Speaker OK, so just briefly, how did you know Robert Kaplan and Tullis from my wife?

Speaker And today, I met him at Magnum.

Speaker I had there had been no previous contact. I knew him by name, of course, you know, he was the war photographer when I was a soldier in the Second World War. And people just talked about.

Speaker And just thinking back to the year that couple was born, 1913 in Budapest.

Speaker Yes, I'm very interested in how you just kind of describe for the audience who started in 1914 was the beginning of the end. And people realize that very quickly right now, there's a truck that, OK, sorry, this truck noise and also be careful not to give a little space between my words and your voice is broad overlap, you know, so. But I love what you were saying. Are we OK? Yeah.

Speaker OK, so 1913 he was born, but his life began in 1914, which for the world of Budapest, everybody felt was the last act. Off the Austro Hungarian empire, it continued during the war. But it was dying and only people knew that it will take a war to make the whole show disappear so that he grew into a world where. Everybody was nostalgic. Before there was a reason to be nostalgic when set in very quickly, what were they nostalgic for? Soundchecks, which was the peak. Bourgeois life for Budapest, which was in a way sort of Chicago for four Central Europe, because everything new came out of Budapest where everything new and industry and capitalist arrangements were tried out and thrived much more than in Austria. So it was an immense experience of prosperity for a very large section of the population, certainly the bourgeoisie of which. The Jews in the past were an integral part, in fact, the big social revolution brought about by industrialization was largely brought about by Jews from Austria and Germany, invited to come to Hungary to build up this enormous industry that suddenly developed, you see. And so that. The collapse was obvious during the war already because the economy collapsed and. Then, with all the wisdom of Mr. Wilson, things just fell apart, the economic structure around the Danube. Disappeared, the prosperity that grew around the big waterway fell apart because suddenly there were different countries competing with one another, whereas before there had been what we'd call today, globalization. Right. And. This caused amongst the bourgeoisie, but not necessarily the Jewish bourgeoisie, a great phase of reaction trying to get back to the monarchy. And this was a continuous race in Germany, too, but not not as much as an Austrian Hungarian, because we're almost war destroyed much more in the Austro Hungarian world than it did in Germany. At least German industry was left intact, whereas there nothing was left intact. And the young people. Look towards communism and of course, there was a short period of a. Soviet structure in Hungary, which ended in terrible conditions politically and as if the famous or infamous Admiral Hardy took over and was made.

Speaker OK, hold it, hold the fort.

Speaker You want to let me know when everybody's down? OK. All right, so how did all this affect this world, I guess?

Speaker Well, that's what I was coming to. Man was made the head of Hungary. It was me, Prince Regent, because officially it was still a kingdom. So they made the joke that he was an admirer of the Austrian Navy and he was an admiral of a Navy that didn't exist. And he was a king of a country that had no king. So that's sort of colored the whole existence for the next 15 years or more. Which the which was the world in which cupper.

Speaker Ralph. You know, there was the general yearning of nostalgia and yet the hope for some alternative to this absurd. Admiral. We had no crown to be a king. What was the name of this party again? Hata h o r t y Admiral Noka Bunyard party.

Speaker He was an old Hungarian princely family, the Marja's. So there was this continuous fight between the new attempting and the old trying to bring back the oldest and end this tremendous tension.

Speaker Which could not be reached. We relieved economically because. The wherewithal and the infrastructure disappears, and this applies as much to Austria as it did to to Hungary and Czechoslovakia, you know, he grew up and he became is.

Speaker India already gave you a lot of us growing up and so on, so forth, he became that generation, which in later years of MacCarthy became to be described by Arthur Cussler as prematurely antifascist. Explain this to him. He was he was antifascist when there was not an official policy of Britain and America to be antifascists, so he was prematurely antifascists. Why was that suspect?

Speaker Because he was already a rebel. The powers that be try to. Prevent the rebels from arising in the first place. You see, the feelings in England and in America were to continue hard to deny Bunya. But what became a little awkward when he became a Nazi, right, so that he claimed not to be one, but in fact he was, you know, that he was nearly killed by them is another story which leads to far for the subject. But it is in this world, this twilight world, where this generation's. Of copper, my own brother belonged to my late brother was trying to.

Speaker Find some kind of mode of existence at a time when they felt that the existence policy was already absurd, to have an existence in this non-existent world was was a contradiction in terms.

Speaker If you wait for this airplane. But that's the brilliance of what you're saying is AGHAJARI. Yeah, it's OK.

Speaker And I guess I was thinking as you were talking about his parents.

Speaker You know, they were again, it will help if you kind of rephrase my question, but they were tailers. They were not.

