Gyula Halasy was the grandson of Fisch Israel in Nagykálló. If Hitler had known that, he would hardly congratulate the second Olympic champion of Hungarian sport shooting at a private banquet. With the help of local historian István Nezo, we outline a portrait of the extraordinary patriotic hero who was born 130 years ago.
This summer it was 130 years since dr. Gyula Halasy was born, a man who is almost completely forgotten. It’s hard to talk about him without his outstanding athletic performance and his life-threatening, patriotic stance. Yet, today hardly anyone outside Kisvárda knows it. With a memorial plaque inaugurated in the city a few weeks ago in his honor, it might be different in the future.
Gyula Halasy was born in Kisvárda on July 19, 1891. His father was Mór Halasi, one of the founders of the Windt and Fisch crop trading company in Kisvárda, the director of the Kisvárda Savings Bank, and his mother was Irén Weinberger. Mór Halasi’s father, Fisch Israel, is from Nagykálló, and it is obvious that the activities of the unforgettable Cadic of Hasidic Jews, Isaac Taub Eizik, may have affected him and his family.
Well, maybe not, because his descendants were baptized over time and their names were translated into Halasi.
They were so successful in integrating into the lifestyles of the rural affluent that our protagonist, “Gyuluska,” was recorded as having “at the age of six, smeared his father’s hunting weapon on their estate in Szabolcs and shot sparrows and drones in a row.
All this did not necessarily mean that he was only interested in sport shooting, as he won county competitions in fencing, figure skating, dressage and rowing, and even had success as a gymnast. His parents also educated him carefully: he went to excellent educational institutions in Debrecen, Kisvárda, Nyíregyháza and Cluj-Napoca.
He completed his higher education in Budapest, Vienna and Geneva. In addition to learning Italian, French and German, he also holds degrees in law and commerce. World War I hampered his athletic ambitions for a time, but he remained restless: he gained various accolades on the battlefields. He was awarded several honors for his heroic deeds.
In 1916 he became a lieutenant of the 2nd Hussar Regiment, received the Signum Laudis, and was promoted to lieutenant. A year later, the local press wrote: “His Majesty, in recognition of the valiant and self-sacrificing attitude of Gyula Halasi, a reserve lieutenant in the 8th Hussar Regiment against the enemy, in the III. he donated an iron crown order in addition to the simultaneous donation of swords. This is the fifth award of the hero lieutenant…, if he has twice received the highest praise, he is the owner of the III. div. military cross of merit and the Charles team cross. ”
By the end of the war,Halasy was awarded with the Class Military Cross of Merit and military decorations and swords, the Silver and Bronze Military Medals of Merit, the Military Cross of Merit, the swords on its ribbon, and the Charles Team Cross — and this is not all the acknowledgement he received.
Halasy disbanded as a reserve hussar captain and moved to Kisvárda, where he became the director of the Savings Bank. He started trapshooting in 1921. His talent was noticed early on: Sándor Belitska, president of the Trap Shooting Association, declared as early as 1922 that Halasy should be entered into the Olympics, who would then he lived a real ascetic life.
He got up at dawn and practiced on the Margaret Island track until he had to go to office. (Served as a senior manager at a bank based in Pest)
His first great success came in 1923, when he became the first of 110 competitors in Hamburg. In 1924, Paris hosted the Olympics. Born in Kisvárda, he started here as a competitor of the National Hungarian Clay Trap Shooting Association. There were 44 starters in trap shooting in the French capital. Halasy was tied with a Finnish rider with a total of 98 hits at the end of the race. A “shot” of 10-10 shots ensued. The Hungarian competitor did this flawlessly, the Finnish one made a mistake, so Halasy won the Olympics.
This was the first time a European competitor had won trap shooting at an Olympics. It was then that Gyula Krúdy called him the calmest man in Hungary. Its Olympic peak remained that way until 1972. The champions of the Paris Olympics were greeted at fancy receptions. Governor Miklós Horthy welcomed them to the royal palace, and also told Halasy that they were also involved in this sport on their family estate, Kenderes.
