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Today, with the full benefit of hindsight, it would be redundant to write about the inevitability of the Stalinization of Hungary in the post World War II period. But to those who lived through this tumultuous time, it was a period replete with contradiction and uncertainty, when even the most astute political thinkers, such as István Bibó, were unable to predict what was to come. This work will explore Hungary's postwar period through the looking glass of the history and memory of NÉKOSZ, the National Organization of People's Colleges, a short-lived youth movement in postwar Hungary that fell victim to political purges but remains alive today in the memories of many of its participants.

  • Quoted in a paper written by Lajos Turczel in 1940 entitled "Szelekció és a Bolyai-kollégium" [Selection and the Bolyai People's College] found in the archives of Politikatörténeti Intézet [Political-Historical Institute] (PTI) 302.f.1/216.

  • György Aczél was one of the most influential politicians of the Kádár period. During the time in question, Aczél was the man responsible for shaping cultural life in Hungary.

  • In fact, in 1969 Aczél gave permission to publish an article entitled, "László Rajk és a népi kollégiumok" [László Rajk and the People's Colleges] as a tribute to Rajk and the movement but the article never saw print because of a conflict between Rajk's widow and Aladár Mód, one of the contributers. Levente Sipos, "Kardos László visszaemlékezése Rajk László és a népi kollégiumok kapcsolatára." Múltunk (1993), no. 3, 234.

  • Literally, the Communist Party asked Hegedűs on the 26th to write a letter requesting military assistance that was predated to the 23rd when he was still prime minister of the country. This letter was used to justify ex post facto the Soviet occupation of the country.

  • Kardos was lucky to receive only six years. Originally Nagy had wanted to name him Minister of Culture, but Hegedüs convinced him to stick with Lukács. Gyenes was even luckier. He was appointed Minister of Appropriations but was stricken with an illness, taken to the hospital and never got the chance to fill his post. He literally slept through the revolutionary events. Hegedüs 309.

  • The Petőfi Circle was a group of intellectuals who sponsored a series of controversial debates in 1956. These debates, attended by such figures as György Lukács and the former president of Hungary, Ferenc Tildy, were partly responsible for radicalizing the intellectual opposition that led to the revolution. See György Litván, The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 (London: Longman, 1997), 39-41

  • Erwin Hollós, Secretary of the Democratic Youth League, issued the statement in Szabad Nép [Free People] the official daily of the Hungarian Communist Party. For an excerpt of that article see Fényes Szelek Nemzedéke 1374-1375.

  • Fényes Szelek Nemzedéke 1324.

  • According to the testimony of both Béla Korondy and Dr. Tibor Szőnyi, Rajk, as an American and Yugoslavian agent, wanted to use NÉKOSZ to raise a partisan army of kulaks to rebel against the state. László Rajk and his Accomplices Before the People's Court. (Budapest 1949), 157 and 183.

  • The szakérettségis was an educational program created at a time when the Communist Party needed cadres. The program, which replaced the people's college movement starting in 1949, granted high school diplomas and university admittance to students (mostly workers) after the completion of one to two years of study. For more information on this movement see Mária Kovács and Antal Örkény, Káderek (ELTE Szociológia és Szoc-politikai Intézet: Budapest, 1991).

  • Arendt 323.

  • "Fiatal írók memoranduma." For a complete copy of the memo see Megforgatott Világmegforgatók 340-354.

  • See Megforgatott Világmegforgatók 389-402 and "A Politikai Bizottság határozata…" Szabad Nép September 16th.

  • Interview #1, interview by author, 14 November 1999, tape recording, personal collection.

  • Fényes Szelek Nemzedéke 11.

  • Budapest Conference, 11 November 1999, tape recording, personal collection. (Ironically, the speaker's name does not come out clearly on the tape.)

  • She is referring to Gábor Tánczos' survey published in the 1970s. Gábor Tánczos A kollégisták útja 1939-1971 [The path of the collegians 1939-1971] (Budapest: Központi Statisztikai Hivatal, 1976).

  • Andrew Lass. "From History to Memory." in Memory, History, and Opposition under State Socialism. ed. Rubie Watson (New Mexico: School of American Research, 1992) 93.