Speaker They were trying very hard. To make an existence, to eke out an existence, to create an existence which the people, the immigrants, the immigrants here of the same background were trying to do too, but more successfully, because it was easier in America than and dying Hungary, they were trying to create the best they could under really very awkward circumstances. They were making clothes for the dying bourgeoisie. That's what it amounted to.

Speaker And do you think they would they have approved of what their son was doing?

Speaker Yes. Because they knew that their attempt was for naught. But they wouldn't necessarily admitted to him after all, they were trying to get the wherewithal to bring up their sons, you see all the usual tensions of that period.

Speaker So his father certainly approved of it, understood it, complained pardon me, to quite some extent, there couldn't be part of it because they didn't have the intellectual resilience that the young had. It was for them to get out of the after effects of this terrible anticommunist interlude to go to university and all the rest of it. Under extremely difficult circumstances, all of which were against the continuing their plans, see, so that that led to considerable social and intellectual tensions. Good for her and true for the rest of Eastern or Central Europe. But in Hungary, it was particularly bad.

Speaker And those like Caprioglio, the young who were turning to the left for answers, what is it that they were fighting against? What is it that they want?

Speaker Oh, I suppose you could summarize it in a somewhat worn term reaction.

Speaker You know what that means. The reactionaries were people who tried to react to the difficult conditions by forcibly, but all the forces available to them to recreate that which was passed. You know, to recreate a kingdom where there was no crown and was kind of difficult, to put it mildly and.

Speaker Cap is going to cap in his generation, what were they trying to create?

Speaker I need something good for.

Speaker It's OK, go ahead. It's pretty sad.

Speaker I would think that one best tomate as a sort of social democratic Europe.

Speaker In which there would be no war, which was a forlorn hope. But this is what they wanted, naturally, because the the devastating effect of the first war was very much with them. And when you ask people did they want to do they wanted to prevent this from occurring again so that they could. Get the training they wanted for the for the new economy that was obviously coming along, you see. Because the old one had collapsed. That Mr. Wilson has ended up is another matter, but, you know, it's. That was the situation. So would you say that they have the people that you think that they wanted to create a new world order that was certainly prevent the old order from continuing preventing a new order from arising? I don't think they would have thought of that in terms of new order, because that was the phrase used by the fascists, also by Stalin. Keep that in mind.

Speaker You know, and when Cappa was forced to leave Budapest. Yes. Why would he go to Berlin?

Speaker Cause I'm sorry, this was nineteen thirty one, is it kind of rephrase the question because you won't hear me on the soundtrack so you can kind of say yes, he went to Berlin, which was just before Hitler took power.

Speaker And in Berlin. Modernism and the dynamics for you industry was already rolling. It was brought to a standstill. To no, due to a number of circumstances which brought Hitler part of isobars, I mean, that goes outside historical analysis of this. You know, when Berlin was the great attraction, socially, economically, politically, it was dynamic. Things were happening that they weren't that were going to be awful was what was feared. But not certain yet, certainly not in 1931.

Speaker What were these exciting things that were happening?

Speaker There was modern industry. There was new industry, new attempts. It was modernization of industry.

Speaker The industry of Germany at that time was far ahead of America. That's an awkward thing to admit, but it was the most dynamic, was more dynamic than England.

Speaker And was this also true in the arts?

Speaker Oh, yes, definitely, definitely. When he went into training for printing and on that sort of thing, you know, and that was very much where things were happening in that whole field of cultural and industrial activity. Also, the means, the industrial means for realizing it were being brought about if you went to Berlin. In order to learn that which is new, that came from America then to be in Berlin or Heidelberg or what have you, to learn the methodology of modern industry.

Speaker And it was kind of a hotbed of avant garde art and, oh, God, yes.

Speaker Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. But that avant garde wouldn't have been possible without the modern means available. You know, I fed on itself and this kind of dynamic. Of which America became the sole heir after a while, for obvious reasons, was the only hope. Geographically, to which you could have turned. Of course, people thought of America, but who could go to America, you know, it was very difficult and uncertain, whereas Berlin had a had an infrastructure with which she was familiar. You know, certainly was no language difficulty because in Hungary, you were brought up Hungarian and German. It was a bilingual state, also a certain amount of French to you were very much part. Of that, a rising modern Europe. The core, in fact, so you went to Berlin.

Speaker That was great. OK, so then you could tell us maybe what happened to assume that some people in the audience are not going to know this history. So, no, quite what happened during those years, those two years, that couple was in Berlin. Thirty one to thirty three. And then why would he have chosen to go to Paris, which is the next place.

