List of confiscated items from Church of Turan Believers of One God Hungary

Item

Title

List of confiscated items from Church of Turan Believers of One God Hungary

Description

The image shows a typewritten copy of a list of confiscated items that were taken from the home and workshop of Mihály Virasztó during a house search on 5 March 1957. He was a former member and táltos (ritual specialist) of the Church of the Turan Believers of One God. The list contains several items that are directly linked to the group: a “turan stamp”, a “turul” stamp (turul is a mythological bird used as a national symbol in modern Hungary), a book of ceremony, a book written by the groups founder, Zoltán Bencsi under the pseudonym “Batu”, and various copies of “Turanist journals”, possibly referring to the radical Turáni Roham (Turan Attack) published between 1934 and 1939. Beside these, the secret police also expropriated a book on Hungarian history, a Hungarian travel atlas, a hand-drawn map, legal documents, photos, a poem, and two dossiers, one containing newspapers and the other private letters.
The list comes from Virasztó’s surveillance file, which was opened in 1968 but contained various documents and informant reports from before this time. From these we learn that Virasztó was arrested on 12 March 1957, five days after the house search, for the illegal possession of a firearm. It is interesting to note, however, that no weapons were mentioned in the list of confiscated items above, which suggests that another house search may have been conducted at the time of the arrest. The authorities’ action in 1957 was a result of his supposed activity in the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and his former involvement with the Church of the Turan Believers of One God. According to a summary report written before the house search on 26 February 1957, Virasztó had reorganised the Turan Believers after 1945, and had been hosting their meetings in his home and corresponding with other similar organisations. As the report claims his group was active in 1956, spreading rumours before the October events, and producing and disseminating anti-communist leaflets during the revolution. They also called for strikes. The report also briefly introduces the Church of Turan Believers characterising it as nationalist, chauvinist and racist. It even gives a short description of their initiation rites: “new members were anointed with jam. This procedure was formerly effected with blood; the Catholic Church has condemned this ritual as different from the usual ceremony of Christian baptism and launched a counter attack on the “Turanian” organisations.” Following the incident Virasztó was interned for 15 months, although the authorities could not prove his ownership of the weapon found.
Mihály Virasztó had a long police record in both regimes before and after 1945. As a priest (táltos) and missionary of the Church of the Turan Believers of One God he was repeatedly condemned to prison at the end of the 1930’s for „agitation against religious denominations”. He remained on the radar of authorities in the communist regime for his anti-communist political views and activity, his relationships with right-wing figures abroad, and also for his past and supposedly present involvement with the Church of Turan Believers of One God. He had several clashes with the authorities: apart from his 1957 case, he was imprisoned for two months in 1952 for slander, and his mental health was investigated and he was sent to a mental hospital in 1964 and 1967. After his last release in the summer of 1968, he was placed under the guardianship of his wife. His file was closed in 1972.
These images come from the file ÁBTL 3.1.5 O-14980/18, which also includes confiscated personal letters and photographs, issues of Keleti Figyelő (The Orient Observer), two poems written by Virasztó, medical reports, interrogation minutes, and informant reports.

For more on Virasztó and the Turan Believers of One God see:
Ablonczy Balázs 2016 Keletre Magyar! A magyar turanizmus története. Budapest, Jaffa Kiadó.
Fazekas Csaba 1996 Kisegyházak és szektakérdés a Horthy-korszakban. Budapest, TEDISZ–SzPA.
Szécsényi Mihály 2013 Virrasztó Koppány és társai. A Turáni Egyistenhívők és a hatalom az 1930-as évek második felében. In Lukács Anikó (szerk.): Rendi társadalom – polgári társadalom 25. Budapest, Hajnal István Kör, 349–362.

For related entries see:

Subject

Communism and Christianity
Communism and Christianity--Europe, Eastern
Communism and religion
Communism--Europe--History--20th century
Communism--Europe, Eastern--History--20th century
Secret police (secret service)
Totalitarianism
Surveillance
Religion and politics--Europe
Religion and state--Europe
Religious groups
Religious sects
Communism--Hungary--History
Evidence, criminal
Hungary. Államvédelmi Hatóság

Creator

Agnes Hesz

Source

Állambiztonsági Szolgálatok Történeti Levéltára
ABTL 3.1.5 O-14980/18

Publisher

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme No . 677355

Date

1957

Rights

copyright for these images belongs to ÁBTL

Format

image/tif

Language

hu

Type

image

Identifier

ABTL 3.1.5 O-14980/18

Coverage

Hungary

Bibliographic Citation

Agnes Hesz, "List of confiscated items from Church of Turan Believers of One God Hungary,"