ARAD and its significance to our family
Each year on October 6th Hungary’s national flag is hoisted and lowered to half-mast in front of Parliament House in remembrance of the executed leaders of the 1848-49 freedom fight. These 13 martyrs for Hungarian freedom and independence from the Austrian Hapsburg rule were executed in a town called Arad on this day in 1849.
The Hungarian Revolution of 1848−1849 is one of the most significant events in Hungarian history. This event is one of the bases of the national identity since it sought to achieve individual freedoms and establish national sovereignty. The majority of the generals were not of ethnic Hungarian origin but they fought for the cause of an independent and — for its age — liberal Hungary. In May 1849, Emperor Franz Joseph called for Russian help, and the joint army of Russian and Austrian forces defeated the Hungarians. The Hungarian Revolution ended on 13 August 1849 with the surrender at Világos, and it was followed by the Habsburg reprisal. Franz Joseph I. appointed Haynau, Field Marshal of the imperial army, to restore the order in Hungary. With the execution of the generals, Haynau wanted to set an example to the Hungarians and the world as to how rebels are to be dealt with and how to ensure order.
Our family has strong connection with two of these Generals. On the nemescsói Török side of the family, we are direct descendants of Török Ignác’s family. On the maternal branch of my father, we are similarly connected to Kiss Ernö. Our grandfather married ittebei Katalin Mária Emilia Ilona Kiss from that family.
Ignác Török was a small land holder who was descended from a Hungarian noble family. He began his high school studies in Gödöllő (Classes I and II) and then continued at the Royal Catholic University of Applied Sciences (today: Budapest University Catholic High School) (Grades III and IV). Finally, from 1809 to 1811 he was a pupil of the Gyöngyös Grammar School (Classes V and VI). He graduated from the Academy of Engineering in Vienna and joined the Imperial Army as a lieutenant (1816). In 1839 he came to the Noble Bodyguard where he taught theories of fortification. He has taught, among others Arturo Görgey and György Klapka. Prior to the Revolution, he first served in Lemberg and then with the rank of lieutenant colonel in Zagreb. In October 1848 he served at Komárom Castle, where the entire fort of the castle joined the Hungarians. During the winter of 1848-1849 he organized the fortification of the fortress of the Komárom castle. Following the successes at Windisch-Grätz the commander of Komárom, Majthényi was preparing surrender but was forced by the officers of the castle to resign and the command was given to the oldest officer, Ignác Török. The decision was confirmed by the government and was named General on 28 January. In April 1849, his post was replaced by János Lenkey. At the instruction of the government he was assigned in June to the liberated Buda to lead the destruction of the Hentzi-built Buda fortifications to prevent its recapture and then to Szeged to raise the ramparts on the right bank of the Tisza. Ignác Török in front of the Arbitration Court confirmed his deed in Hungarian – “My conscience absolves me”. The Tribunal sentenced him to death by rope, and was the sixth General to be executed (second by rope). Download below is from a book written by Vidos Géza.
Ernö Kiss (Kishian) was one of the leaders of the Hungarian Revolution 1849. He was a descendant of a very old Armenian Transylvanian family, the Acontz. Ernö Kiss was at that time one of the richest people in Hungary. After graduating from the Theresianum in Vienna, he began his military career in 1818 in a Cavalry regiment of the imperial army. In 1845 he was commander of the 2nd (Hannover) Hussar Regiment. Among the later martyrs of Arad, József Nagysándor and Károly Vécsey also served under his command. He was one of the few high-ranking imperial officers who crossed into the Hungarian army and served in the war of independence. In the spring of 1848, he and his regiment were stationed in Kikindinda, so from the beginning he took part in the battles against the Serbian insurgents. His name is associated with the first major victory in the south. He received the Hungarian Military Order of Merit II. class. He replaced the Minister of War several times until the end of the War of Independence. It is a historical fact that ittebei Ernö Kiss a land owner of 80,000 acres holding, at the outbreak of the War of Independence, contributed an entire hussar regiment with horses and uniforms for the cause. He was captured by a Russians and then the Austrians. Ernő Kiss’s death sentence was changed from death by rope to death by bullet because he did not command troops fighting against imperial troops. In a letter he wrote ,that he tried to mediate for peace between the two empires. His last words were “My God, will the youth of the new age be whole? The glorious saints of Árpád vigil over the Hungarian youth, so that their hearts may belong to Christ and their lives to their homeland.