The Hungarian informer network and the fencers

Well, it was inevitable that sooner or later somebody will find some bit of information that might implicate Pál Schmitt. Some people think that Schmitt's rather spectacular career, aside from his fencing accomplishments, might have been helped along by certain quarters. I have no idea who the person is who is snooping about in the archives dealing with the activities of the agents of the infamous Department III/III that operated a vast network of informers inside the country, but whoever it is found a document about the Department's effort to recruit informants.

People engaged in sports at such a high level that they managed to get onto national teams were especially targeted. So was, as it turned out today, the Hungarian Fencing Association. Someone managed to get hold of a detailed 1969 description of the efforts of the "network" to penetrate the association. Apparently it was not difficult. First of all, the president of the association, László Eperjesi, was a full-fledged paid officer of the internal spy network. The report mentioned with satisfaction that the department had extensive dealings with coaches as well as fencers: "they are honest and trusting. They often come to us on their own volition."

The report mentions two cover names, "Mészáros" and "Szamosi," but at this time the person who got hold of the document does not know who these people were in real life. On the other hand, it is well known that the Department often used blackmail. Either some politically "undesirable" past or some kind of criminal activity could serve as a first step toward forcing somebody to spy on his colleagues or report on his foreign contacts. Most likely that is why the authors of the document compiled a list of people whom they considered politically untrustworthy or, rather, had a past that was considered to be suspect by the regime. And there were many such persons, especially among the coaches and the leadership of the association. After all, fencing was taught as a compulsory subject in military schools. So, on the list we find many former professional soldiers or police officers of the Horthy regime. The Department also kept tabs on people who had some run-in with the law: drunken driving, forging a document, illegal currency exchange, and so on. These were the people, according to Hírszerző, who were most vulnerable. And it is here that we find the name of Pál Schmitt, currently president of the republic, who at the age of 22, in 1964, received a four-month suspended sentence for the negligent damage of public property.

Only three people are mentioned by name among the young fencers who actually worked for the network, but elsewhere the document claims that 18% of the team were successfully recruited as informers. The problem was that the national team had four separate sub-teams, according to the then official divisions within the sport: saber, foil (women), foil (men), and épée. According to the document the department was unsuccessful with the women, but in the other three branches they had an 18% success rate and they were looking for more.

Pál Schmitt's name, as far as Hírszerző knows, can be found with all sorts of wrong spellings (Schmith or Schmidt) in a folder kept by the Magyar Testnevelési- és Sport Hivatal (Office of Sports) that deals with the office's foreign relations. Schmitt's folder contains information dating back as far as 1962. The last entry was in February 1988. So, I assume that this is just the beginning. Most likely Hírszerző has the folder which details Schmitt's political career and will come forward with more information later.

The Köztársasági Elnöki Hivatal (Office of the President of the Republic) naturally didn't want to answer Hírszerző's questions.

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John G
Guest

I presumed Schmitt’s file would have been either sanitized or protected (such as for Catholic priests)before he took office. It is inconceivable that he would not have been an informant of some kind under the Kadar regime. People did not advance in their careers in those days on merit, but on their compliance and usefulness to the regime.
I find it rather curious that now when he has become the butt of innumerable jokes so soon after taking office, or when his presence in the Sandor Palota is becoming an embarrassment,not help, for Fidesz, all of a sudden such files find their way into some clever journalist’s hands.
I suspect there are more than a few Fidesz big-wigs who now regret not keeping Solyom as President. Sure he would have been a bit of a burr under the saddle, but also look at all the grief he could have prevented this government.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

John G: “It is inconceivable that he would not have been an informant of some kind under the Kadar regime.”
Moreover, I’m certain that Hírszerző has more information because it seems that they have the whole file on Schmitt between 62 and 88. I think that this revelation is just the beginning. The real stuff will be coming later.

Sophist
Guest

I like a good conspiracy theory…maybe the idea is to damage the presidency rather than merely a president, making a problem that can only be resolved constitutionally.

Member

Although I guess Schmitt’s involvement is still just speculation, but we should revisit the discussion in December about “The newest outrage: Decision was made to destroy the archives of the secret service” . This information certainly gives a new meaning to the plan.

Julie
Guest

Preserving the archives is one thing; selectively releasing documents to embarrass them politically is quite another. Schmitt seems like a chump but he is getting sandbagged here.
Off topic: fencing was a compulsory subject in military school? That’s pretty great, actually. I wonder whether it still is.

