National Portrait Gallery: László Toroczkai

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

László Toroczkai was born on March 10, 1978, in Szeged as László Tóth. He changed his family name to Toroczkai after one of his ancestors in his mother's lineage.

His father's family was expelled from Hódság, in Bácska by Serbian authorities. His maternal grandfather came to Szeged from Bács-Bodrog county.

László Toroczkai's ancestry can be traced back to Torockó and Kolozsvár, in Erdély and to Túróc county in Felvidék. Because of his family links to historical Hungary, he had to face the problem of Trianon as a child.

He attended the Zrinyi Ilona Elementary School and the Piarist High School receiving his high school diploma in 1996.

As a young boy, László Toroczkai was active in water sports. In 1990, he won Student Olympics in canoeing.

He was the founder and later the president of the “Hagyományőrző Ifjúsági Szövetség”. In 1996, he became a member of the youth division of MIEP and later the leader of its Szeged wing. In 1997, he started writing for the Magyar Fórum, (a weekly publication, closely linked to MIEP).

In 1998, he enrolled in the József Attila University studying communications.

In the 1998 national election, Toroczkai ran as a MIEP candidate representing Szeged.

In 1998, he moved to Budapest to become the parliamentary correspondent of MIEP.

During the Yugoslavian war, he reported from Vajdaság to the Magyar Fórum. As a freelancer, he reported from Kosovo between 1999 and 2000.

In 1999, Toroczkai was assaulted in the Serbian town of Horgos when collecting material for an investigative article about mafia activities.

As a curator of the “Esély a stabilitásra” (a fund set up by the Hungarian government), he helped financing the Serbian opposition fighting against the Milosevic government.

In 2000, Toroczkai quits MIEP and retires from politics.

Starting 1999, he worked as a journalist for the “Vasárnapi Újság”, a popular political magazine in the Hungarian Radio.

Since 2002, he has been editing “Magyar Jelen” (a weekly publication), a former Canadian distribution that now, he has been publishing in Hungary.

In 2005, Toroczkai published his first book, “Vármegyés a véres úton”, which is a collection of his previous articles.

In January 2001, László Toroczkai founded the “Hatvannégy Vármegye Alapítvány” and in the spring of the same year, the “Hatvannégy Vármegye Ifjúsági Mozgalom” (HVIM), which is the first youth organization openly calls for the preservation of the rights of Hungarians on the Carpathian basin.

He also started “Magyar Sziget”, which is a cultural event, the biggest gathering place of young Hungarians from historical Hungary.

Right from the beginning, the HVIM helped Hungarian education in Erdély, Csángóföld and Délvidék with books and all sorts of schooling equipment, but the schools of Verőce, in Hungary also received donations.

On June 4, in each year, the HVIM organizes the Trianon memorial march commemorating to the biggest tragedy of the Hungarian nation. László Toroczkai organized the first anti-Trianon demonstration in Versailles, in France.

László Toroczkai is a fearless human rights activist and because of this, he is the target of the Hungarian secret service, as well as the the neighboring countries' secret services that are keen to preserve the status quo.

In 2004, in Vajdaság, a Serbian gang attacked Toroczkai and his friends but they successfully defended themselves; as a result, Serbian authorities started a campaign against the HVIM and its members in Vajdaság. Then, he was expelled from Serbia.

In 2006, he was also expelled from Slovakia. Slovakian authorities banned a demonstration organized against Slovakian oppression of the Hungarian minority. László Toroczkai went in Pozsony by himself where Slovakian authorities arrested him in the presence of the press and after 9 hours interrogation, he was expelled from the country.

Since the dictate of Trianon, László Toroczkai has been holding a curious record; he has been banned from most neighboring countries: he was banned from Serbia for 1 year, from Romania 3 months and from Slovakia 5 years.


Anonymous said...

Toroczkai László is a good man and I am proud to have a fellow countryman like him.

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