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Jenő Ivánfi (1929) - Biography

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I didn't want to break away from my family, I didn't have the slightest intention of it.

Jenő Ivánfi was born as Jenő Ivancsics in 1929 in Eger. His father was railway engineer, he had to choose a Hungarian family name as a civil servant when he was appointed chief counsellor at Hungarian National Railways. Jenő Ivánfi graduated at György Fráter Secondary School of the Minorites in Miskolc. In 1947 he began his university studies at the Science Faculty of Szeged University. Despite his excellent grades he was expelled among the first political victims from the university for having backed Cardinal József Mindszenty in public. In 1949 thanks to his professors' support he could continue his studies at Loránd Eötvös University in Budapest. He became chemist, he got his degree in 1952, but he could get a job but a working place where others didn't want to go. So he went to work to Borsod Chemical Trust, and was trained in energetics and coal chemics at the different firms of the Trust, he supervised the construction of the Coke Plant in Kazincbarcika. He married Éva Joszt in 1953. In 1954 he managed to move to the new Research Institute for Heavy Chemistry where he worked as research engineer. His family, his wife and his new-borned daughter  Andrea followed him to Veszprém. His second daughter Mónika was born in 1956. During the Hungarian revolution he saved the wounded from the line the fire in Budapest and he distributed leaflets. After the Soviet invasion of November 4 he crossed the Austrian border with some of his friends at Bucsu. Since December 1956 he was employed at EBV Hauptlaboratorium in Alsdorf (Germany, before Bundesrepublic of Deutschland) as analytical engineer until 1961. After his family had been denied to get a passport and leave the Hungarian People's Republic several times although they had a settlement permission in Germany since 1959, he decided to rejoin his family in Hungary. Returned home, he lived in Debrecen. He earned his living as ordure cleaner, and unskilled worker. The political police watched him and contacted him several times. In 1961 he finally got a job at the Stain Factory in Tiszaszederkény of the Tisza Chemical Plants, he became again there research engineer. He regularly published papers in professional periodicals and he was sent to  international conferences due to his language knowledge. He soon was appointed the head of the research department. However the political police continued to control him and they tried to reclute him to be an intelligent agent by promising that he could leave the country together with his family. His third child András was born in 1964. In 1972 he asked his placement to Borsod Chemical Trust in Kazincbarcika. Here he was product manager since 1982, and he organized the production of PVC windows on national scale. He retired in 1989. He joined the Christian Democratic People's Party and led the local organization of it. In 1990 he became vice-major of the city of Kazincbarcika. In 1994 he was honoured the Gold Cross of the Hungarian Republic. He lives in Sajógalgóc with his wife in a beautifully restored old house built in the 18th century. Founder of the Sajógalgóc Circle for Local Monuments' Protection, his hobby is the history of the so-called cul-de-sac villages.

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