Ágnes Judith Kornis

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Ágnes Judith Kornis (Steiner / Solt)

Death: October 30, 2017 (100)
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Dr. Lajos Steiner and Ilona "Ilus" Solt (Eisler)
Wife of Ferenc Földes and Miklós Kornis
Mother of Private User
Sister of Eva Veronika Magasdi and Mimi Vadász

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Ágnes Judith Kornis

Birth as Agnes Steiner https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-894J-TKB8?i=1066

AGNES’ HISTORY – ADVERTISER NEWSPAPER 23 DEC 2017 Passports to a life of tireless charity:

Only two days before her death, just short of her 100th birthday, Agnes Kornis was in her kitchen making 120 cakes for a Calvary Hospital fundraising tea.

She died at home at Glen Osmond with her daughter, Dr Edith Miller and son-in-law Professor Michael Miller, at her side.

Agnes was born in Hungary in 1916, the eldest of three daughters to Gabor and Ilus Solt. Gabor, a lawyer, died as a result of World War I.

At 21 she married the pianist and composer of light opera, Ferencz Foldes, and became a mother at 22. But like so many young fathers of that time, her husband became involved in World War II, eventually leaving Agnes a widow with a small child while still in her 20’s.

In mid-1944, Agnes received a phone call one night from Baroness Elizabeth Kemeny, the wife of Hungary’s Foreign Minister. The Baroness asked if she or her sister, Mimi, could type. Later that night they were picked up by a car and taken to the Swedish Embassy in Budapest. There they secretly typed up what were to become the first Schutzpasses to be issued by the Swedish diplomat, Raoul Wallenburg, in a plan supported by the Baroness.

Wallenburg’s famous passports were to save thousands of Hungarian Jews. Following the German occupation of Hungary in March 1944, the Hungarian Jews who had previously been spared the worst of the Holocaust, were being rounded up and sent to Poland concentration camps at the rate of 12,000 a day.

Sweden was recognised as neutral by the Axis forces and the official-looking Schutzpasses enabled Jews to avoid wearing distinguishing badges and to be sheltered at sites designated as Swedish in Hungary. Wallenburgh rented buildings all over Budapest and declared them Swedish.

Agnes met the 34-year old Wallenburgh. He didn’t trust his office staff to type the Schutzpasses and instead, sought out trusted people such as Agnes.

After the war, Agnes with her second husband, Miklos Kornis, along with her mother and sisters, emigrated to Australia, settling in Adelaide where members of the Solt family had already settled.

She oten recalled a specila moment of arrival in Australia, when their train was met by a group of CWA women at Seymour Railway Station, Victoria with trestle tables laden with sandwiches, cakes, and tea for the migrants. It was not just the food and drink, but the smiles of welcome, which Agnes never forgot. “I saw those kind smiling women with their home-made food, and felt this was a country of generous, good people. I resolved I would do one day such community work here.”

Agnes first found paid work in factories, but later when the family was settled, she studied to gain her nursing qualification, and worked at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Although she never lost her Hungarian accent, Agnes was an enthusiastic Australian. She and her husband were keen local Roosters supporters. Later Agnes became a major Crows fan, never missing a game and knowing the history and skills of every player.

She also became a committed charity worker, serving on a number of committees, with Mary Potter Hospice her greatest interest. She was on their fundraising committed for decades, retiring only at 99.

At her 100th birthday celebration some 120 family and friends came from around the world to celebrate with her. She received letters from the Queen, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, and a blessing certificate from the Pope, as well as letters of thanks from the Swedish Foreign Minister and from Raoul Wallenburgh’s sister, Nina.

Agnes was an active member of St Ignatius Church, Norwood. On her 100th birthday, the parish dedicated a bench to her, which gave her great pleasure to visit each Sunday. On Australia Day 2017 she was named Burnside Council Volunteer of the Year to mark her years of community work.

Agnes, or “Agi”, as she was known, died peacefully, the matriarch of a large family – each of whose birthdays she always managed to remember.

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Ágnes Judith Kornis's Timeline

December 16, 1916
October 30, 2017
Age 100
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia