Dictionary of East European History since 1945

By Joseph Held | Go to book overview

Losonczy, Geza (1917-1958). The son of a Calvinist minister, Lozonczy was educated at the Calvinist College in the city of Debrecen, where he majored in French language and Hungarian literature. Before graduating, Losonczy visited Paris and attended several courses taught at the Sorbonne. While in Paris, he came across a pamphlet written by an obscure communist writer, the later culture czar, Jozsef Revai (see Revai, Jozsef), and Losonczy had the pamphlet smuggled into Hungary.

When he returned to Hungary, he participated in leftist causes. He eventually joined the underground organization of young communists, where he met many of the future functionaries of the Hungarian Communist party. Losonczy was soon jailed for illegal activities. After 1945, Losonczy became an important leader in the youth section of the Communist party. He was deputy editor of the party's daily newspaper and a parliamentary deputy. In 1949, he became secretary to Matyas Rakosi (.See Rakosi, Matyas), the head of the party in Hungary. Nevertheless, Losonczy was suspect in the eyes of the ever vigilant secret police. His time spent in Western Europe was held against him. Soon he was transferred to a meaningless job in the National Szechenyi Library.

In 1951, he was arrested with other leading members of the party, including Janos Kadar (see Kadar, Janos). He spent three years in prison where he contracted tuberculosis. After he was freed, he went through a series of treatments, but his lungs remained weak Imre Nagy appointed Losonczy editor-in-chief Magyar Nemzet, the official journal of the government, during his first prime ministership. Two years later, Losonczy joined a group who wrote a memorandum demanding the democratization of Hungarian politics. He was also a leader of the Petofi Circle, the group of young communist writers who demanded reforms. Losonczy traveled all over Hungary, carrying the message of reform and of a new patriotism to the people. At the outbreak of the revolution, Losonczy joined the group that gathered around Imre Nagy. He was appointed in Nagy's government minister without portfolio. When Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest, Losonczy took refuge in the Yugoslav embassy with Nagy and other government members, and he was detained with them when they left the embassy under the promise of safe conduct.

During the autumn of 1957, Losonczy was brought to Budapest from a Romanian detention camp where the Hungarian officials had been incarcerated and he had been subjected to prolonged torture. Protesting the absurdity of charges, Losonczy began a hunger strike. The secret police tried to force-feed him, but the tube they were using was pushed into his lungs, and he died of suffocation. His murderers have never been punished.


Bibliography

Aczel Tamas, and Meray Tibor, The Revolt of the Mind ( London, 1961); Kovrig Bennett, Communism in Hungary from Kun to Kadar ( Stanford, CA, 1979).

Lukacs, Gyorgy (1885-1971). Lukacs was the son of wealthy, middle-class Jewish parents who participated in the intellectual movements of the early twentieth century. He was a member of the early liberal societies such as the Huszadik Szazad ( Twenti

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