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István Debitzky Painter

1913 - 1992

He was born on 2 September 1913 in Sfântu Gheorghe. His father was Béla Debitzky, his mother Irén Salamon. He attended the Franciscan elementary school in Szombatfalva, then the Roman Catholic diocesan grammar school in Odorheiu Secuiesc. After graduation, she is admitted to the Academy of Fine Arts in Bucharest. In five years he obtained a teaching and artistic diploma. He also studies law for two years. He does not get a teaching job and works temporarily for two years as a draughtsman at the Ufarom chemical factory in Kolozsvár. 1931: He paints a lot and soon participates in an exhibition with two watercolour paintings. His painting Funeral is bought by Bishop Dr. Áron Márton. 1935: He is called up for an indefinite period of labour service in Buzeu. He receives the dysentery from his comrades. He lies in a medical barrack without medicine. Many people die by his side, he suffers too, but his will to live triumphs. 1939. He and his wife, Katalin B. Balogh, live together for three years, separated by the war. 1940: He is appointed to the Mikes Kelemen Romanian Catholic High School in Zagon, run by the Piarists of Cluj. 1941: He is called up to the field artillery unit of Field Artillery No. 26 in Szamosújvár. Summer 1942. On 8 April 1944, he is called up again. He is sent to Linz-Ebelsberg. The barracks accommodates 15,000 soldiers. For a year and a half, he works as a prisoner of war at the Hungarian Red Cross and Home Import Government Mission aid station in Enns. He returned home in 1947. He would like to go to Cluj Napoca to be with his family, but the Romanian consulate in Budapest refuses him permission to enter. He tries for weeks. In the meantime, his mother and two brothers settle in Nagykőrös, where he also goes in the summer of 1947, and works as a loader for his brother's transport company. (His father steps on a mine in Pocing, Bavaria, in 1945, and is blown up.) 1947: He is appointed to the Dombóvár Gymnasium, where he teaches art history, drawing and figurative geometry. He meets his future second wife at the Free School of Drawing. On 13 September 1949 he was appointed teacher at the Mechanical Engineering Technical School in Pécs. In August 1950, he is appointed director of the Technical School of Construction. With great rigour, discipline, love and enthusiasm, he begins to lead his school. He also teaches art history, drawing and figurative geometry. Although he is very sad that his painting will be relegated to the background and that he will only be a 'Sunday' painter, he believes in his pupils and even spends his Sunday mornings at school. His school shines with cleanliness, and if someone accidentally drops a cigarette butt, he bends down and picks it up. He remarries on 25 July 1953. His wife, Ilona Farkas, is a textile painter, with whom he lives happily married for 40 years, both of them passionate about art... Besides his pedagogical work, he writes a lot: his articles appear in the Dunántúli Napló, Jelenkor and national journals. He heads the arts section of Pécs Radio. He is the secretary and later president of the county art section of the TIT. For years he has been teaching in correspondence schools in the countryside (Zalaegerszeg, Szekszárd, Kaposvár), and locally in the evening correspondence course in Pécs, and he teaches in four evening courses. He is writing a professional book with his colleagues - Debitzky-Bezzegh-Juhász. He usually gets home after 10 pm. Wins first prize in the István Fekete writing competition with a short "animal" short story. His humorous, hilarious cartoons are performed at the Pécs National Theatre. He writes the novel of his life, full of colour, excitement and beauty. He wants to get it published, but his wish is not fulfilled! 1968: Their survey of the village of Kán wins first prize, and their mixed material on Baranya wins second prize. In August 1974, after 30 years, he returns to Cluj-Napoca to visit the places of his childhood and his happy youth. His first wife died a few years later in Cluj-Napoca. 1975: Retires at the age of 62. He is heartbroken when he leaves his school, almost sick with it. He loved his students and his school with a passion for 25 years. When he says his final goodbyes, he says: "I quit 80 cigarettes a day more easily than I am now parting with my school, my teachers, my students. After that, he worked for 10 more years, until he was 72, as a consultant at the Baranya County State Construction Company. He loves and appreciates working people. He writes regularly in the Baranya Builders magazine. István Debitzky, the artist-teacher, comes from the fairy-tale world of Transylvania. His warm heart, his art, his personality, his rich work shine on the gentle hillsides of Pécs. He loved Pécs, his second homeland, his home, which he called "little" Transylvania, to the point of infatuation. He died of a heart attack on 6 October 1992, aged 79. Fate had given him a beautiful death, it was what he had always wanted. At his funeral, István Durucz, the current headmaster of the school, gave a wonderful eulogy and praised his long life's work. Thousands of friends, pupils and acquaintances paid their respects and accompanied him on his last journey. The heart was broken. He took with him his golden dreams, the magical secrets of the great mountains of his homeland, the beautiful rustle of the pines, the murmur of the streams and the love of thousands of grateful disciples...


1111 Budapest, Bartók Béla 34.
(Gárdonyi tér)

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