Lajos Gyurkó, 1912–1979

Gyurkó, whose father was a housepainter, was born in Pécs and had five years of schooling. In 1946, he became secretary of the Gyöngyös committee of the Hungarian Communist Party and then joined the army. In 1949, he attended a six-month course for field officers, before being given command of the 1st Parachute Brigade, with the rank of lieutenant colonel. A year later he became commander of the 12th Artillery Division. In 1950, he was sent on an officer’s course, and then to the Voroshilov Military Academy in the Soviet Union, until 1954. On his return, he was appointed commander of the 9th Corps in Kecskemét. On October 24, 1956, Gyurkó announced that he would fight with full force to ensure that the White Terror which followed the Hungarian Soviet Republic of 1919 was not repeated. He threatened to execute soldiers who disobeyed orders. On October 25, the council of officers sent a telegram to the Central Committee assuring the party of the loyalty of the corps. In Kecskemét, 150 soldiers were sent out into the streets with orders to fire to prevent the demonstration planned for the evening. The demonstration was cancelled. On October 27, he ordered a fighter plane to strafe a crowd at Tiszakécske, singing the national anthem: 17 people were killed and 110 wounded. He also ordered low-altitude attacks by fighters on Csongrád and Kecskemét. He and his deputy joined the Soviet troops on October 31. In November 1956, Gyurkó became a member of the new Soldiers’ Council of the Hungarian People’s Army. A unit of special forces he commanded in Eger on December 11, 1956 fired on a demonstrating crowd, causing two fatalities and more than ten wounded. As chairman of the Officers’ Supervisory Committees, Gyurkó played a part in the reprisals after the revolution. His reputation was such that all the accused in the trial of the revolutionary leaders in Békéscsaba withdrew their appeals when they learnt that he would be one of the lay assessors. In 1957, he was head of the training division at the Ministry of Defence, and from 1957 until his dismissal in 1960, commander of the border guards. After that, he was appointed manager of the Pig Fattening Station at Nagytétény and then worked in a filling station.

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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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