The Hungarian countess whom communism sent into impoverished exile

April 29, 2013

The New York Times writes about an exiled Hungarian countess who died in New York on April 15:

“The death of Ilona DeVito di Porriasa last week, at 73, went largely unnoticed beyond her family and friends. But if nothing else, her story, as recounted by surviving relatives, peels back the hard shell of the city, proving, perhaps, that even the most anonymous apartment dweller can be a countess in exile.

“Born in 1939 in a Transylvanian Baroque-style castle given to her parents as a wedding present by her grandmother, Countess Ilona Teleki de Szek spent the first years of her life surrounded by nannies, maids and cooks. Her mother was a baroness, her father a count who served as Transylvania’s representative to Hungary…”

Please click here for the full article in The New York Times. Editorial correction: This post’s original title incorrectly referred to Countess Ilona as Romanian. While Transylvania has been part of Romania since World War II, confirmed by the 1947 Paris Peace Treaties, Countess Ilona’s family belonged to the Hungarian nobility, not that of Romania. We thank clemensmetternich1848 for this correction.

But will these annals be like a closed book? Will they count only the memories of a past dead and gone? No. On the contrary, they must be a message from the vanished generations to those of the future.

Karl and Zita, Hungary’s last King and Queen, on their coronation day in 1916. Countess Ilona’s father was Transylvania’s representative to Hungary.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Previous post:

Next post: