At the intersection of Dr. Kovács Pál Street and Király (Alkotmány) Street in Győr. #206183 Photo: Fortepan / Sándor Kereki

“Those Are My Grandparents!”

Great Discoveries from the Letters Sent to Fortepan

From time to time, the editors at Fortepan are moved by the letters from readers who took the effort to write down the story behind a particular Fortepan photo or by messages from people writing to tell that they have recognised a family member, a friend, or an old classmate. These letters confirm our belief that (among other reasons) it is worth dealing with archival photos because of these types of great discoveries. The following is a selection of ten from the latest Facebook messages, comments, and letters from readers.

1955 #127788 Photo: Fortepan / Sándor Bauer
1955 #127788 Photo: Fortepan / Sándor Bauer
Dear Fortepan, Dear Dávid Zubreczki, On the cover image of this article, the black-haired young man is Balázs Tóth (1919–1965), who is posing with a Corvald breeding sow and her piglets.  They have received an award with this litter in the  National Agricultural Exhibition; this photo, and another one I found in  the archive, was probably taken on this occasion. He is my uncle, and at the time he was a municipal officer in Kiskunhalas and a pig breeder, aside from his main job. His passion for breeding animals was passed down to his first son and namsake, but he did not live long enough to see his son graduate as an agricultural engineer.  He was very proud of the award he received that day, but we did not know that there was a photo taken as well. It has been such a great pleasure for us to see it! Thank you very much. Best regards, Éva Dobai and the Tóth family

19 April 2021

Those are my Grandparents, Mr. and Ms. Mátyás Tullner!

I was very small, but I do remember that my Grandpa was out on the street on market days. He was looking after people’s bicycles, and in the meantime, to pass the time,  he crafted soap bubble blowers out of drinking straws and pieces of copper wire. A little soapy water, and there they were, the soap bubbles! He made a lot of children happy with some special forms of bubbles.

Ilcsa Takács

28 February 2021

Galánta (today Galanta, in Slovakia) during the entry of the Hungarian troops, following the First Vienna Award, in 1938. #55831 Photo: Fortepan / Bálint Magyar
Dear Miklós Tamási, I have been thinking about writing to you for quite a while. Thank you for the website; it fills a gap for people like me. On another note, in one of the photos taken in Galánta,  no. 55831, my mother appears, at age 9. I have a very similar picture in our family album, but that’s a paper copy. And the man with the bow tie standing out from the crowd in the background is my grandfather’s brother. The photo was taken in 1938, with some hard times behind them — and even harder ones ahead of them, though they did not suspect that then.  War, illness, deaths, deprivation of rights, ousting, forced exiles… Thank you for the opportunity to see these photos (not only the ones taken in Galánta). With warm regards, Gábor Szabó 28 February 2021  
No. 27 on Táncsics MihályStreet in the Buda Castle district. #170726 Photo: Fortepan / István Péterffy
Dear Fortepan,

In the photo above, it is our two dogs (rather, our two pulis) looking out as usual from our window: Csitri, the mother and her daughter Fruzsi. (Csitri is on the right.)  The elder one was my parents’ dog and I kept Fruzsi for myself from the litter, but in the end they stayed together when I moved out of my parents’ house starting a family in 1972. Of course, the two dogs are not with us anymore and it is no longer my family living in the apartment now. I am the younger of the two children, a boy and a girl, who once lived there: Balázs Farkas. I named all my later dogs after them. At the moment, we share our home with Csitri.

The title of the photo could be: “Csitri and Fruzsi.”

It has evoked some wonderful memories… Thank you!

