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News article29 November 2023Directorate-General for Translation3 min read

Temporary paradise – The Balatonboglár “French memorial room” translation project

By Dr. Enikő BENEDEK, Lecturer andTranslation Technologist Course Leader, Eötvös Loránd University, Department of Translation and Interpreting

A photograph of a soldier hoisting the French tricolour on the shore of Lake Balaton greets visitors as they enter the memorial room


Our Master’s students, with French as their main working language, worked on a grand translation project in the spring semester of 2022. The French Embassy, the local council of Balatonboglár and the Hungarian Association of the French National Order of the Legion of Honor and National Order of Merit inaugurated a memorial room in the Fischl House in Balatonboglár. The exhibition is in honour of the French soldiers who fled to Hungary from German prisoner-of-war (POW) camps between 1942 and 1944, and the Hungarian locals who aided them. The presentation of this important but lesser-known episode in the HungaroFrench relations is not only of local historical significance, but also serves to strengthen the two nations' friendship. The documents on display in the permanent exhibit were translated into French and Hungarian by our students.

Balatonboglár, a town of 6,000 inhabitants on the southern shore of Lake Balaton, became a “temporary paradise” for the majority of the nearly 1200 French POWs who found refuge in Hungary during World War II. The 1981 film “Temporary Paradise”, also the title of the exhibition, was the first depiction of Hungary's hospitality and solidarity. The French POWs were given the chance to stay in Hungary until the end of the war, with the Hungarian authorities refusing to hand them over to German forces. Directed by András Kovács, the fictional film, depicting this event was shown at the French Institute prior to the opening of the exhibition. The memorial room in the Fischl House (in an annex to the town hall of Balatonboglár) was set up next to a Polish exhibition with a similar theme. The exhibition encompassed various aspects of life at the time, showing that French soldiers were given the freedom to move around Lake Balaton, take up jobs, while some of them even settled in the country with their Hungarian wives. Besides a number of photographs, the materials also comprise contemporary diaries, extracts, books, press articles, memoirs and written records from private collections.

The materials are arranged chronologically, following the colours of the French flag

The exhibition was opened on 29 March 2022 by Pascale Andréani, the Ambassador of France, Miklós Mészáros, the Mayor of Balatonboglár and István Boros, the chairman of the Hungarian Association of the French National Order of the Legion of Honor and National Order of Merit. Miklós Mészáros highlighted that the purpose of the memorial room was “to commemorate this outstanding example of solidarity”. He emphasized that it was built after ten years of preparation. Ambassador Pascale Andréani thanked the Hungarians for the warm welcome given to the French soldiers and praised the exemplary HungarianFrench cooperation in setting up the memorial room. In his welcome speech, István Boros emphasized the importance of passing on values to the younger generation and expressed that the exhibition aims to fulfil this purpose.

Miklós Mészáros, Mayor of Balatonboglár and Her Excellency Pascale Andréani, Ambassador of France inaugurating the French memorial room called “Temporary Paradise” in the Fischl House on 29 March 2022

Following its public opening, curator Dr. Viktória Müller gave the French and Hungarian guests an engaging tour of the exhibition. The event was also attended by Colonel Dr. András József Balogh, Head of Cabinet, Ministry of Defence, and Lieutenant-Colonel Valérie Trameau-Chabert, Defence Attaché.

Curator Dr. Viktória Müller presenting the exhibited material

All of the displayed material was translated into French and Hungarian by six of our senior Master's students with French as their main working language, within the framework of a guided translation project course. The translations were proofread by András Fáber, conference interpreter, literary translator and university lecturer.

Andrea Hulyák, Liza Julianna Nagy, Katalin Anna Nagy, Kitti Nyírő, Noémi Tamás and Erik Sisa are also listed on the Wall of Honour in recognition of their high-quality contribution.

H.E. Pascale Andréani, Ambassador of FR to HU with representatives of ELTE. From left to right, Dr. Enikő Benedek, lecturer, Noémi Tamás, Katalin Anna Nagy, H. E. Pascale Andréani, Kitti Nyírő, and Dr. Péter Barta, Head of Dpt, Institute of Lg Mediation

The opening was concluded by an informal reception. The language assistance of our former student, conference interpreter Csenge Turi, greatly contributed to the success of the event.

Photos were taken by the local council of Balatonboglár as well as our students and teachers.


Publication date
29 November 2023
Directorate-General for Translation
  • English
  • Hungarian
EMT Category
  • Pedagogical initiatives