Dad the ‘Football Fan Deserter’

 

A while back I published my father’s Curriculum Vitae in which he described his escape from communist Hungary.  Last week my friend György found these two articles published in Hungarian newspapers about the event that my father described and the subsequent investigation.

Here’s the official story as translated by my brother’s friend Anikó.

Nepszava article 1948mayIt is known that two groups totaling several hundred fans traveled to last week’s football game held in Vienna, on a so called collective passport. One group was organized by Rapid Travel, 220 of them took a chartered train ride from the Capital. The other group’s trip was organized by MAV (Hungarian Rail Authority) Konzum Coop and completed on a boat. This group had 377 people. At the beginning of the week after the chartered train and boats have recrossed the Hungarian border on their return trip, the Passport Office’s representatives concluded that of the total number of visitors, 38 failed to return to Hugary. For the time being we only know the identities of six people, those took the trip courtesy of Rapid Travel, to attend their first ever football game

The names of the boat deserters, 27 men and 5 women have not been released yet, their cases remain under investigation. 

Among the deserters from the charter train was Dr Endre Edes, a clinical doctor, whose colleagues said he had been preoccupied by thoughts of escape for a while. Also escaped with premeditated plans the former owners of the nationalized Pal Fisher cotton and wool factory, Marcel Fisher and Karoly Paradi. They have been methodically emptying their apartment for the past three weeks and boarded the train with several suitcases. Also escaped Laszlo Simon, secretary of the Trade Union, who falsly told his acquaintances that he would be moving to the west of the Danube region. 

Also failed to return from Vienna Andras Lakatos police lieutenant, who is especially guilty of fooling his superiors into promoting him, received permission from the secretary of the Police Association as an “accomplished athlete” to view the Austria-Hungary soccer game. He had mentioned on multiple occassions that he has relatives in Australia and at first opportunity he will escape to join them. The sixth escapee Mrs Pal Rados, “amateur” english teacher, also remained in Vienna. Of course she, as the others “forgot” to return from Vienna. 

Vilg and Nepszavat sec1

Saturday – World (section)

The full list of “Football Fans Deserters” have been fully identified by police.

Three of them wanted to return back home.

The escapees also smuggled out western hard currency and valuables.

Vilg and Nepszavat sec2A full force investigation was launched to establish the identities of the 41 deserters who attended the Austria-Hungary football game in Vienna, that also widened to reveal those who helped plan this mass desertion. Some of the audience members took a boat while others traveled on a train to attend the Vienna game. 

The group should have initiated their return departure at Monday 9AM. At that point it became known that several members went missing from both the boat and the train. The boat waited three additional hours for the missing passengers. By then it was evident that these passengers declined to return home, thus the boat departed without them. A similar scene played out at the train departure as well. The train’s group agreed to meet in the lobby of Hotel Central, when they discovered that 9 fewer people showed up. 

[cut-off sentence here… ends with] Marcel Stern Fisher, whose factory was recently nationalized. The investigation uncovered that Fisher had stolen high value share certificates along with several thousand Forints from his factory’s safe, half of which he handed over to fellow house mate textile technician Karoly Faradi, who joined him in the escape.

Preparing to Desert…

Police determined after interrogating several witnesses that the deserters have been preparing for this illegal escape from Hungary for an extended period of time. The majority of them smuggled their money out in advance, and now they plan to catch up with those funds. It became evident that several of the deserters appeared to have fled to acquaintances waiting for them in the west. The Police HQ’s Passport Department – as it is already known -had spent the utmost care to background check all of the passengers personal details and their reliability, only those received permit to travel [sic].

The participants were only allowed to board the boat after they offered personal guarantees that they would not smuggle any foreign currency or other valuables out of Hungary on them. To ensure security, a secondary search was performed on the boat, and those who had foreign currency  [cut off here]. 

* * * * 

Deserters Official List of Names

The organizers of the event immediately reported the case to the proper department of the Police HQ as soon as they returned to Budapest, and began assembling the deserters list of names. The Passport Department gave its official report to the Ministry of the Interior on Wednesday noon, and received orders to immediately begin investigating the circumstances of this large-scale desertion. 

