My name is Gellert Kovacs and I am an independent researcher in history and social sciences and lecturer.
I was born in Budapest, Hungary but have been living in Stockholm, Sweden since 1982. My background in these two countries gives me an international outlook and that is the main theme in much of my work. I have experiences from many different fields in society and these experiences make possible for me to fill various roles, as historian, as lecturer, as organizational consult or marketing manager.
Background: I have studied many different subjects at university and other higher educational institutions; Economics, history, social sciences, politics, psychology, project management, pedagogics, among others.
I have worked for many years in the NGO sector, with smaller organizations in volunteer work and youth exchange. There I was working with basically everything; fundraising, marketing, project management, teambuildig and organizational management as president in one of these associations for some years.
Since 2001, I have also worked as teacher in various schools, primary education as well as high schools, and adult education. These years have been very different in terms of working conditions, I have worked in “elite schools” as well as in areas with very high percentage of immigrants and poorly integrated people in Swedish society. The challenge to cope with different groups in various environments have given me an ability to develop my skills in communication, pedagogics and conflict resolution.
Since four years I have also proven myself as a historian. Through careful and meticulous research, I have found lot of new information about Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who was working in Budapest with saving people from Nazi persecution in 1944-45. These, sometimes dramatically new pieces of information, are presented in the book; ” Dark skies over Budapest“( Skymning över Budapest) which was released in May 2013 in Sweden. Hungarian and hopefully, English translations of the book are underway.
For many years, I have been working on an English translation of the book, but this has yet to be realized, mainly due to difficulties to get funding for translation. So, all information or assistance in this direction will be greatly appreciated.
Here is a review of the book in English by the German-American historian Susanne Berger:
“Dark skies over Budapest”
A new book by Swedish-Hungarian author Gellert Kovacs manages to shed light on important aspects of Raoul Wallenberg’s rescue mission, with potentially serious implications for Wallenberg’s fate.
The new findings presented by historian Gellert Kovacs in his fascinating book, “Skymning i Budapest” (“Dark skies over Budapest”, Carlssons, 2013), give rise to important old and new questions about Raoul Wallenberg’s activities in Hungary in 1944 as well as those of other diplomats at the Swedish Legation, Budapest. The same applies to the extent of Allied intelligence operations in Hungary and what implications these activities may have had for Wallenberg’s fate after 1945. The research may help to shed additional light on Stalin’s presumed reasons for arresting Raoul Wallenberg and his decision not to release him, as well as the motivations that may have guided Swedish handling of Wallenberg’s disappearance after the war.
Kovacs’ examination of statements given by witnesses who were active in the armed resistance in Budapest in 194 paints a much more nuanced picture of Wallenberg’s network of contacts than previously understood These oral histories have often been neglected in favor of reliance on official documentary sources. “Dark skies over Budapest” shows that in doing so, vital details and connections of Wallenberg’s activities may have been overlooked. This includes, for example, Wallenberg’s much discussed involvement in saving the large Budapest Ghetto from destruction by the Germans as Soviet forces encircled the city in January 1945. Kovacs’ well argued analysis makes it clear how Wallenberg had an essential role in the protection of the Ghetto and its 70,000 inhabitants, even though he himself had already left Budapest at that time. The first-hand accounts Kovacs cites in some detail also provide added insights into the efforts by the resistance in the autumn of 1944 to provide the Western Allies with up-to-date information about the events unfolding in Hungary, including efforts to smuggle out evidence of war crimes committed by the advancing Soviet army. According to witnesses, Wallenberg participated in several key meetings where these issues were discussed.
