(born Jenő Reich
, pseudonyms: P. Howard, Gibson Lavery) was a Hungarian
author, science fiction writer, playwright and journalist, who died as a forced labourer during the World War II
. He was born in Budapest
, on March 29 1905
, and died in Yevdokovo
, Soviet Union
(then under Axis
occupation) on January 1 1943
Jenő Rejtő completed his studies at a drama school in 1934, and then travelled throughout Europe. Returning home, he made his living as a playwright, often with great success, such as his operetta Who Dares Wins
Later he started writing adventure novels based on his foreign journeys, which were raised above the mediocre by his inimitable, bizarre sense of humour. His novels parodying the French Foreign Legion, written under the pseudonym P. Howard, reaped the greatest success - some of them being considered science fiction. He also wrote a large number of cabaret farces, and was the editor of the newspaper Nagykörút.
When seriously ill in 1942, Hungarian fascists informed on him as being "a subversive", he was taken from hospital and made to serve in a punitive company of "refractory" soldiers. He died in a labour camp.
His memory is still celebrated at the Budapest cafe
where he was a regular customer.
In 2005 his picture appeared on the Hungarian postage stamp in the series "Great Hungarians".
The original hungarian editions of Rejtő's numerous works - the most famous of which are his Foreign Legion books and his "Dirty Fred" series are in the public domain by today.
English translations of some of his works are available online:
- The 14-carat roadster
- The blonde hurricane