Centuries - Personalities - Signatures
The Germans required Hungary, as an ally, to provide territory for the German military operations. Additionally, Hungary was promised to get certain territorial gains, which was of high importance for it. Teleki, however, realized that it was an impossible situation to resolve, and since he could not make a moral and political decision, he committed suicide on April 3, 1941.
The most characteristic pictures of the era are the arbitrary and brutal operations of the state security organs under the auspices of the Ministry of the Interior, the Department of State Protection (ÁVO), which was later renamed to State Protection Authority (ÁVH). The methods and tools of the authority, led by Gábor Péter, and its men, reminded the people of the terrors of the Arrow Cross Party in 1944–45.
The person who took a leading position in the era in the party and in the state dministration as well, was Ernő Gerő. As a politician he enjoyed the confidence of Moscow with the same degree or even more than Rákosi. His decisions were not criticized, his reports were not corrected by Rákosi. It can be assumed that in reality he was not the second person in the Rákosi Regime, but the most important right-hand man of the Kremlin in Hungary.
In the trial, Imre Nagy, Miklós Gimes, and Pál Maléter were sentenced to death, and were executed on June 16, 1958. Ferenc Donáth was sentenced for 12 years, Zoltán Tildy for 6 years, dr. Ferenc Jánossi for 8 years, Miklós Vásárhelyi for 5 years imprisonment, and Sándor Kopácsi for life imprisonment.
In all the other cases the People’s Tribunal of the Supreme Court passed sentence on June 15, 1958. Imre Nagy, Miklós Gimes, and Pál Maléter were sentenced to death, Sándor Kopácsi was sentenced to life imprisonment, Ferenc Donáth was sentenced to 12, Ferenc Jánossi 8, Zoltán Tildy 6, and Miklós Vásárhelyi 5 years of imprisonment.
After the reburial of Imre Nagy and his companions, the sentence of guiltiness became unsupportable, thus on the basis of the Supreme Prosecutor’s remonstrance, it was overruled by the Presidential Council of the Supreme Court on July 6, 1989. Symbolically, the date coincided with the death of János Kádár, who condemned Imre Nagy and his companions guilty.
Gorbachev, who has been the Secretary General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union since the spring of 1985, represented the younger generation, a more radical reform line and style in the history of the Soviet Union. In the spring of 1987, the economic and social reforms in Moscow, in the spirit of openness, were the basis of the reform efforts of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party.
In his reply to the President of the Presidency of the Council, Straub F. Brúno, he emphasized that the visit was a great opportunity to encourage the relations between Hungary and the Holy See, and to strengthen Catholic believers in their faith. The visit took place three years later in August 1991. Apart from the visit of Leo IX in Bratislava in 1052, this was the first time that the leader of Catholic Church visited Hungary.
This online exhibition is curated by László Sándor Németh with help of Gergő Paukovics and Ábel Takács.
The content of the exhibition is based on the temporary exhibition "Their Traces: Centuries-Personalities-Signatures", held at the National Archives of Hungary, Budapest from 15 March 2016 to 15 March 2018.
For more information please visit
NYOMOT HAGYTAK | THEIR TRACES