Best regards,

Balázs Farkas

23 April 2021
#141289 A playground on Jászai Mari Square in 1977, with the ramp leading to Margaret Bridge in the background. Photo: Fortepan / Főkert / Katalin Hlatky
Dear Sir/Madame, I am not sure whether this makes or could make a difference or not, but on photo no. 141289, that is my old classmate, Csaba Domján and me. My smile is a bit more confident :). Based on this, I would say that the photo was rather taken around 1972-73, because we were taken out for some “fresh air” from the school (on Radnóti Miklós Street) to Jászai Mari Square. With best wishes, György Kindl 9 January 2021
Students of the Faculty of Humanities preparing for their exams on Március 15 Square, Budapest in 1972. György Kálmán C. later turned into a literary scholar, and Éva Gedeon, an educational manager and university professor. #205235 Photo: Fortepan / Sándor Kereki
Students of the Faculty of Humanities preparing for their exams on Március 15 Square, Budapest in 1972. György Kálmán C. later turned into a literary scholar, and Éva Gedeon, an educational manager and university professor. #205236 Photo: Fortepan / Sándor Kereki
I’m in the newspaper! The news site 444.hu published a selection of photos from a new collection on Fortepan (by Sándor Kereki). On one of the photos, one can see the historical moment in which, probably preparing for an exam in English phonetics, Éva Gedeon and I are sitting on Március 15 Square – cramming. What can I say, a good photographer has an eye for good material. György Kálmán C. 27 February 2021
Ferihegy Airport (today, Liszt Ferenc International Airport) #178808Photo: Fortepan / Sándor Bojár
Dear Fortepan, On photo no. 178808, it is my father, Dr. Erik Voit standing, training another person in using a Precision Approach Radar. He was the director of the Area Control Center (ACC) from 1967 and from 1969 on, he served as the first president of the newly founded Hungarian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association. He passed away in 1966. I would be grateful if you could mention his name and his positions under the photo. Sincerely, Patrik Voit 31 January 2021
The bank of the river Tisza at Mártély, with the motor ship Délibáb in the background. #30185 Photo: Fortepan /Tamás Németh
Dear Fortepan, I know the people on the photo by name, since one of them is me, at age 3 and a half. The two adults are Mrs. Ferenc Korell née Edit Judt (my mother) and Sándor Lázár, who was a colleague of hers at the Agricultural Technical School of Hódmezővásárhely. The children, from left to right, are Sándor Lázár, Jr., Edit Korell, Györgyi Lázár, Gertrúd Korell. We would spend a lot of time here during the summer :). My mother’s workplace had a weekend house and a boat that was free to use for the employees and the students of the school. Edit Korell 28 December 2020
No. 16 Tas Street, in Wekerletelep, Budapest, 1938. #173099 Photo: Fortepan / Ormos Imre Alapítvány
Source: György Zentai
Dear Fortepan, Yesterday, while browsing, I came upon photo no. 173099, and to my great surprise, I recognized the building on it. I thought I would add some detail to the description. The house is indeed in Wekerle [Budapest], under 16 Tas street. The first tenants of the left part of the semi-detached house were my great-grandparents (from around 1912); their three daughters were born there, including my own grandmother. The house is still in the posession of a family member, even after about 110 years, and has always been this way. According to my mother, this photo now on Fortepan was taken by a garden-, and landscape architect called Imre Ormos probably because my great-grandfather’s house was pretty well-known for its beautiful garden. I attach a family photo that proves that it is the same, and thus that it is indeed the house at 16 Tas street. With best wishes, György Zentai 20 March 2020
No. 55 Árpád fejedelem Street, with Margaret Bridge in the background. #19302 Photo: Fortepan
No. 55 Árpád fejedelem Street, with Margaret Bridge in the background. #19301 Photo: Fortepan
This picture is actually from the summer of 1968. It is of my mother (Mary) in the red top and my brother (age 10) and I (age 7) in the blue jackets. The older couple are my grandparents (on my Fathers’s side) and this is taking place on the balcony of their apartment. The other couple are my Uncle and Aunt and their newborn son (my cousin Zsolt, who I recently came back into contact with these many years later). Cheers, Frank Fekete Whitby, Ontario, Canada 10 January 2020
Vörösmarty Square, Budapest, in 1980, with the pedestal of the statue of Mihály Vörösmarty on the left. #206475Photo: Fortepan / Sándor Kereki
This photo was taken at no. 1-3 Váci street in 1980. #206478 Photo: Fortepan / Sándor Kereki
