Oral History Interview with Elizabeth Kemény-Fuchs

Baroness Elizabeth Kemény-Fuchs, the Austrian-born young wife of the Hungarian Foreign Minister Gábor Kemény, describes being shocked by the October 1944 persecutions of Jews under the Arrow Cross government; being approached by Wallenberg and being ready to help him, mainly by persuading her husband to help issue protective passports for Jews and also prevailing upon the German Ambassador Veesenmayer to issue needed visas, all at considerable risk to herself; how the stress of this, of the official duties, and of a difficult pregnancy caused her to go for a brief visit to her mother in South Tyrol, Austria; how because of the baby’s birth and the Soviet siege of Budapest, she never could return there; her critiques of a film made about Wallenberg and her role, describing his actual activities, his special qualities, and his misjudgment regarding the Soviets' motivations; aid given to Jews by Weiss diplomats and by Angelo Rotta, the papal nuncio; how her own involvement was solely humanitarian and that she is neither of Jewish descent nor was ever Wallenberg's mistress; her insistence that her husband was not a Nazi and how he helped save many Jews; her belief that collective guilt led to his arrest, condemnation, and execution; her own post-war struggles; and her feelings that more could have been done, especially by Swedes, to free Wallenberg and her belief that he should remain "a very bright example" in an ever more selfish world.

Date: 05/15/1986
Interviewer: Sara Callen
Interviewee: Elizabeth Kemény-Fuchs
Language: English
Subject: Austrians--Hungary.
World War, 1939-1945--Austria.
World War, 1939-1945--Collaborationists--Hungary.
World War, 1939-1945--Jews--Rescue--Hungary.
World War, 1939-1945--Women--Personal narratives.
Location: Budapest, Hungary
Permalink: https://hoha.digitalcollections.gratzcollege.edu/item/oral-history-interview-with-elizabeth-kemeny-fuchs/
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