Géza Losonczy ( 1917-1957)

Born at Érsekcsanád, Bács-Kiskun County, into the family of a Reformed Church minister, Losonczy studied Hungarian and French at Debrecen University after leaving school. He joined the March Front when still at university. While studying on a scholarship in France in 1939, he made contact with the Foreign Committee of the illegal communist party, which he joined. On his return, he became a journalist on the newspaper Népszava. He was arrested in 1940 and then placed under police surveillance. He completed his university studies in Budapest in 1941, took part in compiling the Christmas supplement of the Népszava, and in the following year, in establishing the Historical Memorial Committee. After the arrest of Ferenc Rózsa and Zoltán Schönherz in 1942, Losonczy went into hiding. In 1943, he and Ferenc Donáth jointly worded the memorandum of the Peace Party as the communist party was known at the time. He married Mária Haraszti in February 1945. In March that year, he became a senior staff member of the communist daily newspaper Szabad Nép. He was elected an alternate member of the Hungarian Communist Party Central Committee in 1946 and a member of Parliament in 1947. In December 1948, he was appointed a state secretary at the Prime Minister's Office, and from 1949 to 1951, he was political state secretary at the Ministry of Popular Education. However, he was arrested on trumped-up charges in 1951 and sentenced to ten years' imprisonment. He was released in view of serious illness in the summer of 1954 and spent a year in hospital and sanatorium. In April 1955, he was rehabilitated. On his recovery, Losonczy became a senior journalist on the newspaper Magyar Nemzet (Hungarian Nation). Losonczy became a leading figure in the party opposition surrounding Imre Nagy. In 1955, he took part in organizing the writers' memorandum, and in 1956, he spoke at the press debate of the Petőfi Circle. Losonczy was co-opted into the party leadership at the overnight session [?& of the Central Committee] on October 23- 4, when he was elected an alternate member of the Political Committee. However, he and Donáth resigned by letter, in protest at the policy being pursued by the Central Committee. Again with Donáth, he demanded at the Central Committee meeting on October 26 that the party should cease to condemn the uprising and conduct negotiations on the main demands of the rebels. On October 30, he joined the Imre Nagy government as state minister, in charge of press and propaganda affairs. He was a member of the seven-man Steering Committee of the HSWP. He and Zoltán Tildy held the government's last press conference on November 3. On the following day, he took refuge in the Yugoslavia Embassy, and on November 22, he and the other members of the Imre Nagy group were arrested and transported to Romania. He was brought back to Budapest in mid-April 1957, and while he was being investigated, the lung disease he had contracted during his earlier imprisonment returned. Losonczy went on hunger strike and began to suffer disease of the nervous system. He would have stood trial as the second accused in the trial of Imre Nagy and his associates, but he died in unexplained circumstances while remanded in custody, before the trial began.

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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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