Dezső Magos (Munk)

Dezső Magos (Munk) (1884-1944)

He was born in Balassagyarmat on 1. March 1884, as child of  Adolf Munk, who was an inn-keeper  and Rezi Straszberger. He died on 10. Juny 1944  in Aszód.

Architect, designer and builder. He graduated as a master architect in 1913. His major works include the town beach, the Country Flag of the Ipoly-Region, he designed the first church of Salesian Order in Hungary. His name is associated with the construction of the City Hall, expansion of several buildings of the Hospital , the construction of the Women' s Psychiatric Ward, the Casino, the Police Department and the Gendarmerie, the Palace of Finance,  the Roman Catholic parsonage, the slaughterhouse, and a pedestrian bridge on the river Ipoly.  He became member of the Chamber of  Engineers in 1930. 


Dezső Magos built several military objects for the Army (Hungarian Defence Force) between the two World Wars with the satisfaction of the Supreme Command (such as the barracks in Rétság and Pétervására and fortresses of the "Árpád Line" in the Carpathian mountains near Kőrösmező (today: Jasyna, Ukraine)). Because of his social sensitivity for his co-workers and his generous financial support, he was widely respected throughout the city. Many young intellectuals were taken up by him and employed in his companies such as  Zoltán Réti the future painter, conductor. 

In the 1920s when he baptized, his godfather was Pál Baross, relative of the former 'Iron Minister' Gábor Baross, brother of József Baross de Bellus, main county head of Nógrád County.  The man who appointed József Baross first to be the deputy county head of the County was vitéz Aladár Huszár de Barát who began his carreer as a hero of World War I and a racialist Hungarian. He became main county head of Nógrád County in 1919  and later mayor of Budapest. He was a confidence man of Regent Miklós Horthy during the failed  attempt to extricate Hungary from the Axis alliance.  From the beginning of the 1940s
he gained  general interest with his declared anti-Nazi publications.  That's why on 16th October 1944 he was arrested by the Arrow Cross and later executed in the concentration camp of Dachau. County-head Baross was also imprisoned to the prison of Balassagyarmat.
József Baross who had very good connections to the highest circles took out the "protection" of Dezső Magos, one of his favourite card partners. According this - although he has wear a yellow star he could walk free and he was exempted from closing to the ghetto.


He was deported despite he was baptized earlier, he gained protection and lived free. József  Kamarás town-historian wrote in his memoirs that at their last meeting Dezső Magos (Munk) told him:  "My friend Jozsi, you know what I did for this city"  On the last day , in 10. Juny 1944 he was dragged together with the jewish community. He committed suicide in the wagon when they reached Aszód.  

Protocol from the trial people's court trial against police clerk Oszkár Óriás (19.01.1946). Part of a testimony (source:  Nógrád County Archives)

"When we were entrained to be deported, they opened our already closed wagon,  they brought the 95-years-old Uncle Schwartz on a litter. We didn't want to give place because the railway carriage was already crowded, [but] he put him with force and told us that is already doesn't matter for us how many we are in a wagon. They closed the door, but after several minutes they opened again,  and brought Dezső Magos and Mrs. Berecki, whose spouses were Christians and they themselves were baptized. We asked don't take them to there because [the] railway carriage was already overcrowded, for this accused answered : for you stinky Jews its already all the same, how you travel.  Mr. Magos and Mrs.  Berecki showed their documents to the accused that they are protected, they don't belong to the deportees, even so he put them in. After this he made the wagon to be closed and this time he closed the door much narrow as it was before  and they left just a very small gap, that we even couldn't take out a small pot on it. I couldn't see who closed our railway carriage after putting Dezső Magos and Mrs. Berecki in, because it was impossible to see through  from the wagon. , but the accused was there.  When they put in Magos and Mrs. Berecki I didn't see any of the German soldiers but the accused."

Today as we know it, in Balassagyarmat there's no streets or other institute which bears his name.  


His main works: 

  •   Public slaughterhouse and ice factory

It was built by the plans of Lajos Szeghő in 1912. The contractor was Dezső Munk.  Later on a storey has been built on it. In the socialist era the slaughterhouse belonged to the PENOMAH (Pest and Nógrád County Governmental Meet Industry Company).  The building is unused since the beginning of the 1990-s, its condition is very poor. 


  • New Roman Catholic parsonage and the Hungarian Crown Pharmacy

It was built by Dezső Munk in 1912 on the place of the old parsonage building  by the plans of professor architect Gyula Wälder.

