Jenő Ortutay

* 1889. 05. 03. Tarna (now in Slovakia) - + 1950. 12. 24. Abes (lager in Komi Autonomous Republic, Soviet Union, now Russia)
Father: István Ortutay I.
Mother: Mária Dudinszky
Brothers and sisters: Miklós Ortutay II., Anna Ortutay, Jolán Ortutay, Magda Ortutay, Sarolta Ortutay, Sándor Ortutay II., Gyula Ortutay, István Ortutay II., János Ortutay, Pál Ortutay, Tivadar Ortutay, Mária Ortutay, Erászt László Ortutay
Wife: Ilona Papp (* ? - + 1960 Ungvár)
Children: Angyalka Ortutay (* 1915 - + 1935 Ungvár), Elemér Ortutay, Béla Ortutay I

Jenő Ortutay, Greek Catholic priest, dean of the Catholic Church, member of the Hungarian Parliament, played a very important role in the life of the Hngarian minority left in Kárpátalja during the Czechoslovakian era. He was the major of the town Beregszász from 1928 to 1938.
We have many documents about his life. The books about the destiny of Hungarians during the Nazi and Communist dictatorships in Kárpátalja from Károly Hetényi Varga and Iván Bendász contain his biography, but also articles from the papers of his time contains lots of data about him. This summary was made using the article about him from the (Hungarian) Catholic Lexicon.
H was born in 03. 05. 1889 Tarna, now in Slovakia as a son of István Ortutay Greec Catholic priest and Mária Dudinszky. He was student of the 7th grade class of Royal Catholic Gimnasium of Ungvár during the school year 1905-1906. He studied theology also in Ungvár and later in Budapest. He was consecrated as a priest in 22. 12. 1912 by Antal Papp, the bishop of Munkács. He started his service in 1913 in Cséke, Zemplén country. Later he was in Beregpapfalva (Gyilok) in 1914 and 1915, Ungvár between 1915-1918 as a vicar, and in Ökörmező (Mizshirja) in 1918-1919.
After the treatment of Trianon, when Kárpátalja became the part of Czechoslovakia, he got a death threat from Czech soldiers and he was deported. After he was freed, he served in Kövesliget (Drahovo) until 01. 03. 1925. Here he resisted steadily against the local Orthodox movement, and because of that someone tried to exterminate him in January 1923. In that year he was appointed as a dean by the bishop.
He moved to Beregszász in 1925, and immediately he took part in the organization of Catholic and political life of the town. He was promoted in 1925 and later in 1929 to a higher clerical rank.
He was the president of several public organizations related to public Catholic life. He was selected to be a member of the directorium of Beregszász as a representative of the Christian Socialist Party. He was selected to be the major of the town in 1928, he was in this post for ten years until 1938.
He started a journal for the Hungarian speaking Catholics with the title “Kárpáti Figyelő” (Carpathian Observer) in 1930, but the Czechoslovakian government forced to finish it soon. As a reward for his efforts he was promoted again in 1935 to a high cleric rank.
Many of his speeches are documented in the media of his time, all of them draws a picture of a wise man who is worried about the fate of his nation.
In 5. September, 1937, the Egyesült Magyar Párt (Unified Hungarian Party) held its national gathering in Beregszász. This party was arare but nice example, when left and right wing politicians managed to unify their efforts for the good of the whole nation, and they merged the right wing Magyar Nemzeti Párt (Hungarian Nation Party) and the left centrist Keresztényszocialista Párt (Christian Socialist Party) in Kárpátalja. During this big meeting Jenő Ortutay had given a big speech, which was printed in its full length in the journal Kárpáti Magyar Hírlap (Carpathian Hungarian News). It has got bit public attention, since its topic was the fair socialism. A really unexpected topic from a clerical conservative politician. Jenő was elected in 1935 as a representative of the Országos Keresztény Szocialista Párt (National Christian Socialist Party) in the regional parliament. When Beregszász came back to Hungary, he guarded the locals from the atrocities of the Czech army. He has greeted the the Hungarian soldiers in 9. November 1938 together with Zoltán Fekésházy, the later vice-major of the town. Later he was very aactive to preserve the rights of the Rusyn minority of Kárpátalja.
As earlier member of the regional parliament, he become an invited member of the Hungarian Prliament in Budapest. He was awarded with the Nemzetvédelmi Kereszt. This was given to persons who made an exrtaordinary work in preserving the Hungarian minorities in the areas taken away from Hungary in the Treaty of Trianon (1920).
In 1945 (already after the Soviet Army occupied Kárpátalja) Jenő was once more promoted and appointed as a dean of the Ungvár region. But he was arrested by the Soviet political police. He was a priest, a member of the Hungaian Parliament, and a Hungarian himself. Any of these three were enough to send him to Siberia, so he was sentenced to 10 years forced labor service in the Gulag, and 5 years of loosing of his civil rights. He has died on Christmas eve of 1950 in Abes lager near to Vorkuta, in the Komi Autonomous Republic, Soviet Union (now in Russia). His son, Elemér, who was also a “Gulag citizen” by political reasons, had found his grave when he was returning from Vorkuta to Kárpátalja.
In 1990, after the political changes in the former Soviet Union, an memorial table was placed in the graveyard of Beregszász to commemorate the priest, major, and politician of the town, who rests in a signless grave far away from Kárpátalja, his home.

Jenő Ortutay and his family


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