Artúr Görgei was remembered in the Fiumei Road Cemetery

Hungarian version of the article: Görgei Artúrra emlékeztek a Fiumei úti sírkertben

January 31, 2023 at 4:00 PM

General Artúr Görgei, Minister of War, was remembered on the 205th anniversary of his birth at his grave in the Fiumei Road Cemetery. It was said: Görgei is a historical figure whose historical role has been found at both extremes of the scale from traitor to hero in the last 150 years.

General Artúr Görgei, Minister of War, was remembered on the 205th anniversary of his birth in the Fiumei Road Cemetery - read the press release sent by National Heritage Institute (NÖRI).

"Few historical figures rest in the Fiumei Road Cemetery like Görgei, whose historical role we could find on both ends of the scale from traitor to hero in the last 150 years," emphasised Gábor Móczár, director of the National Heritage Institute (NÖRI) on the commemoration organised by NÖRI and the Görgey Society.

Gábor Móczár recalled that Kossuth already started the myth of the traitor Görgei. "I raised Görgei from the dust (.) and he became the cowardly executioner of the country," he recalled Kossuth's famous outburst, which, as he said, sealed the fate of the brilliant warlord of the war of independence for decades. The frosty atmosphere surrounding Görgei began to ease only in the 1880s, he added.

General Artúr Görgei, Minister of War, was commemorated on the 205th anniversary of his birth (Photo: National Heritage Institute)

Gábor Móczár stated: the national defence general did not rebel against his fate, because in this way he could let his country know that the war of independence was only defeated because of his betrayal. The circumstances of his funeral and the grave site already show the solace - pointed out the director of NÖRI, recalling that the state offered Görgei's family a decorative grave.  

He also spoke about how the Kossuth cult of socialism had partly passed on the stamp of Görgei's betrayal, but the gradually available historical documents made it clear: he was a good soldier, and the lay-down of his arms was inevitable.   

He indicated that the National Heritage Institute considers it an important task to ensure that Hungarian historical figures have a living memory so that the changes in the perception of Artúr Görgei can be communicated to as many people as possible. He said that they are making a 10-part animated series featuring Hungarian heroes, with which they want to appeal to young people. The main character of the first episode will be Artúr Görgei, because - as he put it - he was truly a hero, a role model. "Those 28,500 rescued Hungarian soldiers, sons, and fathers who, even though they would have sacrificed their lives for their country, they could still keep it, continue to live in the fabric of the nation," concluded Gábor Móczár.

The decorative grave of the Görgei Family (Photo: National Heritage Institute)

Representing the family, Zsuzsanna Görgey said that the descendants have a job to reconcile, unite and be proud of their predecessors. She said thanks for putting the Görgei question in a different light and really putting it into place, not only from the point of view of Artúr Görgei but also because now the family's heroic past can be explored, they can remember the escape of 28,500 men and that thousands of Jews could escape during World War II because of their family members.

Róbert Hermann, chairman of the Görgey Society, member of the National Memorial and Piety Committee explained Görgei's life path and highlighted: In the spring expedition of 1849, Görgei also showed how to win in six battles against an outnumbered, better-equipped and better-trained enemy. He recalled that in 1884, 200 army officers and former army officers, academics and respected personalities issued a statement according to which they do not consider Görgei a traitor and that the laying down of arms in Világos - or rather in Szőlős - was a decision forced by the iron rod of facts, not treason.   

Social and traditional organisations laid wreaths at the commemoration (Photo: National Heritage Institute)

"It is our job, as historians, traditionalists, memory care providers and memory politicians, to try to put an order in memories," he emphasised, adding that there is an opportunity to honour both Lajos Kossuth and Görgei together because their great joint undertaking was the 1848 revolution, bourgeois Hungary, and the cause of Hungary's independence The commemoration ended with the laying of wreaths by social and traditional organisations.

Source: National Heritage Institute

Cover photo: Artúr Görgei was remembered in the Fiumei Road Cemetery (Photo: National Heritage Institute)

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