Family members in Hungarian politics

Some members of our family were active in political life. According to the books of Országgyűlési Almancah, which records the work in the modern Hungarian parliament from 1867 to now, there were three Ortutay family members participating in this work.
The first of them, Gyula Ortutay was elected in 1896. He was the delegate of Jószáshely district of Arad country, with a liberal program. I haven't found any details of his political work, the books recorded only that he died before the end of the parliamentary period he was elected for, in 1900. Otherwise he was a lawyer from the rich branch of the family, an officer in Világos, Nagy-Halmágy, and later in Arad.
The second in the row is Jenő Ortutay, Greek Catholic high priest, from the family branch in Kárpátalja. After the Hungarian re-capture of the area in 1938, he was an invited member of the Hungarian Parliament as a delegate of Felvidéki Egyesült Magyar Párt (Unified Party of the Hungarian Upperland). Before 1938, under the Czechoslovakian rule, he was a country officer for 11 years in Beregszász. He worked hard for preserving thee Hungarian language in education and in Greek Catholic liturgical life in Kárpátalja. After 1938 he was an advocate of the rights of Rusin nationality there. It was enough for that after the Soviet occupation, in 1945, the NKVD arrested him, and he was sentenced for 10 years in the Gulag. He has died in the lager of Abesz, in 24. December, 1950.
The third politician was Gyula Ortutay, ethnographer, also from the rich family branch. He is the best known member of our family, we know the most about his achievements, since his life is subject of the work of several professional historian. My belief is that his political view rooted in his work. Is spite of his aristocratic roots, during his ethnographic collector trips he encountered face to face with the hard life of the poorest people of the country, those who lacked any kind of decent future. He has joined to the workers movement during the 1930s. From 1937 he had personal connections to the KMP, which was the illegal communist party of Hungary. During the next few years he had a risk to be jailed because of this activities, so he has asked the help of Jenő Ortutay, who was a member of the parliament in those years, close to the conservative governing parties. Jenő gave him a safe place in Kárpátalja, where Gyula took part in the works of editing the sociography of Ungvár and the Ung district. In 1942 he joined to the Független Kisgazdapárt which was the farmers' party. After the Soviet occupation of Hungary, he was elected as a representative to the Temporal National Gathering, which was replacing the old Hungarian Parliament, in 2. April 1945. He was a member of the parliament from this time until 1953. From 14. March 1947 to 24. February 1950 he was the minister of education and religions of Hungary. During this period he orchestrated the state confiscation of the schools owned by the churches. Additionally he also reorganized the Hungarian Academy of Science to make it conform to the communists' requirements. After this he was leader or high official of several organizations in the communist regime, like the Hazafias Népfront. From 1958 to his death, in 1978, he was again the member of the parliament. He was the president of the work-group of the parliament for cultural issues between 1970 and 1978.
His diary was published in the summer of 2009. According to that he was completely fed up with the politics conducted by the communists. He didn't forget the political help he got from Jenő Ortutay. During 1956 László Ortutay, my own grandfather, was a railways officer in the village Létavértes. During the anti-communist uprising, the youngsters put the national flag with the communist symbols cut out onto the station building, as they did elsewhere in the county. Although as far, as we know, my grandfather didn't take part in the events of the revolution, he was insulted and tortured several times after the crush of the uprising by the Soviet tanks. My grandfather was desperate, so he has written a letter to Gyula asking his help. After his letter the police stopped the asking and hearings. Later the wife of Gyula became the godmother of one of the granddaughter of László, who is my cousin. The political work of Gyula Ortutay is a subject of arguments. Many of the historians praises others condemn him, mainly because of the confiscation of the schools run by the churches, and the reorganization of the Academy.
Three professional politician from our family, a liberal, a conservative and a communist. The historians of the future will judge if their work was for the good of the people they elected them.


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