  • Interview #7, interview by author, 17 November 1999, tape recording, personal collection.

  • A történelem és a hatalom igézetében 6.

  • The Fényes Szelek Nemzedéke work included a number of articles and speeches by leading public figures, like Cardinal Mindszenty, who accused the movement of only accepting those students who have Communist leanings.

  • Interview #1, interview by author, 14 November 1999, tape recording, personal collection.

  • Interview #4, interview by author, 17 November 1999, tape recording, personal collection.

  • Because my friend, György Majtényi, is researching the szakérettségis program, I invited him to participate in the interview. For a brief description of the program see footnote 79.

  • Interview #7, interview by author, 22 November 1999, tape recording, personal collection.

  • She was sent to the Russian Study Camp well after the fall of NÉKOSZ.

  • According to her account, the harvesters were so poor that after they had finished their work, three men shared the two sparrows they had shot earlier in the day.

  • Most likely, she is referring to the historian Kosáry Domokos who sympathized with the revolutionaries.

  • Ibid.

  • Interview #6, interview by author, 22 November 1999, tape recording, personal collection.

  • Interview #6, interview by author, 22 November 1999, tape recording, personal collection.

  • Larry E. Holmes. "The Oral Record and Moscow's Model School No. 25, 1931-1937." Slavic Review vol. 56 no. 2 (Summer 1997) 285.

  • See Antal Örkény. "Social Mobility and the New Elite in Hungary." Social Structure, Stratification and Mobility in Central and Eastern Europe, ed. Rudolf Andorka and Miklós Hada (Budapest: Soros Alapítvány, 1990) 257-267.

  • Interview #5, interview by author, 19 November 1999, tape recording, personal collection.

  • Interview #8, interview by author, 22 November 1999, tape recording, personal collection.

  • He is referring to the Stalinist speeches he made during 1948-1949 that were published in the five-volume collection. Interview by author, 16 November 1999, interview 2, tape recording, personal collection.

  • Interview #5, interview by author, 19 November 1999, tape recording, personal collection.

  • Interview by author, 22 November 1999, interview 6, tape recording, personal collection.

  • Unfortunately, I was only able to meet with those former collegians that had attended people's colleges in Budapest. The people's colleges in Budapest were the most influential and made up about one-third of all the people's colleges and more than half of the university people's colleges. It should also be added that not every collegian was unaccustomed to city life. Sons and daughters of the "progressive" intelligentsia and workers were also accepted into the people's college, especially in the final year (roughly 30% of the student body), see Tánczos 19.

  • Interview #5, interview by author, 18 November 1999, tape recording, personal collection.

  • Interview #3, interview by author, 16 November 1999, tape recording, personal collection.

  • Interview #8, interview by author, 22 November 1999, tape recording, personal collection.

  • The term "silent revolution" was coined in 1937 by the well known populist writer, Imre Kovács, who later became vice president of the National Peasant Party (1946-1947). Dózsa György was the leader of a large-scale peasant revolt in the early 16th century.

  • Initially, the Turul League required all incoming students to prove that both their parents and grandparents were of pure Hungarian blood. One informant recounted to me that this practice became a bone of contention between the Turul League and the people's college. Apparently one applicant, Juszkó József, was barred from the people's college by the Turul League because his name was Slavic. The collegians secretly accepted him into the group and this and other issues led to their break in 1942. József Pál, Interview by author, 16 November 1999, interview 3, tape recording, personal collection.

  • Zsindely was introduced to the collegians through his wife, Klára Tüdős, an "ethnographic fanatic" who became good friends with the group in the 1930s while working at the Region and Folk Research Institute [Táj- és Népkutató Intézet].

  • In the course of a series of Sunday excursions in the Buda hills, a great deal of Marxist literature was made available to these students, such as the Schönstein notes, works of Lenin, the Dimitrov letter, and the influential article written by József Révai, under the pseudonym Sándor Vörös [Red], entitled "Marxizmus és népiesség" [Marxism and Populism]. The later is significant because it was the first positive overture of the Hungarian Communist Party to the Populist writers. For a detailed account of this see Lajos Fehér, Így történt [It Happened Like This] (Budapest: Magvető, 1979), 145-149.