The book provides a myriad of new details about how Wallenberg’s organization was able to function so effectively. As Kovacs puts it, Wallenberg made use of a then quite modern management style, functioning much like present day CEO, delegating tasks while intricately weaving together and steering his complex network of aides. Wallenberg’s support staff came from a cross section of Hungarian society – including the aristocracy, the church and the military – involving civil servants, diplomats, students, housewives, soldiers, scientists, businessmen, farmers and even artists. Kovacs shows how the perception of Wallenberg as the lone hero who defeated his Nazi opponents while protected by little more than personal courage and his diplomatic passport definitely belongs to the realm of myth. One perhaps unintended benefit of this book is that through its in-depth examination of all facets of the Swedish rescue effort, it manages to highlight the often understated depth and scope of the Hungarian resistance movement and its many dedicated members who have never received the recognition they deserve.
However, the author also makes it clear that Wallenberg’s near legendary reputation after the war is richly deserved. He traces in detail the day-to-day operations of the truly astounding rescue apparatus Wallenberg and his aides put together that allowed them to provide quick and effective aid across a wide spectrum of need, such as the delivery of food stuffs and clothing, the assignment of armed guards for the protected Swedish houses, as well as care offered to the orphaned and the sick. The use of well placed informers allowed for quick, targeted responses to new arrests and even planned deportations.
Kovacs’ research underscores Raoul Wallenberg’s basic approach to his mission, namely one that blurred the lines between humanitarian actions and active resistance. Wallenberg obviously felt these two had to go hand in hand, since defeat of Nazi Germany would be the most effective way of ending the atrocities committed against Hungary’s Jews. Reading the book, one feels reminded of Wallenberg’s statements before his departure from Stockholm in July 1944, that he wanted to provide truly meaningful assistance, instead of becoming simply one more cog in the bureaucratic machinery.
Wallenberg’s hands-on approach, which – as Kovacs now relates – apparently also included use of his diplomatic car for the transport of weapons and ammunition on behalf of the resistance, would constitute the logical extension of this thinking. Like the collection and sharing of actionable intelligence via a radio transmitter that was supposedly located in the Swedish Legation, Budapest – to alert Allied forces in Malta who would then go on to bomb barges on the Danube river carrying vital oil supplies for the German Wehrmacht – Wallenberg’s alleged role in helping the Hungarian underground would have meant involvement of official Swedish diplomatic personnel in military style operations. This, of course, would have constituted a serious breach of Swedish neutrality. If indeed confirmed, these findings also raise serious questions about Wallenberg’s colleagues at the Swedish Legation, Budapest, especially about First Secretary Per Anger. What was his precise role and were these actions cleared with the Swedish Foreign Ministry in Stockholm in advance? Another important issue is what exactly Anger and his fellow diplomats told the Russians about their own as well as Wallenberg’s activities when they met Soviet officials in early 1945.
Just as relevant is the question of what happened after the Legation members returned home to Stockholm a few weeks later. Was the distinctly passive attitude of the Swedish government to Wallenberg’s disappearance in January 1945, as Kovacs says, a direct result of his somewhat reckless actions in Budapest, possibly exacerbated by Sweden’s fear of Soviet authorities who now held vital evidence of Swedish breaches of neutrality, in a variety of matters (including the still largely unexplored deals involving Hungarian and German Nazi officials)? Such perceived violations would have counted even more because Sweden formally represented Soviet interests in Budapest.
In this connection, renewed questions arise about the ultimate aim of Swedish/Allied intelligence cooperation in Hungary. Very clearly, by 1944. Sweden had provided the U.S. with assistance on a relatively broad scale. A strong indication of this close support was the known deliveries in 1943 and again in September 1944 of at least three radio transmitters to Budapest by Swedish intelligence representatives via the Swedish diplomatic pouch. These sets had been intended for use by the resistance in preparation of a possible uprising, in the wake of a hoped for Allied invasion. Now we finally have some indication as to what other purposes such transmitters may have served, even though the invasion plans fell through.
The memoirs of SI Intelligence Chief in Stockholm, Robert T. Cole, make it clear that the Swedish-American clandestine exchanges directly involved Raoul Wallenberg. Cole says that before Wallenberg left for Budapest, the two met to discuss America’s overall “interests and contacts” in Hungary, with an eye towards U.S. post war interests throughout Central and Eastern Europe (as well as the Baltic states). These aims also almost certainly included the wish to protect Hungary’s considerable industrial assets which involved important Western economic holdings, including those of Sweden.
