BIOGRAPHIES by Rozalia Makai

Istvan Varga & Rozalia Makai website

The Life of ALADAR UNGAR (1905-1970) by Rozalia Makai

on the bases of Aladar Ungar's documentary biography
"Yes, my Father!" by Vilma Lukatsi

He was born in Budapest on 2 July 1905. For the orthodox Jewish people it was year 5665. Their family derives from Levi's tribe. His Father Izsak Ungar was a collector, and did not choose a Hebrew name for his son because he did not maintain the traditions too much. On the eight day the child was circumcised. In the family he was called Andi. One and a half years later his sister was born. The two children had a carefree and happy life, but he lost his always smiling mother when he was ten years old. He took care of his little sister with great love, he pampered her, vindicated her, because at the funeral he promised it to her, - "Don't cry! From now on I'll be your mother!" He took this of his promise very seriously. His school years were very restless. He was a very bad boy. He did not want to study. He was preparing to become a merchant, and because of an accident that happened in a textile shop his putrefied right kidney had to be removed. Following that, when he was 18 he thought he only had a few years left from his life. "I threw myself into all pleasures, entertainments... I was unsatisfied with everything, with myself too. I was looking for something."- he wrote in his diary fragment. He thought that in this way there was no point in continuing to live.

That week he met colonel Rothstein, a Christian man with living faith, who was the leader of Salvationists in Budapest. Andi spoke German well, so he understood what the colonel said. He explained Andi, who that time felt ashamed about that he was Jewish, that his Saviour came from the Jewish too. Andi said about the pardon of sins that the Jewish kill one cock for every man and one chicken for every woman at the big propitiatory feast, and they ask God to accept the blood of the animals for sacrifice for the sins. Besides, there are ten penitential days when they recognize their sins, and they ask for God's forgiveness. "And then I surprisedly heard two convincing truth:
- Firstly, that according to God's order, the prelate has to bring a sacrifice for his own sins first, and only after that he can ask God for placation for all the people. Therefore, what we do on the placation day, in the eye of God it is not valid at all!
- Secondly he said God's sacrificial lamb is JESUS, Who gain an eternally valid placation - for the sins of all the world! Nobody gets lost who believes in Him! That man lives forever! The blood of the sacrificial Lamb saved those who believe in Him, and God forgives their sins!" The colonel prayed for him on his knees, while Andi was also on his knees, and he saw all his life before his eyes, and started to cry bitterly. He did not manage to pray with his own words, but God heard his cry from deep. At the end he experienced, weeping for joy, that God's mercy entered his life and from that time on he became Jesus Christ's property. "Still imperfect, just like a new-born baby, but I already received life from God. Eternal life."
He had to believe: Jesus from Nasareth is not only his Messiah, but also his personal Saviour.
He was God's Lamb, who gained placation! God's Lamb and the Lion of Juda: is the same!
From this time on he started a new life. He wanted to hear God's word every day. He attended the meetings, and appreciated all Bible explanations.

Meantime his father got married on the bases of the Jewish traditions. He married the nearest woman member of the family who became single. He loved his brother who was born after this too. Because of his new faith he was warned off his family's house. The Salvationists worked among people whom the official churches could not or did not want to reach, the beggars living in poverty dwellings, men crippled in the war, maids, unemployed, starving, unhoused families. He worked for the Salvationists as an interpreter for seven years, he had a straight spiritual development. He worked a lot for the Lord's kingdom. The institution had a paper, entitled "Call for Help", in which Andi reported on the opening of their house of worship on 9 February 1925. Colonel Rothstein was a man full of love in his heart, who gave very good practical advice to his young, open, nice, smiling eyed brother, because he saw that he was looking for a companion among the lot of serving sisters.
- "My little Son, don't care about girls! Let them go! If you run after girls, you are not increasing in grace..." Seeing the perplexity on the young man's face, he added:
- "You know, she whom the Lord intended to give you, He is reserving her to you, and you are going to get her!!"
So it happened. One of his fellow-salvationists, Emma Kroll, became his wife. "Little", the "die Kleine" was a German girl with blond hair and blue eyes, who could already beautifully sing the songs in Hungarian in the service with Andi. Andi called her Emmchen, he engaged her in 1930. Andi got the following advice from the colonel on their engagement: - My little Son, even if nobody else can see, you have to know, anywhere you are, in your neck there is a sign hanging that says: "NOT FOR SALE" and also: "NOT TO BE GOT". This was very good advice, that Andi also gave to the young listeners more times.

After that he asked for a permission to marry her from the German centre. Emmchen got to know about this from them. The proposal itself happened in the following way:
- "Emmchen, would you be content with that you can only occupy the third place in my life? The first place is the Lord Jesus's, the second one is for the service and I can only offer the third place for my wife" She answered yes.
By self-training, he studied almost all day and all night beside the service. In order to get to know the Bible in a deeper way, he spared no time or effort, he who used to get out of the duty of studying at school. Now, by getting to know the Word, he received living water. He had an acquaintance Hugo Berliner, a Jewish engineer who received faith in Christ, who advised him to learn English the sooner and the better it is possible, because many of God's children speaks and writes on that language. In that case he could read the original of C. H. Mackintosh's explanation on Moses' five books, and enormous perspectives would also open before Andi as for the relation between the Old and the New Testament.

