Miklós Sulyok

* 1948

  • It happened that Demszky and me, we were in Balatonakarattya, in my parents’ country house, and we printed. It is a well-known episode. It was in November, at the beginning of the winter, the country-side around Lake Balaton was totally dead, and when we looked out the window, we noticed an „URH” as it was called those days, that is a police car a hundred meters off us. It was obvious that they had come to take us. We understood that we couldn’t hide that immense quantity of samizdat we had printed by that time. We decided to hide at least the machine. Demszky took the Roneo and rushed to the reed. Then we waited for a long time, we waited that they would come to take us away, „just come, you sons of a bitch, why don’t you come?”. Later we were told that there had been a couple of breaks-in in Akarattya and this was why the police patrolled the street.

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    Budapest, 19.05.2009

    duration: 01:45:13
    media recorded in project Oral History Archive - Budapest
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The activity of the democratic opposition was determined from the very beginning by the conviction that if they took on their criticism openly, it guaranteed them security.

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Miklós Sulyok
photo: családi

Mathematician, entrepreneur, publisher, owner of restaurants and bookshops. Miklós Sulyok was born on April 3, 1948 in Budapest. He lived in Paris between 1956 and 1959 being his father the financial consultant at the Hungarian Commercial Office in Paris since 1954. He attended the first classes of the secondary school at Rákóczi Secondary School in Budapest, from where he was laid off. Finally he graduated at Zsigmond Móricz Secondary School in 1966. Between 1970 and 1972 he was influenced by trockism because of his French links. In 1971 he got his university degree in mathematics at the Faculty of Sciences of Loránd Eötvös University. He was research fellow among other places at the Institute for Mathematics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and at the Institute for Computer Science and Control. In 1977 he got involved in the making and in the circulation of the samizdat „Diary” of the underground. In 1979 he took part in the organization of the protest of solidarity with the Charta movement. When he wanted to visit the Polish Solidarity in 1980, he was stopped at the airport in Budapest. He was dismissed from his working place. He made his living by temporary engagements. He worked as translator and translated films for Hungarofilm. In the eigthies he printed and distributed samizdat papers. Due to his foreign contacts he could get a roneo from Switzerland and used it for printing samizdat publications. In December 1982 the state security made a general raid and house-search in all the places where illegal literary activity was suspected. Also Sulyok’s flat was perquisited where several samizdat papers, among them a great deal of writings on 1956 were confiscated. Later in April 1986 the police seized in his flat the fresh, just printed numbers of samizdat „Beszélő”, „Hírmondó” and „Demokrata”. He translated and published in 1987 Dany Cohn-Bendit’s interview with Adam Michnik entitled „Totalitarism”. He translated and published in samizdat Milan Kundera’s „The Unbearable Lightness of Being” at AB Független Kiadó (AB Independent Publishing House), too. He published also other novels of Kundera, The Joke and The Farewell Waltz, together with AB Publishing House. In 1988 he founded a legal printing house with his friends. Their first publication was Bill Lomax’s „Hungary 1956” which had been issued in Hungary exclusively in samizdat so far. After the changing of the political regime he opened a few restaurants and bookshops. In 2000 he named one of his restaurants „M” in honour of his friend, the poet György Petri whose first collection of poems had been „Comments for M”.