|Hungarian Ambassador to the United States|
1990 – April 1991
|Preceded by||Péter Várkonyi|
|Succeeded by||Pál Tar|
May 21, 1927|
|Died||August 5, 2012
|Political party||Entrepreneurs' Party
Alliance of Free Democrats
Zwack was born into a prominent family which owned the Zwack PLC. During World War II Budapest and the Zwack factory were completely destroyed. After the war, in 1948 the new Communist regime nationalized the factory. The Zwack family fled the country. János Zwack with his son Péter, great grandson of József Zwack, the founder of the factory, was able to escape with the original Zwack recipe in his pocket. Béla Zwack remained behind to give the communist government a “fake” Zwack recipe and went on to become a regular factory worker.
Meanwhile, János and Péter migrated to the United States and after several months in Ellis Island’s refugee camp were granted US entry purely because they possessed the Zwack recipe. They later settled in the Bronx in 1949 when Péter was 22 years old. It was in the U.S. that Péter learned all the ins and outs of the spirits industry.
The subsequent years were a goulash of life on the move for him: Zwack sold vacuum cleaners in Queens and was a wine importer in Chicago. He became an American citizen, then moved to Milan, Italy, where his father was making Unicum, then to Vienna to manufacture brandy. Later, he lived in Florence with his wife, Anne Marshall Zwack, a writer.
Hungarian Ambassador to the United States
In 1988, just one year before the fall of communism, Zwack returned to Hungary and resumed production with the original Zwack formula. He repurchased his family business from the state in the summer of 1989, and by the spring of 1990, the original Zwack product was reintroduced to the Hungarian market. That same year, Péter was named Hungarian ambassador to the United States. As a result, Zwack gave up his American citizenship.
One year later, he was given 48 hours to pack up and leave his post. The Hungarian government announced in April that he would end his tour in July. But his departure was speeded up after he criticized foreign minister Géza Jeszenszky in accusations published in the Budapest press.
Zwack's road to departure, which began with a public call for Jeszenszky's resignation, included detailed claims of political interference in the internal workings of the embassy, and of a ham-handed approach to delicate diplomatic issues. The Hungarian government avoided commenting on Zwack's specific accusations, instead focusing on the departing Ambassador's outburst. Prime Minister József Antall asked when had an ambassador who called for the resignation of his foreign minister ever been allowed "to continue his activity at his post undisturbed".
Political career in Hungary
Zwack became chairman of the Entrepreneurs' Party in 1992. Two years later he made an electoral alliance with SZDSZ, Fidesz and the Agrarian Alliance, according to which he was the joint candidate of the four parties in Kecskemét during the 1994 Hungarian parliamentary election. He won a seat to the National Assembly of Hungary as the only independent MP. He resigned from his party leader position in 1995. Between 1995 and 1997 he was a member of the Kossuth Prize and Széchenyi Prize Committee.
During the 1998 Hungarian parliamentary election he was supported by SZDSZ but he did not repeat his success four years ago. After that he joined to SZDSZ. In 1999 he became a member of the party's leadership. He was one of the party's chargé d'affaires from 2000 to 2003. In 2002 he was elected to a member of the parliament again but he resigned half years later.
- "Meghalt Zwack Péter". Index.hu. Retrieved 6 August 2012. (Hungarian)
- "Chronicle" by Susan Heller Anderson, The New York Times, 15 June 1990
- Hungarian Diplomat Ordered to Leave Post The New York Times, 12 April 1991
- "Elhunyt Zwack Péter". Napi Gazdaság. Retrieved 6 August 2012. (Hungarian)
- The Washington Diplomat Newspaper - Ambassador profile
- MTI Ki Kicsoda 2009, Magyar Távirati Iroda Zrt., Budapest, 2008, 1225. old., ISSN 1787-288X
- Zwack Péter életrajza
- Zwack Péter 1996-os parlamenti életrajza
- Zwack Péter országgyűlési adatlapja
|Hungarian Ambassador to the United States