Comment on the obituary of the Hungarian Countess Margit Széchenyi in The Telegraph 25 October 2021.
25 October 2021 12:23PM
With all due respect, this was a fully controlled life on the margins of the Communist dictatorship. Just being torelated and surviving. Isolated, without influence. Communists decided to permanently eliminate everyone opposing them. Some were killed immediately, others were marginalised and quietly pushed out of public presence and memory over the years. Being a son of Polish survivors of Communist concentration camps, I could observe this process over decades. This policy of elimination was never abandoned, despite noisy proclamations to the contrary after 1990. Hence the silence the victims of Communism and their elimination from memory. Western media follow happily, mindlessly copying fairy tales about the magic collapse of Communism.
I recommend looking up a recent obituary of another Hungarian noblewoman, Esther Vécsey Mattyaszovsky-Zsolnay.
In a large elegant flat in central Pest, Esther Vécsey tried to recreate something of the salon atmosphere of Budapest’s pre-Communist world, captured by Patrick Leigh Fermor in Between the Woods and the Water. In the end she became disillusioned with contemporary Hungary, observing that those who described themselves as conservatives in today’s Hungary “might just as easily become Marxists in tomorrow’s given half a chance”.
Esther Vécsey is almost right. The people she refers to only pretend to have acquired a taste for democracy and conservatism. The political class of Eastern Europe are members of the Communist class.
I also recommend Memoirs by József Cardinal Mindszenty, who staunchly resisted Communists after WWII, was imprisoned and tortured.
Pope Paul VI stripped Mindszenty of his Cardinal title in 1973.