Eszter Leveleki was born in 1917. Her father was a factory director, and her mother worked as a teacher. She studied at the Szent Orsolya College, and in 1936 she started to work at the private kindergarten of Ms Márta Müller Nemes, who in the 1920s worked together with the Swiss psychiatrist Jean Piaget and gradually became one of the representatives of the reform pedagogy movement in Hungary. Leveleki also followed the pedagogical norms of Ferenc Mérei, who was an important figure in Hungarian social psychology. At the time, Waldorf and Montessori were the best-known alternative pedagogical methods.The first summer festival in Bánk was held in 1938 under the name “Joyful Vacation” with Vera Mérei (the wife of Ferenc Mérei). After the communist takeover of the country, Eszter Leveleki was forbidden to work as a pedagogue (“She is inappropriate for the education of the socialist man” according to an assessment made by a representative of the regime). As a result, until 1961 she was unable to work as a pedagogue. Instead, she worked as a manual labourer. The authorities, however, were not able to deprive her of the opportunity to organize the festivals and create and maintain a strong community. Beginning in 1962, she worked at the Pest Megyei Csecsemőotthonok Központja (Centre of Infant Homes of Pest County) with foster children. She did not consider herself a person drawn to theory or abstraction (though she did write some articles), but rather more as an instinctive pedagogue. She retired in 1974 and died in 1991.
- Bódi, Lóránt