Vera Harsányi

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameVera•Harsányi (Hartenstein-, -Székely)
Used nameVera•Harsányi
Other namesVeronique Harsanyi
Born12 October 1919 in Piešťany, Trnava (SVK)
Died24 December 1994 in Janvry, Essonne (FRA)
AffiliationsBSE, Budapest (HUN)
NOC Hungary


Vera Harsányi started her swimming career in the colors of MUE and later FTC, while from 1936 she swam in the BSE team. In 1937, she won the Hungarian championship in the 100, 200, and 400 metres freestyle and with the 4 x 100 metres freestyle relay. Her national record of 1:08.8 set in 1937 in 100m was broken only 11 years later, and 2:36.4 in the 200m was broken after 10 years. From 1938, she competed in the colors of MTK.

Harsányi competed in the 1936 Summer Olympic Games, where she was eliminated in the preliminaries of the 100 and 400 m freestyle swimming but finished fourth as a member of the 4x100m relay. Because of her Jewish origin, she gave up swimming in 1940 and turned to her art studies. In 1945, together with her later husband Péter Székely, she designed the insignia of the Hungarian Communist Party.

Together with Székely, she settled in France in 1946. Until the end of the 1950s, she produced ceramics, large-scale carpets, mosaics, and glass windows. From the 1980s, she drew caricatures and humorous illustrations. Later, she created installations and spatial calligraphy, which were often shaped by the locations. Her works can be found in France and in the Museum of Fine Arts.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1936 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) HUN Vera Harsányi
100 metres Freestyle, Women (Olympic) 6 h3 r1/3
400 metres Freestyle, Women (Olympic) 5 h1 r1/3
4 × 100 metres Freestyle Relay, Women (Olympic) Hungary =4