Pál Maléter ( 1917-1958)

Born into an intellectual family in Eperjes (Presov, now in Slovakia), Maléter studied medicine for two years at Prague University after leaving school. Before the arrival of German troops in Prague in 1939, he moved to Kassa (Kosice) and then to Budapest, where he continued his medical studies, although he was unable to complete them for financial reasons. He then volunteered for military service as a way of obtaining Hungarian citizenship, and in the autumn of 1940, he was admitted to the Ludovika Academy. On completing the course there, he was posted to Kassa, and then in 1944, to the Eastern Front, where he was taken prisoner of war. He then volunteered to fight against the Germans. He was sent to a partisan school and then deployed with a unit in Transylvania in the autumn of 1944. He was given command of the brigade protecting the Provisional National Government in January 1945 and then of the Defence Ministry guard in the spring. He remained in the army, and by 1956, he had reached the rank of colonel. From midday on October 24, 1956, he was on duty at the Defence Ministry. From there, he was ordered by the chief of staff to go to the help of a unit at the Kilián Barracks, with five tanks and the military academy students manning them. Since his was the only tank to reach the building, he received official permission to conclude a ceasefire with the civil units fighting in the area. When the ceasefire expired, Maléter and his men took over control of the buildings surrounding the barracks on October 27 and 28. On receiving news of the ceasefire ordered by the government, he then ceased to fight the rebels and reported this fact to the Defence Ministry. Maléter took part in the surrender negotiations in Corvin köz. At the request of Imre Nagy, he was present at the negotiations in Parliament with the workers' council representatives, and on October 31, he held talks on organizing a national guard. On the same day, he was appointed first deputy minister of defence, and on November 3, the minister, with the rank of major general. Maléter was a member of the team that negotiated with the Soviet army commanders in Parliament on November 3. He and the other members of the delegation that arrived at the Tököl Soviet military base in the evening, to continue the negotiations, were arrested by General Ivan Serov, the head of the KGB. In the trial of Imre Nagy and his associated, Maléter was sentenced to death on June 15, 1958 by the People's Court Council of the Supreme Court, chaired by Ferenc Vida, for initiating and leading a conspiracy, rebellion and treason, with no room for appeal. He was executed on the following day.

Please send comments or suggestions.

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

Top of the page