Imre Kertesz dies at 86

2016. április 1.

By Imre Kertész’s death, one of the greatest Hungarian authors has passed away. Our director-general, Mária Schmidt talked about the life and work of the author of Sorstalanság (Fateless) on Szemtől szembe on Magyar Televízió (the Hungarian Television).

The director-general of our museum said that by Imre Kertész’s death, one of the greatest Hungarian authors had passed away, which is an enormous loss for our nation. According to Mária Schmidt the two keynotes of Imre Kertész’s life were freedom and the truth: “When he made up his mind about becoming a writer, he knew perfectly well that masterpieces can only be created by free individuals. He did not want to write under the conditions of the Kádár dictatorship.

She also remarked regarding the controversial opinions on Kertész’s personality and work that after the regime change the sudden great amount of acknowledgement the author had received aroused envy. “Kertész often stressed that it was Albert Camus who had had the greatest impact on his literary career. They were kindred spirits and they unequivocally rejected both Nazi and communist dictatorship and this was one of the things they had in common. The French genius received the Nobel-prize three years before his death, which - similarly to Kertész- just strengthened his dislike for the circles still loyal to communist ideologies.

Imre Kertész was an exceptionally vulnerable artist, who found it difficult to cope with the enormous waves of hatred towards him after he had received the Nobel-prize in 2002 – added Mária Schmidt.

“His misinterpreted statements were often due to that. He was often hurt, but despite all these hardships he remained Hungarian, a Hungarian author. His roots, his culture, his attitude and every instance of his life were all Hungarian. He was often troubled by the fact that his works did not become public property; people do not draw from them sufficiently. I sincerely hope this will change and the whole Hungarian nation will take possession of this enormous gift Imre Kertész has given us.

Our Nobel Laureate author was awarded the Order of Saint Stephen of Hungary in 2014. According to Mária Schmidt by that “Imre Kertész has finally got home and received the acknowledgement, love and appreciation he has always wanted and what he would have deserved.