The newspaper archives of „Délmagyarország”, from which we have already quoted from in various posts, is an unlimited source of everyday life in Szeged all the way back to over 100 years ago, The articles are painting a truly colorful and complex picture of, for example, the paprika decree or of the eternal struggle between local and foreign producers of paprika. But it also covers some criminal stories of the people living in Southern Hungary. In the years before and during the first WorldWar paprika theft was not at all an isolated phenomenon.
Paprika theft in the night
For example, the issue published on November 1st, 1917 quotes: “Paprika theft worth 14,000 crowns”. According to a police report: On the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, unknown perpetrators broke into the warehouse of military agent Lajos Búkor, at Attila Street 11. The culprits forced the roller shutter of the window, then broke the glass and entered the warehouse,where thousands of kilos of paprika were stored in bags. The stolen paprika has an estimated value of some 14,336 crowns. Police has started a thorough investigation to trace the perpetrators. ”
The November date is probably not a coincidence, as by that time all the fresh crop is stored. During World War I a military stock of food products surely offered a great temptation, as it was likely to be more resourceful than that from the yard of any farmer.
A few days later, on November 22, 1917, another incident occurred. This time the victims were paprika producers: “According to police report there were two paprika thefts in the night. For a value of 5200 crowns of sweet paprika was stolen from Szegszárd Józsefné living at the Hajnal-street 52; in the same night 11 pieces of paprika garlands worth 700 crowns were stolen from the house of János Battancs living at Vadkerti square 8. Police are looking for the paprika thieves. ”
A successful detected crime
Although we could not read about the outcome of the above cases, fortunately we learned that three years later (December 25th, 1920) the paprika thieves were found. They are cited in a year-end police report as proof of the prosecutors’ successful work: “There is no major case of investigation, although 8-9 thousand files have been investigated this year. However 80% of the files have been successfully dealt with. Recently, we are catching the trail of the paprika thieves that were active earlier this year. We are satisfied with our achievements. This success is due to the fact that detectives are so ambitious in their work that they can handle even the most difficult tasks under the leadership of department and team leaders. ”
At the Paprika Museum we happily quote from the many historic publications in the Délmargyarország newspaper. For example, another interesting story is about the paprika rebellion. See you next week for details!
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