Thursday, 26 June 2014


A link with András Pető

The most interesting things to be found on the Internet are not necessarily what is searched for but what has been stumbled upon wholly by chance.

I have just accidentally discovered that the venerable Hungarian German-language newspaper title Pester Lloyd is still published in Budapest, now as a weekly magazine that appears wholly on line.

András Pető and Pester Lloyd

One of the turning points in András Pető's life occurred after he matriculated from his Catholic gimnasium (grammar school) and went to Vienna University to study medicine – at least that is the bald story as one usually hears it. Dig around, however, and things are not quite that simple.

This nodal point offers one of those few specific instances in the life of András Pető of which there is more that one account. Hardly surprisingly, these accounts, written down years after the event, differ slightly one from the other. Moreover, very rarely indeed, in this instance readily accessible documentary evidence made at the time is also available.

Here is the barest framework of what happened:
  • in 1911, András Pető finished gimnasium (grammar school) and began to work for Pester Lloyd in Budapest, the newspaper offered or obtained him a scholarship to study journalism, he went to the University of Vienna, and studied medicaine.
From the archive of the University of Vienna:
  • He began his medical studies in Semester 2 of the academic year 1911-1912 (i.e. in the first half of the calender year 1912) – Semester 1 having been spent at the University of Budapest.
Precisely what happened for him to change courses, and cities, and societies, when exactly and why, are not known – nor how his sponsor took this and what happened to the scholarship.

Pester Lloyd does not feature again in his life story as has been handed down.

Pester Lloyd

Pester Lloyd had already by hen had a long and illustrious history as a progressive and liberal newspaper, going back to the years immediately following the failed revolution of 1848 when the mercantile entrepôt of Pest was reinventing itself as as the commercial heart of what was hoped would one day be an independent Hungary. It was written, published and read in German, Central Europe's language of trade and industry.

If the young András Pető hankered to be a German-language writer in Hungary there could be no better newspaper for him to begin on.

After András Pető moved on Pester Lloyd remained in continuous publication till 1945 when for obvious reasons it ceased to exist. It was reborn in 1994 as a weekly magazine Der Neue Pester Lloyd. The title reverted to Pester Lloyd in 1999 and in 2009 the paper edition was discontinued. Pester Lloyd continues to be published on line, billed as Tageszeitung für Ungarn und Osteuropa:

I recently hit upon the modern Pester Lloyd through an archived news article from last August when opposition politicians were accusing the Hungarian Government of trying to set up a shady deal over the financially floundering Pető Institute's real estate. Pester Lloyd's report on this had gone unnoticed amongst the storm of Hungarian press coverage at the time, not least because it had not occurred to search for news of these events in German (to date, Pester Lloyd seems to remain the only German-language newspaper to have covered this topic. For the record, this is that specific article:

This appears the only item that Pester Lloyd has run on the Pető Institute..

I wonder whether Pester Lloyd is aware of its own place and role in the prehistory of Conductive Education. I wonder too whether it keeps old staff records...


(2013) Schritt für Schritt... Steht das Pető-Institut in Ungarn vor der staatlichen Übernahme? Pester Lloyd, 28 August

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