László Iván Kovács, 1930–1957

Born in Debrecen to the family of a clerical worker, Iván Kovács was a student at the Sopron Military Secondary School when he and his father fled to the West in 1944. However, they returned a year later. He completed his secondary education at a commercial school in 1951 and applied unsuccessfully to study law at university. Instead he studied for one year as an evening student at the Budapest University of Economics. As a footballer, he was then employed in various administrative jobs, as a miner and as a sports trainer. In 1951, he became a civilian army employee, but was dismissed in 1953. Iván Kovács took part in the demonstration outside the Hungarian Radio building on October 23 and was a member of one of the delegations that entered the building. The same day, he obtained a rifle in Kálvin tér (5th District) and took part in the fighting in Ülloi út (8th and 9th districts) against the advancing Soviet troops. He was disarmed and detained by soldiers at the National Museum (8th District) on the following day, but released after a short time. On October 25, he joined the Corvin köz group (8th District) and took over command. He made contact with the Práter utca group (8th District), and negotiated at the party headquarters and the Defence Ministry about ceasefire conditions. On October 29, he and a delegation were received by Imre Nagy, to whom he presented the demands of the Corvin köz group: guarantees for the country’s independence, a negotiated withdrawal of Soviet troops from Hungarian territory, an end to the one-party system, and creation of a national guard that included the armed insurgents. Iván Kovács took part, in late October and early November, in several negotiations on forming and organizing the national guard. On November 1, he was dismissed from his command, but on November 3, he was elected onto the committee formed to organize the national brigades. On November 4, he took part in the fighting against Soviet troops, but on the same day he was declared a traitor in Corvin köz and arrested. He managed to escape as he was escorted across to the Kilián Barracks and was in hiding at home until November 10. He then moved to his parents’ house at Alsogöd (Pest County), retaining his weapon. In February 1957, he tried to found an illegal party (the Turul Party, named after a mythical bird of the ancient Hungarians) to preserve the ideas of the revolution. He and his companions prepared leaflets, planned to free Pál Maléter, and tried to make contact with Béla Király. The group was arrested on March 12, 1957. Iván Kovács was sentenced to death by the court of first instance on August 22, 1957, on charges of leading a conspiracy. This was confirmed by the Council of the People’s Court of the Supreme Court on December 27, 1957 and he was executed on December 30.

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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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