Obituary: Tibor Cseres

Tibor Cseres, writer: born Gyergyoremete 1 April 1915; married 1944 Nora Ulkei (one daughter); died Budapest 24 May 1993.

TIBOR CSERES was a distinguished novelist who in 1986 was elected President of the Hungarian Writers' Association - in the first relatively free election of that body since 1956. He was also President of the Hungarian Writers' Guild (Irokamara).

Cseres made his debut as a poet in 1937 when he published a collection under the pseudonym 'Tibor Palos'. His first book of short stories, devoted to the life of the peasantry, came out in 1945. In his early prose he followed in the footsteps of such masters of realistic fiction as Zsigmond Moricz, though his criticism was directed against the enemies and detractors of the new socialist regime rather than its followers. After 1956 his stories began to show more interest in the psychological and moral conflicts of individuals than in social and political conflicts.

His first memorable novel, Hideg napok ('Cold Days', 1964), although short, played an important part in the process of national self-reckoning of the 1960s. It evoked the massacre of Serbs, Jews and politically 'suspect' Hungarians which took place in 1942 at Novi Sad in Yugoslavia, an atrocity for which the responsibility fell not only on the commanding officers with Fascist leanings, but on those Hungarian soldiers and gendarmes who 'just carried out orders' and, by implication, on the passivity and the moral inertia of Hungarian society. Cseres uses an interesting technique in this book: the events of 1942 unfold from the conversations and memories of four Hungarian soldiers waiting to be tried by the People's Court in 1945. A tight structure and restrained objective style characterise the novel, which was later on turned into a successful film with the outstanding actor Zoltan Latinovits in one of the leading roles.

Cseres was attacked by some critics for his 'biased' stance, for what was perceived as one-sidedness in highlighting Hungarian crimes and keeping silent about the crimes against Hungarians. He made up for this omission in 1991 when he published Verbosszu Bacskaban ('Vendetta in the Bachka Region'), a horrifying story based on eyewitness accounts relating the revenge killings by Tito's partisans and Serb nationalists who executed nearly 40,000 Hungarians in the twilight days of the Second World War.

Recent history was a favourite fishing-ground for Cseres. His novel Parazna szobrok ('Lewd Statues', 1979) is mainly devoted to the tragedy of the ill-equipped Hungarian Army sent to the Russian front in the Second World War. He also wrote several novels dealing with the fate of a Transylvanian family in the 19th and early 20th centuries against the background of Hungarian-Romanian conflicts and a biographical documentary novel on Hungarian statesman and exile Lajos Kossuth (En, Kossuth Lajos, 1981).

Tibor Cseres was born in the Sekler village of Gyergyoremete (today in Romania) in 1915, at a time when Transylvania still belonged to Hungary. He went to grammar school at Budapest and for a while was on the staff of a provincial newspaper at Bekescsaba.

During the Second World War he served in the Hungarian Army, but also found time to complete his education at the Hungarian University of Cluj (then Kolozsvar), where he obtained a degree in economics. From 1945 to 1947 he edited a daily newspaper at Bekescsaba and in 1947 he moved to Budapest.

Between 1951 and 1956 he was on the staff of the literary weekly Irodalmi Ujsag, a paper which led the writers' rebellion against the Stalinist party leadership in 1955-56, and thereafter wrote as a freelance. He was President of the Hungarian Writers' Association from 1956 until 1989.

Cseres received several literary awards, among them the Attila Jozsef Prize (three times) and, in 1975, the prestigious Kossuth Prize.

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Reach Volunteering: Chair and trustees sought for YMCA Bolton

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club that later became synonymous with Hillsborough has dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor