Illyes, Gyula (1902-1983). Born into a sharecropper peasant's family, Illyes knew great privation as a child. His parents sent him to school at great sacrifice, and he justified their effort. He became a leading intellectual during the 1930s, an advocate of the exploration of village life, an effort to show the people of Hungary how poor people really lived. His best-known documentary work, entitled Pusztak nepe (People of the Puszta), was published in several languages and countries.
During the 1930s, Illyes visited the Soviet Union as a guest of the Soviet government. When he returned to Hungary, however, he published critical notes on Soviet agricultural practices, and of the kolhoz-system.
Illyes stayed out of politics in general, except for his advocacy of the peasants' cause. As a consequence, every regime in Hungary paid tribute to his talent as a writer. He was indeed the best-known representative of Hungarian literary life in much of the twentieth century.
In 1955, however, Illyes broke with his stand on politics and wrote a poem that became the rallying cry a year later for the revolution. Entitled Egy mondat a zsarnoksagrol (One Sentence on Tyranny), he painted a terrible picture of oppression that was immediately understood as describing the Rakosi-regime in Hungary. Nevertheless, after the suppression of the revolution, Illyes was left alone by the regime of Janos Kadar (see Kadar, Janos). In the 1960s and 1970s, he continued to be regarded as the grand old man of Hungarian literature.
Illyes Gyula, People of the Puszta ( Budapest, 1967); Aczel Tamas, and Tibor Meray, The Revolt of the Mind ( London, 1961).
Kadar, Janos (Original name: Cservenka) (1912-1989). The illegitimate son of a very poor servant woman, Cservenka joined the underground Hungarian Communist party in 1932 and took the conspiratorial name of Kadar. In 1942, he was made a member of the party's Central Committee and became its first secretary in 1943. In the following year, the German Gestapo arrested him in Hungary, but he survived the war as the highest ranking member of the local communists in Hungary. In the national elections held in 1945, Kadar was elected parliamentary deputy. The following year, he became a member of the Politburo. He was also a deputy secretary of the Central Committee. In 1948, he was appointed minister of the interior, replacing Laszlo Rajk (see Rajk, Laszlo) who was, by then, being singled out for a show trial without his suspecting it. Kadar took an active part in the "preparation" of Rajk after he was arrested, trying to convince Rajk to accept the role of a traitor in the interests of the party. In 1951, however, Kadar himself was arrested and brutally beaten by Mihaly Farkas (see Farkas, Mihaly) and his son, Vladimir. However, Kadar was freed in 1953 and rehabilitated.
In 1956, Kadar was a member of the party's Central Committee and its secretariat. In late October, he replaced Emo Gero (see Gero, Erno) as the general secretary of the Hungarian Communist party. In a speech, he welcomed the revolution and de-