Hungary suffered a lot during the decades of Soviet Communist rule between 1945 and 1989. The country never voted for a dictatorship. Instead, it rejected living in one both in the 1945 and the 1947 general elections. However, nobody could stop the Communists backed by the army of the Soviet Union. And after coming into power, they executed or imprisoned everybody who they suspected of being against their rule.
Many democratic politicians of the short-lived Hungarian democratic attempt after WWII escaped. For example, Zoltán Pfeiffer, Dezső Sulyok, Zoltán Tildy or Margit Slachta left the country – just like artists, scientists, and thousands of Hungarians who did not want to be the slaves of the Communist party.
During the first and cruellest chapter of Communism in Hungary, the Rákosi era, the regime stated: those who were not with them were against them. As a result, everybody could find themselves in prison for even a joke about the dictator. Authorities deported thousands to Hortobágy. They claimed that those people were part of some resistance or counterrevolutionary group. However, many times these families were just members of the middle class. What is more,
in some cases, Communist leaders only needed their house or apartment.
Who suffered the most was probably those whom the authorities brought to the death camp of Recsk, Heves county. The Communists established it on July 19, 1950, following the pattern of the Soviet Gulag. They took there two thousand people between 1950 and 1953. Most of them were political prisoners condemned without a court verdict. They had to work hard all day and received very little food. Therefore, a lot of them died from starvation and diseases, Helló Magyar reported.
The camp was 1,600 metres long and 600 metres wide, protected by a double wire and
watchtowers packed with guards with machine guns.
According to kekesonline.hu, the prisoners had to sleep in wooden barracks both in the summer and in the winter.
The Communists kept the existence of the camp secret. Only two prisoners were able to escape from Recsk. One of them got into Czechoslovakia in August 1950, but he gave himself up after the police arrested his family members. In May 1951, a group of eight managed to get out. However, only Gyula Michnay made it to the West. He told his story on Radio Free Europe, revealed the existence of the camp, and shared 600 of his fellow prisoners’ names on the radio.
Many Hungarians learned from the broadcast that their father, brother or son was still alive in Recsk.
Imre Nagy closed the camp in September 1953, but all prisoners had to sign a document that they would never talk about the death camp.
32 years after the regime change, a memorial park is to be built where once the death camp stood. Ten design agencies submitted their plans, and the jury decided unanimously for the design by Egyheted Stúdió and ZDA-Zoboki Építésziroda. The planned inauguration of the memorial park will be in 2024 or 2025.
One of the most
famous prisoners at the Recsk camp was György Faludy (September 22, 1910, Budapest – September 1, 2006, Budapest),
sometimes anglicised as George Faludy, a poet, writer, and translator.
Source: Helló Magyar, kekesonline.hu