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Oral history interview with Agnes Mandl Adachi

Oral History | RG Number: RG-50.549.01.0002

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Agnes Adachi, born on October 26, 1918, discusses her childhood in 1920s Budapest, Hungary; attending the 1936 Olympics in Berlin; traveling to England and Italy and learning teaching methods from Mother Montessori in 1937; seeing Polish members of the Zionist Congress react to the news that Hitler had invaded Poland while they were in Budapest; meeting Romanian and Polish refugees and finding their stories difficult to believe; the presence of the Hungarian Arrow Cross Party; the arrival of the Germans in March 1944; travelling to Sweden as a guest of Ambassador Carl Ivan Danielson in 1944; meeting Raoul Wallenberg and working with him to protect Hungarian Jews by giving them shelter and providing them with schutz-passes; witnessing and participating in rescue missions led by Wallenberg; the Siege of Budapest and the presence of Russian soldiers in the city; the capture and hanging of an American pilot who crashed in the Danube; the taking of the Swedish legation by the Soviets and the disappearance of Wallenberg; getting false papers to go to Romania in February 1945 and becoming connected with the Swedish ambassador in Bucharest, Romania; leaving Bucharest and being taken to an Italian transit camp after landing at the Bari airport because a fellow passenger heard her speaking German and suspected she was a Nazi; spending time in Rome, Italy; living with extended family in Zurich, Switzerland; finding out that her Swedish fiancé had become a Communist and deciding not to marry him; lecturing about her experiences and teaching Swedish culture and literature at repatriation camps from November 1945 through 1946; working as a maid and then for Skandinaviska Banken; living in Australia for six years then moving to the United States in 1951; working at a restaurant then for Trans World Airline; bringing her parents to the United States in 1957; attending concerts at Carnegie Hall and meeting her husband, a Japanese immigrant and doctor; working with the Wallenberg Committee; speaking to school groups about her wartime experiences; awarding high school seniors the Wallenberg Humanitarian Award; seeing her children’s dedication to humanitarian efforts and to continuing Wallenberg’s legacy; and encountering people who make false claims about Wallenberg or argue that the stories about his heroic efforts are not true.

Interviewee
Ms. Agnes M. Adachi
Date
1995 October 14  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
4 sound cassettes (60 min.).