Agnes Kent

In Gratitude

Exuding optimism and gratitude at every turn, Agnes Kent says simply that she would not be here today if not for the fearlessness and vision of Raoul Wallenberg.

Agnes Lŏrinczi was born in Budapest in 1928, where she lived a comfortable, idyllic existence in a bourgeois family.

In October 1944, the building in which Agnes and her parents lived was designated as a Jewish house by the Nazis and their Hungarian Arrow Cross collaborators; the building, into which countless other families were crowded, was marked with a yellow star.

Soon after that, her father, a dentist, and her uncle, an engineer, were taken away and forced on a death march to Austria.

With 4 of the 12,000 Schutzpässe that Wallenberg issued in hand, Agnes and her mother were able to move into one of the 30 safe houses that Wallenberg set up. But the semblance of safety was short-lived. From her window in the safe house, Agnes was able to view hundreds of Jews being taken to the banks of the Danube to be executed en masse.

Agnes’s mother tried to send the coveted Wallenberg passes to her husband and his brother, only to learn it was too late: they were shot on the roadside because they could no longer walk.

Leaving the safe house, Agnes and her mother sought refuge in the air-raid shelter belonging to a gentile family while heavy bombing raged over the city;

there they stayed for several weeks until they were liberated by the Russian army in 1945. After the war, Agnes married George Kent and together they crossed Hungary’s Iron Curtain to Austria. Agnes and George arrived to Canada in 1951, where they began to rebuild their lives.

Agnes has been a member of the Wallenberg International Movement for Humanity, and, today, at 85, volunteers and takes courses at the McGill Centre for Lifelong Learning.

Today, she takes joy in her two grandchildren while spreading her uniquely bright and optimistic view of life.