Krisztián Varga

Hungarian Anarchists in the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939


The study reveals the lesser-known history of the Hungarian anarchist volunteers who participated in the Spanish Civil War. The article examines who our compatriots who joined the anarchists in Spain were, where they came from, and how their biographies fit into the diverse history of the international volunteers of the Spanish Civil War. What was the reason for going to Spain and why did they choose the anarchists?

The second part of my article focuses on the operations of the Hungarian anarchist group in Barcelona and the activities of the Hungarian Anti-Fascist Association of Barcelona. I try to create an image of the aspirations, political orientation, political roles, individual and group motivations of the participants in the Association, and the relationship between anarchist and Marxist Hungarians. In the pile of documents, I try to estimate the number of Hungarians who joined the anarchists and where, when and in which military units these volunteers served. This section also briefly summarizes the causes, the background and the neuralgic points of the political conflicts between the Spanish republican parties and their spillover effects on the community of Hungarian anarchists. Finally, I try to find out how the growing power of the Stalinists and the decline of Spanish anarchism influenced the situation of the Hungarian internationalists, and what happened to the Hungarian anarchists after the final defeat of the republic.

Download Hungarian version

Zsolt Krahulcsán

Anatomy of a meeting

Mark Palmer, the U.S. Ambassador to Budapest and the head of the Hungarian secret services in 1989

Mark Palmer, the U.S. Ambassador to Budapest established special relations between Hungary and the USA with excellent results between 1986 and 1990. He also supported the reform process in Hungary and the transition to a market economy. He had close contacts with politicians of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party and the opposition leaders, and demonstrated the moral and political support the U.S. provided to the opposition’s organizations. He also privately briefed and interpreted the U.S. position on security issues of the state security and internal affairs. These meetings were covered only in short news reports of one or two lines, so even today we know very little about these meetings.

The newly released document helps to clarify the picture that the U.S. Embassy and Mark Palmer himself developed about the true role of the U.S. Embassy in the process of democratic transition in Hungary. The statement describes the meeting with Deputy Minister Ferenc Pallagi on 24 October 1989 and the circumstances of the meeting.

Magdolna Baráth

The Hungarian Veterans’ Association (MHBK) and the Western Intelligence Services

The highly qualified former General Staff officers who remained in Austrian and Bavarian territories after WWII tried to establish contact with the officers of the Western military secret services. This “interest” was mutual, because the Western occupational authorities were interested in obtaining information on the situation in Hungary and the equipment and movement of the Soviet troops stationing there.

Despite the efforts to establish contact with the American and British secret services, the Hungarian Veterans' Association (MHBK)could establish permanent and lasting contacts only with the French services. After the formation of the Hungarian Veterans’ Association in 1949, the connection established with the French intelligence was controlled entirely by the organization. The scandal that broke out in December 1952 ultimately put an end to the cooperation with the French secret service.

The causal relations between the American intelligence services and the fraternal organization remained for a few years, but the latter lost its importance among the new wave of refugees after the suppression of the revolution of 1956.

István Papp

Stories of a mission impossible; A book review on

Bartha Ákos: Törzsökösök, rongyosok, turániak. Németellenes magyar fajvédelem, 1938–1945. [Trueborns, Ragged Guardists, Turanists. Anti-German Hungarian Racialists, 1938–1945] Ludovika Kiadó, Budapest, 2023. 336 p.

The question of fascism versus antifascism was a decisive component in the interpretation of Hungarian political thinking in the era of WWII. The effect of this kind of intellectual tradition has weakened in past decades, but no specific research has been done so far. Ákos Bartha analyzed three important so-called secret social services (Turáni Vadászok, Törzsökös Magyarok, Magyar Fajvédők), which were integrated into the specific world of the Horthy regime, although they opposed the foreign policy of Nazi Germany. These organizations were very close to the official government policy, and their common ideological base was racialism. The race was an uncertain and unclear political category, because it was part of political language of both the political left and right. The author clarified the most important aspects of the racialist social organs: their members wanted to revise the Trianon Peace Treaty and opposed the influence of German foreign policy within the Hungarian political agenda. But this political strategy was an incongruent aim because only Germany was capable of modifying the system created by the peace treaties. Thus, the revision of borders and the commitment to German war policy were in hand in hand. Consequently, the members of these societies could be anti-German and antisemite at the same time, so the strings of the Hungarian political scene were tangled inextricably.

Adrienn Joó

Hunger strike as a crime against the state - recruitment of teachers after 1956

This article is closely related to the author’s field of research, the history of education. As my current research focuses on teachers, the aim of this article is to examine the situation of teachers and teacher trainees after the revolution of 1956. How did the state react to teachers’ actions or non-actions during the revolution? I analysed five of the recruitment files on teachers in the state security files held by the Archives. I attempted to describe the life stories of the persons examined, the circumstances of their recruitment and their work for the state security service.

Ferenc Semsei

The spirit of an era through the lens of Zoltán Enyedi; A bookreview about

Pillanatképek az egykori Csongrád megye mindennapjaiból. Válogatás Enyedi Zoltán fotóhagyatékából. (Snapshots from the everyday life of the former Csongrád county. A selection from the photographic legacy of Zoltán Enyedi)
Szeged, Csongrád-Csanád Megyei Önkormányzat, 2021. 152 p.

Zoltán Enyedi began his work as a photojournalist in the changing economic and political environment of the Hungarian countryside in the 20th century, and his legacy includes photogravures from 1967 to 2000. Enyedi was born on 17 April 1939 in Makó. He first became interested in pastel techniques and then learned the craft from a local photographer. Later, for nearly 40 years, he worked for the Csongrád Megyei Hírlap, but his photos of county events were also published in Délmagyarország. His name is associated with several exhibitions all over Europe. The book under review was edited by Anita Hegedűs, Konstantin Medgyesi, and Péter Sólyom. The album presents the photographer’s collection in thematic and chronological order, while focusing on the events in Hungary from the 1960s to the 1980s.

István Pál

Leaving ones’ native land

Two Israeli public servants as targets of inquiry by the Hungarian Intelligence Service

In the late 1950’s, when the bilateral relations of the Hungarian People’s Republic and the Jewish State improved, the 2nd (Intelligence) Division of the Ministry of Interior endeavored to dynamize its operations in Israel. In order to infiltrate the governmental organizations, the Hungarian Intelligence Service laid all its hope in the recruitment of tax inspector Avni Jakob, who had left Hungary shortly after the Holocaust and police officer Mihaly Koenig, a former member of the Habonim Association, who relocated to Israel in 1949 parallel to the proclamation of the ban on Zionist activities in Hungary. However, the Intelligence Division proved to be oblivious to the two candidates’ tendency to escape from the tragedy of their past and leave their native country behind. The tax inspector was everything but popular in his new environment, while the police officer turned out to be elusive and then stabbed the legation’s personnel in the back by mobilizing either the Shin-Bet or the Special Branch of the National Police Force of Israel.