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article imageRubik, Kertész receive top Hungarian honour

By Christopher Szabo     Aug 20, 2014 in World
Budapest - Nobel Prize-winning author Imre Kertész and world-famous inventor Ernő Rubik have received Hungary’s highest state order, the Order of Saint Stephen.
The order was presented by State President János Áder at the Sándor Palace, on the country’s national day (August 20), also named for Saint Stephen.
The order was founded by Queen Maria Theresa in 1764, when Hungary was part of the Austrian Empire. It was banned in 1946 by the Communist Party which replaced historic Hungarian Orders with various ersatz orders. It was re-instated in 2011, amidst grumbling by the ex-Communist Left Wing.
The current rules state the the recipient must have achieved world renown and have improved the name of Hungary. Imre Kertész is not so well-known in English-speaking circles as Ernő Rubik, inventor of the famous Rubik Cube but is so far (perhaps mysteriously) the only Hungarian holder of the Nobel Prize for Literature. He has stood up against both Nazi and Communist dictatorships and survived Auschwitz, which is the subject of his award-winning novel, Sorstalanság (Fatelessness).
Over the years, Kertész often criticised Hungary as well as the present government, leading to growls not just on the Left, but also the political Right, who seem to want uncritical obedience of “king and country,” so to speak.
Ernő Rubik, son of inventor Ernő Rubik, who excelled in many fields, notably aviation. The younger Rubik studied architecture and taught at university before inventing his famous cube. He has since worked mainly on encouraging young people to use initiative through science.
The order is named after the founder of the Christian Hungarian State, King Stephen I of the House of Árpád, who was crowned king on Christmas, 1,000 A.D. and ruled the country for a further 38 years. Between his father, Duke Géza, and himself, Saint Stephen laid the foundation for a state that still exists, although it has had a very difficult and tragic history.
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