NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)
7th May, 1975 : Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty, former Archbishop and appointed Primate of Hungary in 1945, died yesterday in exile in Vienna, aged 83. He was a fierce opponent of Communism and in 1948 was arrested for high treason. The following year he was sentenced to life imprisonment. He was tortured for 29 days by the Communist secret police, being made to stand naked in a cold damp cell, beaten with a rubber hose and forced to watch obscene orgies. Among other forced confessions, Mindszenty admitted that he had orchestrated the theft of Hungary’s crown jewels (including the Crown of Saint Stephen) with the explicit purpose of crowning Otto I of Austria-Hungary. He admitted that he had schemed to remove the communist government, that he had planned a Third World War, and that, once this war was won by the Americans, he himself would assume political power in Hungary. He was released in the 1956 revolution and, when that was crushed, lived in the US Embassy in Budapest for 15 years. The subject of much controversy, he refused to go along with the Vatican conciliatory stance towards Communist regimes and so was finally dismissed as Primate by Pope Paul in 1974.