Paul
Guest

What is Hírszerző?
I’ve Googled it and it has a web site, but it’s all in Hungarian, so I’ve no idea if it’s more than a web site, or what its political outlook is, etc. My wife has never heard of it.

Paul
Guest

PS – I love the fact that I now know there are at least three sub-categoies of fencing! I’m going to be a surprise winner in a pub quiz one day!
But why were there separate men’s and women’s teams for foil, but not for saber or épée?

Kevin Moore
Guest

Paul: it is one of the numerous mouthpieces of the left extremists. Their hatred for Orbán can only by rivalled by yours.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Since then these categories have changed in order to accommodate women.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Paul: “What is Hírszerző? I’ve Googled it and it has a web site, but it’s all in Hungarian, so I’ve no idea if it’s more than a web site, or what its political outlook is, etc. My wife has never heard of it.”
Hírszerző is exlusively an on-line paper but of long-standing. It used to be a paper reflecting neo-conservative views but lately HVG bought it (owned by a German group) and I have noticed a shift toward a more liberal direction. They are very much on the top of the situation and very often they are the ones who come out first with some hot news.

Paul
Guest
Thanks Éva. Although I prefer ‘Kevin”s definition – mad as a box of frogs, as usual, but it made me laugh! ‘Kevin’ – unlike you, I don’t actually hate anyone (and I challenge you to find a post of mine where I say – or even imply – that I do). But I hate what Orbán Viktor is doing to my adopted country, and, if he carries on doing it, I will probably end up hating him too – in the same way as people hated Hitler. But that is not a function of my feelings, it is a direct consequence of Orbán’s actions and his unquenchionable thirst for power – at any cost. I actually started out quite admiring OV and being quite supportive of Fidesz’s policies and ideas. But the more I learned – and the more he did – the more my views changed. This man is a very dangerous megalomaniac. He is taking Hungary into some very dark years, and may well ruin the country in the process. Whether or not I “hate” him, or why I would “hate” him, if I did, is utterly irrelevant. As are my views on what is going on, or… Read more »
Kevin Moore
Guest

Paul, I dare not even imagine what it is like when you actually hate somebody if what you display concerning Orbán is not hate.

Sandor
Guest

Kevin, you are suffering from a shortage of imagination. No wonder, because those, who fill your narrow little mind with the chirping you unleash on us here, are also simpletons who cannot come up with anything else but hate. That is all they know.
But, my poor old Kevin, there is more to Orban than just hate. The man is an inveterate lier and hypocrite, who does deserve not hate, but rather detestation. He is increasingly detested and despised by a rapidly growing mass of people who find him just too small to merit hate.
So, Kevin, old chap, look around! You shall find very little hate and a lot of contempt. I can scarcely think of anybody in Hungarian history, who accomplished so much contempt so fast, by so many and so far around. Can you?

Sandor
Guest

Well, actually Orban broke even the record of Bela Kun, who lost all respect after 133 days.
Orban was detested already before his “coming” which has accelerated since his election. And while he managed to undo himself in a few weeks domestically, in about seven months became an international pariah.
Nice job Orbi!
By the way Kevin, what was it actually you were defending?

Odin's Lost Eye
Guest

So that is what the ‘Dearest Leader’ has on Mr President. I wondered what it was when the new President was appointed. Where did the ‘Dearest Leader’ get it from? Well if you remember one of Ollie’s little chums is a big banker and has an ‘interest’ in a rather superior private detective agency with contacts on our Hostesses side of the Herring Pond.
The ‘Dearest Leader’ needs to destroy the Presidency before his new constitution defines the new head of state that will combine the office of President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Head Cook and Bottle Washer etc. A sort of Hungarian ‘Pooh-Bar’ –The Lord High Everything.
Oh Kevin I think your keepers are looking for you. I would advise you to get back to your cage quickly or it will be ‘the double dose of Senna Pods’ again for you! You know what they do to you. No! Not Nice, not nice!.

Rigó Jancsi
Guest

Lately always Star Wars comes into my mind… You know the Jedi’s saying about fear leading to hate? So I very much understand Gyurcsány’s question in parliamnet and would like to ask here as well: Kevin, what are you afraid of? Where comes YOUR hate from?
Regarding the Schmitt files, the current information sounds even a bit less substantial than the Lendvai documents. So we should wait for some more stuff from Hírszerző.

Kevin Moore
Guest

“You shall find very little hate and a lot of contempt.”
This is probably the funniest sentence I’ve ever seen here on this blog.

