Prof. Istvan Fehervary

Fehervary István foto (1)

Quick Facts

Born: 12/01/1925, Budapest
Died: 10/30/2014
Last residence: Budapest, Hungary
Number of children: 2 

Dr. Krisztina Fehervary and Andras I. Fehervary.

In Hungary
Education: Ludovica Academy,
Budapest Technical University, Mechanical Engineering, 1945 – 1948
Occupation: Political prisoner
Active role in the revolution: NO

He left the military academy/Ludovika –without authorization because he was too young– in the waning days of the war, and went with a non-official battalion to Germany (he may have led this group as an officer), but once there was stuck on a base until he and all the other young Hungarians there were sent home by a Hungarian officer when it was clear the war was lost. They had to walk back, chased by the Soviets, and many were lost in the cold on the way, a horrific experience. And that’s how he was injured, landed in the hospital and then ‘liberated’ by the Americans. He was captured in the Soviet part of partitioned Vienna in 1948. Subsequently, he was turned over to a Hungarian court, which sentenced him to 15 years of forced labor. He was released in 1956 after eight years in prison and fled to Vienna during the Hungarian revolution.
In Vienna in 1957 he founded an insulation manufacturing company, and also founded the Nemzetor (National Guard) journal. 1966 – 1969 he taught at the American International School in Tangiers, Morocco.

In United States of America
Arrival: NY, 1969
Education: Fehérváry came to Santa Fe and joined the faculty at St. John’s College in 1969 and furthered his education there.
Occupation: Coach, innovator, organizer, mentor
Workplace: St. John’s College, Santa Fe, New Mexico

He joined the “faculty” at St. John’s College, but as Director of Student Activities. He was an organizer, coach, teacher and mentor to the students during those happy years at St. John’s (20), and is fondly remembered there for building student life at the campus. The new gym has a giant photo of him in the entrance, and the College held a memorial service for him last summer, in 2015

He started the Fencing Club, which he led to a championship against the U.S. Air Force Academy and with others the St. John’s Search and Rescue team as a school-sponsored activity in 1971. Fehérváry helped launch the New Mexico Soccer League in 1975. In 1989 he was made an honorary member of the Alumni Association and the class of 1989.


He retired in 1989, and as luck had it, went back to Hungary for the first time since 1956. The next year, in 1990, he founded the Organization for Political Prisoners of the years 1945-56(PEK, Politikai Eliteltek Szovetsege 1945-56). He was the Director of this organization until his death, for 25 years! He was able to achieve many things with this organization: they arranged to have the people executed as political prisoners during 1948-56 reburied, with honors, in a special cemetery built as a memorial site by the state (where he now lies); they were able to gain compensation for survivors of the political prisons and their families, and to have their pensions raised. They also raised funds and commissioned a memorial to the executed political prisoners of those years in Budapest on the Danube, on the Buda side.
He wrote two books in Hungarian about the fate of political prisoners under the Stalinist regime in Hungary, which became known via samizdat (written by hand and circulated clandestinely) in Hungary in the 1980s.

  • Börtönvilág Magyarországon (Prison World in Hungary) (1945–1956) (Munchen, 1978; Budapest, 1990)
  • Szovjetvilág Magyarországon (Soviet World in Hungary) (München, 1984)
  • Both received international acclaim and became research source material for the period from 1945 to 1956..
  • Awards: He was awarded the Hungarian Order of Merit Cross with Star, Third Degree in 1999.
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