HU OSA 439-2-1 Letters Written by Gertrud Bortstieber to Laura Bíróné Zsigmond, Lajos Jánossy and Other Family Members

Identity Statement

Reference Code
HU OSA 439-2-1
Title
Letters Written by Gertrud Bortstieber to Laura Bíróné Zsigmond, Lajos Jánossy and Other Family Members
Date(s)
1918 - 1959
Description Level
Series
Extent and medium (processed)
2 Archival boxes, 0.25 linear meters

Context

Name of creator(s)
Bortstieber, Gertrud

Content and Structure

Scope and Content (Narrative)
The series contains approximately 145 letters and fragments of letters written by Gertrud Bortstieber between 1918 and 1959, and donated to Blinken OSA in 2020. The letters are organized chronologically, as received from Bortstieber's heirs. A small number of letters is undated.

Of particular interest are letters written by Gertrud Bortstieber to her friend Laura in Nové Mesto nad Váhom (Vágújhely/Neustadt an der Waag, in today's Slovakia), Gertrud Bortstieber's place of birth. These are the earliest letters in this fonds, and they describe events little known about Bortstieber and Lukács's early life together, first in Mátyásföld/Budapest, then in Vienna.

The vast majority of these accruals, however, are letters written by Bortstieber from Moscow to her son Lajos (Lajcsó), to Vienna, Berlin, London, and Manchester, during the 1930s. These reveal a very close relationship between Bortstieber and her eldest son, and are certainly important sources in the study of the early career of Lajos Jánossy as a physicist. They also provide important details on the living conditions of Bortstieber and Lukács (and Ferenc and Anna) in the Soviet Union.

The series also contains four letters sent by Bortstieber from Snagov, Romania, where she and Lukács had been deported from the Budapest Yugoslav Embassy, to her family, in late 1956 and early 1957.
Accruals

Not Expected

Conditions of Access and Use

Conditions governing access
Not restricted
Languages
German, Hungarian

Description Control

Archivist's note
Processed by Mark László-Herbert, March 31, 2022.
Call Number Description
Archival boxes #1
439-2-1:1/1
[Letters Written by Gertrud Bortstieber], 1918 - 1930
The folder contains about two dozen letters written to Gertrud Bortstieber's friend Laura Bíró Zsigmondné in Vágújhely/Neustadt an der Waag (Nové Mesto nad Váhom, Slovakia), and one letter written to Bortstieber's relatives in Vienna. These are the earliest letters written by Bortstieber that have been preserved in this fonds, and they deal mostly with family matters, like the illness and death of Imre Jánosi (Bortstieber's first husband), life in Vienna with György Lukács and children Lajos (Lajcsó), Ferenc (Ferkó), and Anna (Ancsi, Antscherl), and the death of Gertrud Bortstieber's mother in Nové Mesto. Financial and administrative issues, like the difficulty to obtain passports in Austria, are touched upon as well.
439-2-1:1/2
[Letters Written by Gertrud Bortstieber], 1933
The folder mostly contains letters written to Lajos Jánossy, Gertrud Bortstieber's son. The letters - some of which were also addressed to Anna Jánosi, Bortstieber and Lukács's daughter, and Leonie Kahn, Lajos Jánossy's fiancée - , document Bortstieber and Lukács's move to Moscow and their first months of living there. Of particular interest are those detailing the housing arrangements of Bortstieber and Lukács at the Moscow Grand Hotel, and their interactions with other Hungarian emigrés living in the same establishment. The everyday life of the couple, as well as that of Ferenc Jánossy (Bortstieber's son), who joined the couple in Moscow and found employment in a local factory, is, too, described in detail.
439-2-1:1/3
[Letters Written by Gertrud Bortstieber], 1934
The folder contains letters written to Lajos Jánossy, Gertrud Bortstieber's son. The letters describe Anna Jánosi's much anticipated arrival to Moscow and Bortstieber's wish that Lajos, too, move to Moscow. Bortstieber and Lukács write that they had to move out of the Grand Hotel, marking the beginning of their - as it turned out, several years long - search for a "final" housing solution in Moscow. Bortstieber writes that Lukács works much, earns well, and also lectures American students on dialectical materialism. The everyday life of the couple, as well as that of Ferenc and Anna, who live together, but separately from Bortstieber and Lukács, is also described in detail. In one of the letters, Lukács, who at this time dictates his letters to Bortstieber, provides a detailed account of his current work.
439-2-1:1/4
[Letters Written by Gertrud Bortstieber], 1935
The folder contains letters written to Lajos Jánossy, Gertrud Bortstieber's son. In these letters, Bortstieber writes at length about her own work, while also detailing the life and work of her husband, of her son Ferenc, and of her daughter Anna. She congratulates Lajos for his successful work and doctoral defense in Berlin. In two of these letters, Lukács shares his view on various philosophical aspects of natural phenomena.
439-2-1:1/5
[Letters Written by Gertrud Bortstieber], 1936
The folder contains letters written to Lajos Jánossy, Gertrud Bortstieber's son. Bortstieber describes her and Lukács's life in detail, while also sharing news about Ferenc and his wife Anja, as well as about Anna. She repeatedly expresses her hope that Lajos, who has moved from Berlin to London, as well as his wife Leonie, would soon join them in the Soviet Union.
Archival boxes #2
439-2-1:2/1
[Letters Written by Gertrud Bortstieber], 1937 - 1938
The folder contains letters written to Lajos Jánossy, Gertrud Bortstieber's son. In these letters, Bortstieber gives a detailed account of her and Lukács's life in Moscow, as well as about the life of her son Ferenc, Ferenc's wife Anja, and her daughter Anna. Bortstieber writes that she and Lukács will soon be "getting an apartment", which they hope will be their "final home". Lukács is working on a manuscript on the historical novel. Bortstieber expresses her increasing worry with regard to events in Austria and elsewhere in Europe. A number of undated letters to Lajos Jánossy is also contained in this folder.
439-2-1:2/2
[Letters Written by Gertrud Bortstieber], 1947 - 1959

The folder contains letters written to Lajos Jánossy, Gertrud Bortstieber's son, as well as letters addressed to other members of the family. All these letters have been written after Bortstieber and Lukács's return from Moscow to Hungary. Since, during some of this time, Bortstieber's son Lajos and his family lived in Dublin (until 1950), while Ferenc and Anna and their families lived in Hungary, most of Bortstieber's letters to Lajos are reports on family matters, including on grandchildren György (Gyurkó) and Ilona (Ljenotschka), and about Bortstieber and Lukács's travels to Italy, France and Germany. Of special interest and importance are four letters Bortstieber sent to her family from detention in Snagov, Romania, where she and Lukács had been deported to from Budapest in November 1956.