There was also a banquet where Gyula Gömbös greeted him as the prominent of the racist party formed at that time. The Jewish political daily New East, published in Cluj-Napoca, used Halasy’s victory to strengthen Jewish identity and to prove the equality of Judaism.
According to the newspaper, Gömbös greeted Halasy: „I raise my glass to the glory of Christian Hungarian weapons!… Blessed be the God of Hungarians!” The company burst into a wall-shattering cheer. Long live Halassy, long live Christian Hungarian athletics, long live the Jews. Then Halassy dr. with a full glass in his hand… thanked the celebration quite modestly and asked the company to get him the pleasure of sending a welcome telegram to his old father who is in the countryside. We vote… long live the most glorious Hungarian father… shouted. And my father’s address, Halassy continued in a harsh, loud voice: Dr. Lipót Fischer, Jewish rabbi, Kisvárda. There was a death silence. ” (This is a minimum fiction category just because Halasy’s father was never a rabbi.)
In the following years, Halasy won the European battles in a row, and his successes were also reported in the international press countless times. In 1936, a large trap shooting competition was held in Berlin, which was meant to decide on both the World Championship and the European Championship titles. Here he won both titles on the team and became the first European individual.
The son of Kisvárda was also introduced to the leaders of contemporary Germany, such as Hitler and Gőring. The Führer warmly congratulated him on his victory and smiled and remarked, „In vain, Hungarians are dangerous opponents.”
Halasy’s fate was less documented during the Soa, but it is known that he received the commemorative medal for the restoration of the Highlands on October 31, 1939, the Transylvanian Memorial Medal as a reserve captain on July 3, 1941, and earlier as reserve lieutenant from the National Knighthood for his participation, for his performance as cavalry section commander, the War Memorial Medal, with his sword and helmet on his ribbon.
According to his military book issued in 1941, he served as a captain at the Royal Hungarian 808th Station Command. According to István Nezo, in contrast to the tragic fate of Attila Petschauer during the Holocaust, Halasy was indeed an Olympic gold medal and honors for service to his country, so he was most likely not subject to instructions under Nuremberg law as a beneficiary or exception.
After 1945, he led the sports shooting team, worked as a coach and consultant, and participated in several Olympics and world competitions. He also wrote articles, dealing with shooting theoretically and with scientific thoroughness. He was not escaped by the frantic paranoia of the communist regime either: like the nation’s „Black Panther”, Gyula Grosics, Halasy was condemned „for their harmful activities against the Hungarian economy”.
It was a sin to find some currency in them. During a house search in 1946, various valuables were found in Halasy’s apartment: $ 37, 4,000 Czech crowns, 11 Canadian dollars, 26 pounds, a 12-pound check, 10 Napoleon gold and 200 dinars. Halasy’s defense – that these had been handed over to him for detention by an acquaintance two days before the house search – was not accepted by the court and sentenced to three years in prison and his wife to 10 months in prison for £ 5. Of this, Halasy got a year and his wife 6 months.
After their punishment, he took an active part in Hungarian sports for another 15-20 years, retiring from racing in 1961, but still worked as a coach and consultant. Until his death (Budapest, December 20, 1970), he was an esteemed member of the governing body of the sport.
According to his death registry, his father is István Halasy, his mother is Irén Szölőssy! The latter is easy to explain, since Irén Szőllősi was named as his spouse even when Mór Halasi died, it is obvious that Mór’s wife translated her name from Weinberger (Weinberg = vineyard), but it is not known how Mór / Móricz became István!
The tomb of the Olympian has been under protection since 2004, in the Farkasréti cemetery, in Budapest, at N, N / A, N / A, 1377. To commemorate the 130th anniversary of his birth, a plaque was inaugurated in Kisvarda.