Jewish–Hungarian Conflicts and Strategies in the Béla Kun Regime: a Review-Essay of “When Israel is King” (Part 2 of 5)

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The restlessness of the Jews in Hungary, especially after the “emancipation” of 1867, took on increasingly radical forms because, while some of them saw a future in Zionism, others saw an opportunity not in the creation of Israel, but in the transformation of their host society according to their own needs. As a result, by the end of the nineteenth century, and especially in the early twentieth century, a number of subversive trends, defined in opposition to traditional Hungarian values and character, attracted Jews as a bloc. These included the psychoanalytic movement, Bolshevism, or so-called civic radicalism, with the Galileo Circle as one of its flagship movements, or in artistic areas, for example, the avant-garde Eights (Nyolcak; seven of the eight were Jewish). It was really just anti-traditionalism, thus to call it liberalism would be a mistake, since (as we have seen before and will see below) it had good connections to dictatorial and dogmatic Communism. It is not surprising, then, that the Bolsheviks of Béla Kun simply came to power with the help of such “Social Democrats” and Galileists.

In connection with the manifestation of liberal, or then patriotic, posturing among Jews, Győző Istóczy (1842–1915), a member of the Diet, explained in 1875 what was at stake decades before the Galileists presented themselves as progressive while working with the Bolsheviks: “The greatest self-mystification, therefore, is to believe seriously in the liberalism of the Jews. It is the caste-like element which, by its compact advance, crowds out and eradicates all foreign elements from all the spaces in which it has been able to establish itself—which, by its angular habits, erects an impenetrable Chinese wall between itself and the other elements, habits which, at the same time, express, in most cases, a deep contempt for other elements . . . which, claiming for itself the most extreme demands of tolerance, is itself the most intolerant element imaginable—and which uses liberalism as a means of turning its caste into an agrarian oligarchy” (Istóczy, 1904, 4–5). He added: “by waving the banners of liberalism and democracy, he entrenches himself in all circles where the interests of his caste are in view, and once warmed up in those circles, he begins the operation of driving out the foreign elements” (ibid., 9). Later, on March 11, 1880, he said: “it is my conviction that the Jews will only feign attachment to the Hungarian state spirit and the Hungarian nation as long as the Hungarian element in this country is supreme. Let us lose this, and Jewry will immediately turn its back on us, and even turn against us, as it turned its back and turned against us when the national cause was lost in 1849” (ibid., 80). He was boldly prophetic.

Hungary Transforms

The authors of When Israel Is King, the book at the heart of our present study, the Tharaud brothers, reach the Aster Revolution of 1918–1919 in their story: “Under the auspices of Count Karolyi, a National Council had been formed at Budapest, which claimed to have taken the place of the regular government. This council decided in a secret sitting that it would rid itself of the only man capable of opposing its designs,” and then, with József Pogány-Schwartz (1886–1938) in the lead, “they waited for a favorable opportunity. During the night from October 30th to the 31st, 1918, the revolution prepared by Karolyi and his friends broke out at Budapest” (Tharauds, 2024, 53–54). Pogány-Schwartz  (AKA, John Pepper, was an ethnically Jewish communist who later became an administrator of the Comintern in the USSR.

In connection with the shooting of Prime Minister István Tisza (1861–1918), the brothers mention that “[o]f the five ministers who had taken part in the Imperial Council of July 7th, 1914, he was the second to die by the hand of an assassin. Count Stürgkh, prime minister of Austria, had fallen before him, shot by [Friedrich] Adler, the socialist Jew. Russian Prime Minister Pyotr Stolypin (1862–1911) had a similarly Jewish assassin in 1911, in the person of the anarchist-socialist Dmitry Bogrov (1887–1911), and later the Tsarist Romanov family was executed under the command of the Jew Yakov Yurovsky (1878–1938). Although Tisza’s murderers were probably not Jewish, he was also carried away by a revolutionary fervor that was, to a great extent, Jewish.

