War propaganda

The story of private Rácz

A special triangular badge with fine engraved script. You can tell immediately that it was prepared for some important event. Spelling out the caption isn’t difficult: “Ferencz Rácz warrior of the 30th Honv. Gy. Ezr. died a heroic death at Pirie high ground on July 16, 1916, outnumbered in fight by cossacks,.” But the text still referred to an event that took place several times a day for troops in the Army of the Monarchy. Obviously, designers recorded the hero’s exemplary performance to encourage comrades. Then a regimental newspaper was published, the first page of which was decorated with this badge. Better to say not the badge, but a relief, the work of Ede Kallos. The relief that served as model for the badge. Unfortunately, it was not clear from the newspaper whether the relief had been placed in a public place. But the existence of the relief suggested that a significant patriotic campaign had been organized around the death of private Rácz.

The newspaper itself was published towards the end of the war in 1918. This is the 4th number in volume 1. At that time, the 30th Honvéds were held back as police force in the already seething hinterland. Therefore, the publisher of the newspaper operated in Osiek. Then, on the back of the paper, the badge pops up again in the ads. The fund for disabled of the 30’s Honvéd was supported by the turnover of the badges sold. In addition to Rácz’s badge, the ad also featured the “classic” oval regimental badge, which decorated a ring, and the 40th Division’s „Fokos” badge. A needleless, tabbed version of the Rácz badge also occasionally appears on the auction pages. This could be worn as a decoration of watch chains.

The text on the relief depicted in the newspaper of the 30’s is longer and slightly different: “Ferencz Rácz / 30. Honvéd Infantry Regiment / Fought on Pirie high ground with outnumbering Cossacks. He defended his outpost until his last breath.” A short, artistic description of the event can also be found below the picture from Zsigmond Szőllősi’s pen: “The Cossack was too much: the honvéd was just one. But he counted neither the wound he received nor the number of the enemy. Where he was set, there he fought, while giving his shattered body to death, his unbreakable soul to immortality, his name to eternal glory.”

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