and activists such as Simon Wiesenthal.

In 1973 she wrote a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger asking him to bring the influence of the U.S. government to bear in the case of her son, since his mission had been in large part conceived and supported by official U.S. entities such as the War Refugee Board. Kissinger never responded, even though the matter had been brought to his attention by his close associate Thomas Pickering.


Elisabeth Thaler née Roth

26-06-2011, ed. Rick Thaler

My mother, Elizabeth Thaler née Roth was living in Budapest in 1944, with her father, Eugene Roth, her mother Martha Roth, her sister Susan and her grandmother whose name I don’t know. My mother did not like to talk about her time in Budapest and her sister refused to talk about it at all. So I have pieced together some of her story over the years but it is very incomplete. My mother is now 87 and is more willing to talk about the past but she has dementia and now remembers very little. My aunt Susan died a few years ago.
What I know is that their father was arrested, injured in an air raid or some kind of bombing and died of an infection. My mother and her sister were in a labor camp and made bricks through a cold winter, and my mother got frostbite on her fingers. At some point just before the siege of Budapest they left the city with their mother and grandmother, by train. They ended up in a displaced persons camp in Bremen Germany in 1945 and made their way to the US by ship.
I would very much like to know more about the details of my mothers experience. I think it is possible that she and her family were aided by Raoul Wallenberg. I would appreciate any help you could give me in finding more about this place and time and the specifics of my mothers experience.

Please contact Rick Thaler
Corrales New Mexico

Karoly William Schandl

13-04-2010, by Catherine Schandl,

Karoly William Schandl was born in Budapest, Hungary on July 20, 1912. His father, Karoly Schandl Sr., was a lifetime member of the Hungarian Upper House and the president of OKH (Országos Központi Hitelszövetkezet), the National Credit Cooperative.

In 1944, Karoly William Schandl was a lawyer and chartered accountant. His residence was the upstairs apartment of his parents’ villa, at 16-18 Kelenhegyi ut (Street). The Schandl home on Kelenhegyi Street was next door to the Finnish embassy, which was also used by the Swedish legation. Raoul Wallenberg’s Swedish embassy was located a double house lot away. Karoly was hiding a Jewish friend in his apartment, and was a member of the British underground. His group was led by his best friend, Gabor Haraszty, a Hungarian lawyer of Jewish origin and trained British agent. Gabor’s ISLD (SIS) code name was ALBERT. He was also connected to MI9. The group helped those who needed to escape, and was engaged in gathering military intelligence for the Allies. Secret meetings with Gabor Haraszty were held at Karoly’s private apartment, and sometimes those meetings were attended by Raoul Wallenberg. > More

Childhood and holocaust in Budapest 1944-1945

21-02-2008, by Susan Winter,

My testimony

Susan Winter Memory in Budapest (english)

Susan Winter Memory in Budapest (hungarian)

I will attempt to write down what happened to me and my family between 1944-1945. I am not sure I will succeed because I don’t know what are my own memories and what I recall because of what others told me.

On March 19, 1944 the Germans entered Hungary, rather Budapest, where I lived with my parents and grandparents. The same morning my father went to Eastern Train Terminal (Keleti P‡lyaudvar) to buy tickets for my mother and I to go to Di—szeg, which is today part of Romania, but at the time belonged to Hungary. He thought that it may be easier to survive in a small place than in a large city. > More

Tom Veres, the photograph of the Hungarian holocaust


Born 1923, Budapest, Hungary

After the Germans occupied Hungary in 1944, Tom was ordered to work in labor camps and factories. He escaped after a few months and decided to contact the Swedish legation, where he met Raoul Wallenberg in October 1944. Tom stayed in Budapest and, using his training in photography, became active in Wallenberg’s efforts to rescue the Jews of Budapest. He made copies of and took photographs for protective passes (Schutzpaesse), and documented deportations.  > More

Frank Vajda distributing schutzpasses


« We were lined up in front of a machine gun near a wall and we were standing there for a long time… then some people appeared and I was told later that it was Raoul Wallenberg and his team. »Marianne Vaney: helped writing the  Schutzpasses and distributing them to the people who were entitled to receive  (Read more about Frank Vajda:


Testimony nr 2 :  Oral testimony

« I was 9 years old in 1944, october the 14th, when there was a change of government in Hungary as the regent decided to issue a proclamation and get Hungary out of the war or tempting to and the nazis installed a extremely right wing government of Szelesi who was supported by an number of very racist and extremist organization Arrow Cross Revolt. »

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