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Laszlo Rajk

(1909—1949)


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(b. 9 Mar. 1909, d. 15 Oct. 1949).

Hungarian Communist leader Born of a Jewish family and educated in Budapest, he became a Communist while a student. He joined the International Brigades to fight in the Spanish Civil War, but became a prisoner-of-war and returned to Budapest only in 1941. He then became active as the secretary of the illegal Communist Party until he was captured by the Germans in 1944. Released from a German concentration camp only in May 1945, he soon became Minister of the Interior, in which capacity he organized a terror campaign to facilitate the Communist takeover of the state in 1948. Shortly afterwards, he became one of the first victims of Stalin's purges, despite his previous unstinting loyalty to the despot. Rajk was moved to the Foreign Ministry and replaced by Kádár, and on 19 May 1949 the show trials had been prepared sufficiently for him to be arrested. He was persuaded to admit to false charges, ostensibly for the good of Communism. He was duly sentenced to capital punishment, and executed. The lavish funeral after his posthumous rehabilitation on 6 October 1956 was attended by over 200,000 people, and marked one of the triggers of the Hungarian Revolution.Slánski Trial

Slánski Trial

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945) — Politics.


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