If the new findings are confirmed, the engagement of Swedish diplomatic representatives in an ongoing military conflict could have had truly significant ramifications, on a variety of levels; this includes the question how Stalin decided to handle Raoul Wallenberg’s case in the decisive summer of 1947 (when Wallenberg is alleged to have died in Soviet captivity) and why at least three individuals who had been closely associated with Wallenberg and Allied intelligence operations in Budapest ended up as highly secret, numbered prisoners in the Soviet Union’s notorious Vladimir prison in the early 1950’s. Did Raoul Wallenberg indeed quickly outlive any usefulness for the Soviet leader? Or did Stalin delay a final decision about Wallenberg’s fate, at least for a while, because he considered him relevant “for the larger political game”, as a former high-ranking Soviet intelligence official suggested some years ago?
“Dark skies over Budapest” gives strong new impetus for additional research into the overall scope and purpose of Wallenberg’s mission, its associated aspects, as well as possible Soviet perception of Wallenberg as an ‘agent’ of broader, long term Western aims in what Stalin considered a traditional Soviet sphere of influence. The military defeat of Nazi Germany would have been a mere technicality in this scenario. Stalin’s main concern was that ultimately the U.S. and Great Britain would make common cause with their former enemy and turn as a united front against the Soviet Union. Wallenberg’s elaborate plans for post-war restitution of Jewish property must have further added to Soviet suspicions about the fundamental nature of his mission.
After almost seven decades since Raoul Wallenberg’s disappearance, we should be able to obtain answers to many of these unsolved questions. Soviet field agents filed extensive reports about what they saw and heard in Budapest (and Stockholm!), yet almost none of this documentation has been made available to researchers. Similarly, important internal Soviet era correspondence records between the Soviet leadership and key figures in the Soviet Foreign and Military Intelligence services have remained inaccessible. Unfortunately, Swedish officials have not made a determined push to facilitate a comprehensive review of this material by international experts. Gellert Kovacs’ instructive new book provides all the more reason for that to change.
One small drawback: The book lacks an index and it could have benefitted from tighter editing, which overlooked a few basic mistakes. A more extensive bibliography would be equally helpful. These oversights will hopefully be corrected in future editions and are in part compensated for by a spectacular 16-page photo insert. The publication is currently only available in Swedish, but awaits very welcome translation into English.
I have also worked as a lecturer on a variety of subjects. I can offer lectures on following topics, amongst others:
European 19: th and 20: th century history.
Central and Eastern European history and present society.
First and Second World War.
History of Soviet Union.
European extreme right wing movements, historically and present.
I have written a number of articles that have been bought or publicized in historical magazines in Norway and Sweden.
The Battle of Budapest. This battle, which was called the “second Stalingrad” by both German and Soviet soldiers cost 150 000 lives and brought destruction on one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
The Hungarian army between 1919 and 1945. About the Royal Hungarian army from the harsh restrictions after the first world war, to rearmament in the 30´s, to the disastrous partcipation in the second world war.
Marshall Tukhatchevsky- The red Napoleon. This article is about the miltary genius who became army commander at 27 and had a decisive contribution tot he fact that the young Soviet state survived. His ideas for the army were revolutionary in the 30´s, but rose Stalins envy and hate.
The damned soldiers. About all the different Soviet citizens, balts as well as caucasians and slavs, who sided with the invading germans after 1941, by different reasons.In many cases, their destiny was doomed, seen as traitors by most people in their country.
Raoul Nordling- The unknown swedish hero. ” The other Raoul”, a Swedish attaché in Paris, who saved several thousand lives and contributed to stop Hitlers crazy plans to destroy paris before liberation in august 1944.
Several other articles are under preparation. Articles could also be ordered and written from scratch. My articles are allways carefully researched from many sources and well written. They have received very high recognition from the ordering magazines.They are written in Swedish, but could be translated to any language.