Katalin Karády

This plaque is on the front of our building. Somebody added the wreaths today.

Budapest-KaradyKatalin_150522

The plaque says that our building was a former residence of Hungarian film star Katalin Karády, the suppressed film star. After a little research, we found that Katalin Karády was famous in Hungary in the 1930’s and early 40’s as an actress and singer. She often played femmes fatales, and her personal life was somewhat scandalous as well, with rumors flying about her conquests and orientation. Her acting was compared to Rita Hayworth, Barbara Stanwick, Jane Russell and Greta Garbo.

Outside of Hungary, Karády is known for resisting the Nazi occupation of Hungary. She used her homes to shelter Jews in preparation for their escape from the occupied countries. The Gestapo arrested and tortured her, but after three months she was rescued by well-connected friends. During the massacre of the Jews at the Danube, she used her own money and jewelry to buy the lives  of several people who were about to be executed by the Arrow Cross. She took several children into her home and kept them there until the end of hostilities. For this she is recognized as Righteous among the Nations by the Israeli Yad Vashem Institute.

After the war, the Soviet occupiers also suppressed her talents, banning her movies and preventing her from earning a living by acting or singing. She emigrated to the West, eventually finding her way to New York, where she made a living selling hats. She died there in 1990, and in 1991 her ashes were returned to her home country for burial in the artists’ plot in the Farkasréti cemetery, just outside of Budapest.

Katalin Karády’s films are available on DVD in Hungary, where she is still remembered for her style, her talent, and her rare courage.

Katalin Karády

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