World was the first to report on Wednesday the Vienna Football Train’s known names, and this morning the Police HQ issued the list containing the remaining names:

[see list of names and their former home addresses]

People from the Countryside:

In addition to those, the following passengers from the countryside also deserted [list of names from various towns and villages]. Among them were the already reported deserters Dr Endre Edes physician from Kispest, Mrs Pal Rados from Budapest, and Dr Laszlo Simon from Budapest [cut off here].

* * *

Thanks to both György and Anikó for this amazing story.

Zsigmond Joins the Navy

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Greetings from Pola

Zsigmond Édes was 17 when he went to Pola and joined the Navy. Military service wasn’t required until age 19 but my great-grandfather would have had good reasons to enlist. Joining the Navy allowed him to avoid being drafted into the army. He probably also wanted to “see the world” as promised by Navy recruiters.

The Navy would have been a good fit for him. Growing up in Vukovar along the Danube he would have had experience on the water. I imagine him as a young boy playing with toy boats with his older half-brother János, and watching the ships cruise by. He may even have worked on boats with his uncles.

The Imperial and Royal War Navy, as it was called, was established after the 1867 Ausgleich, which created the Dual Monarchy of Austria and Hungary. The name in German was kaiserliche und königliche Kriegsmarine, abbreviated as k.u.k. Kriegsmarine. In Hungarian it was Császári és Királyi Haditengerészet. Continue reading

Twins in the Family

twin dolls

I found twins! While working on a story about my great-grandfather Zsigmond Édes I rechecked the birth index from Vukovar where he was born. I stumbled upon an index reference to twin sisters, Rosina and Anna, which I had not noticed earlier.

I followed the reference and found that the twins were indeed baby sisters of Zsigmond. Continue reading

Escape – My Father’s Story

My father was a young physician in Budapest during WWII when standing up for your principles was dangerous. He escaped in 1948. This is the story as he told it in his curriculum vitae soon after his arrival in Canada.

Title

I was born on the 14th day of July, 1921, in Kispest, a city with a population of 70,000 – a suburb of the Hungarian capital Budapest. Being the only son of middle-class parents, who were merchants; I had every opportunity to pursue the career to which I felt most drawn.

At the age of six, I entered elementary school; where a four year course of studies was followed, as a preparation for middle school. In my native country, as in other Central European and most Western European countries, there prevails this middle or Intermediate school, (called “Gymnasium” ) a system assigned to give a preliminary education for University during an eight year course. I graduated from this school with the best qualifications obtainable.

Dr. Endre Édes ~ age 25

I enrolled at the Medical Faculty of the University of Budapest, and in September 1939, started my studies there in medicine. This course consisted of five years of University study, and one year of compulsory rotating internship.

During my third year as student, I was rewarded with one of the six scholarships, sponsored by the City Council of the Capital, which covered all my University expenses. In October, 1944, I graduated from the University with the qualifications, “Summa cum Laude”, among the first four of a group of 120 graduates.

drafted 3

Soon after my graduation, I was drafted into the Army, but refused to enter. Continue reading

Then and Now: The Killer Lake

The Killer Lake, Gyilkostó in Hungarian, is high in the Hargita Mountains in the Székely region of eastern Transylvania. The name in Romanian is Lacul Roșu, or Red Lake. The ‘red’ color comes from the sediment of the Red Creek that feeds the lake, although it really is more of a murky brown. Of course the ‘bloody’ color is also the origin of the more creative Hungarian name.Gyillkos To Szekelyfold  about 1985-300px

A massive landslide in the 19th century caused the entire mountain side of trees land in the lake upside down. The tree stumps are easier to see in this picture of my parents in 1983. 31 years later the stumps are disappearing. I’m glad we got there before they were all gone.

This is one of my favorite pictures of my parents. They looked very happy. Dad was very hip in those flared leg pants and sideburns. It was Dad’s first time back to Hungary since he escaped in 1948, and Mom’s first time visiting her parents’ homeland.

