2015 – Corpse in the Basket-Trunk

Corpse in the Basket-Trunk. The 'Elza the Magnate' Mistery
12 June 2015 - 10 January 2016

Just before World War I broke out, the Budapest public was thrilled by a mysterious murder-case. In the morning of 10 January 1914 the eyes of two carriage drivers were caught by a rum thing on the Buda embankment of the River Danube. A basket-trunk lay on the stairs partly swallowed by the water. The drivers in the hope of some precious loot pulled the basket-trunk ashore. However they were pretty surprised to find a female corpse inside. It took a couple of days the Budapest police could finally identify the dead woman. She turned out to be Emilia Turcsányi from Léva, called Elza the Magnate by the smart society. Investigation soon cleared the identity of the murderers as well. The exhibition, curated by historian Roland Perényi, did not only display the story of this murder case. It reflected on the female roles at the turn of the 19th-20th centuries as well, shedding light on the special relationship between Elza the Magnate and Max Schmidt and offering a follow-up of the murderers’ lives. Furthermore, it also gave insight into the urban legends woven around this criminal case some of which have survived till today.