Béla Hegedüs



Körmend – Sopron


Hegedüs family in Vas county

János Hegedüs  (1725?-1790?)

János Hegedüs (1763–1803)

Mihály Hegedüs (1797–1827)

János Hegedüs (1819–1870)

→ Béla Hegedüs (1858–1945)

Dr Ödön Hegedüs (1905–1997)





He was born in Körmend on November 26, 1858. His father, János Hegedüs (1819–1870) was the descendant of the Calvinist https://web.archive.org/web/20160720161838/http:/hegedusgyula.hu/Hegedus%20Bela_elemei/image008.jpgHegedüs family of Felsőőr (Oberwart, Austria). His mother was Carolina Margaretha Schricker (1831–1861), who came from a German-speaking Lutheran family in Sopron. Two of Béla’s elder brothers died in infancy, and his brother called Géza died at the age of six. Only a girl and two boys reached adulthood: Karolina, Elek Konrád and Béla Ödön.


We do not know very much about Béla’s childhood. He lost his mother when he was 3 and his father when he was 12. After his parents’ death he was brought up by the Schricker family in Sopron where he had to work as an apprentice in a house-painter’s workshop.


He was enlisted at the age of 20. According to the recruitment records of 1881 and 1882 he served as a sergeant in the 76th Imperial and Royal Infantry Regiment:





Béla Hegedüs took part in the occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1878. He brought a souvenir from Bosnia, and among the family documents there is a letter (written in German) that a friend of his sent him from Sarajevo in 1895.


In 1889 he launched his own house-painting enterprise, which worked successfully for many years. The family lived in a house at 4 Várkerület, Sopron. (The building was pulled down around 2000.) Béla Hegedüs’s name appears in a register of Hungarian business enterprises in 1892. (József Jekelfalussy ed. Magyarország iparosainak és kereskedőinek czím- es lakjegyzéke. Budapest, 1892. p. 593.)


He married Amalia Fridericke Birthelmer (*Brassó, 1872., +Sopron, 1936.), daughter of Peter Birthelmer, a locksmith and oven-manufacturer in Brassó (today Brasov, Romania, German name: Kronstadt), and then in Nagyszeben (today Sibiu, Romania, German name: Hermannstadt). (Peter Birthelmer exhibited a cooking-stove at the Paris World Exhibition.) For the family tree of the Birthelmers in Brassó click here. The marriage was probably the result of their business relationship as Peter Birthelmer opened an office in Sopron around 1890. Below is a photocopy of an invoice he wrote to his son-in-law.


Béla and Amália’s wedding was held in Brassó on November 26, 1895, and they moved back to Sopron immediately. Between 1896 and 1905 Amália gave birth to six children. The first daughter (Margit – “Gretchen”) died when she was three months old, but all the other children (Irén, Ilona, Béla, Gyula and Ödön) lived to an old age. Béla did not only paint walls and doors of houses – as an amateur painter, he painted several flower-pieces and drew a portrait of Bismarck. According to family tradition, he worked for the Prince Esterházy family, and he painted some rooms of the Calvinist church in Sopron in 1928 – the presbytery expressed its acknowledgement in a letter.


Béla Hegedüs compiled a songbook in the 1920s with the lyrics of his favorite songs. Here you can find the lyrics (in Hungarian) and some photos of the booklet.


On January 18, 1936, the Hungarian News Agency MTI reported that the Minister of Industry acknowledged the achievements of Béla Hegedüs house-painter of Sopron “for his industrial activities of several decades”. In June 1937, the national association of Hungarian house-painters held a 3-day conference in Sopron. At the gala dinner of June 28, the national association handed over an honorary certificate to “the six most outstanding house-painters in Sopron”, including Béla Hegedüs. [mol.arcanum.hu/mti]


“On the 40th anniversary of the foundation of his business, his workers present this to their master Béla Hegedüs as a sign of their honor.”


His wife Amália died in March 1936. The painting business suffered from increasing difficulties in the late 1930s. In 1938 he had to move out of the house in Várkerület, and he and his daughter Irén, who had lost her husband, rented a smaller flat in Mikes Kelemen Street.


Béla Hegedüs died in Sopron on December 4, 1945, aged 87. He rests in the Lutheran cemetery of Sopron together with his daughter Gretchen, sons Gyula and Ödön and daughter-in-law.






Béla Hegedüs and Amalia Birthelmer (probably taken at the time of their wedding in 1895)



Béla Hegedüs (1920s)                      Amalia Hegedüs neé Birthelmer

                                                         (*Brassó/Brasov, 1872., +Sopron, 1936.)




An invoce by Peter Birthelmer to Béla Hegedüs Béla from 1898


 https://web.archive.org/web/20160720161838/http:/hegedusgyula.hu/Hegedus%20Bela_elemei/image013.jpg                                                                                https://web.archive.org/web/20160720161838/http:/hegedusgyula.hu/Hegedus%20Bela_elemei/image015.jpg

Christmas around 1914.                                                                                                                     The Bismarck portrait

Amalia Birthelmer, Gyula or Ödön Hegedüs, Béla Hegedüs                                                                  (by Béla Hegedüs)

Irén or Ilona Hegedüs