Prime Minister Viktor Orbán opened the new Imre Kertész Institute in Budapest over the weekend. Kertész was a celebrated author and the first Hungarian to win a Nobel Prize in the Literature category.
At the inauguration ceremony of the brand-new institute, PM Orbán remembered Kertész, who died in 2016, as “a man of great intellect who cannot be pigeonholed.” He noted that, “there was no question that his legacy should be built and fostered in Budapest, because this is his city.”
According to the prime minister, having survived the Buchenwald concentration camp and living under communist rule, Kertész “chose the strategy of remaining outside the system, he chose internal emigration in Budapest.”
PM Orbán, known for his support of families and a strong cultural identity, quoted the author, “there is no such things as a species of animal known as a multicultural society.” Kertész took the view that answers to the ailments of European civilization “should only be sought within the boundaries of its own civilization; solutions imported from outside do not work.”
Mária Schmidt, Director General of the public foundation for the Research of Central and Eastern European History and Society, spearheaded the idea for an institute to be set up to keep Kertész’s legacy in Budapest. The institute also fosters parts of the legacy of Arthur Koestler, György Petri and János Pilinszky, and the entire legacy of János Sziveri.
“The institute wishes to make the works found in the legacies of Imre Kertész and the other authors available to the widest possible audience and supports the promotion of oeuvres with scholarships for translators and researchers,” Schmidt said.
The Imre Kertész Institute is housed at Benczúr utca 46, which was purchased by the public foundation from the Metropolitan Municipality for HUF 762 million, and renovated with a budget of HUF 2 billion.
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