László Barak

* 1953

  • „Károly Tóth announced to us that now we have to form a group and we have to protest and somehow we have to voice our objection and opinion concerning what is going on in the country. And Károly Tóth spoke five times and said all the time, "I think we should establish a party." And everyone said, "Come on, Karcsi, nonsense, we don't need to establish a party." Because during communism the word "party" and the institution of a party had pejorative connotations; everyone was reluctant to establish a party. And therefore we became a political movement and finally, I know, that being intellectuals - it was quite typical, we argued a lot about how we should be called; it was at least a three-hour-long debate, and that's how it became Independent Hungarian Initiative.“

  • “I joined the party. I say that I will never forgive that to myself, because I joined the party exactly in the 1970s, at the end of the 1970s, around 77-78, when the biggest normalization was going on in this country. And obviously I joined because naively I thought that we would destroy things from the inside and change them, well this was foolish; within a short time I realized that it's impossible.”

  • "He called me in the editor-in-chief's office and he said, 'Laci, you do an excellent job, but there's a problem with this novel.' And I asked him, 'What is the matter?' 'The problem is,' he says, ' that they are praying in this and you know that if we publish this, what will they say in the party's central committee?' And he says, 'You know what, leave out this last paragraph of the novel.' And I told him, 'But uncle Karcsi, the writer wrote it like this, how could I leave it out?' And he says, 'But only you and I know that.' And that was it, we finished talking, I went out. I took out this novel from among the material and I replaced it with another one. I put in another novel. And the next day I went to the editor-in-chief and I told him that I didn't want to workt here anymore.“

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    Bratislava, 09.01.2019

    duration: 01:43:54
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th century
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I did not believe that Czechoslovakia would split

László Barak was born in Mužla in 1953; he studied engineering but after finishing school, he started a career as a journalist. He moved to Dunajská Streda with his family, where he joined the opposition movement at the end of the 1980s. In November 1989, he became a founding member of the Independent Hungarian Initiative. At the same time, he started working as the deputy editor of Nap, the official organ of the movement. The members of the initiative were co-opted into the parliament at the end of 1989. In 1992, the movement was transformed into a political party, the Hungarian Civic Party, which was one of the members of the Hungarian Coalition. This coalition became a single party called Party of the Hungarian Coalition in 1998, due to Mečiar’s electoral law. Soon, however, Barak was excluded from the party and thus his political career ended.