In the meantime, a group of Bolsheviks was waiting in the wings, eager to take advantage of the “civic” class as a battering ram. As András Simor (1976, 23–24) outlines in his work, on March 24, 1918, a Hungarian Communist group was formed in Soviet Russia, working alongside the Central Committee of the Communist (Bolshevik) Party of Russia. The leaders were Béla Kun-Kohn, Tibor Szamuely-Szamueli, Ernő Pór-Perlstein and Endre Rudnyánszky. Through Farkas Lebovitz and Ernő Bresztovszky, Szamuely then established contacts with Ervin Szabó-Schlesinger, thus giving a foothold to Leninist Bolshevism in Hungary. The people named here were almost all Jews, with the probable exception of the Freemason Bresztovszky and Rudnyányszky. They had to wait a little longer for their time, but they had every reason to be optimistic, as the Tharaud brothers point out:

In this setting, the Russian revolution appeared as the dawn of that great evening which Israel has awaited for centuries. Tentative as it still was, Kerensky’s revolution opened up prodigious horizons for those Jewish imaginations, who only understand working at a gallop. With the knowledge they possessed, placed in direct contact with their Russian brothers by that long river of Judaism, which passing from Petrograd, by Bielostock, Vilna, and Lemberg, comes down to Budapest, they knew well that it was only a beginning, that the movement would not end there and that in the northern plains unheard-of upheavals were preparing, of which the effect, overflowing the Russian frontiers, would extend to the whole of Europe and upset the entire existing social order from top to bottom. At least, that was what they hoped. (Tharauds, 2024, 68)

The French brothers recall that Károlyi’s seizure of power (with Jews behind him) had carved a revolutionary crack in the Hungarian establishment, and they were already preparing to use this crack to tear down the walls completely: “The next day [late October] there began to appear on the walls enormous posters, imitated from Russia, which, under the Bolshevik regime, were to cover the whole town with bloodred color and with outrageous symbolism” (ibid., 79). Here the Jewish artist movement took its share of the responsibility for the visual part of Bolshevik propaganda, for example, by some of the members of the Nyolcak (Eights) group, of whom Bertalan Pór, Róbert Berény, Béla Czóbel, Dezső Orbán, Dezső Czigány, Lajos Tihanyi and Ödön Márffy were all Jews, the exception was only Károly Kernstok. The Kun regime supported the group, and had they had the time, they would presumably have included the Jewish group in their cultural policy (Rockenbauer, 2018); after all, they financially supported the Berény’s school which was committed to Bolshevism (Barki, 2018).

Posters of Bertalan Pór-Pollacsek, János Tábor-Taupert, Mihály Bíró-Weinberger and Róbert Berény-Bakofen for the Soviet Republic on May 1, 1919. (Published in Rockenbauer, 2018)

It took only a few months for the Bolshevik Jews to simply take the keys to the door of power from the “social democratic” and “civic” Jews without any specific struggle. As Dávid Ligeti (2019, 30) points out, “in essence, there was no turning back since November 1918: the Bolshevization of the country had already begun.” These Bolsheviks were in direct contact with the Soviets, and the government “became a satellite of the Moscow party centre in the strictest sense of the word,” Ligeti (ibid.). Ligeti  also emphasizes that this was foreign to Hungarians: “Without the social and economic crisis caused by the Great War, the establishment of the Soviet Republic would have been unthinkable. The majority of society was not Bolshevized. In fact, the new state power was based on a relatively narrow, mainly urban population. The fact that the regime wanted openly and completely to abolish the old social order met with open opposition, especially among the peasant classes, so it is no accident that the more important counter-revolutionary cores were established in the countryside.” (Ibid., 31) Traditional Hungarians, on the other hand, were the opposite of metropolitan, urban Jewry, broadly speaking.

The Tharauds touch upon this process also:

When they had finished drawing up this manifesto, Kéri [Kramer Pál] and Kunfi [Kohn Zsigmond] returned to Karolyi. He had with him his two special secretaries, Simonyi [Henri] and Oscar Gellert [Oszkár Gellért], both of them Jews. Whether it was due to the nonchalance of a great seigneur, or on account of a conscientious scruple, or a supreme regret for his loss of power, Karolyi did not himself put his signature at the foot of the document. Simonyi signed it for him. It was these four Jews who put an end to the Hungarian Republic and stifled the last efforts of Karolyi’s ambition. (Tharauds, 2024, 119)

Cécile Tormay described it as follows:

