MINISTRY OF INTERIOR
Jenő Földesi border patrol major-general
Subject: summary of the secret investigation into individual under code name “Painter”
R E P O R T
On the basis of a licensed proposal we have since August 1979 been conducting a secret investigation to uncover and stop the hostile activities of the artist György G a l á n t a i (xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx), who is not a party member and resides at 68/b Frankel Leó St. in district II of Budapest.
We have established that György Galántai continues to pursue rebellious activities directed against the party’s general and cultural policies. He has consolidated his ties with prominent members of the domestic opposition and offered to assist them in their hostile activities.
He continues to operate and expand his archives established under the title Art Pool with no official permission. To foster the popularity of this – this year too – he produced thousands of new pieces of propaganda material and distributed them to his contacts. The printing work was carried out by his friends working in various state printers using materials appropriated from public property. He paid over fifty thousand forints for this. At present, he maintains contact with some three thousand Western citizens mainly through written correspondence. In tandem with his expansion of foreign contacts he is making every effort to draw in young, Hungarian artists of the fine arts and to consolidate his cooperation with them. Every time he carries out an action he links up with 150-200 Hungarian citizens.
Due to the very deliberately selected themes, his propaganda materials and calls to action encourage participants to produce “works of art”, the hostile content of which is politically objectionable. Consequently, there is an increasing amount of material among the mail sent to the archives with an intended hostile content. In many cases contributors sent in texts, calls for strikes, hostile newspaper articles and pictures sympathizing with public disturbances in Poland and praising the activities of the “Solidarity” movement. In several cases mail has been sent in belittling the leaders of the Soviet Union and of other socialist countries.
In addition to promoting his own activities, Galántai has attracted the attention of his domestic contacts to foreign exhibitions and events and has encouraged them to participate in these. It has been the case that – based on Galántai’s efforts – individuals who have answered his calls for various “competitions” were sent compilations from Western countries with a fine arts content of a hostile nature, and also were offered new opportunities for their “art”. One such example was the propaganda material initiated and propagated by Ruggero Maggi, an Italian citizen, which urged the production of “anti-violence” works of art linked to Poland. Galántai reproduced this invitation and distributed it among his fellow artists.
In addition to continually building up his collection, he has also increased his activities in regard to organizing exhibitions and various actions. He has staged several exhibitions from material collected from both Hungary and abroad. His events continue to contain activities consciously directed against the party’s cultural policies and the manipulation of the jurying of works of art.
From June 15, 1982, György Galántai and his wife went on a month long trip as tourists to Western European countries. He turned to the “Mutual Aid Foundation for European Intellectuals” for help to cover his travel expenses. During his trip, he sought out several individuals with whom up to now he had only maintained contact through written correspondence.
Upon his return home from the West – in order to exploit the experiences he gained there – he set out the aims of his further activities. It is his objective to facilitate “activities directed at artistic rejuvenation and the development of a healthy art circuit”.
Influenced by certain international events, he increased his efforts to build up contacts. He met more frequently with Ottilia Solt and András Nagy, as well as with the other leaders of SZETA (Foundation to Support the Poor), who involve him in the actions of their organization. Upon the request of the leaders of SZETA, he screen-printed materials for them, advised them on how to do printing work, and helped them with the acquisition of certain basic materials. He contributed graphic art works to their planned anthology. His visits with Solt and co – since they live very close to each other – take place almost on a daily basis.
Fired up by the “successes” of the domestic opposition, he is planning the reproduction and distribution of propaganda material that will be similar to a “samizdat office” but will operate “on an artistic basis”. His idea is to make several copies of the “most interesting” materials collected in his archives and to then sell them from his own flat. Initially, he wants to reproduce the material using the screen-printing device and photographic equipment that he already owns.
He supports and promotes the ambitions of those of his contacts who act against official cultural policy and are engaged in hostile activities.
We fundamentally completed the tasks we set in our work schedule.
– We applied a 3/a operative technical tool (telephone bug) in our investigation.
– We maintained a close “K” monitoring [opening and sometimes confiscating mailings] of the individual and his close contacts [...].
– Through the application of “K” monitoring and 3/a operative technical tools [telephone bugs] in our secret investigations under the code names “Studio” and “Initiator,” we obtained some valuable information.
– We carried out continuous preliminary research to find potential agents among his wide range of contacts. We made proposals for examinations to be carried out in regard to six individuals. We personally contacted four of these individuals. We recruited an individual on a patriotic basis with the cover name “Kárpáti”.
– We continued to expand the opportunities to gather information of our embedded patriots under the cover names of “Zoltán Pécsi”, “Kalocsai” and “Győri”. We successfully embedded secret agents with the code names “Erika” and “Gál” employed by the Interior Ministry’s III/III 4-a subdivision. We received information about the activities and plans of “Painter” and his main contacts in due time.
– Coordinating our activities with the competent county departments, we were successfully able to monitor his contacts in the provinces. We established good relations with the III/III Departments of the Police Headquarters in Szolnok and Komárom counties.
– Our work with the III/III-b department of the Budapest Police Headquarters was successful, as it was with departments III/III-2 and III/III-5 of the Interior Ministry.
– We subjected the information received to continual assessment. We have informed the upper leadership of all of Galántai’s hostile activities, plans and actions.
– We have further improved our signalization activity [informing the competent party, state, social and economic organizations about a particular individual’s “actions committed against society”- transl.]. On the basis of an authorized proposal, we carried out signalization in five cases in the first half of the year and three in the second half. Thanks to the information we provided the relevant state and cultural bodies were able to limit and hinder the activities of the individual targeted and his close contacts by the implementation of the appropriate political measures.
In the second half of the year we carried out verbal signalization:
1.) We informed the director of the Arts Foundation of the Hungarian People’s Republic that György Galántai continues to disseminate hostile propaganda material from abroad and encourages his contacts to participate in hostile actions.
– In order to prevent and hinder the hostile-opposition activities of the “Artist” and his close contacts and limit the number of his Western contacts, we have initiated a permanent halt upon approximately five hundred pieces of propaganda material and mail items with hostile content arriving from abroad. We have also suggested the retention of materials in some cases.
The increasingly hostile activities of our targeted individual with the cover name “Artist”, his ever greater efforts to build up contacts both abroad and domestically, and his propaganda material – deceptively sent as official mail – that he has disseminated in large numbers, are impeding our international cultural ties. During his actions he has pursued his activities with foreign individuals who have sent a great many hostile “works of art.” He actively supports the activities of the radical opposition and has participated in some SZETA actions as well as in the planning and writing of their propaganda materials. He is now working on a plan to set up a “samizdat office” with an “artistic” theme.
Due to the intensification and diversification of his hostile activities, we recommend that the operation of the 3/a operative tool (telephone bugging) applied in this secret investigation to monitor the targeted individual be extended to December 31, 1983.
Budapest, December “ ”, 1982
Tibor Horváth police captain
Dr. József Antal police lieutenant
colonel Head of Department
Miklós Jávor major
Head of Sub-division
first deputy to the head of the main division
Registry number: 4/5-1213.
Printed: in 3 copies
– For the file “Painter”
– Táj.alo. [Intelligence subdivision]
Excerpts from Összefoglaló jelentés “Festő” fn. bizalmas nyomozásban [Summary Report of the secret investigation of the individual under the code name “Painter”], BM III/III-4-b alosztály, TH O-19618/2, pp. 91-98 (December 1982), English translation by Krisztina Sarkady-Hart