András Kun a Roman Catholic priest of the Franciscan Order. He was also the commander of a racist death squad for Hungary’s Fascist and Pro-Nazi Arrow Cross Party.
Father Kun was born 8 November 1911 in Nyirbator, Hungary. He attended seminary in Rome. He then served as a priest in a Franciscan monastery. In 1943, he left the monastery and moved to Budapest.
In March 1944, Kun enrolled in the Arrow Cross Party . During the lead-up to the German invasion of Hungary, Kun participated in the Arrow Cross’ seizure of power by distributing weapons.
Soon after, the Arrow Cross and the Schutstaffel commenced the extermination of Hungary’s Jews. Kun would seem to be the kind of man that, even though of a different religious faith, Jews could have turned to for help. After all, though the church had once supported the anti-Jewish laws, after the massacres started, they began to protest. Kun did not protest, instead he killed. Kun commanded an Arrow Cross death squad which massacred Jews.
During these activities, he continued to dress in his cassock
along with a holstered pistol and an Arrow Cross armband. His orders usually ran, “In the name of Christ – fire!”
On 12 January 1945, Kun’s squad broke into the Jewish hospital in Maros street (Hospital of the Buda Chevra Kadisha), where 149 Jewish patients and doctors were summarily shot. On another occasion, the St. John’s Hospital was invaded by Kun’s unit and between 80 and 100 people were murdered. His squad also invaded sheltered housing and abducted some 500 Jews and their protectors. All were shot and thrown into the Danube. On another occasion, men under his command broke into a sanatorium, where, by their own admission, 100 Jewish patients were shot to death.
Father Kun continued to lead his rampaging gang even as the city exploded around them. He obeyed no one’s authority other than his own.
Father Kun did not flee the city before the Siege of Budapest , but remained behind while continuing operations. His squad routinely subjected those who were hiding Jews to torture and execution. Once, when regular gendarmes arrested and beat him, Kun spent 20 days in prison.
Soon after his release, the Soviet Army completed their capture of Budapest. Kun was arrested and tried for 500 murders by a Hungarian People’s Tribunal. During his trial, Kun described his crimes in detail, while also expressing remorse. Remorse is an emotional expression of personal regret felt by a person after they have committed an act which they deem to be shameful, hurtful, or violent.
Father Kun was convicted and hanged at Budapest on September 19, 1945, age 33.
Father Kun’s cassock is currently on display at the House of Terror in Budapest In his bestselling history of the Siege of Budapest, Hungarian historian Krisztian Ungvary describes Fr. Kun’s crimes in detail. In the process, however, he also comments on the irony that, while Fr. Kun and his unit were massacring Jews, the Papal Nuncio to Hungary, Mgr. Angelo Rotta , was saving thousands of Jewish lives.