In the ceremonial hall of the Hungarian parliament, Lenin’s aide could comfortably unfurl the flag of Bolshevism, sound the alarm of social revolution and proclaim the coming of the world revolution, while outside in the Parliament Square, accompanied by Oszkár Jászi, Márton Lovászy and Dezső Bokányi announced to the people that the National Council had proclaimed a republic. Mihály Károlyi also gave a speech at the resting place, on the stone steps. And down on the square, Jenő Landler, Jakab Weltner, Manó Buchinger, Vilmos Böhm and Mór Preusz praised the Republic. … There was not a single Hungarian among them. And that was the confession of everything! Above, the mask: Mihály Károlyi, below, the real face: an alien race that made its dominance known. (Tormay, 1939, 182)

Lajos (internationally, Louis) Marschalkó (1903–1968), an expert on the influence of Jewry, reacts to Tormay’s comment in his classic work, Országhódítók: “And indeed, it was no longer Bolshevik, Socialist or Marxist rule, but alien racial rule over Hungarians,” and he adds:

Because what happens after March 21, 1919, is not Marxism, not Communism, but a new form of occupation on a “Socialist” basis. But the people who are carrying out this conquest, while proletarians from Dob Street, Nyíregyháza or Kolozsvár, but they are just as much Jews as Ferenc Chorin or József Szterényi. Yes! They will intern the “big Jew” as a hostage if they have to, but the aim is still domination of the Hungarian people. Not in the form of Capitalism, but in the form of “Socialist” world redemption. (Marschalkó, 1975, 180)

The March 21 resolution proclaiming the merger of Social Democrats and Communists was signed by Jenő Landler, Jakab Weltner, Zsigmond Kunfi, the above-mentioned József Pogány-Schwartz, and József Haubrich on behalf of the “democrats”—all Jews, except Haubrich, who is also said to have been a Jew, but it is not certain. The signatories representing the Communists were: Béla Kun, Béla Szántó, Béla Vágó, Ferencz Jancsik, Károly Vántus, Ede Chlepkó, Ernő Seidler, József Rabinovits (Böhm, 1923, 248–249). Jancsik was not Jewish, Vántus was rumored to be, but I know of no proof of this. According to this, of the 13 signatories 10 (perhaps 12) were Jewish—76.9% (or 92.3%). However, similar proportions are found not only for the signatories, but also for powerful establishment figures, as will be seen…

Ágnes Szokolszky (2016, 27. ) concludes that “[r]adical intellectuals, many of them of Jewish origin, were attracted to social reforms and became leaders in the liberal and the communist governments,” and that “Jewish involvement in the short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic was significant: the great majority of people’s commissars (ministers of the communist government) were of Jewish descent — among them Jenő Varga, an economist and psychoanalyst, who was commissar of finance, and philosopher György [Georg] Lukács, who was commissar of culture.

Measures were taken with an iron fist, including  hostage taking from the civilian population and daily executions by revolutionary tribunals to prevent counterrevolutionary attempts.” The author also points out, in the context of the second Communist regime later, that “[t]he majority of the communist leaders, including the secret police, were of Jewish origin, including Mátyás Rákosi himself. On ground that the Jewish population was exempt from the infection of fascism, people of Jewish origin were trusted by the Rákosi regime and were often put in leading positions.” (Ibid., 38). (Rákosi was a prominent commissar in the Kun government and led the Hungarian government from 1947–1956).  The latter point is revealing, and it is worth recalling what Rákosi himself said in connection to this, for he believed that many Jews joined them not because of their commitment to the Communist principle, but rather because they wanted to gain power: “A new danger is the emergence of Jews who are returning home, who were previously in the workers’ regiments and are now returning home. They are pretending to be born anti-fascists, joining our party. Almost without exception, they have no idea of Communism, but they are intelligent, skillful and soon they are gaining a leading influence in the villages and small towns and in the police.” (quoted in Pünkösti, 1992, 215). Rákosi worries that this threatens the system, and complains that they are considered anti-Semitic because they sometimes expelled Jews who are not partisan enough, but what is important for us here is what this shows: power, not principle, is what drove many Jews.

