About me and my historical narrative

Szántai Gábor, in Buda Castle

Politically correct or nationalist narrative?

I think it is necessary to state my position on this issue because I have been accused of both of the above narratives. Someone said that “liberal” or “open-minded” people in the West would label my writings as “another biased nationalist from Eastern Europe,” while another person wanted to sue me for “whitewashing Hungarian history in favor of the Muslims and the post-Trianon states of Central Europe.

Knowing international trends and debates, these sad reactions are obvious results of superficial thinking. Nevertheless, these blatant generalizations and double standards can be easily traced.

Of course, I declare myself innocent of being “politically correct” (wild hypocrite) or an “ethnomaniac” (ignorant extremist). Perhaps my definitions are not precise. In order to understand my views, my readers may find it necessary for me to write a little more about myself:

My background

My late father was from Salgótarján, but he had Slovakian roots. Unfortunately, he never spoke to me in Slovak. His parents were good and kind people, I wish they hadn’t died so young. They had undergone a Hungarozation and changed their name from Sztrázska to Szántai. However, I would never deny my Slovak ancestry.

After all, my mother is Hungarian: her family members had lived in Northern Hungary (today’s Slovakia) since the 13th century and resisted the forced Slovakization in 1946. As a result, their property was confiscated and they were deported to Hungary. As a child, I spent all my school vacations in Czechoslovakia (1974-1990), where I experienced firsthand how the local Hungarians were oppressed and deprived of their human rights regarding their native language and heritage.


During my college years in the 1980s, I traveled extensively in Transylvania and witnessed the darkest years of socialist-nationalist Romania under the dictator Ceausescu. I was shocked to see many evil things being done against the indigenous ethnic Hungarians living there. However, my frequent travels forced me to learn some basic Romanian in Budapest. As time went by, my little knowledge of the language made me realize that the simple Romanian people are not our enemies.

Kolozsvár (Cluj, Klausenburg), the destination of my travels, 1984-1989

Later I got a scholarship in the U.S.A. Soon I was involved in an educational project where our international team tried to establish teacher training schools for national minorities in Slovakia, Romania and Ukraine. The idea was based on a Scandinavian model where the students produce the resources to pay for the school, the so-called “people’s academies” in Denmark. Politically, our future institutions would have been protected by a direct link to the EU and the UN. Our values were based on equal human rights and democratic principles, including mutual respect and tolerance.

I used to live in Denver, Colorado

One of our goals was to dispel ignorance and hatred between ethnic groups by spreading knowledge and conflict resolution so that the nations of the region could unite and work together peacefully. We were against manipulative political instigators who always wanted to use ethnic tensions to increase their power. It is a pity that the project failed.

As a great fan of history, I have invested my energies in reading and researching it. In 2012, I went a step further and started practicing longsword fencing on an amateur level. I hope to enjoy HEMA (Historical European Martial Art) until I can lift my hand.

The picture was made at Visegrád on a HEMA tournament (I used a modern mask, though)

My Hungarian narrative

God gave national diversity to mankind for a reason, and it is good. There is nothing wrong with being proud of our national heritage as long as we do not harm others. As I studied history, I learned that in many cases, love of country was sometimes more important than the language of the inhabitants. The second most important reason, as far as Central Europe was concerned, was religion. Then came language and heritage.

My second PC: a Jornada 720 (made in 2000) and my other sword, made in 2012

In my region there was a historical period when Hungarians and non-Hungarians fought on the same side. At least most of the time. That’s why in my Facebook group there are many Slovakians, Croatians, Serbs, Romanians, Germans and many more children of other nations (now there are about 16,700 people), not to forget the Turkish ones who are also there. They are friends with the Hungarians and they know that the Hungarian-Ottoman wars were basically dynastic wars between the Ottoman sultans and the Habsburg rulers, before the birth of modern nationalism. You can join this group here:


Together we have discussed many “sensitive” points of history, and indeed there are still arguments, but it is a small miracle how well we work things out. The very existence of this group is a living denial to those who wish to attach labels. Sticking labels is easy, but finding discussion is hard.

Here you can read how Professor Fodor Pál summarized different national narratives in his lecture:


Reading my website, you can find stories not only about heroic Hungarians, but also about heroic Slovaks, Serbs, Germans, Irish, Italians, Spanish and even Turks. Among other things, you can read how King Matthias Corvinus knighted his Jewish subjects, how Hungarians sometimes fought against each other. In my book I even wrote down a legend about the Gypsies of Nagyida who bravely defended the castle against the enemy. Look, there are also stories of ladies whose deeds must be preserved:


As for my “national Hungarian narrative,” I would say that I can’t examine history from an ivory tower. I’m a Hungarian, and I can’t pretend to be proud of the deeds of my ancestors, while being fully aware of their mistakes. Nevertheless, I dare say that they paid a higher price than many Western countries in defending Europe against Ottoman expansion. This is not just an assumption, there are facts to prove it. Of course, I can only speak about the Hungarians, but I assume that the people of the Balkans paid a similarly high price. Here is my article on ethnic changes in Hungary due to the Ottoman wars:


I am on the right side in this picture

Other narratives

Almost everyone agrees that the history of the Hungarian-Ottoman struggles is underrepresented and marginalized in the schools of the world, including the popular media, TV channels and the Internet.

In fact, after a careful look at social media and internet sites, I realized that all the other national narratives are quite well represented when talking about the Ottoman wars. The Austrians, the Romanians, the Serbs, and many other nations proudly claim the honor of defending Christianity, while the Turks say how invincible they were. We are lagging behind: surprisingly, there is no Hungarian narrative to be seen in the mainstream (Internet) media. (Except for academic studies, but the common people never read them.) Not to mention the great historical films produced about this period by almost every non-Hungarian.

I thought it would be good to add a Hungarian narrative, so I started my FB page “Hungaries 1632”, which I have currently renamed “Hungarian History 1366-1699”:


In October 2019, I began to rescue my articles from there to my self-hosted website. On Facebook, I post articles on a daily basis. I’d like to draw your attention to the books I’ve now written. You can check out my books on Amazon or Draft2Digital, they are available in hardcover, paperback, or ebook:


or at https://books2read.com/b/boYd81

“33 Castles, Battles, Legends” (Paperback)
“The Ring of Kékkő Castle” (Paperback)

I can only make this content available through small donations or by selling my books or T-shirts. You might find a few interesting items in my Shop:


Available in my shop: https://hungarianottomanwars.myspreadshop.com/

All suggestions, donations, prayers and connections are most welcome. I will not give up, no matter what. I am grateful to my wife for her kind support and encouragement.

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