|Dr. Nándor Andrásovits was born in Budapest in 1894, into a seafaring family: his father and brother were also captains of the Danube and at sea. His mother was of Polish origin; her sister's husband was the Lord Lieutenant of Szeged (southern Hungary) until 1944.|
Following a Ph.D. in political science, Nándor Andrásovits went on to naval academy and served from 1930 as captain on several different commercial, barge and cruise ships on the Danube, such as the ice-breaker, Tihany - his "Upper Danube" film shots are partly made on board this ship - and the Saint Imre/Szent Imre and the Sophia/Zsófia (both cruise ships of the same class as the Queen Elizabeth/Erzsébet királyné).
His obsession and pastime was sailing, traveling.
Due to this unique situation in times when travel was an extravagance, his films record - as witness and tourist - a Central European and Balkan panorama, along the Danube River, Italy, Germany, Austria, Romania and Bulgaria. His unforgettable shots of summer and winter scenes of the Upper Danube, for example, made him a special amateur filmmaker-observer.
An adventurer's attitude and curiosity color his character. Reading his films, we learn more about the times than through his widow's vague memories. When they married in 1941, she was half his age, and they lived together until the Captain's death in 1958. What makes the films of Captain Andrásovits so special? He personally witnessed (participated in) a number of historic events, and he managed to record them.
He was on command as Captain in Spring 1938 on board Saint Imre cruise ship, when the Hungarian - Czechoslovakian territorial negotiations took place following the so-called First Vienna Treaty of the new division of Central Europe as orchestrated by the Nazi and Italian dictators. The Captain filmed as the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Count Teleki, and his entourage met with the Czechoslovak partners.
In November 1938, following the Hungarian re-annexation of so-called "Upper Hungary" (in Hungarian: Felvidék) - the Hungarian majority populated Slovak territories, Andrásovits, as Captain of one of the participant ships, was there, and with a reporter's eagerness, he made a short patriotic film, entitled "With Ships for the Upper-land".
He was commissioned with his ship to the Slovakian Jewish transport of 1939, and his exclusive shots uncover one of the secret Danube rescue missions.
In 1940, he participated in the repatriation transport operation of Bessarabian Germans.
Following the order of the retreating Germans in the fall of 1944, Andrásovits, with the Queen Elizabeth - among other Hungarian ships - sailed up to the Austrian section of the Danube. Following the War, the Hungarian ships were held up in Linz for more than two years, but in 1947, eleven Danube ships secretly managed to slip back under the fog to Hungary. The captains and crew were honored for saving the Hungarian ships. Shortly afterwards, in an Orwellian twist, in 1948 the Communist dictators reshaped and terrorized the entire nation, and, among other strata of society, dismissed all of the ships' captains, replacing them with ordinary sailors in command, thus forcing Andrásovits and other captains into early retirement. But Andrásovits could not leave his beloved Danube River, and as night watchman, he worked at Budapest's bridge and shipwrecks. At the bottom of a barge, it was sad but true: none else but two ex-captains pumped air to divers of the Chain Bridge wreck. In 1953, this strenuous work caused a major stroke, completely paralyzing the captain for years. He died for and because of the River in 1958.