A newspaper celebrates the new “Hungarian” Bolshevik government, whose personnel kept changing, but in this installation, 14 of the 19 are Jews – 73.6% (gentiles: Garbai, Nyisztor, Vantus, Dovcsák, Bokányi)

The Tharauds (2024, 105) then portray Béla Kun: “sometime after Kerensky’s revolution he became a friend of the famous propagandist Radek, whose real name was Zobelsohn, now a great personage in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs at Moscow, and who was at that time employed to make Bolshevist propaganda among the prisoners.” They describe that Kun was sent to Hungary with money and other supplies to incite the revolution, and that Böhm and Kunfi later visited Kun in prison, after he was arrested: “Böhm and Kunfi went to visit Bela Kun and the other incarcerated Communist leaders in their place of arrest. Laszlo, Korvin-Klein, Rabinovitz, etc., were among the number, all Jews. They caused their friends to be appointed directors of the prison so that the prisoners presently found themselves in fact the masters.” (Ibid., 111) About the establishment of the Bolshevik government, the brothers also write:

Bela Kun conferred the presidency of it upon Alexander Garbaï, an entirely obscure personage, but who had, in Bela’s eyes, the advantage of being a Christian and so masking the Semitic character of this Communist movement. Of twenty-six commissaries, eighteen were Jews: an unwarrantable number, if one considers that there are only 1.5 million Jews among the twenty million inhabitants of Hungary. These eighteen men took the direction of the Bolshevist government into their own hands; the others were mere figureheads. (Ibid., 120)

They bitterly add that “[a]fter the dynasty of Arpad [Árpád], after St. Stephen [István] and his sons, after the Anjous, the Hunyadis, and the Hapsburgs, there was a king of Israel in Hungary today.” (Ibid.) But here we have hit on an important point: Garbai’s appointment was indeed made to be window dressing for an essentially Jewish regime—a common tactic in Jewish intellectual and political movements (MacDonald 1998/2002).

Sándor Garbai’s Compass for Posterity

Thus Sándor Garbai was chosen because he could comfortably fit behind the real leader. In the minutes of the Revolutionary Governing Council, at the beginning of the regime, Vilmos Böhm suggests, openly speculating, that three non-Jews should be appointed to the administration of the capital: Ágoston, Bokányi, and then “a third, an iron worker, should be appointed also; if we form this leadership in this way, we would have a body which is also Jew-free” (quoted in Imre & Szűcs, 1986, 277).

Sándor Garbai (1879–1947) was used only as a mask, and the originally social-democratic politician later looked back on the Bolshevik period rather bitterly. István Végső, a historian, examined the 1172 pages of memoirs written by the former Shabbos goy, who was living in France at the time, for a planned biography and compiled a selection of them a few years ago, focusing on his memories and comments about the Republic and Jews. As Végső (2021, 33) points out, “Garbai was already suspected of having anti-Semitic views between the two world wars. In addition to anti-intellectualism, Vilmos Böhm also sensed ’not without reason’ anti-Semitism in Garbai’s post-1919 manifestations,” and that “1918–1919 was a watershed period in Garbai’s thinking. Apart from a few cases, his thinking before 1918 clearly diverges from that after the Soviet Republic” (ibid.). Indeed, Végső also notes that “[i]n the text, prejudice not only appears but is a constant feature. Its anti-Communist and anti-Jewish sentiments are blatant in the context of the labour movement” (ibid., 44), so Garbai’s insight outlined below is automatically “anti-Semitic” according to the historian, even though it often expresses positive and concerned feelings towards Jewry. Presumably, without such value judgments the collection would not have been published. As Végső points out, “[i]n a good part of the world, political parties after 1945 clearly refrained from anti-Semitic statements, but Garbai’s attitude remained unchanged” (ibid.).

Finally, Végső describes how Garbai recalled why he was appointed President in 1919: “The Board of Governors moved to appoint the President of the Board of Governors. Béla Kun stood up and proposed me as chairman. The reason was that Garbai was a worker, non-Jewish, a social democrat, experienced in the presidency. We communists also support him.” (Quoted in ibid., 104) Later, Garbai notes: “After the Governing Council was formed, Kunfi objected to the fact that there were many Jews among the People’s Commissars. This, he said, gave a bad impression on the Hungarian community. This proportion should be reduced, because 20 of the 28 Commissars are Jews. Kunfi’s comment caused consternation, but the majority argued that this aspect could only be honored later. For the time being, let the work begin with those appointed” (ibid., 106). The majority therefore thought that the large number of Jews was not a problem and that the programme should go ahead. 105 years later, we now know the result of this.

Sándor Garbai (1) with Béla Kun (2) on March 23, 1919.

