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György Granasztói, Leading Hungarian Historian And Advisor To PM Orbán, Passes Away

By Ferenc Sullivan // 2016.08.10.

György Granasztói, eminent Hungarian historian, university professor and senior advisor to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, has passed away at the age of seventy-eight, his family has informed the state news agency MTI.

Born in Budapest on 28 March 1938, Mr. Granasztói graduaded in Hungarian and French at the capital’s Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE). Beginning his career as a secondary school teacher in Győr, he subsequently worked in ELTE’s university library and was a senior research fellow at the Institute of History at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences between 1968 and 1983. Thereafter, he was a guest professor at universities in Lyon, Leuven and Paris.

D_NOE20150315046Dr. György Granasztói receiving the Hungarian Order of Merit, Commander’s Cross with Star from state dignitaries (left to right) President János Áder, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Speaker of the National Assembly László Kövér in Parliament, 15 March 2015 (photo: Noémi Bruzák/MTI)

A lecturer at Eötvös Loránd University, the country’s largest and most prestigious higher education institution, he joined the conservative Hungarian National Forum (MDF) party at the time of democratic transition in 1990. Between 1990 and 1994, he served as Hungarian ambassador accredited to Brussels, Luxembourg and NATO, leading the Hungarian representation to the Commission of European Communities from 1992 to 1994.

DSZZS20060325008-1024x678Dr. Granasztói with the late President of the Republic Ferenc Mádl in 2006 (photo: Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI)

His areas of expertise included urban history, Hungarian history in mediaeval and early modern times and the use of computerised methods in historical works. Active in several social, political and professional organisations, he served as senior advisor to the Prime Minister and Prime Ministerial commissioner for issues including the use of the Hungarian flag and coat of arms, and the implementation of the law on state decorations.

In 2011, he was among the founding members of the Friends of Hungary Foundation. Having received several Hungarian and French state decorations, whis latest recognition was the Hungarian Order of Merit, Commander’s Cross with Star, awarded to him in March 2015.

Dr. Granasztói is survived by his wife and two children.

cover photo: Lajo Soós/MTI