Vázsonyi, Vilmos

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VÁZSONYI, VILMOS (1868–1926), Hungarian lawyer and politician who was the first Jew in Hungary to become minister of justice. When a law student in Budapest, Vázsonyi joined the extreme nationalist group which protested against the submerging of the Magyar nationality in the combined Austro-Hungarian army. He founded the club of Junior Democrats in Budapest of which he was lifelong chairman. This club was devoted to improving the living conditions of the petit bourgeoisie whom the socialists had previously ignored. In 1894 Vázsonyi was elected to the Budapest municipal council. He collaborated with the mayor István Bárczy in fighting municipal corruption and the result of his efforts was the transfer of transport and other public utilities from private ownership to city management. Vázsonyi was elected deputy to the lower house of the Hungarian Parliament in 1901 and continued his fight against graft in public life. During World War i, he became minister of justice and was made a privy counselor, but he retired from public life when his scheme to extend the franchise was rejected; later he went into exile. He returned to Hungary during Count Bethlen's counterrevolutionary regime of terror (1921–31) and helped to expose the counterfeiting of French banknotes which influential political circles had arranged for as part of their foreign policy. In his youth Vázsonyi fought for equal rights for the Jewish religious community in Hungary. His writings were published posthumously Vázsonyi Vilmos beszédei és írásai, 2 vols. (1927). His son, jÁnos (1895–1944), continued his fight in Parliament against anti-Jewish discrimination at a time of growing Hungarian Nazism.


V. Vázsonyi, Az én uram (1932).

[Josef J. Lador-Lederer]