Anna Nadasdi: Preserving Her Family History
August 1989

“Anna Nadasdi: Preserving Her Family History,” Tambuli, Aug. 1989, 21–22

Anna Nadasdi:

Preserving Her Family History

When Anna Nadasdi participates in temple work, her enthusiasm is obvious. It is easy to understand that enthusiasm when one knows her story.

Sister Nadasdi was born in Hungary and raised in the Greek Catholic faith. Her father, who had worked in the United States as a young man, told her many stories of that distant “land of promise.”

She was a young woman during World War II when her country was invaded. During those perilous years, she always carried her family genealogy records to prove to the authorities that she was not Jewish. The records, covering one hundred years, were carefully wrapped in a handbag made from braided cornstalk leaves.

After the war, she married. She and her husband decided to leave Hungary, but they could not get exit permits. The only route open to them was through a minefield covered with barbed wire and guarded by soldiers in gun towers. After a period of consideration, they decided on a night to make the dangerous journey. In the agonizing crawl across the minefield they were expecting any moment to be blown up by a mine, ensnared by the barbed wire, or be shot. “The Lord must have been guiding us,” Sister Nadasdi says, “because we crossed safely into Austria. All we had with us were the clothes we wore—and my genealogy. I felt I had to bring my genealogy records with me even though it made crawling across the minefield even more difficult.”

Unable to find a sponsor in the United States, the couple emigrated to Australia. But memories of her father’s stories about the United States stayed in her mind.

One night, Sister Nadasdi had an unusual dream. She saw a beautiful building with many towers, surrounded by lovely grass and trees. She saw happy people entering and leaving the building. When she awoke, the memory of the building was clear in her mind, but she had no idea of what or where it was. She would often think about her dream and wonder what it meant.

In 1954, Sister Nadasdi and her husband separated.

The years passed, and she was successful in her work as a government clerk, but Sister Nadasdi felt something important missing in her life. As this feeling grew stronger, she decided to pray to God. Feeling lonely and desperate, she found a secluded spot and she began to plead with the Lord. After recounting the many difficulties in her life, she asked, “If there is another way, why don’t you show it to me?”

Almost immediately after her prayer, she met two Latter-day Saint missionaries who had just entered her apartment building. After they introduced themselves and explained the purpose of their visit, Sister Nadasdi thought, “As I was talking with the Lord, these two young men were already on their way into my life. Surely they must have an answer for me.”

Sister Nadasdi was receptive to the gospel message, but she was particularly affected when they showed her a picture of the Salt Lake Temple and she recognized the beautiful building of her dream. “If I hadn’t been supported by the arms of my chair,” she later said, “I would have fallen off on to the floor!” In response to her keen interest, the elders explained the doctrine of temple work for both the living and the dead.

“I finally understood why I had brought my family genealogy with me when I left Hungary,” she says. As the missionaries talked, she knew she would join the Church and one day go to Salt Lake City to do the temple work for herself and for her family.

Sister Nadasdi was baptized, and she did make the long round trip from Australia to Salt Lake City for her own temple ordinances and for those of her family.

In 1983, after visiting Hungary, the land of her birth, she moved to Salt Lake City to retire and to fulfill her greatest desire to serve in the House of the Lord of which she had dreamed so many years before.

Photography by Phil Shurtleff