Dr. Kristóf Kállay de Nagykálló

(7 December 1916, Nyíregyháza – 26 April 2006, Budapest)
(Abstract of the Hungarian original work)



A significant person of the Kállay familytree’s Napkor branch, Kristóf Iván Gergely Kállay was born on 7th December 1916 in Nyíregyháza.
His father: Dr. Miklós Kállay (Nicholas Kállay) de Nagykálló (1887-1967) , Prime Minister of Hungary
His mother: Helén Kállay de Nagykálló (1894-1945)

Until 1934: finished school in Nyíregyháza, Budapest and Nagykálló.
1934: graduated from the secondary school of Nagykálló.
For one year he served as a volunteer at the József Bem Royal Mounted Gunners in Budapest. He left it as a lieutenant.
1939: graduated in law and political sciences from Péter Pázmány University and became Juris Doctor.
He postgraduated from the Diplomatic Academy of Wien. He also studied journalism at the University of Lille.

He started his career at the Department of Public Relations in the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On 6th March 1942 at his father’s appointment as Prime Minister, he became private secretary to the Prime Minister until 19th March 1944.

He married Veronika Vásárhelyi de Kézdivásárhely (1920-2000) in 1942, who got the Literary Award of Sándor Sík. They had two sons: András and Miklós, who live with their families abroad.



Kristóf Kállay’s promising career line was broken after Nazi-Germany occupied Kingdom of Hungary (Regency) on 19th March 1944 and Ferenc Szálasi’s Arrow Cross Party came into power. His father and his brother András was deported to Germany, his brother Miklós was transported as forced labourer to the Soviet Union from camp to camp. His beloved mother, who found shelter at the Turkish Embassy in Buda, was murdered by a shrapnel of a mine in 1945. He and his wife with their infant, András found shelter first at Regent Miklós Horthy’s house, then they were interned near the village Süttő. After 15th October 1945 he and his family found shelter at the Jesuits in Budapest and they survived the Ferenc Szálasi Regime of Terror with invalid identity documents. After the Soviet invasion he was allowed to settle down to the remaining territory of the Kállay family estate in Kállósemjén.

He decided to leave the country for the safety of his family in 1946: he and his pregnant wife with their toddler son, András crossed the border on Palm Sunday midnight 14th April 1946 and brought only a suitcase of personal things with them. They arrived in Rome on 1st May 1946.
First they lived in Capri Island and Castelgandolfo, Italy with the ex-Prime Minister, Miklós Kállay. From 1951 they moved to Rome and lived there until their homecoming.

His career in Italy:
1951 – 1967: Secretary General of European Federation for Animal Science (EAAP)
1965 – 1967: Secretary General of the World Association for Animal Production
1958 – 1967: Director-General of Danube Commission
1967 – 1978: Regional Representative of the Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
In 1978 he retired from FAO, he was 62. He never gave up his Hungarian citizenship. He and his family were given Austrian citizenship in 1956.

Dr. Kristóf Kállay became Knight of the Order of Malta in 1943. In 1956 he organised the helping service of the Order of Malta. He with many other Knights and Dames gave first aid services to the penniless and starving refugees who traveled to Western Europe.
1957: member of the Diplomatic Committee of the Order of Malta for the Holy See
1978 – 1997: accredited Minister and special Ambassador of the Diplomatic Committee of the Order of Malta for the Holy See; in good, personal relations with the Pope, St. John Paul II.
1954 – 1969: Secretary of the Hungarian Assocciation of the Order of Malta
1969 – 1995: fourth President of the Hungarian Assocciation of the Order of Malta
1995 – 2006: honorary President of the Hungarian Assocciation of the Order of Malta

After the end of Communism in Hungary he left behind the honourable work of 50 years in Italy, his significant career and in 1995 he moved back to Hungary for long. He was a citizen of Kállósemjén until his death. He took an active part in social and cultural life of the village, he supported it in many ways. He became a honourary citizen.

He gave his valuable private collection including antique items, books and documents to his birthtown Nyíregyháza and Szabolcs county, with which he founded the Kállay Collection.

After a long illness he passed away on 26th April 2006 in Budapest, he was 90 years old. He was buried in the family’s vault in Kállósemjén on 8th May 2006.
His whole life is an example for all of us.
(Hungarian original text by Dr. Sarolta Lakatos)