Monthly Archives: January 2008

Katalin Kondor: Was she an informer?

Not according to the Budapest Court of Appeals. For at least four years one court procedure after another has found her innocent of spying on her fellow citizens and reporting to the secret police of the Hungarian Ministry of Interior under the Kádár regime.

The story began in 2003 when Népszava published a document which according to the editors proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Katalin Kondor, then head of the Hungarian Public Radio, worked for the secret service between 1974 and 1983. She agreed to spy for … Read the rest

Hungarian Jurisprudence: The case of György Budaházy

By now I don’t even know what to think of Hungarian judges. The latest is that the case of the professional "revolutionary," György Budaházy, ended with a not guilty verdict. The charge was that Budaházy actively called for the forcible overthrow of a democratically elected government.

Budaházy first appeared on the scene as one of the leading members of the Hungarian far right when in 2002, shortly after the Fidesz lost the general elections, he organized a blockade of one the bridges between Buda and Pest. The inexperienced Hungarian police … Read the rest

Orbán’s latest game

Yesterday Viktor Orbán, the leader of the Fidesz, began his party’s campaign for a successful referendum. Success would mean that all three questions of the referendum would be answered in the affirmative: yes, they don’t want to pay 300 Ft every time they visit a doctor; yes, they don’t want to pay 500 Ft every day they spend in the hospital; and, yes, they don’t want university students to pay partial tuition toward their education. As things stand now, the polls indicate that the referendum will most likely be valid … Read the rest

A Hungarian law school in the late 1930s

A serendipitous Google search. Yesterday I wrote about judges of the Hungarian Supreme Court and a few hours later (when searching to see whether Dr. Tamás Dizseri had anything to do with the Rev. Sándor Dizseri, a Calvinist minister in Pécs), I happened upon an online copy of a book by Győző Csorba (1916-1995), a talented poet and translator and a native of Pécs. The book, entitled A város oldalában: Beszélgetések [On the slope of the city: Conversations; 1991], is a treasure trove of Hungarian literary life from the 1930s. … Read the rest

The latest atrocity of the Hungarian Supreme Court

There has been a fierce open debate for well over a year between historians and liberal-minded intellectuals on the one hand and the presiding judge at a rather bizarre case on the other hand. The story goes back to July 27, 1944. By that time Hungary was under German occupation and a young man, Endre Ságvári, a member of the illegal communist party and one of the leading, if not too numerous, anti-fascists got into an armed conflict with the three gendarmes who came to arrest him. The gendarmes arrived … Read the rest

Hungarian universities

A few days ago I saw a headline that read something like this: "Five Hungarian universities among the best schools in the world." That headline aroused my curiosity because until now I have heard only about the sad state of Hungarian higher education. Among the top 200 universities in the world not one was Hungarian. So I decided to look behind the headline and found the following. First of all, the survey was not about universities but business schools. And "among the best" meant "among the best 1,000." The survey … Read the rest

The upcoming referendum, yet another jaded look

I must have written at least four or five blogs on the forthcoming referendum and its questionable constitutional underpinnings. According to most respectable constitutional experts the questions posed by the Fidesz should never have been the subject of a referendum for at least three reasons. First and foremost, according to the Hungarian constitution no referendum can be held on any topic that can have an influence on the budget. In this case all three questions have direct relevance to the financing of health care and higher education. If the referendum … Read the rest