(September 22, 1910 - living) Hungary
Born in Budapest, into a middle-class Jewish family, Faludy has lived through exile and imprisonment, revolution and dictatorship. In 1938 Faludy fled Hungary for France, sensing war approaching. Three years later he left for America, one of a group of intellectuals invited by President Roosevelt.
Faludy served in the US army, in the Pacific theater, before returning to Hungary in 1946. His sister had been killed by Hungarian Nazis. Although he sensed that Hungary's nascent democracy was being steadily crushed by the Soviet occupiers, Faludy felt he had no option to return and witness, as he wryly observed, "democracy being built without democrats".
In 1950 Faludy was imprisoned on false charges of being both an American spy and a Titoist secret agent. There was no logic in the topsy-turvy world of Communist thought-crime. Held in an unlit isolation cell for a month, he kept his sanity by focusing on a single beam of light which traversed the room and imagining himself back in the Pacific.
In the Hungarian concentration camp of Recsk he kept his fellow prisoners' spirits up by recounting stories and poetry.
"I enjoyed life in a certain way. In the morning the prisoners asked me to tell them something nice, whether it was true or not. I told them Stalin would not live 100 years, he will die and the next one will be different and better for us."
Stalin's death and the subsequent easing of the terror helped usher in the 1956 Hungarian revolution. Once again, Faludy fled, first to London. His son, Alex, is a teacher in Portsmouth. From there Faludy went to New York and Toronto. He continued writing and teaching, but when Communism collapsed in 1989, he returned home.
Settled in a spacious riverside flat, overlooking the Danube, Faludy is acclaimed as the grand old man of Hungarian letters. In 2002 Faludy had a controversy with the government about that flat. A result of the controversy was that he moved away from the apartment & the Danube and now lives in less pleasant quarters in Budapest.