Skip to content

The three Tibor Kaldors

Tibor Kaldor one and Tibor Kaldor two.

These two men died in hospital in Wels Austria in 1945 and within days of each other, both after being liberated from the concentration camps.

It is not known if they were imprisoned together or father and son. The Kaldors’ paperwork is in German. Dates of their birth not known.

They died of Typhus, malnutrition and respiratory failure bought on by pneumonia. The hospitals would have been overwhelmed with concentration camp survivors.

The third Tibor Kaldor saw the war out otherwise. His papers give his birthdate as June 7th 1904, which puts him at thirty-four when the looming war pressed him to leave Vienna for London. These papers give his birthplace as Hungary, where he was born as Tibor Schoen. Kaldor later adopted from his father-in-law.

London soon locked him up. A thirty-four year old Hungarian arriving from Italy with no family and no wish to serve in the armed forces.

Perhaps Tibor was invited for a casual chat and cup of tea with someone other than a policeman during his lock-up. A man coming to see a thirty-four year old Hungarian who claimed a languages degree from the University of Vienna in 1933, preferred England rather than his home country and was headed to the Australian internment camps where he could be moved from one to another, depending on the circumstances.

Languages ! So easy to test. “How many do you have?”

Tibor was shipped out of the UK in 1940 on HT Dunera with hundreds of other refugees. A continental fruit salad of nations and ideologies all heading for Freemantle then east to the Hay and Tatura camps in Victoria. It is not known when Tibor was interned in Tatura.

In 1941 a couple of hundred refugees arrived in Tatura after embarking from Iran. The English Army was intent on removing any and every German they could lay their hands on in that country and the only industry in Iran that might have attracted a large contingent of Germans was the oil industry. Highly qualified engineers amongst them, men with the knowledge of oil production in Iran. Oil pipeline problem solvers. Oil production monitors.

Men who knew who was getting Iran’s oil in 1941. Men who knew where the pipelines were laid and were aware of Russia’s interest, their names. Russia and Germany were cosy in 1941, England only able to listen through the walls.

Who wouldn’t put a man in amongst them?

The multi-lingual Tibor, in and about the huts, dining room, concert hall, looking and listening.

Kaldor was released from Tatura in 1942 or 1944 – there is some confusion – then lived and worked in Melbourne before coming to Adelaide.

His end came quickly.


January. Applied for naturalisation.

September . Renounced his Austrian nationality.

October. Application passed.

December 6. Places a deposit for a stay at the Victoria Hotel, Adelaide.

December 11. Arrives hotel, books a stay until the 15th.

December 12th. Sunday.

December 13th. Writes and dates suicide letter.

December 14th. ‘I thought he was sleeping.’ Housekeeping.


“There was no other way out.”

The University of Vienna archives survived the war and when examined showed no Tibor Kaldor / Schoen had been enrolled.

Clive, thanks again. This is your yarn I’m spinning.


Updated 20 Feb.

The following image is of a Tatura class of youngsters with their two teachers: Wilhelm Frierl, top left, and Hans Wagner top right. The photograph was taken in 1945, well after Tibor was set adrift.

But there are some who don’t place such a forgiving eye on post-war paperwork. They think, possibly, almost unforgivably, that they are looking at Tibor on the left and our man Mr Keane on the right.

Image sourced here:

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Clive #

    “There was no other way out”, of what? his job as a process worker at Meyers in Melbourne? Or, a more sinister twist in his life following the death of the SM?

    February 19, 2021
  2. One unsettling thought is that if Tibor did know who the Somerton Man was, he’d know he would be laid out alongside him in the morgue.

    February 20, 2021
  3. John Smith #

    It seems to me one common thing is between SM, Tibor and Jessica – race… Photo with Menora in Jessica’s home, Hungarian roots of Tibor… In SM case race is not clear but very possible. May it be tragedy of two workers of war intelligence which worked not of their own free will ? Innocent lie of Tibor about Vienna may have became tool in intelligence service hands to force to work him as spy… Just musings as always.

    February 20, 2021
  4. Clive #

    TK mentions ‘a bigger suitcase’ in his letter-why two suitcases? Why did he need a list of his own clothes?

    February 21, 2021
    • Perhaps he was saving the police the trouble of making a similar list, leaving them the job of simply checking off the items.This is the man who left ten bob for the lady who would have to make up the bed he died in. Tibor was a gentleman, a gentle man, everything we know about him demonstrates this.

      February 21, 2021
  5. Clive #

    Yes, a gentleman, you can imagine thinking what he needed to do, before taking his tablets. Write a final letter, write a note to the manager apologising. leave some money for cost of his stay, and money for the hotel staff. Request his clothes be given to the Red Cross, if any use to them. His body for forensic teaching or cremation. .A man alone, far from Europe and all its recent horrors. What a sad ending for an educated man.

    February 21, 2021
  6. I have researched Tibor’s the first few years of Tibors life which may prove useful at some stage.
    His Jewish birth parents married c1903 and he was born Tibor Schon in Kaposvar Hungary in 1904., His father Guyla Schon died in 1906 and his mother remarried soon after. By 1910 he was in Graz (Austria) having his surname changed to match that of his new stepfather. After that, the central European paper trail on him ceases to exist and various reports of his whereabouts and continued education may have possible flaws so I view some with an element of suspicion. It would not surprise me to eventually discover that someone else was masquerading as Tibor, or that his Jewish mother’s continued safety in a hostile political environment had been used as some sort of inducement for him to undertake clandestine activities..

    As for his mother Roza, I cannot confirm when and where she was born, nor when and where she married either of her two husbands. Tibor’s birth registration indicates that she was born c1881. Existing records that relate to the deportation and demise of a Roza Kaldor which I SPECULATE MAY also refer to her, suggest she was born between 20th October and 2nd November 1879 and quote an address in Vienna. Although not proven, those details are worthy of further investigation so have been added to Roza’s profile on the Geni website.

    Could it be that the reason for Tibor’s suicide had no clandestine content whatsoever, and that he simply took his own life after Somerton man informed him that promises about his mother’s continued safety in war torn Europe, had not been kept?

    April 25, 2021
    • Thanks Roy, appreciated. I see it as the only mob in post-war Europe who could hold that sort of pressure on a Jewish woman whose son was conscripted to spy in Australia 1948 was Russia.

      April 25, 2021

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: