Dictionary of East European History since 1945

By Joseph Held | Go to book overview
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In the meantime, a campaign was started by a minor figure in the National Peasant party, Imre Kovacs (see Kovacs, Imre), for the expulsion of all ethnic Germans from Hungary. Kovacs was a populist in the 1930s, and he hated the Germans with a passion. In the National Peasant party's newspaper Kovacs wrote that "they (the Germans) arrived in Hungary (in the seventeenth century) with a backpack: now let them leave the same way."

The fact was that ethnic Germans went to Hungary in waves, starting after the expulsion of the Ottoman Turks from the country in 1699 and again during the nineteenth century, at the invitation of various governments and high noblemen. Most of them became assimilated, but they kept their German language. The elite of these people participated in Hungarian politics. Many of them fought in the various wars of independence against Habsburg dominance. Now they were made collectively responsible for Nazi atrocities in Hungary.

The Hungarian communists were reluctant at first to embrace the cause of expulsion. However, they soon perceived advantages in making the Germans scapegoats for the excesses committed by Hungarians against the Jews and against the Soviet people during the war. In 1947, therefore, between 170,000 and 250,000 ethnic Germans were rounded up. They were mostly rural folks who tilled the land or were small craftsmen. They were permitted to carry twenty kilograms of their belongings with them. They were herded into cattle cars with great brutality and deported to Germany. The lucky ones ended up in the Western occupational zones, but many of them arrived in the Soviet zone and remained in East Germany. Their absence certainly made it more difficult to rebuild war-torn Hungary.


Nagy Ferenc, The Struggle Behind the Iron Curtain ( New York, 1948).

Farkas, Mihaly (1904-1965). The least talented, most brutal member of the Hungarian Muscovites who returned to Hungary in 1944, Farkas was born and raised in Czechoslovakia Born a Jew, he renounced his religion and Jewishness and embraced Marxism-Leninism at an early age.

In the 1930s, he emigrated to the Soviet Union, where he joined the group of Hungarian exiles. During World War II, Farkas was a Soviet officer. When he returned to Hungary, he was one of the "four horsemen of the Apocalypse," including Rakosi (see Rakosi, Matyas), Gero (see Gero, Erno), and Revai (see Revai, Jozsef). (The fifth member of the group, Zoltan Vas, was not included by the public in the group.) Farkas became the head of the Hungarian secret police, the AVO-AVH ( Allamvedelmi Osztaly and Allamvedelmi Hivatal), and supervised the Stalinist terror of the late 1940s and early 1950s. Although, ultimately, Rakosi was responsible for the terror, Farkas overfilled Rakosi's orders, and his brutality in dealing with alleged enemies of the communist regime became the norm in the secret police. In 1949, Farkas was appointed minister of defense, but he maintained his relations with the secret police. He participated in the transformation of the Hungarian army on the pat


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Dictionary of East European History since 1945
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