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 the secret police not under duress but, according to the document, out of her patriotic duty. According to historians familiar with the archives of the secret service, the document bore all the marks of the genuine article. According to the document Kondor received a cover name, Vári, and an apartment was designated for her meetings with her "keeper," whose name was also known. During the court procedures Népszava had the best witnesses: historians who all swore that the dossier Népszava  published proved that Kondor used to be an agent. Her alleged keeper, who is still alive, denied it, and Népszava lost the case.

Shortly after this, Mária Vásárhelyi, a sociologist, wrote an article in the weekly, Élet és Irodalom, in which she criticized Kondor and alluded to her possible connection with the secret police. Kondor sued. (Kondor loves to sue and apparently she made the Hungarian Public Radio pay all her legal fees.) Miracle of miracles, Vásárhelyi won but Kondor appealed. Although Vásárhelyi’s witnesses Levente Sipos and László Vargha, both historians, claimed that documents clearly indicate Kondor’s connection with the secret police, Kondor’s appeal was successful. She brought in experts who claimed that the document that Népszava  originally published was insufficient to prove her involvement because her signature was not on the document and there was no report submitted by her accompanying the documents.

The interesting part of the case is that the judges of the court of appeals were Mrs. Kizman (neé Marianne Oszkó) and Mrs. Győri (neé Amália Maurer). Mária Vásárhelyi didn’t have a chance with these judges. Mrs. Győri is the wife of Tibor Győri who used to be the Fidesz’s legal council. Moroever, the same two women were the judges who brought the verdict in the case of Mrs. Orbán’s Tokaj vineyard. At that time they decided that the business meetings concerning the vineyard at which Viktor Orbán was present were not really business meetings. Just friendly little chats about the vineyard. So when Viktor Orbán claimed that he never took part in any business meetings, he told the truth! Is anyone surprised that the Hungarian people are beginning to have serious doubts about the impartiality and competence of the Hungarian judges? Moreover, any case involving the media and the press is handled exclusively by these two women. No liberal journalist, no publicist has a chance under the circumstances.