Joseph Simon
Guest

Schmitt Pál was 22 then. He probably kicked over a chair or waste paper basket while fencing. The perview of this Blog constantly amazes me. Hirszerző is probably a rag.

Joseph Simon
Guest

Also, remember when under Grósz they tried to prove that Nagy Imre was a KGB agent? They even produced ‘documents’ to show that. Of course those ‘documents’ were forged by the KGB itself. So this Blog is on the right track . Its wide range on interest leaves a great deal to be desired.

kormos
Guest

As a side note; I watched US President Obama’s speech on BBC World New Service, along with about 30.8 million people. I was very impressed and a day after noted that Obama’s speech has gotten good reviews. He was talking about “healing” the Nation.
I understand I cannot compare USA and Hungary, but I wonder what kind of comments I would read if similar speech were delivered in Budapest today. (With Hungarian content of course)
I fear, I would read, the speech was nationalist, fascist and populist.
At the same time I hope there will not be a similar occasion in Hungary for such speech.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Kormos: “I was very impressed and a day after noted that Obama’s speech has gotten good reviews.”
It was an excellent and moving speech. As far as Hungary is concerned, I don’t think that such a speech will be uttered for a long time to come. Orban is not Obama.

kormos
Guest

In a Country, where high ranking Catholic Church officials, protestant pastors, members of old aristocracy, even some “heroes” of the 1956 revolution served “Goulash Communism” , everything is possible. I would not vouch for anyone.
Every politician “came out of Kadar upper coat”, there was no other way. The only difference is that some has changed political course.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Kormos: “n a Country, where high ranking Catholic Church officials, protestant pastors, members of old aristocracy, even some “heroes” of the 1956 revolution served “Goulash Communism” , everything is possible.”
What apparently could have happened in this case that the security people could frighten Schmitt that his suspended sentence might turn into real one. But, in any case, it is clear that Hírszerző has a whole folder on Schmitt and I have the feeling that sooner or later we will hear more details.

Kevin Moore
Guest
kormos: there is a different reason to the fact that while Obama is appraised for delivering a due speech, Orbán is hated for the same thing. Never forget that Orbán is only hated by those who hate him regardless of what he does for the sole reason that Orbán is the person who is – and was – capable of putting them out of power. That is, the ‘left-lib’ who arrogantly think they inherently deserve power, have been facing a very effective arch enemy in Orbán who they couldn’t discredit and couldn’t destroy politically. This is what moves the criticism coming from the ‘liberal’ side of press and politicians in the EU. Their motives were made obvious a few days ago when they held a ‘public hearing’ on the media law but refused to let the Hungarian government voice its point, they asked György Konrád and his friends instead, who don’t represent anybody in Hungary because most Hungarians realized that these ex-SZDSZ militant manipulators hate Hungary and take all chances to discredit its people they don’t live among. This is how and why the latest slandering campaign is fuelled against Hungary, and we can already foresee that in the near… Read more »
Öcsi
Guest

Kevin wrote: “This is how and why the latest slandering campaign is fuelled against Hungary, and we can already foresee that in the near future the following pegs will there be to hang on to vilify Hungary”
Kevin, there is no campaign of any kind against Hungary. Get over it.
Unfortunately, since you equate Orbán with Hungary, any criticism of Orbán, which, by the way, is richly deserved, is turned into a criticism of Hungary. Nice trick but you’re only fooling yourself.

Kevin Moore
Guest

Öcsi you have probably been living under a rock during the past weeks. I feel it morganatic to have to remind you that several papers were spreading lies about the new media law (for those who pretend not knowing how to interpret the word “lie”, most of the criticism was based on facts that were simply untrue), and didn’t refrain from depicting Hungary (and not Orbán – this is only your story) as a haired neanderthal man or saying primitive comments like Hungary should bathe before going into a public place like the EU.

An
Guest

@Kevin Moore: I am so happy you keep posting; your posts perfectly illustrate what’s wrong with Fidesz.

Öcsi
Guest

Kevin, please give me just one example, just one!, of the “slandering campaign” against Hungary, by the ‘left-lib’ media.
I’m asking for this bit of evidence because I’m the kind of person who rejects all kinds of racism and anti-Hungarian-ism, or what have you. I read the press, watch the news, read blogs, etc. but I have never come across any anti-Hungarian-isms in any media.

Kevin Moore
Guest

Öcsi it is amazing how you can reply without reading my post where I gave you two examples.

Öcsi
Guest

Okay, Kevin. I’m stupid and ignorant but can you please cite those two examples again?

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