As he improved his English, he got further in faith. The saved people have to increase, together with the faith, in knowledge too. He decided to leave the Salvationists, and join Hugo Berliner's group where they studied the Bible together and people who had received the teaching talent explained the Word. "It was he who "gave gifts to mankind"; he appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers. He did work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ."
(Ephesians 4:11-12)
Andi considered natural that Emmchen went where he did.
He did not conceal that in the military organization of the Salvationists he could not tolerate the hierarchy any more. "Now, the Lord in this passage is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is present, there is freedom"
(2 Corinthians 3:17)
He left the Salvationists with two thoughts:
- "I do not want to be at a paid job for the Good News; I want to evangelize for free; if it is needed, I will undertake any work!
- That time I had the Jewish mission pressing me."
He received proposals from more places; however, finally he accepted the offer of professor Ferenc Kiss, whom he got to know through Hugo.

"The brothers entrusted to me to visit the country assemblies. They signed where to go. I had four pengős in my pocket all together. I had a six-week travel before me. I cannot remember what I left at home for my wife. Besides, I had a bad bicycle, a thick string was holding its back tyre, it was tied by it, and it jolted at every turn. There were luggages all over the frame, the luggage rack, but even on the wheel: I was bringing Bibles, hoping that I would sell them. And I would have some money. After a two day shaking riding, first I arrived in Miskolc, at my first station. A nice little photography studio served for us for meeting" The owner of it was Annie Roth, she also was Jewish, at which she was particularly glad. Those who could hear her Bible explanations, brought the Good News. On the next occasion, the house was full to overflowing. They got to know later on that somebody had the local newspaper publish the time of the Bible lesson. The audience learnt from the few line newspaper article that Aladár Ungár, a Jewish preacher with faith in Christ was going to hold a lecture on the Christ-problem, the relations of the Jewish people to Christ, and on the Jewish question that was many times spoken about, on the conversion, digression and getting saved. In the presence of plenty of Christians and Jewish, the 28 year old Andi spoke to a journalist about the Jewish Movement with Faith in Christ. The report was published by the newspaper "Reggeli Hirlap" of Miskolc on 29 July 1933. Dr. Ferenc Kiss university teacher in Szeged, dr. Arpad Fischer dentist, Hugó Berliner engineer, dr. Imre Somogyi baptist preacher and Aladar Ungar B-list officer, residents in Budapest, leaded the Jewish with Faith in Christ Movement in Hungary. Besides Budapest, the movement had its foundation in Miskolc, Nyiregyhaza, Debrecen, Bekes and Szeged. - "We are not recruiting followers for the churches, we do not want any conversions "out of" or conversions "from one to another", but we want people to be saved, having spiritual change, being born again, and we are trying to reach this in the form of conversations. In the same way as the apostles did it, walking from place to place, we work by the mean of meetings, in favour of the movement. Everybody can stay within his/her own church. As far as I am concerned, I am also Jewish. The basic rule, written law of our movement is the Holy Scripture, that also gives very important, reliable life principle for the everyday life. The Holy Scripture is God's inspiration, and first of all Christ brought the salvation to the Jewish people, just because of the political misunderstandings of that time the Jewish people did not accept that Jesus is the Messiah! He is the One whom the prophets foretold!"(Particular from the report.)

His clear, beautiful Word preaching, Bible explanations in Hungarian language both addressed reason and heart at a time. He did all his best to let other people know the richness of the good News. He preached Christ without any rant, this is why he was a cordially seen lecturer among all groups of saved people. God's mercy lighted the awakening in the darkness, because in Europe demonic plans were being prepared. Sándor Csia head doctor at MAV (Hungarian State Railway), who worked for the European Christian Mission, a brother with living faith spoke about James A. Stewart, who was called from the football field by God, and who was travelling all over Europe with an awakening message. Sandor Csia invited the Scot evangelist to Hungary in name of the Hungarian Evangelical Alliance Movement. From this time on, more and more people were praying for awakening. Obeying God's provident guidance, by this time Andi already spoke good English. Therefore, in 1936 he was chosen to be the interpreter for the young Stewart, who was 5 years younger than him, being able to forward the message in the same way he heard and understood, and he was not bound to dogmas and religious faith principles just like the Scottish young man.
When the "success" of Miskolc repeated in other places too, in his Word preaching tour Andi was full of experience, he went through an event that he describes in the following way: "Between Sarkad and Szeged I sat down in the shadow of a tree. I was eating, reading my Bible, and prayed. The Lord was very near to me. And then, so clearly just as if a man spoke to me, in my heart I heard the Lord's voice. He asked:
- What do you want? Such success or my will?
Immediately tears came, though I took attention, being a man, I do not cry, and I said: - My Lord, I do not need any success but what You want to me!
Then I saw how much God blessed this guidance, and that it is not true what other people said about me namely that I am going to be lost. When I was doing his will, He gave me his blessings; however, he also showed that he wants to use me in another way."
Later on in Budapest, in Harsfa street he opened the Evangelical Bookshop, where his real help was his wife. In this shop there was their home too, behind a curtain. Andi put his arm around his wife's shoulder:
- "Do you think, Emmchen, we could say our flat is in the shop?"
Andi could go to evangelize calmly, because he left the bookshop in the best hands at Emmchen.