  • The first March Front was established in 1937 by left-wing intellectuals, including Communists, in order to present Hungarian society with an alternative to both Fascism and Capitalism. For more information see, "Mit kíván a magyar nép: A Márciusi Front programja" [What the Hungarian People Want: the March Front Program.] Válasz [Answer] (June 1938), 121.

  • The word nép i can mean either "of the people" or "populist". The Hungarian word kollégium is rather ambiguous and has many meanings. The first definition in the Magyar Értelmező Kéziszótár, and the most appropriate for this study, states that a kollégium is a dormitory that also provides its members with spiritual direction. This, too, is slightly misleading. Not only did the népi kollégiums provide students with spiritual direction, but they also made up self-contained communities that functioned both in and outside the walls of the dormitory. It is also important to note that there were also elementary and lyceum people's colleges. Magyar Értelmező Kéziszőtár (1992), s.v. "kollégium."

  • Antal Gyenes stated that the emotional strength of the practice was so great that some of the serious collegians would "stand up and tear off their clothes like religious Jews at the burial of the dead." Interview 1986.

  • The only reading list that I could find in the archives was from the 1948-49 academic year. The vast majority of the works on the list were written by Marxists, among them were fourteen works by Marx and Engels, ten works by Lenin, five by the Hungarian philosopher György Lukács, four by Josef Stalin, and three by the Hungarian Communist leader Mátyás Rákosi. PTI 302.f.1/173.

  • András Hegedűs explained in an interview that the Communist cell was "rather militant" and "to a certain degree" it "terrorized the rest of the group." In a 1986 interview Antal Gyenes, the first collegian to join the Communist Party, also admitted that the Communist cell manipulated the group. It was a "general law that an organized small group could impose its will on a larger heterogeneous group. The Fascists also were able to do this. It was a rather general rule. We knew what we wanted, and the collegians accepted it, in fact there were only two candidates, one who the Patrons [Pártfogók, i.e., the Institute of Patrons was a governmental organization led by Zsindely] would have wanted and our own candidate who already was a collegian … It was clear that together the entire people's college voted for Kardos, the collegian." Antal Gyenes, interview by István Hegedűs, February 1986, 1956-os Intézet [The 1956 Institute], Budapest.

  • Democracy meant number of things to the group. On the one hand, it meant that each member had the right to express his or her opinions publicly and the right to vote for the principal and other officials of the people's college. On the other hand, in contrast to liberal democracy, it also meant that individual needs often had to be sacrificed for the imperatives of the group.

  • See László Svéd, "A szervezett munkásifjúság politikai tevékenysége és részvétele a fegyveres ellenállásban (1939-1945)" [The Organized Political Activity and Participation of the Worker Youth in the Armed Resistance. (1939-1945)], in Magyarország 1944 [Hungary 1944] (Budapest: Nemzeti Könyvkiadó, 1994), 258. According to the article, over 500 people took part in the demonstration.

  • By then the Communist members were Antal Gyenes, Lajos Fehér, Ottó Tőkés, Gyula Sipos, András Hegedűs, Gábor Kerek, Ferenc Szücs, Sándor Filip, Barló Szabó Ödön, László Komló and most likely László Kardos too. According to the 1971 answers to the questionnaire, most of the other Györiffy collegians sympathized with the movement during this time. PTI 302.f 1/284.

  • Although the Népszava was the organ of the Social Democrats, many of its editors and contributors were Communists. See Lajos Fehér, Így történt [It Happened Like This] (Budapest: Magvető, 1979), 136.

  • For a good account of this conference and the Györffy People's College's part in it, see Szárszó 1943, (Kossuth: Budapest, 1983) and Györffy Sándor, "Szárszótól Szárszóig, 1943-1993" in A népi mozgalom és a magyar társadalom [The Populist Movement and Hungarian Society] (Budapest: Napvilág, 1997) Kardos' quote taken from former p. 232.

  • Gyenes interview.

  • In the case of Antal Gyenes, Ferenc Zsindely and Fisher-Keresztes eventually negotiated for his release after he was tortured and spent several months in prison. Other students, like András Hegedűs actually escaped while being transported to a prison workshop. See András Hegedűs, A történelem és a hatalom igézetében [In the Enchantment of History and Power], (Budapest: Kossuth, 1988), 72-76.