A&D Gyillkosto 300pxWe were happy too. We spent the day driving the crazy mountain roads with my dear cousin and her amusing husband. And this picture is one of my favorites from the trip.

Dancing with my Ancestors

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The Seven Dancing Hajdú in the town square of Hajdúbosormény, with a couple of extras.

In Eastern Hungary close to the great plains, in the town square of Hajdúbosormény, the 7 Hajdú warriors are dancing. There is one for each of the original 7 villages built on the land donated by Bocskay István in the 1600s. The dancers are rugged and fierce and carry their weapons of war. They all wear big bushy very Hungarian looking moustaches.

These are the people of my oldest named grandmother, Kerekes Katalin who was born in nearby Hajdúhadhaz.

The beautiful baroque buildings on the square contrast with the shabbier businesses and homes elsewhere in town. Around the corner, the building that houses the Hajdúsag museum is in need of a paint job. It looked so sad we were surprised that it was really open. But, we were in luck.  We had the place to ourselves and were amazed at the quality of the exhibits in such an out of the way place.

Bronze age couple 300

Artist’s conception of bronze age couple with tools and adornments found in archeological dig in Hajdú region.

A special exhibit told of excavations of the Bronze-age treasures being discovered in nearby ancient burial grounds. An animated video in Hungarian told the story of those ancient people.

There were many exhibits of life in the Hajdú towns.

Illustration of men's uniforms. The fur coat on display had a pest strip tucked inside for protection.

Illustration of men’s uniforms.

Beautifully embroidered ladies’ capes and men’s heavy fur coats helped keep them warm in winter. The massive fur coat on display had a pest strip tucked inside for protection.

Hajdú lady's embroidered fur cape. "kisbunda"

Hajdú lady’s embroidered fur cape. “kisbunda”

An exhibit of an old style hut and household equipment gave an idea of what life in the area would have been like.

Village life. Corn grinder and bee hives.

Village life. Corn grinder and bee hives.

I estimate my hajdú heritage to be about  0.1%. I’m proud of that little bit of these brave proud people.

Growing up in a Hungarian community we would go to parties where the grownups danced the csardás, dancing and stomping their feet as the gypsy fiddler played faster and faster. I can imagine the hajdú dancing to the music and keeping up just fine.

Note: The museum website had pictures of some of their exhibits but at the time of this post the site was infected with malware. 

Then and Now: Székelykerestúr

My great-grandparents Tivadar Nagy and Borbala Both shown in front of their home in Székelykerestúr sometime in the 1960s. The woman standing is Tivadar’s niece.

Kerestur old tivador copy

This page from my parents photo album from 1983 showed that the place was showing its age.

Hungary 1983036

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Csíkkarcfalva, great-grandmother’s hometown

There are many little Hungarian villages tucked away in the Hargita Mountains in the Székely region of Transylvania. My mother’s family is from there. Relatives still live there, including some that Mother never talked about. Perhaps she didn’t know them either. My great-grandmother Borbála Both was born in 1883 in the village of Csíkkarcfalva ( Cârța in Romanian).  A century later my parents travelled there for the first time. This summer my husband and I visited the village with my cousin and her husband as tour guides.

Church 1983

Csíkkarcfalva Church 1983For centuries the village market took place at the foot of the hill in the center of town below the fortified church.

The 15th century fortified church occupies the top of the hill in the center of town. For centuries the town market took place in the main street below.

In my parent’s photo from 1983 a soviet style flat-bed truck raises dust clouds as it rumbles through town. Now the roads are paved. My cousin told me about a local politician who was able to direct infrastructure improvement funds to the village for that purpose. Continue reading

Crying Place

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Sírhely/Gravesite/Crying Place

Sírhely  the Hungarian word for gravesite was new to me. Sír (sheer), I knew, means cry and hely (hay) is place. On a day trip from southern Hungary we visited two crying places, scenes of heartbreaking death and destruction that took place over 4 centuries apart.

Grave Posts

Grave Posts

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