András Kun

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András Kun (1911 – 19 September 1945 in Budapest, Hungary) was a Roman Catholic priest of the Franciscan Order. He was also the commander of a racist death squad for Hungary's Fascist and Pro-Nazi Arrow Cross Party.[1] After the Second World War, Father Kun was prosecuted for war crimes by the new People's Republic of Hungary. He was convicted and hanged.

Life[edit]

Father Kun was born 8 November 1911 in Nyírbátor, Hungary. He attended seminary in Rome. He then served as a priest in a Franciscan monastery. In 1943, he left the monastery and moved to Budapest.

In March 1944, Kun enrolled in the Arrow Cross Party. During the lead-up to the German invasion of Hungary, Kun participated in the Arrow Cross' seizure of power by distributing weapons.

Soon after, the Arrow Cross and the Schutzstaffel commenced the extermination of Hungary's Jews. Kun commanded an Arrow Cross death squad which massacred Jews. During these activities, he continued to dress in his cassock along with a holstered pistol and an Arrow Cross armband.[2] His orders usually ran, "In the name of Christ - fire!"[3]

On 12 January 1945, Kun's squad broke into the Jewish hospital in Maros street (Hospital of the Buda Chevra Kadisha), where 149 Jewish patients and doctors were summarily shot. On another occasion, the St. John's Hospital was invaded by Kun's unit and between 80 and 100 people were murdered. His squad also invaded sheltered housing and abducted some 500 Jews and their protectors. All were shot and thrown into the Danube. On another occasion, men under his command broke into a sanatorium, where, by their own admission, 100 Jewish patients were shot to death.

Father Kun did not flee the city before the Siege of Budapest, but remained behind while continuing operations. His squad routinely subjected those who were hiding Jews to torture and execution. Once, when regular gendarmes arrested and beat him, Kun spent 20 days in prison.

Soon after his release, the Soviet Army completed their capture of Budapest. Kun was arrested and tried for 500 murders by a Hungarian People's Tribunal.[4] During his trial, Kun described his crimes in detail, while also expressing remorse. He was convicted and hanged at Budapest on September 19, 1945.

Legacy[edit]

Father Kun's cassock is currently on display at the House of Terror in Budapest.[5] In his bestselling history of the Siege of Budapest, Hungarian historian Krisztián Ungváry describes Fr. Kun's crimes in detail. In the process, however, he also comments on the irony that, while Fr. Kun and his unit were massacring Jews, the Papal Nuncio to Hungary, Mgr. Angelo Rotta, was saving thousands of Jewish lives.


References[edit]

  1. ^ Marton, Kati (1995). Wallenberg: Missing Hero. New York: Arcade Publishing. p. 137. ISBN 1-55970-276-1. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  2. ^ Paldiel, Mordecai (2006). Churches and the Holocaust: Unholy Teaching, Good Samaritans, and Reconciliation. New Jersey: Ktav Publishing House. p. 273. ISBN 0-88125-908-X. 
  3. ^ Krisztián Ungváry, The Battle for Budapest: One Hundred Days in World War II, page 241.
  4. ^ Soros, Tivadar (2001). Masquerade: Dancing around Death in Nazi-Occupied Hungary. New York: Arcade Publishing. p. 254. ISBN 1-55970-581-7. 
  5. ^ "Today we are the ones relating the history of the dictatorships". Wieninternational. Retrieved 17 November 2011.