Uniquely Hungary: Árpád Göncz, A Man With Three Hums, By Anne Zwack

  • 29 Oct 2015 12:45 AM
Uniquely Hungary: Árpád Göncz, A Man With Three Hums, By Anne Zwack
I read somewhere that everyone should have three Hums: Humanity, Humour and Humility. And President Göncz had all three in spades, although his most endearing quality was his humility.

I remember when he came on a State visit to Washington he was being interviewed by someone from a literary magazine because – as well as being a patriot who actively opposed both Nazism and Communism, for which he spent many years in gaol – he was also an established writer and translator.

The journalist asked him why he thought he was not as well known as Vaclav Havel, his counterpart in Czechoslovakia, and he answered with a smile: “Maybe he writes better than I do…”

Uncle Árpi, as he was called, was no longer a young man when he was president and the ceremonial and protocol must have been grueling. At the end of what was surely a particularly arduous gala evening at the Budapest Opera House in honour of the Dutch royal family, he turned to the Queen and asked: “Shall we go to bed ?” “That,” she replied with a laugh, “you had better ask my husband!”

Sometimes when people die, the accolades extolling their qualities smack a little of hyperbole, but I have a feeling that everything they are writing about Árpád Göncz was true.

By Anne Marshall Zwack for XpatLoop.com

Anne was born in England in 1946, grew up in Cambridge and was educated in England and in Belgium. She lived and worked for several years in Paris, Rome and Milan where she met Peter Zwack who swept her off her feet and eventually brought her back to Hungary.

During this time she wrote for many important American publications including the Travel Section of the New York Times, Travel + Leisure and Gourmet Magazine. She currently divides her time between Budapest and Tuscany. Peter and Anne Zwack have two children and were married for forty years.

Related articles:

Hungary’s Former President Árpád Göncz Dies Aged 93

House Speaker Pays Tribute To Göncz In Hungarian Parliament

Hungary’s Late President Göncz To Be Buried On Nov 6

No State Funeral For Hungary’s Former President Göncz

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