Frigyes Lamberger
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Frigyes Lamberger (1929-2014)
Foreign trade expert

Date of Interview:
January – December 2006
Length of Interview: 171 pages
Name of Interviewer: János Molnár
Name of summary maker: János Molnár

The interview was made of the Oral History Archive of the Institute of 1956, its original copy can be accessed and reasearched in the Institute.


Frigyes Lamberger was born on September 27, 1929. in Vienna, from Hungarian parents.

His father was agronomist Béla Lamberger (1888-1978), an expert on plant economics, who studied in Berlin and Breslau (today Wrocław), then worked as a farm supervisor in Hungary. In 1918 he formed the Trade Union of Hungarian Socialist Farm Supervisors. During the Hungarian Soviet Republic he was the head of the department of the Academy of Agriculture of Mosonmagyaróvár, as well as the secretary of the above mentioned trade union. He was arrested after the collapse of the Hungarian Soviet Republic, but his family managed to arrange his release from prison in a few months. He then left to live in Austria (pp. 1-11).

His mother, Margit Hevesi (1898-1955) was a member of one of the workers’ and soldiers’ councils in Budapest in 1919. After the collapse of the Hungarian Soviet Republic she fled to Vienna (pp. 13-16).

Béla Lamberger and Margit Hevesi met and later got married in Austria. They had a daughter, Ilona (1923-1996) who became an agronomist and interpreter, and a son, Frigyes, in 1929.

The Interviewee does not know much about his grandparents, he never met them. His paternal grandfather (the Lamberger branch) was a wealthy cereal merchant, his uncles became lawyers or military officers. Béla, the youngest son of the family, was disinherited for his leftist views (pp. 1-5).

Frigyes Lamberger knows even less of his maternal grandparents (the Hevesi branch): they were a not so wealthy middle class family of Jewish origins, his grandfather was an architect. They were related to the Laub family, who owned a factory in Budapest (pp. 12-14). His aunt, Ilona Hevesi (later Mrs. Bán) worked for the Internation Red Cross.

In 1932 Béla Lamberger moved from Austria to the Soviet Union, and his family followed him shortly. The Interviewee was 3-years-old at the time (1933). Béla Lamberger became a lecturer of agriculture in several universities in the countryside, first at areas with significant German minorities (south-east Ukraine and Odessa). In the beginning of the Stalinist purges they moved to North Kazakhstan, to a station carrying out agricultural experiments, then lived by the Volga. During the Second World War they lived close to a laboratory by the Volga near Kuybyshev (today Samara) (pp. 18-35).

Because of the frequent moves of the family the Interviewee advanced primary school slowly: he only finished five grades in various German and Russian speaking schools (pp. 27-28, 33-34).

From the beginning of the was – the age of fifteen – Frigyes Lamberger worked as an agricultural truch driver in the Kuybyshev region. In 1947 he joined the Komsomol. After the war he enrolled in a course to become an electrician, and started working for the Soviet Railway company: first on a mobile electric laboratory (that was on a train), then as the head of a battery charging unit, and later as the head of a department (pp. 37-40, 50-52).

He married a Russian woman and had two children (Natalia, 1952 and Vladimír, 1955). (pp. 39-40).

His mother, Margit Hevesi suffered from a serious form of cancer and wished to return to Hungary, so the family applied for immigration in 1954. Due to the Soviet bureaucracy, it took them two years to get all the papers ready, and Margit Hevesi did not live to return to Hungary (pp. 40-44).

Seven members of the family (Frigyes Lamberger, his wife and two children, his sister, Ilona with her daughter and their father, Béla Lamberger) moved to Hungary on March 23rs, 1956. Frigyes Lamberger struggled to find employment, eventually started to work for VETRESZ, a company designing and repairing electrical power plants, as an electrician (pp. 45, 53-60).

During the revolution of 1956 he was in Budapest, and regarded its events from a Soviet point of view, not understanding what was happening. He was insulted on the street because of his leather jacket, and almost got lynched on Rákóczi út. As Soviet citizens, he and his family was moved to the Soviet embassy on 28 October. During these days he met and spoke with the ambassador, Yuri Andropov, future leader of the Soviet Union, several times. After the arrival of Soviet troops on 8 November they moved back to their apartment. Because of his Soviet citizenship and assertive manner he managed to arrange for the release of the men living in the same building with them (42, Népszínház street) from the Keleti Railway station, where they had been gathered by the Soviets (pp. 47-48, 61-66, 69-70). Frigyes Lamberger joined the newly forming communist party, MSZMP, in the middle of 1956.

In the beginning of 1957 he was offered a position at the Dzerzhinsky Military Academy in Moscow, which he refused – he did not like military discipline, and did not want to denounce his soviet citizenship (which he kept until 1986). (pp. 71-73)

In the beginning of 1957 he was fired from VERTESZ, was unemployed for a while, then became a tour guide for the Express Youth Travel Agency, guiding Soviet groups. In the summer of 1957 he was the leader of the Express resort in Balatonföldvár (pp. 76-79).

Between 1958 and 1962 he worked as a tour guide for the IBUSZ travel agency, guiding groups to the Soviet Union and the GDR, inventing and organizing the first socialist special trains, the trains of peace.

In 1960 he divorced his first wife (pp. 79-91).

Due to a conflict with Inturist, the soviet state travel agency, in 1962 he resigned from his job at IBUSZ, and became an assistant director of Hotel Astoria, then a waiter, later a cashier. He got disenchanted from the hotel industry because of the corruption he had experienced and returned to working as an electrician. He worked for the Electrician Industrial Company between 1965-1969, and also got training as a technician on the Ottó Bláthy school of electrical technicians (pp. 91-93).

In 1969 he was accepted as a tradesman at the NIKEX Company of Foreign Trade. He enrolled in the College of Foreign Trade in 1970, where he received a BA (1972). He worked selling elevators in the Comecon countries, his main field of expertise remained the Soviet Union. He was well respected. He married again, but his second marriage was short-lived. He spent most of his time in the Soviet Union (pp. 93-112).

In 1975 he started to work for METRIMPEX Foreign Trade Company, and was the head of their office in Sofia between 1978 and 1982. In the meantime he got married for the third time, but got divorced shortly afterwards. Because of his ex-wife he was forced to leave the company (pp. 112-133).

During the ’80-ies he worked for several companies for shorter whiles. Between 1985-87 he worked for Mikromodul Foreign Trade company, importing COCOM listed goods to the countries of the Eastern block. He then became and advisor for Mikromed Foreign Trade Company, where he specialized on COCOM listed computers (pp. 135-139).

In 1989 he retired, and started to trade independently, primarily with computers. He worked together with the Műszertechnika company of the businessman Gábor Széles, selling computers to the Soviet Union, making a fortune (pp. 138-140, 153-156).

He had a heart operation in the ’90-ies which made his stop working for some time.

In the beginning of the ’90-ies he became the advisor and local representative of the Russian company, Lukoil, and a few years later retired completely (pp. 156-163).

At the time of the making of the interview, Frigyes Lamberger had been living with his fourth spouse, Klári Galicza, a Russian teacher (since 1985). He had a third child out of wedlock, a son, and several grandchildren.