Heresznye
Heresznye border settlement · Heresznye, Hungary
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Second attempt to flee the country

Available in: English | Magyar

László Deres fled the country illegally swimming across the Danube at Mohács in August 1974. He met his expecting wife in Batina. They made it to the Yugoslavian-Italian border but due to exhaustion they gave it up and hitch-hiked back to Letenye. But Laszlo wanted to escape the border again, so he was swimming across the River Drava at Heresznye. “We set off at about 10 o'clock and we lost our way. If you lose your way in the forest at night, you lose it genuinely. You check directions on the map, and in five minutes, you end up going in the opposite direction. I told my mate, 'Hold on! I’m gonna climb up a tree and check where the river is.' I couldn't see a thing. Time for the compass! It showed the opposite direction. Which one shall we trust? 'Let’s rely on the compass!' We walked for less than 20 minutes when I already could smell water, and we actually found the river, too. We crossed it, which was rather cumbersome. The riverbank was quite steep, we could hardly crawl up to the top of it. I had a shoulder bag, with its strap torn, so I could hardly get a grab on it and the current there was strong. My clothes and my documents might as well have been gone. But, after all, we pulled it off.”

László Deres

László Deres

László Deres was born in 1948, in Gölle, Somogy county. His grandparents were farmers and were labelled as kulaks in the Rákosi era. His father worked as a miner in Komló. László completed his secondary school studies in Dombóvár and had been checked on by the AVH several times. He graduated from secondary school in 1966. He, subsequently, continued his studies in a higher vocational school training water experts, but dropped out after the first term. From 1967 onwards he was doing his military service in Taszár as a driver. On completing his military service, he worked as a miner and a driver alternatively. In August 1974 he fled the country illegally swimming across the Danube at Mohács to the other side. Alongside with his expecting wife, he made it to the Yugoslavian-Italian border but due to exhaustion they gave it up and hitch-hiked back to Letenye, where his wife crossed the border check using her passport, whereas he swam across the River Mura at Letenye. He was sentenced to 8 months' suspended imprisonment. In August 1975, he made another attempt swimming across the River Drava at Heresznye. He stayed at a refugee camp in Latina, Italy. He arrived in the United States in 1976 but being unable to overcome his home sickness, he was determined to come back to Hungary. He flew to Rome in 1977 and got to Hungary via Yugoslavia, where he was arrested, and extradited to the Hungarian authorities. He had been sentenced to two years and four months for leaking military intelligence and illegal border crossing. After his release he worked in Komló as a professional driver and hit a drunk man through no fault of his own, who subsequently died of his injuries. As a result, László Deres was arrested and served a 9 month sentence. After being released, he got a job in the mine. Between 1988 and 1990 he worked as a taxi driver, which was followed by a period of forwarding as a truck driver and working as a bus driver. He retired in 2010.

Heresznye

Available in: English | Magyar

Heresznye (Rasinja in Croatian), situated on the border River Drava, is a small village in the southern part of Somogy County. It only has a population of 280 people. There has been a settlement on its territory from the Bronze Age onwards. Its inhabitants have been engaged in agriculture, which is increasingly harder to live off nowadays. The potential of the village lies in its natural environment, as the Danube-Drava Natural Park, famous for its flora and fauna, is located along the white water river.

Heresznye

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Second attempt to flee the country

Second attempt to flee the country

László Deres
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