Appendix II

Appendix II

Brief History of Personalities

Ernö Getö, imprisoned in 1919, after the fall of the Kun regime. Fought in Spain from 1936 until the Republican collapse. Went to Moscow and became a Russian citizen. After World War II he returned to Hungary and led the Party until his friend, Rakosi, arrived.

Janos Kadar was born in 1910. His parents were farm workers. He had little education and became a locksmith. At nineteen, he joined the youth movement of the illegal Communist party. Served several short terms of imprisonment. Under the Communist regime after the war, he was made a police officer. His rise in the hierarchy was then rapid. After the merger of the communist and socialist parties, he was made a member of the Politbureau. Two months later he became Minister of the Interior. But in mid 1950 he was dismissed. Nine months later he was re-elected to the Central Committee and the Politbureau. Shortly after this he 'disappeared'.

Bela Kun was a prisoner of war in Russia during World War I. He was released by the Bolsheviks and took part in the Revolution. Author of The Second International in Dissolution, Marxism versus Social Democracy, Lenin on the I.L.P.: published in English by Modern Books Ltd.

Pál Maléter was an officer of the regular army during the inter-war years. In World War II, he was one of Horthy's highly-trusted personal guards until 1943, when he was sent to the Russian Front. He was taken prisoner and soon after joined a Russian-organised brigade of partisans. After a six-months' course he was made commander of a partisan group. In 1944, he parachuted into northern Hungary and fought the Nazis until Russian troops arrived. He rejoined the Hungarian Army in 1945 with the rank of major and then joined the Communist Party. When the Republic was proclaimed in 1946, Maléter was made a lifeguard of its President, Zoltan Tildy. Tildy was arrested in 1948, and Maléter rejoined the regular army. In 1951 he was promoted colonel and put in command of an armoured division. He also was given the task of training all armoured divisions including the training of officer-cadets at the school in Tata. In 1952, he was moved to the Ministry of Defence and at the end of the year he was given the post of Commander, of the Works Brigades.

Imre Nagy was born in 1896, of Calvinist Peasants. He had an elementary education, but became a professor in both Rostov and Budapest and a member of the Hungarian Academy. In 1915 he was conscripted into the Army. Later taken prisoner by the Russians.

He saw the Revolution and joined the Russian Communist Party in 1918. Returned to Hungary in 1921 and worked underground against the Horthy regime. In 1927 he was arrested, but escaped to Austria a year later. He went back to Russia in 1930 and became a Russian citizen. On his return to Hungary in 1944, he became a founder-member of the 'new' regime.

Laszlo Raik was born in 1909, in Transylvania. His father was a cobbler. He joined the Communist Party when a student at Budapest University. At the age of 23, he was imprisoned for his part in a 'Communist conspiracy' at the University. Released and worked for some time as a manual labourer. Fought in the International Brigade in Spain, and was severely wounded in 1937. At the end of the Spanish Civil War he tried to get back to Hungary, via France, but was interned. He escaped from France in 1941, tried to enter Hungary but was arrested and imprisoned. When released he became secretary of the underground Communist Party section in Budapest. Captured by the Germans in 1944 and sentenced to death. The sentence was not carried out, but he was sent to the notorious jail of Sopronköhida and later to a concentration camp in Germany.

After his return to Hungary, at the end of the war, he became Minister of the Interior and was soon dreaded and hated for his ruthless violence. He was arrested on the orders of his 'comrades' in May 1949. His trial began on September 16, 1949. The main charge was that he had been spying for Tito's secret police. But he was also charged with spying for the American F.B.I. and for the Gestapo, with "attempting to overthrow the democratic order of Hungary", with war crimes, sedition, conspiracy, and a host of other charges. He pleaded guilty and was hanged.

Matyas Rakosi was born in 1892. His father was a poultry merchant. When young he decided on a career in the Austro-Hungarian Consular Service. Went to London to perfect his English and worked as a bank clerk. Returned to Hungary just before the outbreak of World War I, joined the Army, got a commission, was sent to the Russian front and was taken prisoner. As a P.O.W. he became an ardent supporter of the Bolsheviks. It is said that he met Lenin in 1918 and that they became friendly. Returned to Hungary in 1918 and worked with Bela Kun. When the Kun Government collapsed, he fled to Austria where he worked for the Comintern.

In 1924 he returned to Hungary to reorganise the Communist Party. For this he was soon arrested by Horthy's police and was sentenced to death. This caused uproar from certain circles in the West and as a result the sentence was commuted to eight years' imprisonment. He was released in 1935, but was later re-arrested and tried for his part in the 1919 revolution. At his trial he gained a reputation throughout the world for being fearless and outspoken.

He and his lawyer - Rustem Vémbéry - used the dock with great skill to accuse the Horthy regime. In doing so, they showed a courage rarely seen in Fascist countries. This was particularly remarkable in Rakosi, who had already spent more than ten years in some of Hungary's worst prisons. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Following the Hitler-Stalin pact, the Horthy regime agreed to send Rakosi (and Zoltan Vas) to Russia in exchange for some flags captured by the Russians in 1849. Rakosi became a close 'friend' of Stalin which added greatly to his 'standing' in the Communist hierarchy.

During World War II, Rakosi organised the indoctrination of Hungarian P.O.W.s and was in charge of Russian radio propaganda to Hungary. He was a naturalised Russian when he returned to Hungary with his Mongolian wife after the war. In Hungary he became one of the most ruthless tyrants of history. Copied Stalin's personality myth-building methods, and was always referred to as "our father and great master. Stalin's greatest Hungarian pupil". On August 11, 1963, Communist Party headquarters in Budapest reported that Rakosi had recently died in Russia.