  • City Gallery (Casino)

Dezső Munk designed and built it to the garden of the former Hotel Casino (later Hotel Ipoly) on the place of the summer building. The construction was completed in 1913. Originally it has an open terrace but later on it has been built-in. After 1945 for several years the building served as the  headquarters of the Communist Party. From the beginning of the 1970s to the spring of 1989 the 'Imre Madách' City Library functioned within its walls. Recently the building is home to a contemporary art exhibition, which was exhibited earlier from 1975 to 1978 in the building of the former County Hall.  The exhibition had been opened again for the public in 1991. Beyond the works of local artists (András Farkas, Ferenc Jánossy, Zoltán Réti) many other significant artists exhibit here (eg. Menyhért Tóth, Ignác Kokas, Vladimír Szabó, László Patay, Péter Földi etc.)


Photographed by: zsalaber (

  • The Munk House

He built this house around 1910 for his family. On its facade you can see the coat-of-arms of his profession. The building is still a private house.


Photographed by: zsalaber (


  • City Hall of Balassagyarmat

The former Hungarian King Hotel had been transformed in 1914 by the plans of Gyula Wälder.  Many sources which are available marks Gyula Wälder as designer of the City Hall, which is true  in a sense that the aldermen of the city accepted his grand plan, but later because of financial reasons the budget must have been trisected so the redesign of the Hotel and the realization became Dezső Munk's job, such as the planning and construction of many other buildings  in the city. (source:


  •   Palace of the State Police Department and the Gendarmerie

It was built in 1928 on the corner of Scitovszky (today Bajcsy-Zsilinszky) and Count István Tisza (today Endre Ady) streets. It functioned for decades as the building of the Police Department, later it belonged to the Border Guards. After Hungary joined the European Union and the Schengen Agreement the border crossing station became no more needed, so the building is recently empty.



  • Monument of the Battle of Romhány

This 8-meters-tall monument which was erected in 1932 stands in a memorial park at the end of the village on the right side of the road which lead to Szátok. On the top of the obelisk there is a turul bird (saker falcon, the most important bird in the origin myth of the Magyars) on its sides you can see the relief portraits of Prince Ferenc Rákóczi II and General Sándor Károlyi  commanders of the Kuruc (rebel) Army.  There is also a plaquet which remembers the 93 Swedish, Polish and French soldiers who were killed in the battle.  The battle of Romhány on 22. January 1710. was the most important event  in the history of the village. This battle was the last significant military operation of the Rákóczi's War for Independence.

 Photographed by Norbert Klúcsik (


  • Country Flag of the Ipoly Region

It was designed and built by architect Dezső  Munk (Magos) in 1933.  The soil below the monument was brought from all of the counties of Hungary. The padestal is made from carved stones from Romhány. In the end of the 1940s it was demolished (the stones was used in the construction of the stairway of the open-air theatre in the City Park. It was the first country flag in Hungary which was reconstructed in 2004 with the contribution of the Order of Vitéz (veterans' groups including knights appointed by Horthy, recently it has been awarded to individuals who have been defenders of Hungarian national interests and culture).



  • St. John Bosco Salesian Institute  - Salesian Church

Dean Vicar Kálmán Jeszenszky recognized first that the settlement of a monastic order is essential for the revival of the religious life of the city.  He chose therefore the Salesian Society. After World War I he moved 30 war orphans in the gendarmerie barracks which was abandoned after 1924 and established the St. Emeric Boys Orphanage. Later after the call of his successor, Pál Kray the first Salesian fathers had arrived at 20. August 1934. Donation of Dr. József  Trikál Papal Prelate made possible to transform the gendarmerie barracks into a boarding-school. In 1935 József Trikál blessed the first Don Bosco Church of the Salesian Order in Hungary which was designed by Architect Dezső Magos.  After changing the political system the church had been re-established in 1992.


  • Balassagyarmat beach and sport pool

It was established in 1934-35 by the plans of the first Olimpyc champion of Hungary,  Alfréd Hajós master-architect  at the western edge of the city opposite  to the slaughterhouse. The contractor of the construction was Dezső Magos (Munk). National tournaments were held in it sometime. After World War II the boards of the former dressing rooms and other buildings were  looted and fired by the population. Today a much simpler row of cabins stands on their place. After several decades of beeing closed few years ago the beach was opened again for the public.

  • Kazár, World War I Heroes Memorial

Sixty seven people joined the army during World War I. Most of them became soldier of the 25 th Losonc (today Lučenec, Slovakia) Infantry Regiment because eastern Nógrád county was the supplying area of that regiment.  You can read the names of those who never returned on the obelisk designed by architect Dezső Magos. It was inaugurated on 9. November 1936. 


  • Rétság, barracks

The barracks which played important role history of Rétság in the 20 th Century was built in 1936. It was one of the most modern barracks in the country then.

  • Pétervására, barracks



  • Kőrösmező, facilities of the Árpád Line

In the Carpathian mountains, in Kőrösmező (today: Jasyna, Ukraine) in 1941 and 1942 workers from Érsekvadkert and local Rusin workers led by architect Dezső Magos (Munk) and master builder István Réti built military objects which were  camouflaged as they were separate wooden houses . They used local materials and local architecture methods for the construction.







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