  • This was part and parcel of the Communist Party's Popular Front tactics whereby the Party sought to create a united front, or the illusion of a united front, and at the same time infiltrate the other parties with crypto-Communists, i.e., those members of the Communist Party who hid their party allegiance and joined other parties. For an account of this particular organization see Hegedűs 72, and the interviews of Antal Gyenes and Sándor Györffy. According to Sándor Györffy, the organization did function in a popular front manner until the non-Communist members left the organization. Hegedűs also emphasized that the organization remained democratic until György Nonn was sent by the party in 1947 to create a more hierarchical institution. Hegedűs interview 90. I believe a strong Communist influence was present in the organization from the outset and that is why youth leaders from other parties eventually left the organization and formed their own youth movements.

  • In the interest of creating an image of a popular front, the Communist leadership encouraged many collegians to join the National Peasant Party instead of the Communist Party. In his interview, Antal Gyenes states, "Naturally in the life of every Györffy collegian, he or she came into contact with Communist ideas, ideology, viewpoints and the process of becoming a Communist, at the same time, in the interest of legality we often had to deny this fact in front of the outside world, our organization and even between each other. This process continued even after the war as well, when most likely 70 percent of the collegians were members of the Communist Party. Révai nevertheless, was right to slow down our entrance into the party." Antal Gyenes, interview by István Hegedűs, Budapest, Feb. 1986, 1956-os Intézet [The 1956 Institute].

  • Fényes Szelek Nemzedéke 364. Corroborating Gyenes' account, Sándor Györffy, who joined the Peasant Party as a crypto-Communist, stated that, "there was an agreement between Kardos and Révai, and perhaps Sipos was also involved. In other words, [Révai and] the two people's college principals made an agreement that the majority of Györffy collegians would join the National Peasant Party, because it was important then that the Communist Party have an ally in the National Committee." Interview conducted by István Hegedűs April 1988 found in the archives of the 1956 Institute.

  • András Hegedűs, interview by Zoltán Zsille, in Élet egy eszme árnyékában [Life in the Shadow of an Idea] (Budapest, 1989), 79. In hindsight, it is now known that the quick and comprehensive land reform program, ostensibly championed by the National Peasant Party, was decreed without debate in parliament at the insistence of Marshal Voroshilov, head of the Allied Control Committee, as a temporary tactic to gain public sympathy for the war that was still being waged in the western part of the country and to gain mass support for the Communists.

  • József Pál, Interview by author, 16 November 1999, interview 3, tape recording, personal collection.

  • Élet egy eszme árnyékában, 79-80.

  • For the complete article see Fényes Szelek Nemzedéke 517-518.

  • For some pros and cons see Fényes Szelek Nemzedéke 1192-1196; 1454-1472.

  • No one to my knowledge has analyzed the emotive role played by the repetition of singing political songs and the contribution it made to the strengthening of Communist ideology. In the people's college, this type of propaganda attained a populist flavor and was central to the formation of collegian identity. The memoirs of one student of worker pedigree reads, "Around 8 o'clock everyone gathered to sing, usually this was accompanied by folk song lessons. They even explained the contents and type of songs they were. My first experience with this group folk lesson came as quite a shock … There were singers who believed in Kodály['s emphasis on folk traditions] who came and taught us folk songs and other singers as well. Perhaps [it was a shock] because it was the first time that I had experienced adults, or near adults, take folk songs so seriously. They were so aware of the contents, the melodies. I would say that these evenings of folk singing developed a cohesion between us, and the sense that we are the people. All of these folk songs were taken from our native land and we learned the songs. We also sang revolutionary songs … All of us believed in the contents of [the NÉKOSZ anthem] "Hey, our banner blows …" It would have given strength to our rags and poverty had we not believed in the future." Gabriella Ősz's unpublished memoirs. See the text of the NÉKOSZ anthem at the beginning of Section I in this work, esp. the last line, "For tomorrow we will overturn the entire world!"

  • For example, the Zalka Máté People's college list of speakers for the 1947-48 academic year included such figures as Géza Hegedűs, Ferenc Erdei, József Darvas, Miklós Vásárhelyi, András Hegedűs, and Aladár Mód. Fényes Szelek Nemzedéke 1048-1050.

