Jànos Tardos, a Hungarian journalist, was born in a Jewish family. Both his parents were active Communists in the 1940s. When Janos’s father was arrested, it affected Janos deeply, and disillusioned him about Communist ideals. By that time he had already started travelling abroad. Eastern-bloc inhabitants were entitled to one foreign trip every three years, but Janos’s mother managed to pull some strings so that he could go abroad every two years. In 1981 Janos went to France on holidays and while he was there, he made the snap decision to stay. Nine years later when the Communist regime fell, Janos came back to Hungary.
- Postcard Text
- Dear Mr Tardos, Thank you for your letter that reached me here with some delay. Actually I've been spending less time in Paris lately. I will call you the next time I’m there. With all my sympathy and my great admiration for Hungary.
- Milan Kundera
- In 1989 Jànos Tardos tried to contact the famous Czech writer and dissident, Milan Kundera, for a documentary about the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.
Wedding of Jànos’s friend Marek, in Poland. Jànos Tardos went to Poland several times. It was one of the countries that could be visited with the red "mini-passport" for travel inside the Soviet Union and some Socialist countries. While in Poland he collected samizdats and articles about Solidarnosc to pass around at home.
Jànos with his father, the writer Tibor Tardos, in Paris. Jànos father was a Communist activist in the ’40s, but during the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, he was jailed. Upon his release, he decided to flee the regime, emigrating to Paris in 1963. Like Jànos's father, many intellectuals from the Soviet countries emigrated to Paris at that time.
Jànos (third from the left) in kindergarten. This picture of Jànos was taken in 1959, a few years after the brutally suppressed Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Soviet troops invaded the country and installed a new Soviet government in 1957. The following years were marked by neutralisation of all form of dissent and intense political indoctrination in order to consolidate Communism in the country.
Class of Jànos' younger brother, Tibor. Starting from the 60s, the government of Jànos Kàdàr declared over the period of "consolidation of socialism" followed to the uprising of 1956 and started a period of liberal reforms. Thanks to this relative freedom, Hungary soon became known as "the most cheerful hut in the Socialist camp."
Jànos' French passport, received in 1990. Jànos lived in Paris for 9 years. He received a French passport after obtaining French nationality on January 15h, 1990. Soon after becoming a French citizen, Janos returned to Hungary to participate in regime change as a journalist.