Famous Hungarians

LÁSZLÓ BÍRÓ, the inventor of the biro

Whenever I travel to less developed parts of the world, such as Cambodia, I always take hundreds of ballpoint pens with me for convenience. The reason is that hordes of children will nag you for a pen: “pen, Sir, gimme a pen”. If it were not for language difficulties I would tell them that this […]

By |October 5th, 2016|Famous Hungarians|0 Comments

The Real Stories behind Hungary’s 1956 Revolution—those ‘sorrowful October events’

At major landmarks in Hungary’s capital city, one can see megaposters (see top photo) depicting heroes of the 1956 Revolution with the slogan of poet Sándor Márai: “A nation said: Enough!” (EGY NÉP MONDTA: ELÉG VOLT!)

Budapest is frenzied with the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the 1956 October events, sparked by a peaceful solidarity […]

By |September 18th, 2016|Famous Hungarians|0 Comments

To celebrate Saint Stephen’s Day, here’s 1000 years of Hungarian Happenings in a handy infographic

“No history, please!” – begged a lovely visitor from a faraway country.

True, she escaped from a guided “umbrella” tour where in most cases you are bombarded with dates and unpronounceable names of local heroes, not to mention Hungary’s long list of battles.

It poses a real challenge for a tour guide, however, to explain why those […]

By |August 18th, 2016|Famous Hungarians|0 Comments

Bubbly Water, another Hungarian invention

When you have FRÖCCS (Wine Spritzer) next time, make sure it’s made with SZÓDAVÍZ (carbonated water) and not plastic bottled SZÉNSAVAS ÁSVÁNYVÍZ (carbonated mineral water). While SZÓDAVÍZ, chilled and fresh, brings out the best in wine and makes it a light summer drink, the minerals in the latter spoil the inherent properties of wine.

The invention […]

By |August 3rd, 2016|Famous Hungarians|0 Comments

Matthias, the Just

The King-in-Disguise
The personage of the fifteenth century King Matthias (Mátyás in Hungarian, Matei Corvin for Romanians) has been a bone of contention between Hungarians and Romanians for ages. Gheorghe Funar, the Hungarian bashing Romanian mayor of Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca) in the 1990s, took the claim of Romanian history textbooks that Mátyás was of Romanian origin literally, […]

By |July 22nd, 2016|Famous Hungarians|0 Comments


Take it with a pinch of salt. George Mikes, Hungarian-born English writer’s bon mot to satirize Hungarians’ obsession to brag with being Hungarian sounds like this in its full context:
”Everybody is Hungarian, and if he isn’t, then his father or his grandmother was.”

Mikes – who made fame as a popular English writer by […]

By |July 8th, 2016|Famous Hungarians|0 Comments

Albert Szent-Györgyi

 The genius behind the discovery of vitamin C
I like eating lecsó (letscho), and I love making it. It’s in season from June to September, making it the Hungarian summer staple food. The quintessence of this vegetable stew is sweet peppers in all shapes and colours mixed with onions, tomatoes, and paprika-spiced sausage.

Hungarians are crazy about […]

By |June 24th, 2016|Famous Hungarians|0 Comments

Kodály Zoltán

The Music Educator of a Nation
Andrássy út, the only straight avenue in Pest, is divided into three major sections by two circuses, Oktogon and Kodály körönd . The Körönd, as it was named originally when the four residential blocs surrounding the square were built in the 1890s, fell victim to the re-naming frenzy of the […]

By |March 24th, 2015|Famous Hungarians|0 Comments

Binyamin Ze’ev Herzl

The Architect of the Jewish Nation
On my first visit to Tel Aviv back in the 1980s I went to the Knesset to see Marc Chagall’s grandiose frescoes. Once there, I peeped into the Assembly Hall where –to my surprise- the only decoration was a huge portrait of Theodore Herzl behind the Speaker’s seat. It was […]

By |March 24th, 2015|Famous Hungarians|0 Comments

Robert Capa

A Pacifist, an Eye-witness to Five Wars
Robert Capa died holding his camera in his left hand minutes after stepping on a landmine. He was finding the right angle to make a perfect shot of retreating French soldiers in the paddy fields at Thai-Binh, North Vietnam, on May 24, 1954. He was the first American journalist killed […]

By |March 24th, 2015|Famous Hungarians|0 Comments