János Esterházy

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János Esterházy (14 March 19018 March 1957) was a prominent ethnic Hungarian politician in the mid-war Czechoslovakia and later in the First Slovak Republic. Member of the Czechoslovak parliament and the Slovak Assembly. After the World War II he was illegally deported to the Soviet Union and sentenced in absence to death by the National Court in Bratislava for the treason of the state, collaboration with enemy, breaking Czechoslovakia and his participation on anti-democratic regime as a deputy of the Slovak Assembly. The sentence was not executed because of presidential pardon after his return to Czechoslovakia from Soviet Union.



Relationship to Czechoslovakia

  • We Hungarians have an overriding obligation to break republic with the help of others and to prove (at home and abroad) that Czech-Slovak unity does not exist.
    • Report to the Hungarian government about goal of his negotiations with Hlinka's Slovak People's Party, March 11, 1938.[1]
  • Independent Slovakia came into being one year ago. [...] More has been gained than the late, great leader of the Slovak nation, Father Hlinka would have dared to dream. The Slovak people have accomplished more than they ever hoped in their long struggle to free themselves from the Czech yoke.
    • About establishment of the First Slovak Republic (1939-1945), 1940. [2]

International relationships

  • Henlein declared that Hitler told him, that he was to carry out an action against the Czceho-Slovak Republic particulary in such way as was originally planned by him. From the German point of view, this time was not convient due to the following reasons: Siegfired line on the French borders will be finished in approximately eight weeks, numerous German army is needed in Austria, whose withdrawal is also expected within the course of eight weeks, and finally Hitler will not allow to dictate himself when to start the action. He would start it only when he is a hunderd percent convicted that it will finish a full success.. Henlein declared further that, according to Hitler Slovakia will be returned to Hungary where Slovaks will obtain autonomy and that part of Czechia inhabitated by Czechs and Moravians will be joined to Germany with and extensive autonomy.
    • Report for Hungarian government from May 1938. [3]
  • We Hungarians accept principle that in time when Germany and Italy fight their giant struggle to guarantee better future of Europe and for fair and permanent peace, small and middle-sized states in the central Europe can only have the obligation to guard and secure in every way peace and understanding in their countries.
    • About international relationships. Parliamentary speech on November 26, 1940.[4]
  • Our place is there where pointed out by politics, that means by the side of Germany and Italy. We determined our place in the time already when Germany had not been yet one of the most powerful world superpowers and when Italy had just eneterd the path of invicible fascism.
    • About orientation of his foreign policy for Hungarian prime minister.[5]

Persecution of Jews

  • I know please, that Hungarian masses, Hungarian peasantry, Hungarian tradesmen and Hungarian vendors suffered from Jewish frauds for decades and centuries similarly as Slovaks were. Therefore, I am repeatedly delighted to welcome that Jews will be classified separately. [...] We Hungarians stand on national and Christian position and we are so far from Jewish ideology as Slovaks.
    • About incoming census in time when pro-Nazi government accelerated anti-Jewish measures. Parliamentary speech on October 8, 1940.[6]
  • It is generally mentioned here, that Jews should be excluded from economic life as soon as possible. It seems that the Slovak government performs real and rapid measures to achieve this goal. Honorable Assembly! We are delighted to welcome it.
    • About anti-Semitic measures to exclude Jews from economic and social life. Parliamentary speech on October 8, 1940.[6]
  • Since my early childhood, I have always stood on anti-Jewish position and I will remain antisemitic. However, it does not mean that I will contribute by my voting to the law which is against all God and human laws. Hungarians are national minority in Slovakia and it is impossible to adopt and accept such law which gave majority right to deport minority. I know that also several Slovak deputies do not agree with this law, but they do not have courage to be against it because of party discipline. As a representative of the Hungarians here, I state it, and please acknowledge this, that I don't vote in favour of the proposal because as a Hungarian, a Christian and a Catholic I believe that this is against God and humanity.
    • Report to Hungarian government about Law about deportations, May 1942.[7]
  • It is shameful that a government, whose president and prime minister claim to be good Catholics, deports its Jewish citizens to Hitler's concentration camps.
    • About deportations of Jews, 1942.[8]

Quotes about Esterházy

  • We all, who lived in Slovakia in that time, know the truth. They (the Czechoslovaks) handed him (Esterházy) to the Soviets, because if they had brought him to justice in Bratislava, all of the Jews would have testified his innocence. The misinterpretation of truth like this is painful, Esterházy really deserves the true tree of Israel.
    • Ödön Rujder's widow[9] (Ödön Rujder was rescued by Esterházy)
  • It is hereby certified that János Esterházy, citizen of Czechoslovakia, born in Újlak in 1901, was arrested without cause on June 27, 1945.....and sentenced to ten years in a labor camp.... János Esterházy was rehabilitated according to the Russian Federation's "Political Terror Victim's Rehabilitation Act" of October 18, 1991, paragraphs 3 and 5....
    • Rehabilitation in Russian federation. Office of the Attorney General and the IG of the Armed Forces and signed by N. Sz. Vlaszenko, (document #Sz.: Zuv-9563-54) [citation needed]
  • Those who defended and aided Jews and other victims of the Nazi slaughter merit our recognition and our eternal thanks. They were individuals who followed the call to conscience, which is surely no simple matter... Count János Esterházy was such a person of conscience, one who had more than enough reason to remain silent. Esterházy was born in 1901 into the Hungarian aristocratic house of Esterhazy.
    • Courage to Care Award Presentation to Janos Esterhazy, New York, November 3, 2011.[10]


  1. Mitáč, Ján (2012), „János Esterházy a jeho miesto v slovenských dejinách“, Historická revue (3), ISSN 1335-6550
  2. Gábor Szent-Ivány: Count János Esterházy, Danubian Press, 1989
  3. Deák, Ladislav (1995). Political profile of János Esterházy. Bratislava: Kubko Goral. ISBN 80-967427-0-1. 
  4. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named diet51
  5. Deák, Ladislav (1995). Political profile of János Esterházy. Bratislava: Kubko Goral. ISBN 80-967427-0-1. 
  6. a b Meeting of The Slovak Assembly, October 8, 1940. The Joint Czech and Slovak Digital Parliament Library.
  7. Kamenec, Ivan (2000). "Osobnosť Jánosa Esterházyho a jej kontroverzné publikácie" (in Slovak). Hľadanie a blúdenie v dejinách. Bratislava: Kalligram. ISBN 80-7149-353-8. 
  8. Csaba, Teglas (2007). Budapest Exit: A Memoir of Fascism, Communism, and Freedom, Texas A&M University Press, p. 33
  9. "Zsolt Németh, Küzdelem egy hős elismeréséért (Struggle for recognition of a hero)". Szombat, Zsidó politikai és kulturális folyóirat(Shabbath, Jewish political and cultural periodical). Retrieved on 2008-09-04. 
  10. Presentation of ADL Jan Karski Courage to Care Award Posthumously To Count János Esterházy, New York, NY, November 3, 2011
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