Gyula Andrássy Foundation

Exhibition and anniversary celebrations on 8th March 2023 of the 200th year of the birth of Count Gyula Andrássy at Trebišov

Former ambassador and board member of the Andrássy Gyula Foundation György Szapáry was invited to chair the Hungarian delegation at the celebrations at Trebišov on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Gyula Andrássy. The members of the delegation included Árpád János Potápi, Hungarian State Secretary for National Policy, Ambassador György Szapáry and Mark Odescalchi chairman of the Andrássy Gyula Foundation. The Slovak delegation included the President of the self-governing region of Kosice, Ratislav Trnka and the mayor of Trebišov Marek Cizmar. After celebration of the Holy Mass in the adjoining church where the mother of Andrássy, Countess Etelka Szapáry is buried, State Secretary Potápi and Ambassador Szapáry gave speeches in front of the Andrássy mausoleum. After lunch there was a formal opening of the Andrássy 200 Exhibition in the chateau at which the director of the museum director Beáta Kereštanová and Mark Odescalchi gave speeches. Below are the speeches of Ambassador Szapáry and Mark Odescalchi.

Gyula Andrássy 200
Trebišov, 2023, March 8.
Welcome speech by György Szapáry

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary of State, Mr. Mayor, Your Excellencies, Madam Director, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends!

Today we are celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Count Gyula Andrássy here in Tőketerebes (Trebišov), in this magnificent castle-museum and the beautiful park with its surrounding trees, where Gyula Andrássy lived and where his ashes are buried in the Mausoleum.  I would like to express my gratitude, both as a Hungarian citizen and as a descendant of the family, to the Municipality of Kassa (Košice), the town of Trebišov and the museum for organizing the ceremony. There is no better proof of the strong human and friendly ties that bind our two countries together, Slovakia and Hungary.

Count Gyula Andrássy was born in 1823 to Count Károly Andrássy and Countess Etelka Szapáry. He took part in the war of independence against the Habsburgs that began in 1848. In the same year, he became the chief Government Commissioner of Zemplén county and tried to get foreign support for the war of independence. For his efforts, he was sentenced to death in absentia. He was not allowed to return home from his exile in Paris until 1857.

In the early 1860s, seizing the opportunity, he became, alongside Ferenc Deák, the most respected advocate of the reconciliation with the Habsburgs, and in 1867 he became the Hungarian prime minister in charge. In 1871, he was appointed Foreign Minister of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the request of Emperor and King Franz Joseph, who had once condemned him to death.

Gyula Andrássy made a significant contribution to the take-off of the Hungarian economy, which brought great development to mining and industry in present-day Slovakia. He knew that the strength and success of any country depends on internal peace and economic development. He was able to cooperate with the European powers to preserve peace by accurately identifying the prevailing power relations and intentions in Europe.

Gyula Andrássy was a true statesman. Thank you for your kind attention.

Speech of Mark Odescalchi, 8th March 2023 at exhibition opening in Trebišov

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the direct descendants of Count Gyula Andrassy and the Gyula Andrassy Foundation, I would like to thank you for the honour of being invited to speak at the opening of this special exhibition on the 200th Anniversary of his birth.

It is known that Trebišov, the mansion owned by his mother Etelka Szapáry was a much-loved house of Gyula Andrássy. He spent his childhood here and although later his duties took him elsewhere, it was reputedly his favourite home. After the War of Independence he was exiled for 9 years only returning in 1857 after being amnestied. He married the Transylvanian Countess Catherine Kendeffy in Paris and their first son (my great- grandfather) Tivadar, was born there in July 1857, his parents returning in September when mother and baby were fit to travel. After their return Andrassy spent much time in Pest-Buda and Vienna in politics. However, Trebišov remained close to his heart. It is here that he kept his Arabian horses and built a manège facilities and stabling in the English style park. It was during the years as foreign minister that through his correspondence Europe learned of the name of Trebišov (as his correspondence was often headed Tőketerebes). His wife and small children also returned here often. Their daughter, Ilona was born in 1858 and their younger son also Gyula was born here in Trebišov in 1860.

While very few historical sources have survived about Andrássy, we are lucky to have the letters of an English woman, Mary Elizabeth Stevens who lived for several years with the family, first as a companion for the old countess, Etelka Szapáry and then as a governess to Ilona Andrássy. She stayed with the family until 1869 and wrote letters home to her mother and sister in England almost every day. Her letters, published in 1999, offer a first-hand account of family life and are invaluable sources about how the Trebišov house looked before the historical calamities. Let me read an extract from Ms. Stevens’ letter from 21st August 1864:

“Count Gyula came to stay a day while we were there, and directly he won my good graces. I like him very much, he is the only one I like of the three Counts, the two others are not at all gentlemanly or distinguished in either appearance or manners, but he is both. He is a tall handsome man, speaks English like a native, French beautifully. His manner to me was most kind and most gentlemanly both at Szőlőske (Viničky) and at Terebes, where all his family were to spend some days. It is but three hours from Szőlőske and is indeed a beautiful mansion extremely large and most handsome, and fitted up with most refined taste for comfort. The garden and grounds are very extensive and beautiful. In front of the house is a long avenue of superb chestnut trees…

At dinner everything was served on silver. The salle à manger (dining room) was fitted up in a massive style, there were two old Bahuts (sideboards) of black beautifully carved wood, the chairs of the same, covered with dark green velvet and all was relieved by beautiful silver baskets, epergnes (centerpiece) vases and other things on the carved sideboards… The room opened on to the picture gallery, also a beautiful place. On the other side three salons little and big; the Countess Katinka’s and the children’s rooms, and a great many other rooms for billiards, gentlemen, maids etc.

On the ground floor, all the Count’s rooms. The library and a great many other rooms…”   

Eventually, the eldest son, Tivadar inherited the mansion on the death of his father in 1890. He, like his father, was a patron of the arts. Artists such as József Rippl-Rónai were invited to spend summers here and as a result there are paintings by Rippl-Rónai of the mansion from around the turn of the century. Tivadar died young in 1905 and the mansion passed to his younger brother Gyula who continued the family tradition of supporting the arts and was a famed connoisseur with an important collection of paintings, statues and rugs.

I would like to wind up by saying that connections are always important: the legacy of public service continued in his family long after the death of Gyula  Andrássy.  George Szapáry, a descendant of Szapáry Etelka is here today. He has been a member of the Andrássy Gyula Foundation since 2005. His relative, Elizabeth Szapáry, was a close friend of my grandmother, Klára Andrássy Odescalchi (the youngest granddaughter of Gyula Andrássy). These two ladies were deputy presidents of the Hungarian Polish Committee for Refugee Care from 1939 which co-ordinated help for refugees fleeing German occupied Poland. Last year Elizabeth Szapáry was awarded the Virtus and Fraternitas medal posthumously by the President of Poland. My grandmother also helped the British Ambassador Owen O’Malley co-ordinate the evacuation of over 50,000 Polish servicemen through Hungary to Yugoslavia, so they could rejoin the Allied war effort. 

Once again, I would like to thank you for inviting me here today, wish you the best of success with the museum and this exhibition and look forward to cooperation in the future. On behalf of the family and the Foundation it is a source of pride that the memory of our illustrious ancestor is celebrated here.