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TAGS: Martyrs; Mathew Kaszab; Pioneering
LOCATIONS: Latin America; Nicaragua; Panama
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Abstract:
The unusual drama of a pioneering life in Central America, revealed through personal letters. This account offers glimpses of a maturing Bahá’í administration in the U.S. and of what was learned through teaching efforts in Latin America.
Notes:
See also a picture, more source links, and more biographical info at www.wikitree.com/wiki/Kaszab-1. See other references at bahai-library.com/tags/Mathew+Kaszab.

The Gloriously Tragic Life of Mathew Kaszab:
Letters from a Pioneer 1939-1942

compiled and edited by Anne King Sadeghpour.
2019
                  Table of Contents (PDF below)

Introduction ................................................. 1
Early Days and Family Background ............................. 4
Mathew’s Character .......................................... 13
Panama ...................................................... 17
Nicaragua ................................................... 41
Sura of the Black Pig ....................................... 54
Mrs. Frances Benedict Stewart ............................... 71
Naw Ruz in Prison ........................................... 80
“I will be celebrating my 37th birthday up in the clouds” ... 96
Mrs. Loulie Mathews ........................................ 105
What Makes a Martyr? ....................................... 119
The Aftermath .............................................. 122
In Memoriam ................................................ 124
Tributes to Mathew Kaszab .................................. 126
Afterward .................................................. 130
Works Cited and References.................................. 133
About:

The unusual drama of Mathew Kaszab’s pioneering life is revealed in this biographical compilation mostly through letters to and from Mathew accessed courtesy of the U.S. national Bahá’í archives. There is little written about him other than in The Bahá’í World Vol. VIII, through brief reports in Bahá’í News 1939-1943, and most recently by collaborator Mrs. Vicky Majewski on wikitree.com. His is a story begging to be told.

Mathew is associated with American martyrs recognized by Shoghi Effendi and with others who endured hardships in the early days of pioneering, yet we know little about him. Of his sacrificial efforts, Mrs. Loulie Mathews expressed, “If ever there was a martyr it was this boy.” Shoghi Effendi wrote, “His services are unforgettable.” This account offers glimpses of a maturing Bahá’í administration in the U.S. and of what was learned through teaching efforts in Latin America during WWII as a result of directives from the Guardian to settle there. Mathew’s letters speak for themselves and have been supplemented by research into his family background and by reflections on why he encountered such difficulty in Nicaragua, on what defines a “martyr” and, finally, by an attempt to unravel some of the mystery surrounding his imprisonment, illness, and death.

This is the first attempt to present a narrative of Mathew Kaszab’s life in book form. There are many stirring biographies available about important or even little-known figures in the Bahá’í Faith, and Mathew is one of those individuals whose qualities and character may spur us to a higher level of service.

About the author:

Raised by a Bahá’í mother and an attorney father who both supported travel, reading, and lifetime learning, Anne Sadeghpour was encouraged to follow her heart and pioneer to Nicaragua in 1976, first immersing herself in the Spanish language through studies and travels in Spain and Mexico. She subsequently served as secretary to the National Spiritual Assembly until 1983, married, and started a family there. It was in Nicaragua that she became aware of Mathew Kaszab. Research took her to Wilmette in 2015, where with the generous help of the national archivists she accessed Mathew’s letters. Further research has included the collaboration of genealogist Vicky Majewski of Australia and Los Angeles historians Payam Afsharian and the late Paulette Pappas.

In support of a passion for the subject of Mathew Kaszab Anne took a Wilmette Institute course on Writing Biographies. Eminent Bahá’í scholar and historian Mr. Robert Stockman was her mentor. She has reached out to anyone who might have any information on Mathew, and in February 2018 she interviewed Mr. John Carl Eichenauer III (Johnny) in Phoenix, Arizona. John was the youngest pioneer during the same Seven-Year Plan that took Mathew to Panama and Nicaragua, and knew Mathew. At almost 97 years old at the time of the interview, John’s memory is intact and his enthusiasm has not wavered, giving Anne the unexpected honor of a first-hand account.

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