​Ilona Teleki De Szek In Vivian Lee’s Stunning Work​​

April 29, 2021

Countess Ilona Teleki de Szek aka Ilona DeVito di Porriasa, who rarely talked about her background, is detailed in a stunning work by Vivian Lee, after dying in exile in New York this month.

Ilona Teleki De Szek

The Countess wasn’t known by her real name to friends. They knew here simply as Ilona DeVito, a market analysts on Wall Street. She married Lino DeVito di Porriasa, an Italian noble, in 1975 in the U.S.

She worked for more than three decades in Merrill Lynch New York.

But with an Italian name and a Hungarian accent, she had a story that many didn’t know. She died last week at 73. And now her daughter is opening up to news about the incredible story.

Countess Ilona Teleki de Szek fled a Romanian Communist government with no money and no knowledge of English. While born in 1939 in Transylvania, she watched as her father Count Teleki escaped anti-Hungarian rebels in Romania as he sought asylum in the U.S. before the 1970s. After bribing Romanian officials, he was able to bring his family to American.

Szek’s father was Transylvania’s representative to Hungary. But one of her father’s cousins Pal Teleki served as prime minister of Hungary. Pal Teleki committed suicide. Winston Churchill later called the suicide “a sacrifice to absolve himself and his people from guilt in the German attack on Yugoslavia.”

“She didn’t really want people to know, because people think of nobility as having something, and my mother really had nothing when she came here,” Teleki de Szek’s daughter said.