In the eighties, when I started to walk about the city, still there were plenty of them, if faded into the plaster, or shown through the painting. Blown with a cutout pattern or painted by hand, with or without the name of the checking officer, but always with the mandatory formula: ПРОВЕРЕН – МИН НЕТ, checked, mine-free. The most striking one on the left side of the Gothic main entrance of Matthias Church, dated 14 February 1945, one day after the seizure of the Fortress of Buda, apparently repainted in the eighties. Exactly twenty years ago, on the first TV interview of my life I still showed more than a dozen to the crew.
When two years ago I wanted to show them to Wang Wei, there were only two of them left. The Matthias Church has been restored, the corner of Vörösmarty Street at Almássy Square was replastered, the cast stone cover of Csanády Street polished. Only the tenement house of the Ericsson Pension Fund from the 30s at the corner of Hunyadi Square preserved its inscription, as well as the stone virgin shot around at the beginning of Ilka Street, which can be seen only in winter from the bushes covering it.
Yesterday, the first day of the new year I went to take photos in the industrial zone of Kőbánya, at the pre-war Pongrácz worker’s housing estate, next to which I grew up. On entering it, a never seen, yet familiar inscription received me on the side of the first house. As vividly and clearly as if it had just been painted on the bricks: the arch of the window weather-fended it. And as naturally as if it were just one of the many graffitis of the neighborhood. For decades it has been patiently waiting for me to come back and notice it.
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