Wednesday, February 11, 2015

ADSS 10.415 Rotta to Sec State - disastrous situation in Hungary

Reference: Telegram 333 (AES 8492/44)

Location and date: Budapest, 11.12.1944 @ 15.00 (Rec’d Rome 12.12.1944 @ 12.45.

Summary statement: Information on the disastrous situation in Hungary, arrest of Josef Mindszenty (Veszprém).  Government has abandoned Budapest.  Occupation of the city is imminent.  Nuncio will remain in the city.

Language: Italian


I received your telegram number 368. (1)

I fulfilled the task entrusted to me; the bishop of Vesprimia (2) is still detained on charges of being in contact with the enemy.  The Minister of Foreign Affairs (3) has promised to reach an agreement with the Cardinal Primate (4) … internment; I told the Minister for Foreign Affairs that given the unsatisfactory response and the increasing number of arrests among priests as well as unfulfilled promises about … Jews, enduring persecution, that it was impossible for the Apostolic Nunciature to follow the Government to Sabaria. (5)  I do not believe that the politico-religious situation has changed; the it is alsmost certain that this Apostolic Nunciature will remain in Budapest in the hope that with God’s help can exercise, if possible, a positive influence that the Russians will respect and the  allies support … Occupation of Budapest seems imminent if the Germans do make the supreme effort.  The Ministries have almost completely abandoned Budapest; no diplomatic representatives of the Neutral Powers have followed the Government to Sabaria.

(1) 06.12.1944. (AES 8156/44) concerning the arrest of Josef Mindszenty, bishop of Veszprém.
(2) Josef Mindszenty (1891-1975), bishop of Veszprém (1944-45), was arrested by the Arrow Cross on 27.11.1944 and held prisoner in Veszprem, Köhida and Sopron, until the arrival of the Red Army on Easter night (01.04.1945) Cited in Cardinal Mindzsenty Memoires, Paris 1974, pp 38-46. Rotta had informed Rome of the arrest on 30.11.1944 (Telegram 326, AES 8156/44; see ADSS 11). Tardini responded on 06.12.1944 (Telegram 368) instructing Rotta as follows: “If your Excellency’s representations have not yet had any effect, your Excellency is to insist again in the name of the Holy See that charges against the clergy are withdrawn noting that the Holy See could not leave this without protesting similar measures.
(3) Gábor Kemény (1910-1946)
(4) Justinian Cardinal Serédi (1884-1945)

(5) Sabaria is the Latin form of Szombathély, an eastern Hungarian city near the border with Austria.  Szálasi’s government fled Budapest in the first week of December 1944. Rome replied on 14.12.1944 (Telegram 370, AES 8492/44): “Holy Father has learned with pleasure of the dignified decision of your Excellency who presence will be beneficial to the tested population of the city.  His Holiness sends a special Apostolic Blessing. Szombathély fell to the Red Army on 29.03.1945. 

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