In February 1949 Cardinal Joseph Mindszenty was convicted of treason by the Hungarian Communist People’s Court.

The Cardinal had been an outspoken critic of the persecution of Jews by the Hungarian fascist government during WWII. After WWII, he denounced the Communist government for political oppression and limiting religious freedom.

In 1948 Cardinal Mindszenty was arrested along with several others for various crimes including: treason, trying to overthrow the government and speculation in foreign currency.

Prosecutors produced documents said to implicate the Cardinal in antigovernment activities. The Cardinal admitted he was guilty “in principle” of most of the accusations, but denied any intention to overthrow the Hungarian government. He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

In June 1956, widespread protests installed a reformist Hungarian government, and Cardinal Mindszenty was released from prison. However, when Soviet troops entered the country to put down anticommunist protests in November 1956, Mindszenty took refuge in the U.S. embassy where he remained until 1971. Recalled by the Vatican, he lived in Vienna until his death in 1975.