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 Janos Esterhazy

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Rzeczpospolita

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Number of posts : 390
Age : 36
Localisation : Gdansk, Poland
Registration date : 2007-06-08

PostSubject: Janos Esterhazy   Sat Oct 13, 2007 12:18 am

Well I finished reading "Esterhazy Janos (1901-1951)" by Imre Molnar and I must say that I have huge amount of respect to this guy. He is one of those people who stand for their believes to the end, not matter what is the price of such sacrifice. Till I bought this book I never heard about him despite the fact that his mother is Polish and he had helped among others many Poles to escape from Poland to Hungary when WWII started. So I think I need to write few words about Esterhazy for other members of this forum.

He was born in aristocratic family (from both Polish and Hungarian sides) in Austro-Hungarian empire. After the WWI his region was excluded from Hungary by world powers and included to Czechoslovakia. Esterhazy became leader of United Hungarian Party in this country and MP in Czechoslovak parliament. This was authoritarian country ruled mostly by Czechs who discriminated other nations like Slovaks or Hungarians, so he was always in opposition.

When Hitler gave his support to independent Slovakia, also almost all Hungarian inhabited lands were taken back to Hungary. However Esterhazy decided to stay in Slovakia and continue to lead local Hungarian and became the only Hungarian MP in paliament in Bratislava. Slovakia was even worse for minorities than Czechoslovakia before, simply a fascist state with one party system (he was invited to start from their election lists, like leader of German minority). So in this way he became the only oppositional MP in parliament. In the meantime he was the only one who not voter in favor of anti-Jewish law, abstained. Later saver about 300 Jews and helped to smuggle many Poles or Slovak oppositionists to Hungary. Of course the main goal of Janos Esterhazy was to care about Hungarians in Slovakia, this was the mission of his life.

In the end of WWII he was hiding because Slovak government of German Gestapo chased him. Unfortunately Soviets came and of course immediately arrested him, sent to Moscow and announced that he is a fascist and enemy of communism...! He spend four years in Russian prisons, spend some time in one cell with famous Russian oppositionist Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Finally sent back to reinvented by Soviets Czecholslovakia only to figured out that in the meantime they sentenced him to death penalty for the same reasons as Soviets... Later death penalty was switched to life-long prison and indeed he spent the rest of his life in different prisons of Czechoslovakia. After his death communists burned his body and refused to give it back to family. (no other prisoner was treated in such way)

After collapse of Soviet Union Russian court rehabilitated him officially but Czechoslovak and later Slovak ones to this day refuse to do it.

The man was great Hungarian patriot, had positive attitude to all ethnic groups (he speak Hungarian, Polish, Slovak, Czech, Russian (Solzhenitsyn helped him to learn in prison), German, French and English), true leader and very good Christian, Catholic.

Kiskun, how popular/well known Esterhazy is in Hungary? I would like to know opinion of Slovak and Czech people on this issue.
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