Paul Lukas

by madman on August 7, 2016

Date of Birth: May 26, 1891

Place of Birth: Budapest, Austria-Hungary (now Hungary)

Date of Death: August 15, 1971

Place of Death: Tangier, Morocco

Ethnicity: Ashkenazi Jewish

Paul Lukas was a Hungarian-born American actor. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for Watch on the Rhine (1943).

Paul was born in Budapest, Hungary. Paul was evidently the son of Mária (Schneckendorf) and Adolf Munkácsi, according to a marriage record. Biographical articles, however, list Paul as the son of Mária (Zilahy) and János Lukács.

Paul is described as Jewish in reference books, although a marriage record evidently describes him as Catholic. Conversion from Judaism to Catholicism was common among some Hungarian Jews. Schneckendorf is usually a Jewish surname.

Paul left Hungary for the U.S. around 1927, becoming an American citizen in the 1930s.

He was married to Gizella “Daisy” Benes, until her death, and to Annette M. Driesens, until his death.

Source: Paul Lukas on the 1930 U.S. Census –

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

andrew December 28, 2017 at 4:54 pm
bablah April 10, 2017 at 11:24 am

Looks like his real parents were Adolf Munkácsi and Mária Schneckendorf.
Credits go to wiki user Gyurika.

follers April 11, 2017 at 3:51 pm

So what is to make of all of this? Who were his parents, was he really adopted (and if so, when), and was he Jewish?

bablah April 11, 2017 at 4:19 pm

Most likely adopted. Now we just have to find out who Adolf and Maria were.

follers April 12, 2017 at 7:22 am

Non-relative adoptions were very rare back in the day, much less cross-religion adoptions.

I doubt that he was born into one religion and adopted into the other.

The person on Wikipedia seemed to be saying that Lukas was listed as Catholic on his marriage record? If so, was he ever Jewish?

bablah April 12, 2017 at 9:18 am

It does indeed say that he’s Roman Catholic and his wife is Greek Catholic. This is the record of civil marriage, not church marriage, so there could be a small possibility it was a mistake.

follers April 12, 2017 at 7:10 pm

To clarify, does this marriage record say anything about adoption, or is that an assumption of the Wikipedia editor?

BTW, János Lukács could be a version of “Adolf Munkácsi”, and perhaps “Zilahy” was originally “Schneckendorf”.

follers April 12, 2017 at 9:12 pm

I see now that “Schneckendorf” is most often (or even exclusively) a Jewish surname.

Perhaps this was Lukas’ father, or a relative.

bablah April 13, 2017 at 2:59 am

>János Lukács could be a version of Adolf Munkácsi
They’re pretty different names, honestly.
Munkácsi means from Munkács (Mukacheve, Ukraine today), and he could have been Jewish.

follers April 13, 2017 at 3:20 pm

I’m sure that he was.

But the question is, is there any documentary evidence for any kind of adoption?

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