László Regéczy-Nagy

* 1925  †︎ 2021

  • „And then I had to decide, if I’m coming home for good or not… And you know what Luther said in the court? Here I stand, I cannot otherwise, God help me. My Protestant ancestors made themselves heard. Already at the border the secret police agents laughed at me… My poor wife, she was eight months pregnant. But we had agreed on it. She was on board as well.”

  • „And so, when I got to the British Embassy, it was almost like returning home. It was a rather interesting way of life. I spent my working hours in a Western democracy, then went home to Rákosi’s dictatorship of the proletariat. Every day, back and forth.”

  • „My father was a gynecologist. But as an older boy, when I saw what gynecology entails, I said to myself that I wouldn’t do that. Rather, I became a soldier. The war itself – we were appointed officers and were immediately shifted to a training in Germany. And it continued like this – my unit was in a German camp near the Dutch border. And the Englishmen were coming, the gunfire could be heard closer and closer. Several other young officers and I tried to get all the way to Denmark. And we were so close to succeeding!”

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    Budapešť, Maďarsko, 03.07.2019

    duration: 01:58:05
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
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I remembered Luther and returned to the Communist dictatorship to face prison

László Regéczy-Nagy after 1956
László Regéczy-Nagy after 1956
photo: pamětník

As a fresh officer of the Hungarian army, he participated in the fighting at the end of World War II. In 1945 he was taken captive by the British forces, which is why he had to leave the army after Communists came to power in Hungary. He then made his living as a herdsman, warehouseman and a truck driver. When the British Embassy in Budapest invited applications for a driver, he signed up and got the job. Thanks to that he served as a messenger between the insurgents and the West during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. The uprising was brutally suppressed by the Soviet army, led by General Konev. László risked his life, when he and his friend Árpád Göncz (who later became president) smuggled the last declaration of Imre Nagy, the revolutionary prime minister who was executed in 1958, to the West. Similarly, he managed to get the work of István Bilbó, a minister of the revolutionary government and a political scientist, with whom Laszló was sentenced in 1957, out of the country. The sentence was 15 years in prison, but he was freed after six years thanks to the intervention of UN General Secretary U Thant. After his release in 1963 he worked as an unskilled laborer and later as a translator. In 1988 he founded the Historical Justice Committee, an organization uniting Communist persecution victims, similar to the Czech Confederation of Political Prisoners. Laszló lives in Budapest in a house with a beautiful view. He practically doesn’t leave the house anymore; he is taken care of by his family, who waited for him for six years during the Communist era.