Confiscated letter and religious images from Hungary

Item

Title

Confiscated letter and religious images from Hungary

Description

The image comes from a documentary file on the former leaders of KLOSZ (National Confederation of Catholic Girls), a Hungarian Catholic youth organisation, which was by that time, like other civil organisations, dissolved by law. It shows an intercepted letter, an envelope and two religious images. The message on the card is rather enigmatic: "I’m writing hastily, my dear Margit, asking Gizi not to write to our brother-in-law – on the contrary, if she happens to come here, she should tell him not to make any inquiries in this matter for now, – and he should also return what he had noted down – I will explain if I visit you – Hugs, [illegible name]."
According to a note made by the secret police in the file, the letter was posted on 27 May 1953. The header in the envelope originally displaying KLOSZ, but is has been taped over. Other than this, there is no information about the identity of the corresponding parties or the meaning and importance of the letter. However the context and the other confiscated letters contained in the file suggest that it is an example of how clandestine religious communities communicated and organised their activities. Aware of being surveilled by the secret police, these groups were cautious in their actions and had various strategies to safely transmit information: they relied on oral communication whenever possible and used coded language or ambiguous wording if writing was unavoidable. In this case for example we may assume that the term "brother-in-law” stood for a cleric participating in the movement. When caught by the secret police, these messages were used as evidence of the illegal activities of these groups.
KLOSZ was founded in 1923 to provide extra curicular education for girls and young women to help them become modern and active Catholic women. It lost its legal recognition in 1946 when nearly all civil organisations were dissolved by law but continued its original work underground with its leading figures and some of its members participating actively in underground Catholic movements.

The image is included in file ÁBTL 3.1.5 O–10202 titled "Catholic girls." Apart from the letter the file contains other items of confiscated or intercepted correspondence and interrogations of various leaders of the underground Catholic youth movement (including György Bulányi), operative plans, studies of targets and potential collaborators, summary reports and recommendations for arrests.

For related entries see:

Subject

Communism and Christianity--Europe, Eastern
Communism and religion
Communism--Europe, Eastern--History--20th century
Secret police (secret service)
Religious groups
Communism--Hungary
Communism--Hungary--History
Confiscations
Hungary. Államvédelmi Hatóság

Creator

Agnes Hesz

Source

Állambiztonsági Szolgálatok Történeti Levéltára
3.1.5. O–10202

Publisher

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme No . 677355

Date

1953

Rights

copyright for these images belongs to ÁBTL

Format

tif

Language

hu

Type

image

Identifier

ÁBTL 3.1.5. O–10202

Coverage

20th century
Hungary

Bibliographic Citation

Agnes Hesz, "Confiscated letter and religious images from Hungary,"