Dear Fortepan, On photo #206475#206478, and #206479 I have recognised ourselves. Best wishes, Péter Bencze Szabó 25 March 2021 ……………………… Frigyes Karinthy’s Reality, or Meeting a Young Man A neat young man with a hint of self-esteem does not show himself without an attaché-case. The fact that in such a briefcase, with its standard size of 44×32×11 cm, intended specifically for carrying and filing documents with its internal compartments and a number lock, one cannot fit an apple without at least creating a hump or making it burst open at the top is irrelevant (I know, I know… a sandwich, an ID card, a travel pass, or a set of keys fit perfectly and more resourceful people cut the apple in half.) It is indeed the essence of the briefcase that creates an air of being an important person; after all, a diplomat walking on the street carrying important diplomatic notes, assignement letters, or confidential documents is a fairly rare phenomenon. And if one turns out to be a diplomat indeed,  carrying such important documents on foot, let’s say, taking them from an embassy to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he or she certainly does not take a break and sit on their briefcase in the middle of the street. I met two young men. They were sitting on their briefcases set on the ground on their short side in the middle of the street. (If we accept the abovementioned criteria, we can be dead sure that they were not diplomats.) They were talking. Nothing could derail their attention. Even though they could have had a great view of, let’s say, female legs passing by as they were sitting on their briefcases, about a meter above the ground.  Or of car wheels. I immediately recognized both of them. I know what was inside their attaché-cases. (A sandwich, a travel pass, a set of keys, an apple cut in half.) I know exactly what they were talking about. I also know their plans. One of them was planning to marry: he was guhsing about his fiancee. The other one—a young engineer by the way—was setting out his ambitious business plans to purchase a couple of acres of land to produce cabbage and mastering the art of fermenting. One of them mentioned, briefly, without any reference to the cabbage, that he was about to write a stroybook about their childhood in the near future. The other one was not really moved by this information and started to talk about yet another topic, the international success of Ernő Rubik’s Magic Cube and his own success at matching the colors under 4 minutes. Apropos of color cubes. If and when he has the money, he would buy a color tv set that the company Videoton in Székesfehérvár was about to produce. One of them quickly moved from color cubes and color TV sets to another topic, casually mentioning that at the age of 88, Josip Broz Tito died the other day. “He ascended into Heaven and Berci [Bertalan] Farkas made it back from above with Szojuz 36,” the other one joked. They both agreed on this and quickly turned to discuss what to expect after the protests in Gdańsk led by Lech Wałęsa. Something is happening in Poland, it is going to be a huge blast, as huge as the eruption of Mount St. Helens in the Casacades in the US, they said. I was not evesdropping, but I know they were pretty well informed. It is strange that they did not know what I knew right at the start of our meeting, for instance, how the Polish protests would end. I knew that the one with those plans would never produce cabbage on that piece of land, let alone master the art of fermenting. I was aware of the fact that the current world record in spinning Rubik’s Cube is under 6 seconds, I knew that one would have a happy marriage and the other one would divorce soon; that the storybook would get published and that 40 years later, a signed copy of it would appear in a second-hand bookshop (what an atrocity!) I knew that one of them would never have a digital footprint—no Facebook, no Twitter account—and that he would dissappear without a trace from the life of the other one, the world, and his first family. (Even though he is still alive.) I knew the dreams, the plans, the convictions they would give up along the way and I knew what they would and would not become. I knew all this the instance I met them—in a photo taken in 1980. It is us sitting face to face on our briefcases in this photo. It is part of a series of 1800 photos that was taken in the 1970s and 1980s by István Kereki. Kereki donated his collection to Fortepan 50 years later. If you start browsing the collection under https://fortepan.hu/hu/photos/?donor=Kereki%20S%C3%A1ndor, there is a good chance you will meet a young man or woman. It could even be you.
Edited by István Virágvölgyi Translated by Nóra Vörös   The Weekly Fortepan blog is a professional collaboration between Fortepan and the Capa Center. The original article can be found at https://hetifortepan.capacenter.hu/en/readers-letters  If you have a family photo to share with Fortepan, please write us at fortepan@gmail.com
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