Writing in Paris on April 6, 1946, Garbai recalls the first days of his regime, and in it the former president shares important observations with posterity:

In the evenings, we often went downstairs to the restaurant where we had dinner and watched the new functionaries who were looking after the cause of Hungary and the fate of the Hungarian people. I must confess, I was amazed at the mass of people that surged up and down the hall. Every day, nearly three hundred people gathered here, whom I hardly knew individually or collectively, although I individually knew the Budapest party functionaries in the Social Democratic Party. Of these people who swarmed here, 90% came from a group of young Jewish intellectuals who had set out to establish their careers with Visegrád Street Communist Party membership cards. I was struck by a shocking sight. I could not have imagined the extent of personal neglect, the unshaven, dirty, muddy looks that I witnessed here. The workers also appeared tired and shabby in the trusted men’s [i.e., Jews] seats, and yet there was something acceptable about them, something generalized, a willingness to be clean. They tried to keep themselves tidy and approach a human standard. The opposite happened. These people wanted to document their belonging to the proletariat by being dirty and neglected.

Béla Kun himself noticed this horse stable standard and loudly warned some of his followers that soap and razors were invented for the people.

My friend Henrik Kalmár and I discussed all aspects of this sad phenomenon. Kalmár told me that he has lived in the Hungária hotel from the beginning and sees this disgusting phenomenon every day. I am also Jewish, Kalmár said, I grew up in the Bratislava ghetto, but I am afraid of becoming an anti-Semite if this continues.

It’s good that it is not seen by others, only us. The mass rush to this power is to the detriment of the times and of the precious Jewish intelligentsia. It is absurd to believe that in a country like Hungary, where 63% are Catholic, 30% Reformed and 5% Jewish, this Jewish intelligentsia, which now sees the time as right to rise to power in the name of the worker, can remain in power. In this country, there was no obstacle to the Jews’ advancement. They could do whatever they wanted. They could be lawyers, doctors, teachers, engineers, industrialists, merchants, craftsmen and workers. But they could be no ruling class. There were few of them for that. The ruling class everywhere, and therefore also in our country, made up of the whole people, and it is against this law of evolution that the Jews now want to seize political power by means of revolution. I am afraid, said Kalmár, that many innocent Jews will pay the price for this hunger for power. For if this fails, an anti-Semitic wave will sweep the country the likes of which we have not seen before. (Ibid., 119–121)

Garbai then says to Kalmár: “The differences must disappear, because an undesirable situation could arise in which a life-and-death struggle between the Jewish and Hungarian intelligentsia would start, yes, in order to maintain their position of power. The effect of this will be that, instead of efforts to improve the situation of the working people, bloody battles will be fought under the slogans ’revolutionary’ and ’counter-revolutionary,’ to decide whether the Jewish or the Hungarian intelligentsia will lead the Hungarian people into the framework of the socialist world to come” (ibid.). All this is in line with the basic thesis of my analysis—although, it should be noted that Garbai wrote this 27 years after the events, so it is not known to what extent it is accurate. Nevertheless, it is in sync with the known past, and in the absence of contrary evidence, there is no good reason to doubt the memoirs of such an important figure. Equally disturbing—and very much in line with my thesis—is the following passage from April 20, 1946 (Paris):

Rabinovits also took over the leadership of the party’s agitator training school, where he enrolled young party members and trained them to carry out organizing tasks.

Party secretary István Farkas noticed that Rabinovits was only enrolling Jewish boys in the school, and questioned him. He said that if he did this knowingly, he would be forced to report to the party leadership because he could not take responsibility for this one-sidedness.

József Rabinovits told István Farkas, with peace of mind, that he was looking after the interests of the revolution when he did this. Only a Jew can be a reliable revolutionary, he said, because he does not belong to any existing organization. He has no national roots, his position is international. World revolution requires such men of international feeling as the Jews are. And the Hungarian proletarian dictatorship is an important link in the chain of the world revolution, and therefore this revolution can only carry out its historic task safely and irrevocably under the leadership of the Jews. Not otherwise. This is also the case in Russia. It must be the same here. (Ibid., 130; my emphasis)

Garbai then recalls how he complained about this to Rabinovits, considering this practice “dangerous” because it “places an excessive responsibility on the Jews.” He continued: “It would mean the emergence of a new ruling class under the aegis of international trust, from which all those who were born and live within a national framework and have national roots would fall out. Do not forget that the nationality of Jewry is in the accentuation of internationalism because the state of dispersion has made this necessary. But I also consider it necessary, in the interests of Jewry, that you do not follow this method, however tempting it may be. If the leadership of the workers’ movement is overrun by Jewry, it will lead to anti-Semitism” (ibid., 147).

