Tony Curtis Re-Discovers Jewish Roots In Hungary

The 78-year old actor, who was born Bernard Schwartz to Hungarian Jewish parents, told BosNewsLife the wanted to "end the ignorance" towards what happened during World War Two, when Hungary was a close ally of Nazi Germany.

Curtis spoke to BosNewsLife in a theater of Budapest, where he was scheduled to shoot two television commercials which Hungary hopes will rebrand it as "a centre of spa and health tourism", ditching its traditional image of Paprika and Gypsy music.

The veteran artist, who starred in films such as Some Like It Hot with late actress Merlin Monroe, stressed he hopes the country of his parents will become hot again...for Americans.


Farmotel Stefania is located in hunting area in one of Hungary’s most prestigious wine regions. Near hills, forests and lakes. It has all the facilities of a fine hotel and offers full privacy, huge outdoor space, sauna, grill house and much more.


"Why shouldn't Hungary benefit from the American dollar? You know it would be good for the country and also help to clean out some of the ignorance" for other religions, he said dressed in his trademark shorts and casual pullover on a cold October day.

Americans spend an estimated $270 billion on recreation and travel annually and if it's up to Tony Curtis some, if not all, of that money will end up in Hungary where tourism revenues reportedly dropped below $2 billion last year.

Hungary needs the extra cash as most East Germans, who flooded the country under Communism, now stay away amid reports that the country's Lake Balaton is drying off, apparently because of global warming, and higher prices.

Curtis suggested he hopes elderly big spending Americans will visit Budapest's Dohany Synagogue, the largest in Europe, which he helped to refurbish with huge funds in honor of his father.


It is a location where the former drugs addict, who searched for love or companionship in five marriages, apparently feels part of a larger, Jewish, family.

"My father used to go to Budapest as he lived in a small city. And he used to go to the Dohany Synagogue...So one day I went to see it and it was in disrepair. So I asked: Can I help? And they said: yes," recalled Curtis, who also paints and write novels.

"Hitler wanted to make this the Museum of the Jews had he won the war," Curtis explained before interrupting his carefully, slowly spoken words so his female assistant could count and put the obligatory 5 sweeteners ("yes five, that's right") in his cup of coffee.

Now "its the only synagogue in Eastern Europe that is maintained as beautiful as it was," he continued. Curtis said he hopes these kind of projects will help "to blow away the ignorance of the world, and I can not do it in any place of the world, accept Hungary."


While Curtis was born in a small New York home in 1925, he never forgot his parent's roots and their struggle with anti-Semitism.

"My father was Hungarian and he lived through that time. At the end of the First World War he was a boy, and at the age of 15 or 16 he was caught up in pogroms in the ghetto's. (Finally) he was able to survive and come to America."

At least 600,000 Hungarian Jews were killed during World War Two, in many cases with support from Hungarian fascists. From Hungary's prewar Jewish population of an estimated one million, less than 100,000 are believed to live in Hungary today.


As a young man he saw movies about that war era. "It's always (puzzled) me how my father's country could have contributed to the killing of this people (in) all of these places," said Curtis, who has been searching for his Jewish roots in Hungary since the aftermath of Soviet domination in the late 1980's.

"What made my Hungarian brothers do that to their fellow Hungarians, throwing them in concentration camps? Maybe it was just a case of survival. (But) that kind of ignorance could provoke people to kill children, I don't understand that."

"The thought of a two, three year old child being lead somewhere, (and than) stepped (and) killed...Just because of a religion they have. Its something we must purify ourselves from."


Curtis said he would "never forgive Germany" for what went on. "But I can forgive Hungary because I understand they were not the originators of (these crimes). In that whole European chain from Poland and Latvia all the way up to Yugoslavia (and) Romania who was able to avoid (the massacres)?" he wondered.

The actor, who also commemorated Hungary's 1956 revolution against Soviet Communism last week, hopes his projects will help "to blow away the ignorance of the world, and I can not to it in any place of the world, accept in Hungary."

He remains an optimist that the future will be better, but admits not all signs are positive. Thousands of people attended a Budapest rally of the ultra right wing Hungarian Justice and Life Party last week where French nationalist politician Jean-Marie Le Pen warned against European Union membership.

37 thoughts on “Tony Curtis Re-Discovers Jewish Roots In Hungary

  1. What’s up, every time i used to check website posts here early
    in the morning, because i love to learn more and more.

  2. I think this is among the most vital info for me. And i’m glad reading your article. But should remark on few general things, The web site style is ideal, the articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers|

  3. Hello there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and
    found that it is truly informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels.
    I’ll be grateful if you continue this in future. Lots of people will be benefited from your writing.

  4. Everything is very open with a clear description of the
    challenges. It was truly informative. Your website
    is very helpful. Thanks for sharing!

  5. hey there and thank you for your info – I have certainly picked up something new from right here.

    I did however expertise some technical issues using thi web
    site, as I experienced to reload the web site a lot of timess previous to
    I could get itt to load properly. I haad been wondering if your hosting is OK?
    Not that I’m complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will sometimes affect your placement in google and can damage your high-quality score
    if ads and marketing with Adwords. Anyway I’m adding this
    RSS tto mmy e-mail and can look out for muchh more of your respective interesting
    content. Ensure that yoou update this again very soon.

  6. Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed!
    Very useful info specifically the last part
    :) I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this certain info for a long time.

    Thank you and good luck.

  7. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great.
    I do not know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger
    if you are not already ;) Cheers!

  8. It is this aspect of the Hello Kitty phenomenon that
    lends itself easily to transforming it into an icon or a mascot
    representing a group’s values or ideals. The best part of the weekend
    growing up was rushing to the television and
    seeing what the cartoons were and where they would take me.

    The transparent background adds a subtle chic touch to the symbol
    and looks like a water mark.

  9. Simply wish to say your article is as astonishing.

    The clearness for your put up is just spectacular and that
    i can think you are a professional on this subject.
    Fine with your permission allow me to seize your RSS feed to keep
    up to date with forthcoming post. Thank you one million and please continue the gratifying work.

  10. I’m amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and interesting, and let
    me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is an issue that too few people
    are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy I stumbled across this in my search for something concerning this.

  11. Good blog you have got here.. It’s difficult to find high quality writing like yours nowadays.
    I truly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

  12. Nice post. I used to be checking continuously this weblog and
    I’m inspired! Very helpful information particularly the closing part :) I care
    for such information much. I was looking for this particular information for
    a long time. Thanks and good luck.

  13. Hey! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us so I came to check it out. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Superb blog and brilliant design.

Leave a Comment