Sándor Rácz ( b. 1933)
Born in Hódmezővásárhely, Csongrád County, to poor peasant parents, Rácz worked in Budapest from 1946, first as a carpenter's apprentice and then as a cooper's apprentice. In 1948, he became a toolmaker' s apprentice at the Standard Electrical Enterprise (later the Beloiannisz Telecommunications Factory BHG), gaining his certificate in 1950. His military service in 1953-5 was spent with the Budapest Signals Regiment. On October 29, 1956, he was elected onto the BHG workers' council and on November 14, into the leadership of the Greater Budapest Central Workers' Council. That evening, he joined the deputation to present János Kádár with the central council's demands in Parliament. He became president of the central council two days later. As the top man embodying the power of the workers' councils, he negotiated several times in November and December with the Kádár government and the Soviet headquarters, pressing for the workers' councils' demands. He was re-elected to the presidency on November 21 and December 6, and played a big part in proclaiming the 48-hour strike on December 11-12. On December 11, he was invited to negotiations in Parliament, but arrested on his arrival. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on March 27, 1958 in the trial of Sándor Rácz and associates; this was confirmed by the Supreme Court on October 24, 1958. He was freed in the 1963 amnesty. He then worked as a toolmaker in the Telecommunications Industry Cooperative. In 1981, he took part for several months in the illegal round-table discussions on the history of the revolution. He was among the organizers of the illegal '56 conference held in the flat of István Eörsi in December 1986. He was sent into retirement in 1987. In 1988, he became a founder member of the Committee for Historical Justice (TIB). He began to take an active part in commemorations to mark the anniversaries of the revolution. On June 16, 1989, he gave an address at the funeral of Imre Nagy and fellow martyrs. He was elected an honorary member of the political party Fidesz (Young Democrats) on its foundation. Rácz stood as an independent in the 1990 general elections but failed to win a seat in Parliament. He was elected president of the '56-ers Association in May 1993.
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