  • The account was found in the memoirs of Gabriella Ősz.

  • Some of the questions asked in the summer of 1946 were, "Can you go to hell if you swear?"; "What do you know about the populist writers?"; "What is a reactionary priest?"; "Who are the Communists and what do they want?" Fényes Szelek Nemzedéke 943-944.

  • László Svéd, Megforgatott Világmegforgatók [World Overturners Overturned] (Budapest: Political-Historical Institute, 1994) 74.

  • Sándor Pető's diary entry PTI 302.f.1/184. The Four Hundred Year Struggle for Independence was written by the Hungarian Communist Aladár Mód.

  • This seems to be the exception rather than the rule, especially with people's colleges located in Budapest and other major urban centers. According to several of the people I interviewed, the degree of Communist dogmatism varied extensively from college to college.

  • István Bibó, "Értelmiség és szakszerűség" [Intelligentsia and Professionalism], Demokratikus Magyarország, (Budapest: Magvető, 1994), 341.

  • Ignác Romsics, Magyarország története a XX. században [The History of Hungary in the 20th Century] (Budapest: Osiris, 1999), 321.

  • There are some exceptions. For instance, as we shall see later, Gyula Sipos risked his position on the editorial board of the journal Új Hang [New Voice] because of his participation in the distribution of a memorandum on the re-establishment of NÉKOSZ. That is, after it had already been liquidated by the Hungarian Communist Party.

  • According to the NÉKOSZ statistical survey conducted in March 1948, 37.8% of the officials (principals, dormitory supervisors [nevelőtanárok], and secretaries) were members of the Communist Party, 25% were members of the National Peasant Party, and 20.5% were not members of any party, 8% were members of the Social Democratic Party and the remaining 8% was unknown. Moreover, 73% of the student body was not affiliated with any party. In what appears to be a stark contrast, the survey taken in September 1948 states that 140 of the 180 principals and dormitory supervisors [nevelőtanárok] were members of the Communist Party. In the period when the second survey was taken, the NÉKOSZ leadership wanted to prove its Communist credentials. However, the disparity between the two surveys is not as great if we consider that the National Peasant Party was little more than a sister party to the Communist Party, the members of the non-affiliated leadership were likely to be sympathetic to the Communist Party, and that the second survey does not take secretaries into account.

  • The prime minister of Hungary at the time was Ferenc Nagy of the Smallholders Party.

  • It is revealing that in the November 1946 exam entitled, "Who are the enemies of the people?" the Györffy collegians consistently labeled reactionaries, kulaks, priests/church, capitalists, bourgeoisie, the Smallholders Party, and those Social Democratic and Peasant Party politicians, like Károly Peyer and Imre Kovács, who did not acquiesce in the demands of the Communist Party as being the enemies of the people. PTI 302.f.1/40 ő.e.

  • On the similarities, he wrote that "we [also] agree that the lengthy oppression of the Hungarian peasantry and workers is a crime. No matter what the cost, we should not shrink from bringing them to power and we should give compensation for the past twenty years of anti-peasant, anti-worker political and economic discrimination." Megforgatott Világmegforgatók 199.

  • MAKE was established in September 1946 by the Smallholders Party, and DOKOSZ was established in May of 1947. Megforgatott Világmegforgatók 178.

  • This further strengthens the argument that the movement was under the influence of the Communist Party more than has been previously admitted. Unlike NÉKOSZ, these alternative people's college movements were unable to secure the financial resources necessary to operate effectively. Although there are very few available documents that describe how the movement was funded, it is reasonable to conclude that the Hungarian Communist Party financed the movement. The Hungarian Communist Party, by virtue of its relationship to Soviet officials and the Supreme Economic Council had access to a huge supply of funds. According to published documents, only one quarter of the five million five hundred thousand forint budget of 1946-47 came from state coffers and almost half the budget was financed by so-called "public support." The Hungarian Communist Party was the only party with the capital to finance such a large operation. For information on the NÉKOSZ budget see Fényes Szelek Nemzedéke 688 and for a list of companies that supported the Zalka Máté People's College see page 1020.

