Who Was Katalin Karady?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Katalin Karády
(December 8, 1910, Budapest - February 8, 1990, New York)
was a Hungarian actress and singer.
A leading actress in Hungarian movies made between 1939-1945,
she is best known outside Hungary as an awardee of
the Righteous among the Nations honorific
for rescuing a number of Hungarian Jews.

 An event for her memory was organized .

outside the House of Terror
on Sunday April 17.

 After the German invasion of Hungary,
authorities put a pressure on Karády with banning her songs
from the National Radio,
and her new film Machita from theatres.
 In 1944 she was arrested with allegations
that she spied for the Allied Forces.
Karády was in prison for 3 months,
during which she was tortured, and nearly beaten to death.
She was rescued by friends of major general Ujszászy,
in dire condition both physically and emotionally.
But despite this, she remained strong,
rescuing numerous families at the bank of the Danube
waiting to be shot by Arrow Cross guards,
with personal belongings and gold,
saved from her robbed apartment.
She took a number of children home
to care for them until the fighting stopped. I
n the summer of 1945 came the news from Moscow
that general Ujszaszy was dead
(later evidence showed that at that time he was still alive).
Suffering from nervous breakdown,
she lay in bed for the following nine months.


After the war,
Karády became increasingly disregarded.
 Being a popular star of the Horthy era,
there was no place for her under the new communist rule. 
 She left the country in 1951 permanently.
First she lived in Salzburg, Austria,
then moved to Switzerland,
and after a year to Brussels.
From 1953 she lived in Sao Paolo, Brazil, opening a fashion shop.
In 1968, finally receiving a visa after Ted and Robert Kennedy intervened ,
she moved to New York, opening a hat salon.
 Receiving an invitation at her 70th birthday to return to Hungary,
she only sent a hat, baffling officials.
She died on 8 February 1990.
At 19 February her body was transferred to Hungary,
a memorial service was held in Budapest at the St. Stephen's Basilica,
after she was buried in the Farkasréti Cemetery.


1 comment:

  1. I am in Budapest now and passing every day by this "House of Terror" but so far managed not to visit this ugly place of death where thousands of people were tortured in the basement cells. The lady you mentioned above was Hungarian Marlene Dietrich who was also imprisoned here, today I bought some of her beautiful 1940s music on CDs and just listening to her now, you can hear her voice if you search for her on youtube.


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