Magyar News, 1995. szeptember-1996. augusztus (6. évfolyam, 1-12. szám)

1995-09-01 / 1. szám

Bridgeport, September, 1995 FERENC RÁKÓCZI II AN INSPIRATION FOR SELF RECOGNITION OF A NATION AND THE PEOPLE by Rev. Dr. Anthony Szilágyi Full figure portrait of FERENC RÁKÓCZI When speaking of Ferenc Rákóczi II, people have often used the analogy of a lion cub. A lion cub always keeps its natural traits. It may be tamed, but its instincts can’ t be erased. There have been few figures in Hungarian history for which this analogy is more appropriate. Ferenc Rákóczi ’ s family history was one of constant struggle against oppression. For example, Ilona Zrínyi, his mother, was considered, in her day, to be a symbol of Hungarian resistance by the rul­ing Austrian Habsburgs. Rákóczi’s father was once condemned to death for con­spiracy. He was released only after a ran­som was paid. With a family history like this it is little wonder that Ferenc, along with his sister Julianna, were considered potentially dangerous by the Austrians. The Habsburgs thought they had a way of tam­ing them, but their true natures would sur­face, like young lion cubs. Julianna was sent to a convent where, it was believed, she couldn’ tcause any trouble. YoungFerenc, who was only 12at the time, was sent to a Jesuit school in Neuhaus, Bohemia. As Ferenc said farewell to his mother, he little realized that this would be the last time he would see her. As traumatic as the separation from his family and coun­try was, it wasn’t long before the boy would make an impression at his new school. One of Ferenc Rákóczi’s early teachers gives us a glimpse of the youngster when he wrote, ‘There is no trace of mediocrity in him. His words, his way of walking, his deportment are all dignified and worthy of a prince without a sign of haughtiness; his noble behavior is combined with a human attitude, although he always reserves an air of authority.” While in Bohemia, young Rákóczi was indoctrinated in German ways and cus­toms, after the style of the Austrians. It was the expressed policy of the Emperor that Rákóczi be supervised to such a degree that he would forget his own heritage and coun­try. He was discouraged to even speak Hungarian. When he turned 15 he began studies at the University of Prague. The Austrian’s strategy was so successful that after five years he almost totally forgot how Continued on page 2