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Oral history interview with Agnes Mandl Adachi

Oral History | RG Number: RG-50.549.01.0002

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.


Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Interviewee
Ms. Agnes M. Adachi
Interviewer
Melissa Block
Date
interview:  1995 October 14
Language
English
Extent
4 sound cassettes (60 min.).