July 22, 2017

1949. Debate Over Cardinal Mindszenty's Sentencing in Budapest

Basic Political Debate in Berlin
Cardinal József Mindszenty, Archbishop of Esztergom, is freed at the end of October 1956 after eight years in prison (source)
Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

February 9, 1949

The sentencing of Cardinal Mindszenty in Budapest has provoked this morning a basic political debate in Berlin.

The German Communist press asks: "Why is everyone so excited . . . it is not because thousands of innocent fighters for freedom were shot in Greece without proper trials . . . but because one man, who confessed his guilt, now has to serve a prison term."

Cardinal Preysing, the Bishop of Berlin, charges that the Mindszenty case is an attack against the fundamental rights of humanity, against the rights of conscience and against Christianity.

In Frankfurt yesterday someone painted a sign on a Catholic church there saying: "Free Max Reimann." Reimann is a leader of the Ruhr communists who last week was sentenced to three months imprisonment for threatening Western sector politicians working with the occupation powers.

Last night someone added a note on the church wall: "What about freeing Mindszenty?" the sign said.

The main committee of the constitutional convention in Bonn has agreed to propose that Berlin become a separate province in the new West German state now in the making.

West Germany already is divided up into eleven Länder, or provinces. A proposal, if adopted by the constitutional convention, to jump over one hundred miles of Soviet zone and designate Berlin as the twelfth province presents a delicate diplomatic problem to the Western powers.

German politicians reason that since blockaded Berlin is under the control of America, Britain, and France—just as the three zones of Western Germany—that it is logical Berlin be incorporated into their new government, subject to the same constitution and sending delegates just as do the other provinces.

And some German politicians see the move as another way to further commit the Western powers in their anti-Communist stand in Berlin, a stand upon which the survival here of democratic politics depends.

This is Bill Downs in Berlin. Now back to CBS in New York.