  • It is difficult to establish from the available documents how this merger actually transpired. In the case of DOKOSZ it appears that negotiations were held between Révai and Social Democrat representatives and it was up to Zoltán Vas, as head of the Supreme Economic Council, to approve the transfer of state funds to DOKOSZ: Apparently this did not happen and the Social Democrats were forced, due to lack of financial resources, to give up their people's colleges. See Megforgatott Világmegforgatók 193.

  • For example, according to the principal of the Zalka people's college, the collegians were "not normal university students" as "60 percent took part in youth politics [ifjúságpolitikában]" in the school year of 1947-1948. Fényes Szelek Nemzedéke 1132-1133.

  • Arendt writes, "For the front organizations of sympathizers are not less essential to the functioning of the movement than its actual membership. The front organizations surround the movements' membership with a protective wall which separates them from the outside world, normal world; at the same time, they form a bridge back into normalcy, without which the members in the pre-power stage would feel too sharply the differences between their beliefs and those of normal people, between the lying fictitiousness of their own and the reality of the normal world. The ingeniousness of this device during the movements' struggle for power is that the front organizations not only isolate the members but offer them a semblance of outside normalcy which wards off the impact of true reality more effectively than mere indoctrination." Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Harvest Book, 1973) 366.

  • József Molnár, "Nyílt levél az iskolák államosítása ügyében" [Open Letter on the Nationalization of Schools], in Népi Kollégista [People's Collegian] (1948) June 4, no. 164, 1.

  • By the last year, the journals were completely Stalinized. For example on March 9th, 1949 the Népi Kollégista published this note, "Dear Comrade Mátyás Rákosi, Budapest. NÉKOSZ would like to express its warm thanks to Mátyás Rákosi on the occasion of his 57th birthday. Comrade Rákosi's foresight has shown our movement the proper path and life, the example of his battles teaches us and raises our collegians for self-sacrificing work. We hope that he leads our people on the victorious path to the building of socialism for decades to come. The NÉKOSZ Leadership." Népi Kollégista, (1949) April, 3. See also, "Épül a Szovjetunió", "Ilyen a Szovjet Munkásifjúság", "Mátyás Rákosi: Építjük a nép országát", "Éljen a Szovjetunió ifjúsága! A Komszomol dalai", "A kommunista nevelésről", "Stalin: Lenin", élt, Lenin", "Pavlenko: Boldogság" in Népi Kollégista (1948-1949) and "Makarenko a fegyelemről" and "Részlet Makarenko "Új ember kovácsa' című könyvből" from Március Tizenötödike.

  • The "janissary" label was applied to the collegians on a number of occasions. The term was first used by Béla Lázló in connection with the Györffy István People's College in his September 1942 article "Should we raise the peasantry for the lords?" [Neveljen-e a parasztság uraknak?] and Gyula Illyés in his articles "Heroes and Janissaries." [Hösök és janicsárok] In their articles both authors warned the collegians against becoming the "janissaries of the middle class." see Fényes Szelek, 129-130. Then, in August 1946, Halassy Nagy József attacked the collegians for being the janissaries of the Communist Party. ibid., 580-581. After a speech given by Sándor Karácsony, a NÉKOSZ teacher, in January 1947, a person from the crowd accused the people's colleges of raising janissaries. ibid., 698. Finally, the label was well used by the Communist Party during the show trials. This time the collegians were labeled the "the janissaries of Tito."

  • It is revealing that religion and Communism are compatible to Pető. In other excerpts, he admits that he is religious, but opposed to reactionary priests. In one such entry, his own god-mother would not let her daughter visit him because he accused one priest of being a reactionary and refused to kiss his hand. Pető writes how he still believes in God but does not respect some priests. Later, in a letter to Kardos, Pető defends his sister's choice to join the nunnery. PTI 302.1/184

  • Note: this is the same person who had the portrait of Horthy on his office wall.

  • Other "Communist" projects were more successful. NÉKOSZ developed strong relationships with neighboring Communist movements, especially with the partisans in Yugoslavia. In 1947, NÉKOSZ organized a Vasvári Brigade of over one hundred collegians and sent them to Vojvodina to assist the partisans in the rebuilding of their railroads. Perhaps as a token of his gratitude, Tito spent time with the Györffy collegians during his 1947 visit to Hungary.

