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Koltai, Susi

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Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Switzerland | 10/02/2006

Confronting the Stasi past

The spying activities of well-know public figures are coming to light almost on a daily basis in Hungary, writes Susi Koltai. Those implicated include Cardinal Laszlo Paskai, popular football journalist György Szepesi and cult director Gábor Bódy, who died recently. The revelations about the Stasi past of Oscar-winning film director Istvan Szabo caused a major scandal. "It's sad but true that under a dictatorship practically anybody can be compromised. The outrage about Szabo's past therefore seems rather hypocritical... Now that the Hungarian public is confronting Szabo's Stasi past, it's destroying yet another father figure. Perhaps this yearning for absolute purity is in fact a yearning for absolute authority – a remnant of the personality cult in the socialist era? Szabo's moral integrity, as manifest in his preoccupation with the depths of human existence, remains untouched despite his somewhat tarnished past."

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