Journalists from local papers often uncover important pieces of political news that would otherwise never be reported in the larger nationwide papers and internet sites. The County of Vas is lucky in this respect because nyugat.hu is an independent paper, unlike most of the regional papers recently acquired by Lőrinc Mészáros, the alter ego of Viktor Orbán. “Nyugat” in Hungarian means “West,” both as a geographic term and as a metaphor, standing for enlightenment.
When news reached nyugat.hu that Ferenc Szabó (KDNP), the deputy mayor of Körmend, had resigned, the paper’s journalists figured that something dramatic must have happened because Szabó has been deputy mayor of the town of 10,000 for the last 19 years. Szabó’s explanation for his departure was a desire to spend more time on his “research.” Nyugat.hu carried a short article about the resignation and Szabó’s stated reason for stepping down but ended with “we will return to the matter later.”
And indeed they did. The next day nyugat.hu revealed the real reason for the resignation. The parents of a 16-year-old girl, currently enrolled in grade 10 in the local gymnasium, had filed charges against Szabó. They claimed he had had an illicit sexual relationship with their daughter when she was Szabó’s student either in grade 7 or 8–that is, under the age of 16. In brief, they charged him with statutory rape. As it turned out, the people of Körmend had been whispering about the 56-year-old teacher’s affair with his former student and they even complained to members of the city council. But the Fidesz-KDNP-majority city council was reluctant to move until the parents themselves filed a complaint with the police. By the end of January, they convinced Szabó to resign, but they didn’t insist on his total removal from the body. He resigned as deputy mayor but kept his seat on the council as an independent.
The weak opposition in Körmend is up in arms. Jobbik demanded his dismissal from the Körmend Council and called on the Fidesz mayor to make the information about the reason for Szabó’s resignation public. MSZP’s Körmend organization demanded the same. A civic organization called “Pro Körmend,” which actually has a member on the city council, claimed that Szabó’s “proclivity” for sexual advances toward his young female students had been known for years in the school. They wanted to know why the principal had done nothing. They also accused the Fidesz mayor who, according to them, tried to hush up the scandal.
There is good reason for these complaints because the parents apparently first approached the school principal and the mayor but didn’t receive any assistance or encouragement. So, at the end of January, they decided to go to the police and file a complaint.
ATV approached the Szombathely center of the infamous Klebelsberg Intézményfenntartó Központ (KLIK), which is supposed to be in charge of the elementary school where Szabó was and still is a teacher. The head of the center told the television station that he had received “no written complaint” from the institution, which begged the question as to whether KLIK had gotten verbal information from the school. And indeed, the center did hear from the school, but “at first the center looked upon the complaint as a simple political affair.” After a few days of thinking, the leader of the center suggested a face-to-face meeting between Szabó and the parents and the child, which I don’t believe took place.
Meanwhile the national leaders of KDNP–Zsolt Semjén, chairman, and Péter Harrach, head of KDNP’s parliamentary delegation–promised that Szabó will be expelled from the party if he is found guilty of the charge. For the time being, it seems that the party would be happy if Szabó took the initiative, if he resigned and quietly disappeared.
In order to understand Ferenc Szabó’s prominence in Körmend over and above his political activities, spanning the period between 1994 and 2017, it is important to dig into those “research activities” he quoted as the reason for his resignation. As soon as I read that Szabó’s “field of expertise” is “őstörténet” (prehistory), I knew that he had to be one of those people who propound outlandish and singularly unscientific theories about the history of humankind in the period before recorded history. There are, of course, linguists and archaeologists who can offer some hypotheses about, let’s say, the movements of Hungarian tribes along the steppes of Eurasia, but these people’s assumptions are based on scientific evidence. By contrast, there is a whole network of self-styled prehistory researchers, whom I consider to be the lunatic fringe. Szabó is one of them.
When it comes to Szabó’s theories, nyugat.hu politely called them “rather strange.” Among other things, he believes that “Hungarians are an entirely different species.” And that is just the beginning of the madness. He believes that we might be “cosmic beings.”
Ferenc Eőry Szabó, the embellished name he assumed for his research, along with some other prehistory hobbyists, established the Körmendi Kulturális Műhely (Cultural Workshop of Körmend), which hosts meetings featuring similar “prehistory researchers” and makes the videos available on the internet. The workshop also publishes books. Eőry Szabó was one of the authors of Szkíták—Hunok–Magyarok. The book’s blurb claims that anyone reading this book will be convinced that Hungarians are the ancestors of mankind. “The Bible is right. In the past there was only one language and one nation,” which was of course Hungarian.
Eőry Szabó also organizes conferences, one of which was on János Móricz, who was born in Körmend in 1923. Móricz allegedly discovered an Indian tribe in Ecuador whose members “could converse with Móricz in Hungarian.” One of the participants in this conference was Eőry Szabó’s “fellow researcher” Ágnes Purisaca Golenya. She was born Ágnes Golenya in Miskolc but received her second family name from the Indian Purisaca family in northern Peru. Her “famous” book is The Children of Blue Blood, “who are humans, living on earth, who belong to the system of Sirius headed by Mother Isis.” Just to give you an idea of Purisaca Golenya’s linguistic expertise, she even managed to prove that the name Sylvester can be explained by an Indian language spoken in Ecuador (Szilveszter = Sili-Us-Ter).
I’ve linked to the video of Purisaca Golenya’s lecture on “From Sirius to the Carpathian Basin.” But there are at least half a dozen such lectures available online from the series of lectures Szabó organized in Körmend.
One can only hope that he leaves his so-called expertise on prehistory outside the classroom, but I somehow doubt it. He is dead serious about all this stuff. He believes that “history must be reformed,” as he put it in his introduction to one of the lectures, so I can’t believe that he doesn’t spread the gospel even in school. His removal from his teaching position is therefore doubly justified.