A commemoration was held in Budapest’s Saint Stephen’s Basilica on Saturday, to pay tribute to Count János Esterházy, the sole Hungarian deputy in the Slovak parliament before 1945.
At the ceremony Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Hungarian Prime Minister’s Office, said that “Esterhazy’s life and death teaches us the moral that the people’s of central Europe need each other” and went on to say that recent developments in Europe “not only allow but call for cooperation” between those nations.
János Esterházy (1901-1957) was a firm advocate of the ethnic Hungarian community, raising his voice against any violation of minority rights and against discrimination.
PMO Head Gergely Gulyás. Photo by Márton Mónus/MTI
Czechoslovak authorities arrested him in 1945 under the charge of war crimes, and turned him over to the Soviet military authorities. In 1947 he was sentenced to 10 years of forced labour in Moscow and handed a death sentence in absentia in Bratislava on trumped-up charges. Two years later, the Soviet Union extradited the ailing politician to Czechoslovakia, where the president commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment.
Commission Preparing Beatification of János Esterházy Sworn in
The count died in a prison in Mirov on March 8, 1957.
featured photo by Márton Mónus/MTI