[Ura-list] In memoriam Mai Bereczki

Johanna Laakso johanna.laakso at univie.ac.at
Tue Jul 31 16:31:50 EDT 2018

Dear URA-LIST Community,

Mai Bereczki, née Kiisk, has passed away today, 31 July, at the age of 89 years. Many Finno-Ugricists knew her as the faithful companion and life-long support of her husband, the late Professor Gábor Bereczki (1928–2012), one of the great Hungarian Finno-Ugricists of his generation, but she also made an important career of her own as teacher, translator, editor and promoter of Estonian-Hungarian cultural relations.

Mai (Maimu) Kiisk was born on 27th February 1929 in Koonga, Pärnumaa. She studied Russian language and literature at the University of Tartu, graduated in 1953 and worked then at the University as a teacher of Russian and Estonian. After marrying Gábor Bereczki in 1957, she moved to Leningrad and then to Hungary, where she at first taught Russian at the then Karl Marx University of Economics. From 1966 on, she was also employed at the ELTE university, teaching Estonian to students of Finno-Ugric studies. She conveyed the knowledge of Estonian language and culture to generations of Hungarian linguists, philologists and translators, edited anthologies of Estonian literature for Hungarian readers, and her cooperation with the poet and translator Géza Képes resulted in numerous Hungarian translations of Estonian poetry. She was also an active organizer of Estonian-Hungarian cultural cooperations and events, among other things, a founding member of the Hungarian-Estonian Soci!
 ety. Her lifelong work at the service of Estonian-Hungarian cultural relations was decorated by both states, with the Golden Cross of Merit of Hungary and the Cross of Terra Mariana.

With the passing of Mai Kiisk-Bereczki, an important part of the history of post-war Finno-Ugric cultural cooperations has irrevocably turned into a beautiful and obliging memory. Those who, like me, were fortunate to meet her and admire her sharp wit and sense of humour, will certainly bow their heads and join in my condolences to her family, friends, colleagues and former students.

Univ.Prof. Dr. Johanna Laakso
Universität Wien, Institut für Europäische und Vergleichende Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft (EVSL)
Abteilung Finno-Ugristik
Campus AAKH Spitalgasse 2-4 Hof 7
A-1090 Wien
johanna.laakso at univie.ac.athttp://homepage.univie.ac.at/Johanna.Laakso/
Project ELDIA: http://www.eldia-project.org/ 

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