Speaker Well, by 1933 of course. The miscreant had arisen, right? He came to power. Why and how, contrary to most people's expectations, game is outside this frame of reference. One can go on talking for hours about that. It's very complex. The results were bloody simple, but the factors at work were very complex and from 31 on.

Speaker The.

Speaker Political and economic infrastructure. Of Germany. And goodwill of Europe already fell apart, which was the coming depression that started here, but was climbing to its peak. That's why you had Rosevelt here, right? It's an interesting point to remember that Roosevelt came to the top when Hitler did. At the same time. Strange thought once that was.

Speaker So that was a new world I I'm always suspect of that phrase, New World starts every morning. Well, yes, Paris was the only escape for him from that because. Already, but left tainted from Budapest.

Speaker He and Jewish. His fate would have been.

Speaker Pretty bad in Berlin.

Speaker All Arctic, wherever, you know, some of them went to Paris because there was a short period, but it was fairly simple for political refugees. To go to Paris that didn't last very long, but at least managed to get there and eke out an existence of sort. But again, the infrastructure was known to him and you'd learnt a certain amount of French and the intellectual infrastructure, French industry certainly wasn't as modern as German industry. They were just trying to attempt. That is the reason why one of the reasons why France collapsed when the war came along, because French industry was hopelessly backwards.

Speaker And what was the political climate that arrived in in the mid 30s is very interesting time politically in France. Yes.

Speaker What was anything but inviting but. However uninviting, it was more inviting than Berlin, right?

Speaker What was happening, it seems to me that this this tension, this battle between, you know, the so-called fascists and, you know, what's going on there. And that was when you first began to really document with this camera.

Speaker Yes. Because the fight.

Speaker Between.

Speaker The rest of working class and the reactionary bourgeoisie. Was going into high gear. And.

Speaker He had no problems finding imagery, referring to the abject poverty of the lower classes, however much they were rooted in the French countryside, they used to see that every over here, every worker in France in the final analysis, can always go to his family and the country. But this was there was a saturation point for that scene. But mentally, yes, it was still true then. Then it was now. And that is partly what was appealing about France, that however hard the winds blew and Paris and must say and so on. There was a continuation in the countryside which was proven, of course, during a very bad period when France was beaten by the Prussians and the countryside. Remain French, and you had the revolution in Paris, and so that experience was very much in the bones of the French people when they when the second war came along, that whole period, very much the comina was very Leive experience. Plenty of people who could remember it. You see, it was only 30, 40 years ago.

Speaker What about the popular Popular Front that have a document for the election?

Speaker Exactly. From Populaire was a kind of dream fulfillment of the Social Democrats, right? At the same time. It was very difficult for Leon Blum to keep this paradise to come afloat. I mean, he was the first one in Europe, in fact, to introduce. Sort of modern unemployment and vacations for the working class, for the factory workers, you know, this was unheard of to some extent.

Speaker And Bismarck's Germany. Yes, but not the way it was done by Leon Blum in order to keep this going. He had to add this effect to people like Coupa considerably. He compromised on the Spanish Civil War, Sue.

Speaker No intervention, keep us out, you know, which was politically. Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. For which. The generation of Koppa could never forgive him. Because if they had acted. They would have counterbalanced Hitler and Mussolini. In Spain. The same was true in Britain, but not as strongly as in France, because Britain, you had a very conservative government who were reluctant anyhow because they were afraid of Russia is getting stronger in Spain and that sort of thing. This is very well described by. The books of what's his name again, George Orwell.

Speaker He said, whether you're familiar with his farewell to Arms or the farewell to Catalonia, which describes the whole atmosphere extremely beautifully and harshly, perhaps, but that was where the sympathies were of, of men like copper and shame to, you know, this this was very depressing because you could foresee how this would go on but couldn't do anything about it.

Speaker And what about those like Cappa who. Well, those who went to Spain. The International Brigade, yes.

Speaker Again, what was their reason for going what were they fighting? What did they think they were going to be doing or what they were hoping Leon Blum would do?

Speaker Right. Can you kind of rephrase it so that you hear the International Brigades, the International Brigade rose?

Speaker As an experiment to create volunteers to support the republic. Which, incidentally, was not so left.

Speaker I mean, this is very complicated, but.

Henri Bondi
Interview Date:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
cpb-aacip-504-7940r9mq8j, cpb-aacip-504-5q4rj4992x, cpb-aacip-504-445h98zv5d
"Henri Bondi, Robert Capa: In Love and War." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 17 Jan. 2002,
(2002, January 17). Henri Bondi, Robert Capa: In Love and War. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET).
"Henri Bondi, Robert Capa: In Love and War." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). January 17, 2002. Accessed June 25, 2022


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