4 / 2019

Rolf Müller

The State Security Authority of the Ministry of the Interior – Outlines of the History of the Organisation (September 1948 – December 1949)

The State Security Authority of the Ministry of the Interior (BM ÁVH), working under the direct leadership of János Kádár, was established by a ministerial decree on 10 September 1948. It incorporated several subordinate organs: Passport Control Suborder of the Law Enforcement Department of the Budapest Police Headquarters; Central National Authority of the Ministry of the Interior Controlling Foreigners (KEOKH), border control, air and river border control bodies. The new State Security Authority also gained an own captaincy of guards, which meant that state security guards were organized at different settlements in the country in distinct captaincies. By this organizational structure the leader of BM ÁVH cut out a good portion of field activity from the State Police meanwhile his authority became almost unchallenged.

In this study the author outlined a period of one and a half years from the history of BM ÁVH, showed its institutional changes and the different functions of its divisions. It also identified the leaders of the different divisions. Subsequently, although there has remained a couple of black holes in its history, the inner structure of the infamous authority has been surveyed in its crucial period of Mindszenty and Rajk show trials.

Áron Máthé

Army forces in the interim period (1944–1945) The role of the provisional Hungarian police force units in the laying of the basis of the Communist dictatorship

It is obvious that every occupying army on foreign soil starts looking for local collaborators. Policing is not the most tempting task for soldiers, thus the temporary „law enforcement” units are usually made up of locals. It happened also this way in Hungary from the autumn of 1944 to the end of the campaign in April 1945. But these local militias provided not only police force, but they also took part in the deportations – for beyond the POWs, more the 200 thousand civilians were taken into captivity to the GUPVI forced labour system in the USSR proper. This paper is about the role of the temporary militias and of the transitional authorities, which beside being collaborators of the Soviets to deporting their own compatriots, also played a key role in laying down the foundations of the rule of the Communist Party.

István Pál

New tenant in the Élysée-palace

The French political police with Hungarian eye in years after François Mitterand was elected president

When the MNVK2 – the Hungarian Military Intelligence Organization – compiled its second operative manual on France in 1983, François Mitterrand had already been the forth President of the Fifth French Republic for two years. However, the electoral victory of the French Socialist Party did not match with more lax working conditions for the Eastern Bloc intelligence due to the Mitterrand’s demonstration of allegiance to the United States and the NATO and the emergence of terrorism as well. The general evaluations of the operational situation made by Military Attaché’s Office of the Hungarian People’s Republic proved to be adequate, but the description of the French intelligence and security services were full of shortcomings and despite of the fact that information on this subject in general tended to be more accessible than in Britain or in Italy. P. e. ‘La Police Nationale’, a book written by two retired inspectors named Jean-Pierre Arrighi and Bernard Asso in 1979, revealed the most important aspects on the internal structure of the RG, but the authors of the 1983-operative- manual did not transcend what their predecessors had already reached in 1967.

Gergő Bendegúz Cseh

The functional changes of Historical Archive The possibilities of publicity in the Hungarian secret police archive

The Historical Archives (of the Hungarian State Security) is a national archive in Hungary that has been operating for over twenty years and whose tasks and priorities have been subject to repeated and drastic changes in the course the last two decades. This study summarizes the most recent developments, changes in the legislative environment that determines the activities of the institution, the most relevant tasks we have to fulfil and our answers to the challenges posed by information society. Among the most important tasks the study lays the emphasis on the online research solutions, uncovering of relevant state security records found in foreign archives and traditional or online publication tools and methods. The 2020‒2027 institutional development strategy of the Historical Archives has been accepted and supported by the Hungarian National Assembly, and includes the high-priority tasks. The next seven years of the Archives will be crucial in terms of whether the institution will be able to respond to current challenges and simultaneously fulfill its obligations, and becoming an open state security archive with regard to the documentation of the socialist era, while also complying with strict confidentiality requirements and operating as an authentic national security archive in the course of managing post-1990 documentation.

Balázs Orbán-Schwarzkopf

In the Wake of a Network: Ármin Szóbel and the Ónody Case

The case of Lajos Ónody in 1964 was one of the most well-known economic crimes of the Kádár era, which also reached the political elite. There has been several legends around the story, that’s why it is still difficult to distinguish fiction from reality. In the study the author examines a satellite case, the story of Ármin Szóbel. If he lived nowadays, Szóbel would be called a young manager. He lived in the grey zone of western Hungarian diaspora, but he had also good contacts with the official sport union of the Ministry of the Interior, Újpesti Dózsa. He used his network to smuggle banned drugs to Hungary. Now even the Hungarian counter-intelligence service could, however, unveil Szóbel’s intelligence contacts.

Natália Váradi

Ethnical purge, church persecution in Subcarpathia, 1944–1946

After the arrival of Soviet troops in Transcarpathia, one of the greatest tragedies in the history of Hungarians in Transcarpathia took place. After the II. World War tens of thousands of Hungarian and German people were taken to the Soviet labor camps by the Soviet authorities, where almost the third of the detainees were killed, or died of various illnesses in the camp and the returnees of the so called “small work” were prohibited to share their experiences even with their family and relatives. The Soviet authorities paid no attention to the rights of deportees, to international law or the Geneva Convention. The regime did not spare neither the leaders of the churches nor the priesthood. In addition to ethnic purges, Stalin ordered the complete abolition of the religiosity. As a result of it, many Greek and Roman Catholic priests and Reformed pastor were sent to Forced Labor Camps in the Soviet Union. Many of them never returned home.

István Papp

A bookreview about György Markó – Ákos Sándor – Éva Sz. Kovács: A teniszbajnok. Pétery Jenő és polgári családi élete és viszontagságai a XX. században (The tennis champion. Jenő Pétery and a vicissitudes and life of a bourgeois family in the XXth century)

This book a result of incident and professional historical research. The first steps of the research were inducted by two spectacular photo-collections. These photos depict the every-day life and customs of Pétery-Jeszenszky family in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The fate of family summarizes the most important lines of history of Hungary in the 20th century. The main characters were Jenő Pétery and János Pétery. The first one was famous tennis player and trainer, the second one was a clever and intelligent bank officer, who rescued lots of humans during in time of Holocaust. After World War II both of them had got cruical experiences, because they had to leave Budapest and were deprived of their flats. János Pétery became victim of a false political trial in the 1950’s as well. His brother succeeded to stabilize his moderate life-stlye in the era of Kádár regime, but János Pétery and his family fleed from Hungary after the repression of revolution in 1956. Their fate illustrate the complicated and sad way of Hungarian bourgeoisie in the 20th century. This historical experience effected basically history of Hungary after 1989 as well.

English