László Meduna, the originator of convulsive therapy, left Hungary for the United States in 1939. To date, the circumstances of his emigration have been obscure. Recently, more details have come to light with the discovery of Meduna's correspondence with Victor Gonda, a Hungarian psychiatrist who immigrated to Chicago in the 1920s. The letters give insight into the reasons of Meduna's decision and paint a colorful picture about the political and scientific atmosphere in prewar Hungary. Besides his more personal motivations, the barriers to his professional career in Hungary are also highlighted.