Egy állatkerti karrier
Szombath László 30 éves pályafutása
The Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden is Hungary’s most popular cultural institute. Although several books and articles have been written about the zoo’s collection of animals and plants, it’s historical buildings, very little has been published about its history, leaving many areas of its 150 years history virtually unexplored. As an example, very little is known about the staff of the institute, the men and women responsible for all the hard work behind the scenes to ensure a carefree and meaningful leisure time for the zoo’s visitors.
László Szombath joined to the staff of the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden in the summer of 1925 as a temporary inspector and worked for nearly 30 years for the institute. Rising step by step to higher positions within the Zoo he became one of the most well-known Hungarian zoologist in the field of aquariums, terrariums and ornithology. A talented author, he wrote over 50 articles, with some of them translated and published in foreign scientific journals as well.
Living with his family in a flat provided by the Zoo, the institute’s fate had a strong influence on his life. As a department head László Szombath had an important role in the comprehensive developement program lead by zoo director Herbert Nadler in the 1930’s, but also had to watch it’s complete destruction during the siege of Budapest in the WWII. Szombath’s long service gives us an insight into the appointment and promotion system of the Zoo during the period of Horthy’s regency, while his career after 1945 shows how the institute’s internal managing was affected by the ever changing political situation.