The congregation where Andi found a spiritual home, was simply called as Christian Brothers' and Sisters' Assembly. Professor dr Ferenc Kiss, who due to his age and knowledge was first among the equal, spoke about that the Scottish young man received Jonas prophet's task, who was sent by God's mercy before the judgement overtook the countries. Stewart said that he is asking the Lord for his interpreter in every country, who is a mate in service, who feels God's message that has to be forwarded in the same way as he does, and in Hungary only Aladar Ungar can be such. The Lord blessed the meetings very much. After the Scottish preacher travelled further from the country, Andi still travelled all over the country, preached the Word, served with testimony, and in the evenings he also prayed for the listeners, who became his brothers and sisters all.
The brothers took care of them with great love. Seeing their miserable situation, they procured a modest flat back in a yard nearby, at the end of a round corridor, where the German Baptists had their house of worship, at the corner of Wesselényi and Hársfa streets. They accepted it gratefully.
In the congregation in Budapest there was an older brother who graduated from theology, and had great Bible knowledge, Andi considered him his fatherly friend. This brother was working on the Revelation explanations, and in it he drew the attention to the Lord Jesus' return.
He told Andi: - "Hard times, a lot of suffering are coming to the Lord's chosen people. The rest, however, will be saved... yes, God is going to collect His chosen people so that when the Lord Jesus returns, the people shall be together, in their own country, at the coast of Mediterranean see, at the land that is very small and has a lean soil, which they are going to make a flourishing state..." This sounded like some kind of prophecy. The book became published by Advent, one year later the author received the invitation to the Eternity.

The Hungarian Parliament voted for the Jewish law, in the eastern front-line trench Hungarian soldiers were shivering with cold. In their congregation they received more and more Jewish people with faith in Christ. Among them there was Andi's younger sister too. God found it good that one and a half decades after he became saved she could be standing on the pulpit of Deak square Church and could be speaking of the discovered truths. His father did not raise objection against it either, because he received care and love from their children. For a while he had been living with them in the re-organised pantry so that if people came to bring him to the ghetto, they would not find him immediately. Andi was also called to do labour service, but miraculously they let him go. Once an unexpected visitor arrived to his sister who was living in the neighbourhood, he came from the eastern front, and was on holiday. He was a young Baptist soldier from Vecsés who told them about the miserable situation of the labour workers. That time God prepared Andit that he could praise his Lord even in the midst of fear, of Whom he had experienced His mercy, His love, His miraculous revelations. He had to go to labour work more times, but thanks to Christ's goodwill, he had to go to an office to be an interpreter. He bought medicine for the old, ill Jewish people in the lager. He preached them: the Lord, the Most High procured a perfect propitiation through the Lord Jesus Christ, He reconciled himself to the world not blaming them for their sins. He asked them to reconcile themselves to God for Christ! In his rucksack he brought many New Testaments to the lager.

He was especially popular among young people, with whom "uncle Andi" loved to talk. He was an active colleague of the Hungarian Evangelical Alliance for decades, then he became managing secretary of the Alliance of Free Churches in Hungary.
However, his health already attacked when he was young, got gradually worse. His only one remaining kidney had to be operated twice. He got diabetes. In 1957 he was operated for intestinal cancer. He was a real museum of the illnesses, he himself also considered it a miracle that God still always gave him strength to work. In 1959 he emigrated to his wife's home country, but he did not stop working even being ill, with big pains, after having severe operations. In 1961 one of his leg, then in 1970 his other leg had to be amputated, his vision weakened too, but in the fragile pottery God's light was still always shining. Just like his trust and faith in his Lord was never broken by the persecutions, labour work lagers, and just like there he was the comforter for his fellows, from beside his sick-bed patience and devotional readiness to service were spreading. He corresponded, held radio-preachings, and he also served with his writings until the last minute of his life. Before his death he was still doing important things, and was preparing for a silent day service. In his wheel-chair he was a shining example of how God's strength wins over the illness. And when he heard the word calling home - on 23 November 1970 - , he moved home to his Lord, his faithful Saviour in complete peace. His tomb is in Tuttlingen.

On his headstone the following is written:

("Christ is my Life! Yes, my Father!")

"The true people's memory is blessed!"

Compiled by Rozalia Makai

Translated by Eva Varga

Some experience with ill people by Istvan Gazdag


Jesus is my life, strength, peace.
Jesus is my companion, my joy.
I trust in You. You are the Lord.
I do not have any fears any more because You live in me.
I do not have any fears any more because You live in me.

Jesus lives! Halleluja!!!

Translated by Eva Varga

Compiled by Rozalia Makai



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