Ahmed Ben Bella
First and legendary Presient of Algeria, Hero of Algerian Independence War has died at age 96.
He was born in 1916. After the Independence War against France ( 1954-1962 ) Ben Bella became first Prime Minister ( 1962-1963 ) and first President (1963-1965 ) of Algeria. In 1965 he was deposed by Houari Boumedienne ( 1932-1978 ) and placed under house arrest until 1980. He exiled to Switzerland in 1980 and allowed to return home in 1990. He died on 11 April 2012 in Algiers. As a young school boy I read a lot in papers about Ben Bella. He was friend of the Soviet Union (in 1964 he was awarded the title „ Hero of Soviet Union” ) and – as a „freedom fighter” - he was popular in the communist Hungary. I wrote him several letters to Algeria, but no answer. In the 1980s I was informed he went to exile. I had several years long correspondence with different people and organizations while finally somebody told me his address in Switzerland. He was a well protected person and his house number, road name and village’s name were secret for many years. In his home Ben Bella lived with his daughter. First I contacted the daughter who forwarded my small photo and letter to her father. Ben Bella kindly dedicated the picture. In 2004 I wrote him again, and he signed and dedicated a nice big photo. He had a very nice handwriting. Finally I sent a post card of the ancien Alger to him and Ben Bella also signed it.
His three signed pictures are important items in my collection.
Dr. Zoltán Márián