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During his speech at the Petőfi Literary Museum (PIM), State Secretary of Culture Péter Fekete took a football out of his pocket from the museum’s collection, and jokingly said that he always takes something from exhibitions when he gets invited. He promised to take something from PIM’s collection as well. The opposition Jobbik party has denounced Fekete for repeated theft.
This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute.
Fekete gave his speech at the inauguration of the Péter Esterházy and Gitta Library on Friday. He said, “You may already be used to the fact that when I am invited somewhere, I take something from another institution, from another shelf,” trying to justify his actions and referring to the symbolic cultural bridge connecting the new collection and the PIM. “This object has been registered by the Petőfi Literary Museum as a museum object…I took the liberty of bringing this football to this event as a cultural object,” said the State Secretary.
One of the hosts of the event was Gergely Prőhle, head of the Evangelical National Collection, where the private Esterházy collection is kept, and he is also the former director of the PIM. Prőhle did not want to let Péter Fekete’s explanatory statement go unheard and said:
“There were times when even I could have taken many things from the Petőfi Literary Museum. I didn’t. I hope you will bring this ball back, dear Péter,” said the rather indignant Prőhle.
“It is regrettable, but it symbolizes the Orbán regime quite accurately that on this important day, the Day of Hungarian Culture, I have to announce that I will file a complaint against Péter Fekete, the state secretary in charge of culture, for continued theft,” wrote Jobbik MP Koloman Brenner in a statement.
In Brenner’s view, “a thief belongs in the depths of prison, not at the head of the State Secretariat of Culture.”
“If he [Koloman Brenner] is serious about this, it is slander,” Fekete said, in reaction to the Facebook post from the Jobbik politician in an interview with pro-government daily Magyar Nemzet.
Of course, it is not that I am stealing anything from anywhere,”
stressed the Secretary of State.
Fekete also added that he wanted to draw attention to the “most diverse values of culture” by attending similar events with officially-lent cultural objects for the past four years. He stressed that the items are always returned to the lending institutions.
In the last four years I have given more than three hundred of these lectures and today it has become a popular tradition where journalists and organizers inquire in advance what the cultural treasure of today will be,”
he said in the interview.
According to Fekete, it is cause for reflection that although he has been presenting cultural treasures in this way for four years, no one has objected to it so far.
Featured image via the Péter Fekete public figure Facebook page