Ferenc Ilosvay

Ferenc Ilosvay de Nagyilosva (21st August 1914, Budapest – 8th July 1990, Wien)

(Abstract of the Hungarian original work)



The Ilosvay family is originated from Bereg, Szatmár, Szabolcs and Szilágyság county. One of its significant descendants is Ferenc Ilosvay de Nagyilosva.

His father: Dr. Gusztáv Ilosvay (1876 – 1932). His mother's grandmother is Terézia Kállay from the Kállay familytree's Napkor branch. He graduated as Juris Doctor and was the chief judge of the central district (later Színérváralja dustrict) of Szatmár county. From 1910 he was the police superintendent in Sopron's Office at Royal Boundary Police Office, later chief police superintendent at the Royal Boundary Police Office. He married to Sarolta Horkovits de Komjáth in Nagykálló in 1911. He retired as the vice-Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs during the Károlyi-government.

His mother: Sarolta Horkovits de Komjáth (1891 – 1945). Her mother was Izabella Kállay de Nagykálló from the Kállay familytree's Oros branch. She excellently played the piano, sang and painted. Her three children inherited her great skills: Gusztáv (1911 – 1961), doctor, singer, composer; Eszter Mária (1913 – 1987) famous opera singer and Ferenc, journalist, writer of hunting stories.

Ferenc Ilosvay and his siblings had difficult childhood, since their parents got divorced early.


Ferenc Ilosvay went to primary school in Nyírábrány. He studied in public schools, he spent his holidays at either of his mother's or his father's relatives (at Irinyi, Horkovits, Kállay, Dessewffy families).

1932: graduated from Saint Stepfen Secondary School in Kalocsa established and managed by Jesuits.

He studied forestry and zoology at the Forestry Academy in Sopron, later in Gödöllő (he had his Ph.D. in zoology in Austria in 1960).

1938: volunteer at Guth Forestry

He started to work at the Research Institution of Animal Physiology and Forestry in Gödöllő. He was a passionate hunter, he took part in the huntings by his relatives in the Region Nyírség.

Early works:

1938: his short story published in Nemzeti Újság (National Newspaper)

1941: journalist first at Reggel (Morning), later at Pester Lloyd

1943: wrote his first novel titled Jó vadászatot! (Wish you a fruitful hunting!)

His professional and literary career was broken by WWII. He was against the theory of Nazism and actively participated in the resistance movement of the Catholic Church. He was captured by the Nazis and transported to Dachau on 5th December 1944. He survived the Buchenwald camp and the notorious Leitmeritz camp. He was freed on 7th May 1945.

He becamea reporter at the newspaper Szabad Szó (Free word), worked at the Scientific Institution for Forestry in 1947 and participated in the editorship of the hunter magazine Nimród. He was arrested by the State Protection Authority (ÁVH) in 1949. He spent years in jail and was deafen in his left ear by the beatings. He was a forced labourer in Berente, Sztálinváros, Várpalota, Baracska, Inota, Pusztadobos, workedas a swein-herd, a coal carrier, a freight carfiller and a drill worker.

He was freed during the first Imre Nagy-government and got a job inthe forest Gemenc as the director of the Wild Animal Sanctuary in South Danube Forest (today it is part of the Danube-Drava National Park). He actively participated in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and thereafter he decided to leave the country. He immigrated to Wien on 1st January 1957.

His career in Wien:

1957:at the immigrational magazine of Hungarian News in Wien

End of 1957 – January 1959: the editor in chief of the Hungarian News in Wien

1959: at the Research Institution of Forest and Wild Animal Biology in Graz

1962: at District of the Forest and wild animal protection near the town Frohnleiten, Austria

Later he did not get a job in his profession any more.

In the third part of his life he wrote short stories, which were published in Hungarian immigrational magazines around the world. Most of his short stories were inspired by his childhood and his memories about his homeland. His writings are virtual expeditions in the different parts of the Hungarian landscape and Hungarian forests, which evoke the music, the harmony and the always changing colours of the Hungarian landscape.

He inherited the love of music from his mother, he highly appretiated the music of the composers, Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály.

He was married Johanna Dietrich from Styria State, Austria in 1963, who was his true companion. They had no children.

The following three volmues of short stories were published in Ferenc Ilosvay's life:

1943: Jó vadászatot!(Wish you a fruitful hunting!)

1957: Zwölf Pfade(Twelve Paths)

1964: …ha Dunáról fúj a szél (...if the wind blows from the Danube) (line from a Hungarian folksong) on his 50th birthday by Nemzetőr (Militiaman), the Hungarian Revolutionary Writers' Magazine in Munich, Germany

Works posthumously published:

1992: Megfordul a szél (The wind shifts)

1994: Jó vadászatot! (Wish you a fruitful hunting!)

1995 and 2001: Tizenkét ösvény (Twelve Paths)

1999: Tenyérnyi tisztás (Small clearing)

2001: …ha Dunáról fúj a szél (...if the wind blows from the Danube) (line from a Hungarian folksong)

His wife takes care of his literary heritage. She gave the Kállay Collection many items of his husband's personal and literary heritage.

In 2004 the town council of Nagykálló hung a commemorative plaque on the wall of the Ilosvay family's house (6th Petőfi Street) in the memory of the three siblings: Gusztáv Ilosvay doctor, composer, Eszter Mária famous opera singer and Ferenc journalist, writer of hunting stories.


Dr. Sarolta Lakatos





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