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  • Writer's picture Kester Eddy

Four Socialist-Realist Working Class Heroes (all seemingly male figures) - but Where?

Updated: Dec 29, 2021

KesterTester60 - These four statues adorn a municipal building somewhere in the region, the problem is, where? UPDATED with new clues and results of KT59

This is a rather special municipality in more ways than one, but it's likely to be a rather difficult tester for most readers, I fear. (Heck, I've yet to win a competition myself, darn it! You lot deserve a tough one now and again!)

But I wonder what clues I can give to ease your receding hairlines? Well, in some ways the population of this town (or city, not sure of its official ranking) might say it shouldn't exist, but history, with its tortuous twists, turns and political compromises brought it into existence.

When I was there, the mayor spoke Hungarian and at least two other languages, and the council .... No, I think I'll stop there for now - if we don't get any positive answers, I'll pop another clue in here on Tuesday. Let's just say that its main industry is "interesting" at this point. The railway station is also somewhat quirky.

But enough! I'll also aim to publish the results of KT59 (that's the old gent in the sunlight and shadows, which I incorrectly labelled KT60 last week) and its inspired lucky winner at that time - so there is still time for committed sleuths to find fame and glory.

Meanwhile, I'll try to find out who these heroic figures represent (because I don't know - perhaps I should have asked the mayor!) and why - surprisingly - there appear to be no revolutionary lefty-ladies among them.

Have a good weekend.

UPDATE: Well, before I get into the winner of KesterTester59, it seems readers are struggling with these Socialist-realist figures up above. Now how to help you on your way without giving the whole thing away (which is always the conundrum)?

Well, this municipality maintains a free local bus service, all paid for from local taxation supplied by the lucrative industry in the town - an industry that some might say is not quite ethical or moral.

It owes its existance to a peculiar set of circumstances. You see, a little bit like Berlin and Vienna, it was occupied after WW2 and there was a lot of wrangling over which country should control this area. It ended up with one state being awarded something like 7/8ths of the old town, with just 1/8th 'over the border' in the other country. The 'new' border was most tortuous - apparently it even ran through a cemetary, with some graves being in one jurisdiction, and others, merely metres away, being in another.

This bizarre situtation was sorted out relatively quickly with some minor border changes in the 1950s, as emnities cooled and common sense prevailed. Today, after decades if not centuries of conflict and brutality, thankfully this border is pretty green and friendly.

Now, does that help? Answers please via the site messaging system or email.

UPDATE - 29/12/21 - One more, finally, give-away clue to help you in your struggles with this one.

OK, first let's deal with ethics and the slightly dodgy industry: it's gambling! This town largely lives off it (or it did before Covid), with, I forget, four or five casinos, mostly serving foreigners from over the border, where gambling is prohibited.

A friend took me into one of these establishments, and I have to say it was a shock. Forget 'having a bit of fun' pulling the lever of a “one-armed bandit” as we used to call slot machines in the UK when I was a kid. There were guys frenetically running four or five machines at the same time. I mean, these people were really hooked. Frankly, I saw it not as anything glamorous, but as a kind of hell.

(And, indeed, by coincidence one of my former students has recently told me of the horrors she experienced when working as a hostess in a small casino in Germany, where wives would come in and beat up their husbands who were blowing all the family housekeeping money every night on such machines - although they don't have a side lever any more - all digital and all these days..)

I can't tell you any more without giving the answer away totally. So you have until 09.00 local time Friday morning to get this toughie, when I will post the answers (as an update to KT61)

Right, now to the results of KT59 - I've done the draw, and the number out of the Zwack Red Cap is .... you've guessed it, number 1 - except I haven't looked up yet who that lucky winner, for whom fame and stardom await - actually is! I'll get down to that now.

OK - here's the lowdown on KT59.

Well, this dear gentlemen, urging his body on in the summer heat, proved an interesting subject, but not impossible to the astonishingly knowledgeable readership of this blog.

Second in the line to 'have a punt' was the indefatigable Tom Chilton, whose opinion of me has sunk to such a level that he thought I was being truly dastardly.

“The only clue I can see is that the plaque about the fuse box seems to have Hebrew writing on it, so presumably the building is a synagogue. Apparently one that was in need of repair in 1992. I'm wondering if you have been crafty and the answer is the same as a couple of weeks ago (or maybe you have just forgotten!) - Kőbánya synagogue.”

I may be a cad, Tom - but could I be THAT caddish?

Next in was Alan Sutton: “Lukács Gyógyfürdő,” says Alan, before admitting: “I do have to confess to relying on Mr Google to track the baths.” Shame on you, Alan!

Then, before I could say “get yersel a bath towel”, Annabel Barber wrote in on another subject with a “BTW, your latest Kester Tester shows the votive plaques at the Lukács baths”.

BTW, Annabel? !!!! This is a prestigious, internationally acclaimed competition, with renowned prizes! Is there no respect among the youth of today?

But I was unable to send this before Monica Lemsal chimed in with: "Subject: Is it the courtyard of Lukacs baths?"

I suspect Tom knows by now I am not the dastard that he thought me to be. BTW, Annabel, what is a votive plaque, as opposed to a 'non-votive' plaque?

I digress.

Zsolt Maroti went with the trend: "Lukács fürdö," he exclaimed, when along came Bob Dent: “I reckon the elderly gentleman is making his way by one of the walls of the Lukács Baths complex, which is on the Buda side of the Danube, not far from Margaret Bridge.” he says.

But, Bob offered particularly added value, continuing with: “This particular wall (accessible from the garden/courtyard of the baths) has a number of plaques erected over the years by regular users of the baths, who have sought to express their gratitude for the health-giving treatments and waters found here. Indeed, it is said that the secret of longevity and good health is a daily swim and/or treatment at the Lukács and the many plaques testify to this."

“Perhaps the most intriguing one was placed here in 1996 by Károly Molnár, who, describing himself as “the last Hungarian soldier of the last Hungarian king” (Habsburg Charles IV, crowned in 1916), pays tribute to the beneficial effects of his regular daily swim here from 1920. He was 102 when the plaque appeared.” Bob

Wow! Thanks Bob, I shall have to look that one up next time I'm in the area.

In spite of Bob's tremendous entry, however, the winner was the early bird, who grabbed the worm as number 1 – none other than Viktor Friedmann, who simply put in with “Lukács fürdö.”

Congratulations Viktor, and since I'm out of beer right now, we'll have to hook up sooner than later! :)

Thanks for all the entries and fun – and now – what about those four statues above?

Best regards, Kester

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