János Martonyi, anti-Communist crusader and suspected Communist informer

Next week, on May 3, 2016, the Hungarian American Coalition will honor János Martonyi at its 12th annual Gala Dinner at the House of Sweden in Washington DC. (Read the Coalition’s invitation here.)

Mr. Martonyi was Hungary’s foreign minister under Viktor Orbán, from 1998-2002 and again in 2010-2014. As part of the inner circle of the power elite, he became a wealthy man and since 2014, Martonyi has served as director of Hungary’s oil company MOL.

Martonyi met Hillary Clinton in 2010.

Martonyi met Hillary Clinton in 2010.

Last summer, Mr. Martonyi spoke in Washington DC at the annual event of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. His speech highlighted the need to remember the suffering Communism caused to millions of innocent people.

Martonyi speaks about the suffering Communism caused to innocent people in 2015 in Washington DC.

Martonyi speaks about the suffering Communism caused to innocent people in 2015 in Washington DC.

Mr. Martonyi knows a bit about the suffering caused by the Communists, because he is a suspected Communist informer himself.

Martonyi was born in 1944 in Kolozsvár, today Cluj, Romania. Later his family moved to Hungary where he received his law degree at the University of Szeged in 1967. As a fluent English speaker he soon became useful in Hungary’s Communist bureaucracy. Because the regime trusted him, they sent him to Brussels where he served for years at a trade bureau; and Martonyi was loyal to the Communist state. Although he had ample opportunity to defect, he became a member of the Hungarian Communist Party.

After the fall of Communism, Martonyi switched colors. Mr. Orbán, a one-time Communist youth leader himself, appointed him as foreign minister and Martonyi started to say things like, “the true face of Communism was always violent.”

Martonyi has been loyal to Mr. Orbán in the last 20 years.  With the young Orbán in the 1990s.

Martonyi has been loyal to Mr. Orbán in the last 20 years. With the young Orbán in the 1990s.

In 2007, Élet és Irodalom, a respected literary weekly, published Péter Kende’s research documenting Martonyi’s record. Dossier H-50354 indicates that Martonyi reported to the Communist secret service for 16 years (!) between 1970 and 1986. Reportedly, his handler’s name was István Jójárt, and his reporting codename was Magasdi-Marosvásárhelyi. (Read Kende’s article in Hungarian here.)

According to Hungarian press reports Mr. Martonyi readily admitted (!) that he wrote reports in the 1960s, but protested the article’s use of the word “agent.” He claimed that he was not an agent, he “just wrote reports.” The Communist secret service had various level of informers. (Read here in Hungarian.)

András Schiffer, chairman of the small Hungarian party, Politics Can Be Different (LMP) has submitted a bill to the Hungarian Parliament that would allow identities of communist-era agents and informers to become publicly available. (Read Mr. Schiffer’s proposal.) First Fidesz enthusiastically supported the idea, but lately Mr. Orbán’s party has categorically opposed the measure without bringing it up for debate.

As long as these documents are not publicly accessible, it is impossible to evaluate the extent to which Martonyi’s reports may have damaged innocent people’s lives. One thing is for sure in my view, he has no business coming to Washington DC.

To his credit, Mr. Martonyi has admitted his Communist informer past, but I still find it surreal that he got invited to speak on an event to commemorate the victims of Communism. It is worth to mention that the Orbán government has pledged 1 million dollars of Hungarian taxpayer’s money to the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation to build a museum! (Read about Hungary’s contribution to the Victims of Communism Foundation.)

Mr. Orbán and his friends flatly refuse to make public the names of Hungary’s Communist informers and the documents detailing their activities. They have good reasons to worry, many suspect that several ex-Communist informers may be in high positions in Orbán’s party and his government.

Please call and protest Mr. Martonyi’s Washington DC recognition at members of the House Hungarian Caucus.

Erin Montgomery for Rep. Andy Harris: 202-225-5311
Emily Miller for Rep. David Joyce: 202-225-5731
Steve Fought for Rep. Marcy Kaptur: 419-259-7500

György Lázár

5 Comments

  1. The orban bunch are not people of principles, but opportunists and parvenues, often ruthless and utterly devoide of morals.
    Martonyi is one of the civilized ones there, but still a Communist stooge turned Orban servant, who would serve the eventual Orban slayers given the chance.
    It is grotesque and insulting to see him chosen to lambast his former world. Not that this is an exceptional event.

  2. Adam,
    The title says “suspected informer” while this is a proven fact, as the article reiterates. A State Security 3/3 Dept. informer is just that, wheter writing report of little consequence or of grave ones. M. comes out as a less harmful one.
    BTW, a Trade Commission officer posted in the west was obliged to write reports; few exception for high ranking or specialist (banking) officers.
    E.g. (Remember the Fidesz ruckus re) Peter Megyessy being once listed as a State Sec agent, while he never had to inform on anyone.

  3. Avatar András B. Göllner says:

    Mr Martonyi won a lawsuit against his accusers on a technicality, that I would like to bring to Mr Lázár’s attention as well. Martonyi’s accusers claimed that he worked as an informer for the Communist secret services. He was able to prove that this was false. It was not the secret service but the communist police forces who employed him as an enthusiastic informer. He regularly snitched to the police, on his western contacts, he was an informer – he simply used a different target address. He didn’t go through the back-door: He used the front entrance. God bless him.

  4. Avatar György Lázár says:

    Thank you András Göllner for the additional information. For Hungarian readers I attach a link detailing the main points of the court case. Martonyi was a long-time III/I informer and he was active even in 1989!

    http://www.es.hu/;martonyi_janos_jelenteseket_keszitett;2013-09-26.html

  5. Avatar András B. Göllner says:

    @ György Lázár

    For the sake of our English language readers, who can’t follow the Hungarian text of the above reference: The final court decision in Martonyi’s case confirms that Martonyi worked as a rat, an informer for the Hungarian Communist regime. He was actively engaged in sustaining the Kádár dictatorship, and in endangering the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of those who fought against that dictatorship. . What the court took objection to, was the allegation, that Martonyi did his dirty work as a member of the Hungarian secret service. Mr Martonyi, in fact did his dirty work as a private citizen, like so many tens of thousands of others, who made their name by secretly snitching on opponents of Communism. Shame on him, and on those who are showering praises on this unprincipled fellow traveler.

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