The French minister as a smuggler
Olivier de Sayve, the French minister in Budapest smuggled out of Hungary Erzsébet Schiffer, Bálint Ordódy’s mother, in his own car. The Schiffer family had been one of the founders and main shareholder of Palatinus Joint Stock Company which had built and possessed elegant blocks of flats in Budapest. The company had among others in its property the so called Palatinus Buildings on the Danube bank, some of them were shelter houses for Jews in 1944. The Ordódy-Schiffer couple belonged to the high society of the Hungarian capital, there they met and became good friends with Olivier de Sayve and his wife. The Soviet forces occupying Hungary had arrested several times Béla Ordódy, Bálint’s father, and as the family legend holds he could leave Hungary only through the good offices of László Rajk, the communist Minister of the Interior. After the properties of the Palatinus Company were nationalized in 1947, the French minister suggested to Mrs. Ordódy to bring her out of Hungary and he promised to help the family to begin a new life in France. Mrs. Ordódy waited for the call when the diplomatic car would come and take her. She got into the car and sat next to Mr. de Sayve as she had been his wife. She crossed the border showing Mrs. de Sayve’s passport. They brought with them in the car also some family jewels and an old wooden statue of Virgin Mary. They couldn’t bring else, it would have been conspicuous if the diplomatic couple had had big lugagges on their way to visit Wien. Béla Ordódy was waiting for her wife in Wien. Olivier de Sayve returned to Budapest the very same day and the following day he left again for Wien this time in the company of his real wife. „My mother as Madame de Sayve left Hungary and the real Madame de Sayve followed her in train with her husband and two daughters the day after it, but with her own passport.” Nobody noticed under the technical circumstances of those years that a French woman left Hungary twice.
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