Gábor Demszky, iconic anti-Communist leader of the democratic opposition receives award

A couple of days ago 67-year-old Gábor Demszky received the prestigious award of the European Solidarity Centre in Gdansk, Poland.

Ms. Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, Mayor of Gdańsk and Mr. Basil Kerski, director of the European Solidarity Centre introduced and honored three prominent European thinkers and politicians in a televised ceremony.

The honorees were:

· Mr. Myroslav Marynovich co-founder of Amnesty International Ukraine and the Ukrainian Helsinki Group

· Mr. Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission

· Mr. Gábor Demszky, Hungarian politician and Mayor of Budapest 1990–2000

Mr. Gábor Demszky (in the middle without tie) accepts the European Solidarity Centre award.

Gábor Demszky was born in 1952 in Budapest, Hungary. During the Kádár-regime Demszky became a leading figure of the then-illegal underground democratic opposition and played a pivotal role in Hungary’s democratic transformation. He distributed illegal books, periodicals and newspapers, the so called “samizdats.” (Samizdat is the Russian word for self-publishing and distributing from reader to reader illegal anti-Communist material.)

Demszky was watched and harassed by Hungary’s Communist police and secret services for years, as he was also a founding member of the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) and Mayor of Budapest from 1990 to 2000.

Ironically, just like the Communist Kádár regime, now the far-right Orbán regime attacks Demszky for his liberal views. He is persona non grata in Budapest and the tightly controlled Hungarian media did not even report his award.

The audience greeted Marynovich, Timmermans and Demszky with thunderous applause. We attached a video of their remarkable acceptance speeches.

Congratulations to Mr. Gábor Demszky!

György Lázár

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