Sunday, 4 September 2011

Count Adam Karolyi 1917 – 1939

The Karolyi  family have a history that is recorded in an Isle of White newspaper and it is a history that celebrates the personal names and genealogy of the departed as well as the continuing history of Hungary. The newspaper story also mentions the nonagenarian sister of the departed and this reminds us that stories about cemeteries and the departed have to be sensitive about the needs and sensibilities of the living as well as the legacy of the departed.

Glittering visitors to Chale
© Godric Godricson

The story for me in the Karolyi grave is the changing fortunes of human history both in individual terms and in terms of the history of nations. The story is about how we revere the dead and how the burial places of the dead become places of either implicit or explicit pilgrimage for a long or a short time. The graves of Adam and Michael Karolyi were examples of short term 'places to revere'. People visited for a while and even then it was a select few who remembered the Karolyi in England. The family continue to have a significance in Hungary that far eclipsed their identity in the United Kingdom. The Karolyi grave in Chale also says something about the effect on the cemetery, the grave, and even reverence when there are no lineal descendants of the departed to celebrate the memory of the departed, recognise their achievements or maintain the grave.

The Grave of Adam and Michael was a rather wonderful example of glittering visitors to an island parish cemetery normally full of people from the parish of Chale with more links to Hampshire than to Hungary.

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