Dr. Balázs Seléndy, born in Budapest, Hungary, to Jenö Seléndy and Irén Kosma on September 5, 1937, passed away peacefully in his home on July 5, 2021, after an intense and devoted life of public service and study in three countries. He spent his last years in the pursuit of lifelong passions, including for reflection, writing, reading, karate, and photography, living quietly with his beloved Patricia Gambitta in Fly Creek, New York.
Balázs grew up in war-torn Hungary, spending his childhood in the midst of the deprivations of World War II. With Calvinist and Catholic parents but a Jewish paternal grandfather, his family stayed beyond reach of the Nazis due in part to his father’s military service to the Austro-Hungarian empire during WWI.
In October and November 1956, as a young medical student, Balázs fought in the spontaneous, student-led revolution against the Soviet-backed Hungarian People’s Republic. After a large Soviet force invaded Hungary and destroyed the uprising, rounding up revolutionaries, Balázs was forced to leave his family, including younger brother Szabolcs, and to emigrate with other Hungarian refugees under cover of darkness across the border to Austria. His father gave him a treasured Leica camera to pay for his crossing, but, after Balázs helped a fellow refugee escape, she paid for him, and he photographed with the Leica for decades.