Historian John Lukacs dies aged 95

Maverick historian of Hungarian extraction John Lukacs died at his Phoenixville, Pennsylvania home aged 95.

Born in Budapest on January 31st, 1924 to Jewish parents who converted to Catholicism, Lukács studied history at the University of Budapest. During the Nazi occupation of Hungary he served in a labor battalion for Jews, but escaped by the end of 1944 and hid in a cellar, thus avoiding deportation.

When it became clear that Hungary would become a Communist state, he emigrated to the United States in 1946 where he embarked on a successful academic career, eventually becoming president of the American Catholic Historical Association and member of the Royal Historical Society.

He wrote more than 30 books and dozens of essays, including a bestselling tribute to Winston Churchill, whom he considered the greatest statesman of the 20th century. He described himself as a “reactionary” and was among the few historians who were critical of the left and the cultural revolution of the 1960s.

“Because of the goodness of God,” he summed up in his memoir, “I have had a happy unhappy life, which is preferable to an unhappy happy one.”

“We are grateful that even as a famous scholar he proudly acknowledged his Hungarian extraction and was the representative of a Central European world view without which the 20th century history of Europe and the West can barely be understood,” Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán wrote in a letter to his grieving family.

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