Róza Hodosán

* 1954

  • Miki Haraszti arranged for me to meet the Bokor Catholic base community. They wanted to be taught how to print, so they could print a newspaper of their own. I had to go to a detached house with a garden on the outskirts and I taught them the Ramka technique during the night. This is no mean feat, you have to show how you make the frame, what materials to use, etcetera. I provided a proper, all inclusive education throughout the whole night. There were 8-10 people observing. I explained in full detail where things can be bought, how you can get hold of them. And while I was teaching them they asked why would a young girl teach things like this on a Friday night. And they also asked questions about faith. I told them that I wasn’t a believer. They were trying to put the puzzle together regarding why I was engaging in activities like that. We talkes about all sorts of things and somehow I ended up talking about a stencil-machine assembled by Édeske Haraszti still back in the Rajk boutique. And I also told them that the stencil-machine was confiscated by the police. A entertained them by giving details of how we pulled it with our foot, how we tied a string or two here and there to make up for the missing screws, how hard it was to operate and how much hassle it was to clean the drum, in short, how cumbersome it was to operate it, although we would manage all right, nevertheless, if it wasn’t for those cheeky policemen, who took it and now we are left without it. When after a long night’s chat we parted in the morning, their leader told me – I can still remember his face, the face I saw a lot of at the early SZDSZ functions – to stand on Örs vezér square at the Nagy Lajos király út taxi rank in two weeks’ time, because they have a stencil-machine, which they can’t really put to good use and he was going to give me that machine. I couldn’t believe it. Two weeks later I went to the place we arranged and he was coming to me with a large briefcase. I will never forget that I took the machine to Peti Gravács’s place and there we opened it and took a closer look at it and it was the nicest brand, a Roneo brand English machine. We were over the moon! It was quite like the one the policemen confiscated, and just by looking at it you could tell that it was a jolly good stencil-machine. […] I sewed the screen frame into it, we got hold of the paint, so we could make it up and running. This was the very machine that never got rumbled, and also, this was the one that we passed on to the Czechs in 1989 when we didn’t need it anymore as has already happened here. Three weeks before the Czech changes we carried it over to our friends in Komarno on the Komarom Bridge and gave it to them. When they were also through with the changes and they didn’t need it any more either, we reacquired it and the equipment is now in the Budapest Museum. It wasn’t ever rumbled and it wasn’t discovered in any of the house searches. There must have been someone’s blessing on it.

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    Budapest, 26.09.2010

    duration: 02:46:10
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This is how the samizdat network worked

Hodosán Róza
Hodosán Róza
photo: Hodosán Róza

Róza Hodosán was born in 1954 on 18 December in Darvas in a poor peasant family with many children. She has got six full siblings and five half siblings. She graduated from the Secondary School of Püspökladány in 1973. She went to live in Budapest, where she worked as a postwoman till 1976, when she took a job in a library in Püspökladány for a year. In 1978 she was offered a seat at the University of Eötvös Loránd, Budapest and started her studies as a student of Hungarian language, Literature and Sociology. In 1984 she finished her studies and in 1999 she was awarded her degree. She joined the democratic opposition during her university years. She was a volunteer of the Fund to Support the Poor; from 1981 onwards she was the proofreader, typographer and distributor of the AB Publishing House as well as the samizdat monthly Hírmondó. Due to her political convictions she could not get a job that she was qualified for. House searches, citations and other harassment by the police were part and parcel of her life. In 1987-88 she had a part time teaching job in the Berzsenyi Secondary School, Budapest. In 1988 she was a founding member of the Network of Free Initiatives, and the Free Democrats. In the same year she was also a member of the Federation of Young Democrats. Her husband, Gábor Demszky, having been summoned by the police, she was the one who read out the festive speech of the opposition on 15 March, 1988 at the Batthyany Eternal Flame. At the 1990 and 1994 national elections she became an MP through the electoral list of the Free Democrats. She was a Member of Parliament till 1998. In 2009 she left the Free Democrats. She has worked as a sociologist since then.Up until 1991 her spouse was Gábor Demszky, member of the democratic opposition and the mayor of Budapest. In 1993 she married Bálint Magyar, Minister of Education, 2002-2006.