  • Train-like public transportation that takes passengers to and from the suburbs of Budapest.

  • Ibid. 1135. The person is most likely referring to the 1947 national election.

  • Kardos' recollections quoted in Fényes Szelek Nemzedéke 1245.

  • György Lukács, "A fordulat problémái" [The Problems of the Transition] Fiatal Magyarország. June 28, 1948.

  • Fényes Szelek Nemzedéke 1259.

  • Svéd 244.

  • Kálmán Rem's diary entry from the Lajos Kossuth People's college in Miskolc. PTI 302.f. 1/99

  • All but one of the persons I interviewed told me that they do not attend these meetings. Either they did not agree with the group's politics, did not have faith that anything good will come out of the meetings, or simply did not want to participate in "remembering the olden days, just like a high school reunion" or adopting the attitude of "old nostalgic men, the 'Oh, how good it was' attitude." Interview #4, interview by author, 17 November 1999, tape recording, personal collection. Interview #8, interview by author, 22 November 1999, tape recording, personal collection.

  • Pál Teleki (1879-1941) was a major political actor in interwar Hungary and a notable geographer as well. He was prime minister in 1920 and in 1941 when he committed suicide in protest of Hungary's participation in the attack on Yugoslavia.

  • Mihály Farkas and József Révai were among the four most powerful Hungarian Communist leaders at the time. Farkas was the infamous secretary of the Ministry of Interior who was held responsible for marshalling the police in support of the Communist Party. Révai directed the press, propaganda, and intelligentsia of the Communist Party.

  • It was not uncommon for people to be awarded a prize or promotion and then arrested for activities against the state. The same thing happened to Rajk before he was executed as a Titoist-American spy.

  • Judging from the summer schedule and the required reading list, it is clear that the NÉKOSZ leadership took the criticisms of the Communist Party seriously. All of the reading sources were written by Marxists, the vast majority being works by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. (21 out of 40) PTI 302.f.1/63.

  • One of the collegians was even shot and killed by the Arrow Cross in the closing months of the war. Out of the fifty or so students, 20 received Hungarian Freedom Virtue awards from the Hungarian government, see Fényes Szelek Nemzedéke 354.

  • This account seems to me to be the most convincing. Unfortunately, I could not find evidence to corroborate or dispute her testimony. Interview #4, interview by author, 17 November 1999, tape recording. personal collection.

  • In the elementary and lyceum people's colleges a teacher was chosen to be principal by the central leadership and was not selected by the collegians themselves. This work will focus on the university people's colleges because they were more actively involved in the day-to-day decisions of life in the people's college and took part in politics on a national level. According to the people I interviewed who attended a lyceum, besides the singing of revolutionary songs and occasionally marching in demonstrations, they did not participate in political activities. Still, the internal structure, i.e., student-run cooperatives and the népibíró, was the same.

  • According to Iván Vitányi, Antal Gyenes had approached Kardos the day before and said, "Be prepared, tomorrow we will expel you." Iván Vitányi, Interview by author, 18 November 1999, tape recording, personal collection.

  • Although it is not in the scope of this work to analyze how ideology and pragmatism coexisted in the minds of the Communist leaders, both György Lukács's and József Révai's speeches represent how ideological criticisms were often orchestrated for practical aims during the Stalinist period. [emphasis mine] Fényes Szelek Nemzedéke 1270.

  • All of these men were active politically in the Communist Party after the war. Lajos Fehér went on to become one of the architects of Kádár's economic reforms (NEM), Sándor Zöld, who became the Minister of Interior in 1950, committed suicide during the Stalinist purges. Both Donáth and Losonczy filled important political positions in early 1950s - Donáth was the president of the Secretariat of Central Leadership, and Losonczy was head of the Szépirodalmi Kiadó [Literature Press] - when they were imprisoned during the Stalinist purges. Later, they played leading roles in the 1956 revolution. As a result, Losonczy died in prison before his trial in which he would have been put to death, and Donáth received a long prison sentence only to be released in 1960.

  • Interview #4, interview by author, 17 November 1999, tape recording, personal collection.

  • The village explorers were a group of populist writers and other academics who in the mid-thirties published ethnographical studies of village life in Hungary.