" Lengyel-magyar két jó barát / Együtt harcol s issza borát "
" Polak, Węgier, dwa bratanki / I do szabli, i do szklanki "
"The Hungarian and the Pole are two good friends, Share their fight and their wine together", is an old saying used to describe the ancient thigh between the two European countries. Good relations between Poland and Hungary date back to the Middle Ages with the Piast and Árpád dynasties often intermarried with each other; renowned Hungarian King Saint Ladislaus was half Polish. In the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Polish general, Józef Bem, became a national hero of both Hungary and Poland, is just one of many example with common historical conflicts.
During modern times, the outbreak of WW2 became such and example where the historical friendship between Hungary and Poland once again emerged. As Germany and the Soviet-union conquered Poland and split the country between them, Hungary opened its borders on 17. September 1939 for the remains of the polish army and civilians to seek refuge.
The well over 100.000 Polish soldiers and civilians who took their refuge in Hungary, where welcomed by the Hungarian society. The soldiers could wear their uniforms and even received the equivalent of their polish pay from the Hungarian army.
Hungary refused every German demand to extradite the polish military personnel and allowed the Polish government and over 70 thousand military personnel to escape into neighbouring Romania, and from there to France and French-mandated Syria to carry on operations as the third-strongest Allied belligerent after Britain and France.
These three small 6x9 photographs, taken in the spring of 1940 came to me among many other mixed Hungarian military photographs resently. Clearly belonging together, they are a nice documentation of a lesser known part of history, and a part of the national friendship between Hungary and Poland.
The place where the photographs are taken is just outside of the community of Visegrád, north of Budapest along the Danube river. The statue of the Hungarian King Béla IV and the memorial of the lost Hungarian territories in 1920, where built in 1938. It stands there even today and looks more or less the same.
Hungarian for "senior soldiers" was a term used for over aged
conscripts/volunteers that were serving in the Hungarian army. To fill
the ranks and for service at the home front these elderly soldiers
filled an important role, many of the soldiers had served in WW1 and had
previous military experience that came in a good time when the war
effort needed more people. (Text from a previous post, but also significant for this photograph)
On a resent trip to Budapest Hungary, I took some time and visited the former Royal Hungarian Ludovika Military Academy. The building where restored to it's former glory some years ago and functions once again as a Academy building.
In search of original places that I have photographs off in my photo-archive, I started with the entrance of the main building. This photograph from the beginning of the 1930'th, where general vitéz. Béla Szinay, the commander of the academy stands together with the company commanders of the academy, was the place I wanted to find.
Here it is!
The same entrance as in the photograph above, as it looks like today. The security camera mounted on the wall (to the right in the picture) quickly recorded me, as I was taking this photo...
A security-guard quickly approached me from inside of the building, asking why I was photographing at the entrance. Well prepared as I where, I showed him many of my old photos on my iPad and explained my historical interest in this place and entrance. The security-guard was very friendly and understanding as I explained my knowledge of the old academy. He was also very happy to see the unique old photographs of his workplace. Unfortunately I where not let inside because visitors need to seek permission and have an invitation, well in advance...
Well, maybe next time!
Behind the main building there is a park called Orczy kert (the Orczy park). In the old days it belonged to the military academy and where used for various military training and exercise. In this case, I wanted to take a look at the small pond in the middle of the park to see the place where this photograph was taken. Unfortunately yet again, a large part of the park where sealed off due to ongoing landscaping works.
Sticking my iPad through the fence, this was as close I could get.. The boat house to the right, is built on the same place where the old one stood, partly visible through the threes on the right hand side.
In the Hungarian inter-war period had many youth organisations. The Levente Youth had many members and many were also members from the Hungarian scouts as well. The members in the Levente had more military and defence characteristic, while the Hungarian Scout's were strictly non military. In this group photo, some Levente members have Scout insignia on. The wooden rifles were a part of the Levente equipment and are today a well sought after collector item.
Various type's of Levente cap badge.
The belt buckle of the Hungarian Scouts
The Hungarian Scouts shirt and the Levente Youth cap.
After a small break in the updates for this blog, I have loaded up with new (old) material added to my collection. The main focus for a while, will be on shorter photo series, rather then single photos like now. Much of the resent acquired material are longer photo series and entire photo-albums and I will try to pick the best and most interesting.
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The M1939 "Csaba" armoured
scout car is greeted by the chrreing Hungarian population in the Erdély (Transylvanian) town Marosvásárhely on the 10. of September 1940. The photograph/post-card's made by the Hungarian Film office, was a popular item to send home with the newly "returned to Hungary" stamp and postmark from the town on the photos.