Kádár István and his Hajdú soldiers, 1658
23 September 1658: the heroic death of the valiant Kádár István and his Hajdú soldiers in the Battle of Berettyóújfalu
Our hero was also called Valiant Kádár / Kádár vitéz. The Hungarian word “vitéz” stands for “a valiant soldier, a warrior” in the English language. It is quite hard to translate it just like the term “Vitézlő / Vitézi Rend” that was the “Valiant Order” to which he and the Borderland warriors belonged. Also, please note that I am using the Eastern name order for Hungarian names where the family name comes first. It was Prince Rákóczi György II of Transylvania who had sent his father, Kádár Mihály, and him to Borosjenő aka Jenő Castle. See the link to the castle:
They were given nobility according to their ennoblement letter made on 16 February 1651. You can see their coat of arms in this document: there is an arm holding a sword, an arm cut off from the shoulder. It indicated the deed of why the nobility was given to the father who killed a Turk warrior in this way in a battle. Their noble pre-name, „of Borosjenő / Borosjenői” shows the place of the deed.
Prince Rákóczi sent Kádár István to defend the crossing place of the Berettyó River in 1658 the time when the Crimean Tatars invaded the country. This ford was near the settlement of Berettyóújfalu. The warriors were ordered to block the crossing of the Tatars who were supposed to arrive from the direction of Várad Castle (now Oradea).
Kádár had 200 Borderland warriors who took up positions at the crossing on 20 September 1658 and were able to repel the Tatars for long days. They fought like Leonidas, opposing several thousands of Tatars but the enemy eventually crossed the river at another place and got behind them on 23 September.
They were surrounded and there was no reinforcement they could hope for. Yet, they fought on and made a last stand.
They all fell on the battlefield, and the head of Valiant Kádár was hit by two arrows. His horse took him and dragged him until Bakonszeg where the burial mounds of ancient Cuman warriors witnessed his death. Fortunately, Kádár was precautious and had sent his disabled father, wife, and his son, György to the Castle of Ecsed before the enemy arrived.
There was a song born about him in the very year of his death, though. It was written by Ködi Farkas János, its title was „The song of Kádár István”. Here are some parts of the song:
„He left the Highlands for us / as he had heard the great ruin of the Hungarians in here / so Kádár István tied his sword for our sake / and he did not much care about his own interest.”
The warrior became a hero among the simple folks and it is worth quoting the last line of the song:
„I will shed my veins for my poor Homeland / then, I will die for my sweet nation.”
The song (and its variants) survived until the first part of the 20th century and was known even among the Hungarian Csángó people who live in Moldova, on the other side of the Carpathian Mountains. But it was known in Somogy County, too.
Now, you can still find the so-called Kádár-mound near Bakonszeg where the hero had allegedly died. There is a well-tended monument on it. Moreover, a Hungarian historical novel was written about Kádár István by Kocsis Csaba, its title is „The road of the Valiant Kádár”.
As for Berettyóújfalu town, it also was a Hajdú settlement in the 17th century, endorsed by Prince Báthory Gábor in 1608.
Later, the valley of the Berettyó River was burned in 1658 by the Crimean Tatars who killed almost everybody there. Those who escaped were killed in 1660 during the infamous raid made by Pasha Sejdi.
My note: I do not see any producers from Hollywood nor Hungarian filmmakers queuing up for the story.
Source: Szibler Gábor
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