Oral History Center - UC Berkeley Library

Andras Balog: An Interview with Andras Balog

Balog , Andras
Thomas, Virginia
Andras Balog: An Interview with Andras Balog
Andras Balog describes himself as the son of a poor family from the countryside. His mother was a cleaning lady and his father a driver for the Ministry of the Interior, transporting prisoners. Balog became a locksmith, and while working finished high school at night school and by correspondence. He advanced to become a textile machine technician; in that capacity, he traveled all over Hungary and then further east, later moving to Iran, where he taught himself Farsi and English. He was a member of the Communist Party, but began to question Communism when he talked to American soldiers in Iran. Eventually in 1988, he refused to rejoin the party. He also traveled extensively in the West. When his company went bankrupt in 1990, he became a full-time self-employed taxi driver, a job he had done part-time under Communism. As a taxi driver he began working as a guide and then as a courier between the USAID and the American embassy. Slowly he moved into work as a general services assistant for the Peace Corps, as computer network manager for another company after having taught himself computer skills. Balog has insightful assessments of conditions in Hungary today. Although he says he is making enough money to live well, he sees many others who do not have enough. He does not blame Communism or its legacy, but rather capitalist propaganda, which he reports as saying that under capitalism you can do whatever you want. He finds the current political and economic conditions in Hungary lacking in many areas. Discursive Table of Contents: Family background and education—The 1956 Revolution—Various jobs and traveling—Life under Communism—Break with Communism—Work since 1989—Discussion of contemporary Hungary
Subject area(s):
Community and Identity
Interview date(s):
Community and Identity - Individual Interviews
Balog , Andras. "Andras Balog: An Interview with Andras Balog." Interview by Virginia Thomas in 2008. Oral History Center, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2010.