Rudolf Földvári, b. 1921

Földvári was born Rudolf Frank into a working-class family in Kispest (now the 19th District of Budapest). His father, a carpenter and woodcarver, found refuge from unemployment in 1925–7 in Turkey, where his family followed him. After finishing upper elementary school, he became an errand boy and semi-skilled worker. In 1940, he received a Chamber of Commerce medal on completing his apprenticeship as a fitter and went to work as a quality controller and then a deputy foreman at the Hofherr factory. Already as a trainee, he had become involved in trade unionism, as the apprentices’ shop steward and treasurer for the workers’ aid fund. He joined the army in 1942. He was taken a prisoner of war at Christmas 1944 and released in the autumn of 1945. In the same year, he joined the Hungarian Communist Party, serving as assistant secretary of his works branch. At the end of 1946, he was seconded to be a propagandist to the district party committee. In 1948, he was appointed head of the propaganda department at the central trade-union federation Szot. His name is associated with introducing the Outstanding Worker medal and organizing the Stalinist Work Competition of 1949. After graduating from the party college in 1951, he became deputy head of the Cadre Department of the HWP Central Committee. At this point, he Hungarianized his name from Frank to Földvári. From 1952 to 1954, he was first secretary of the HWP Budapest Committee and a member of the Central Committee and Political Committee, as well as the Budapest Council. He was a member of Parliament from 1953 to 1957. In March 1953, he was a member, with Mátyás Rákosi and Árpád Házi, of the Hungarian delegation to Stalin’s funeral. On June 13–16, he took part in Moscow in the discussions between Soviet and Hungarian party delegations, at which the Soviet leaders levelled severe criticisms of Hungarian policy. On his return, Földvári briefed Budapest party leaders on the events, and himself criticized the work of Rákosi and the Political Committee. He agreed with Imre Nagy’s government programme and began to work to implement it. This earned him many criticisms from the top party leaders. At the Budapest party meeting of May 1954, which preceded the 3rd Congress of the HWP, several delegates voted against Rákosi. Földvári, as chairman of the scrutineers committee, gave orders that the number of votes against congress delegates should also be published. After that, he was dropped from the Political Committee and posted to the provinces. From 1954 to 1956, he was first secretary of the Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County party committee. On October 24, he supported the demands of the workers at the Dimávag engineering factory in Miskolc and the formation of a workers’ council there. On October 25 and again on November 1, he led workers’ delegation to the government. On October 29, he became a member of the Borsod County Workers’ Council. On November 5, the Soviets deported Földvári to Ungvár (Uzhgorod, now Uzhkhorod) in the Ukraine, from where he returned on November 17. He was then chairman of the county workers’ council until mid-December, and then chairman of the county council until March 1957. He then left Miskolc and took a job as a fitter at the Red Star Tractor Factory in Kispest. On March 15, 1957, he was excluded from the HSWP, and in May he was arrested. On July 18, 1958, the Supreme Court sentenced him to life imprisonment, in what was known as the Borsod County Workers’ Council trial. He was reprieved in 1961. From then until his retirement in 1981, he worked at the Red Star Tractor Factory as a fitter and later as a foreman. In 1990, he initiated the foundation of the Borsod ’56 Workers’ Council Members’ Friendly Society. From 1992 to 1997, he served as chairman of the Imre Nagy Society.

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This page was created: Wednesday, 23-Aug-2000
Last updated: Wednes, 12-Sept-2001
Copyright © 2000 The Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution

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