István Horváth, 1936–1957

Born in Budapest, Horváth completed seven grades of elementary school before being apprenticed as a welder in Csepel (now the 21st District). After that, he had 18 jobs in quick succession, most of them in his trade. In 1953, he was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment for attempting to cross the frontier illegally. The outbreak of the revolution found him in Hatvan (Heves County), but on the morning of October 24, he came up to Budapest to his deaf-mute parents, who were living in Csepel. He heard the speeches the next day in front of the council building in Csepel and then went up to the centre of Budapest to look for his younger brother. Near the Central Market Hall, he met with an armed group that included several acquaintances of his from Csepel. He was given a weapon and was soon taking part in a gun battle near the suburban railway station (9th District). The unit then wanted to impede the advance of Soviet tanks into Kecskeméti utca (5th District), but they did not dare to return the fire from the tanks. In the afternoon, Horváth returned to Csepel, where he joined the national guard. He took part in demonstrations in Csepel and Soroksár (20th, now 23rd District), in rounding up ÁVH officers and in armed clashes with Soviet troops. On November 17, he decided to flee to the West, but he changed his mind on hearing that Pál Maléter and his men were still holding out in the Bakony Hills. He and a few companions set off to join them, but naturally, they were unable to find them in the hills. On December 12, learning that some state security men were staying at a ÁVH holiday home near Bakonybél, they decided to attack the building and disarm them. However, the attack was ill-prepared. When one of them opened fire on the lieutenant who opened the door to them, the others thought they were being fired upon and dispersed. On December 13, a unit of special forces backed by Soviet tanks was deployed to catch them. On the following day, the rebels managed to disarm two finance officers in Bakonyszentlászló, but on December 22, the group was attacked by a special-forces unit and arrested. Horváth was sentenced to death at a summary trial before the Budapest Military Court on January 10, 1957, accused of concealing weapons and ammunition and other charges. He was executed on January 26.

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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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