Hungarian President Janos Ader laid a wreath at the plaque of Janos Esterhazy, a leader of Slovakia’s ethnic Hungarian community between the two world wars, in a Prague cemetery on the second day of his official visit on Wednesday.
Count Esterhazy (1901-1957), the sole Hungarian deputy in the Slovak Parliament before 1945, was a firm advocate of the ethnic Hungarian community, raising his voice against any violation of minority rights and against discrimination.
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 Esterhazy to Czechoslovakia, where the president commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment. The count died in a prison in Mirov in March 1957. His ashes were identified in 2007 in Prague’s Motol cemetery. Despite all efforts by Slovakia’s ethnic Hungarian community, Esterhazy has not been rehabilitated in Slovakia to date.
After the commemoration, Ader travelled to Karlovy Vary to meet regional leaders.
He also laid a wreath at the memorial site to Hungarian 19th-century poet Janos Arany, who was a regular patient between 1869-76 at the renowned spa town then called Carlsbad.
Source and photo: MTI