Sándor Garbai

Also in Paris, on August 10, 1946, Garbai once again spoke with stark clarity. Historians have been studying the topic for decades, but almost none of them have the courage to put the following obvious fact on paper in such a roundabout way. Rather, an elderly man who was soon to die had to:

It [the revolution] was for a theory [Bolshevism] whose components nobody knew, only the Jewish intelligentsia, the vanguard of the industrial workers, were enthusiastic about it, because they saw in it not only the success of the social revolution but also its own rise to power. It was the rise to power that was the main goal. This was manifested in the fact that the industrial workers were led to believe that they would come to power through change and that they would be the holders of power. The industrial workers, under the influence of party discipline, could not consider that after the change they would still have to do the work, often under worse conditions than before, but the administration of the state was taken over in the name of industrial workers by the Jewish intellectuals and they were the main beneficiaries of the revolution. And anyone who challenged their rights was a counter-revolutionary. The Jews, especially the young element of Jewry, strove with unprecedented tenacity to take power, and lost sight of the double revolutionary direction of the Hungarian Revolution, because of its distorted structure: the liberation of the industrial workers and the coming to power of the Jews, the country cannot bear, one will drag the other down with it, into the abyss, into ruin, into destruction. (Ibid., 216–217)

Garbai also illustrates the anti-Hungarian nature of the Judeo-Bolsheviks with Ignác Schulcz (1894–1954), in connection with his activism in Czechoslovakia:

But Ignác Schulcz demanded that his followers vote against the use of the Hungarian language. He put party discipline above the interests of the Hungarian minority. He didn’t even care that the Hungarian community boycotted the traitors of the Hungarian language, and Hungarian voters turned away from the Social Democratic Party. This anti-Hungarian Social Democratic policy could only develop alongside the Jewish mentality of the political line that Ignác Schulcz represented in the party. (Ibid., 234)

There are plenty more remarks like the above in István Végső’s collection. Garbai’s conclusions about the history he witnessed in the midst of the events are thus extremely devastating, especially as regards the role and attitude of the Jews. While the charge of ’bias’ may seem justified, the same can be said of all the protagonists of history (and of today’s analysts) to some extent. The diary entries, memoirs and manifestations of the protagonists of events are among the most important elements of historiography, but in Garbai’s case, according to mainstream historians, it all comes across as something esoteric and strange, the focus being on the author’s “prejudice,” rather than his “post-judgmental” experience, so to speak.

By contrast, Garbai’s style of writing, and his thoughts on paper, show a clear mind, his criticisms are logical and—as my analysis here is intended to show—entirely justified. Given the blatant extent to which the legally protected narrative of the so-called Jewish Holocaust is based on conjecture and circumstantial accounts (or statements made under pressure, perhaps torture), to brush off the insights of one of the most insightful and active participants in the events as the anti-Semitic grumblings of an old man is, from a historiographical point of view, brazenly arrogant. Perhaps the real bias should be found here (e.g., to accuse Jews of anti-Hungarianism and tribal ethnocentrism—as Garbai does—is anti-Semitism according to mainstream scholarship today, while to accuse Hungarians of anti-Jewishness and ethnocentric motives is the most natural thing to do). Be that as it may, while historians and pundits come and go, Garbai’s writings will remain a compass for posterity.

Bloodshed in the Countryside

In the case of Tibor Szamuely (1890–1919), the Tharaud brothers (2024, 140) give the following account: “He was one of three children of a Jewish family from Galicia that had emigrated into Hungary a short time before and had acquired some degree of affluence in one of the northern counties. He, like Pogany, Bela Kun, and the greater number of the commissaries of the people, belonged to the category of intellectually discontented men who considered that society did not sufficiently recompense their talents.” The nature of the executions is described as follows: “whence news was brought that the peasants had cut a telegraph wire, attacked some Red Guards, or refused to deliver up their cattle and corn. He arrived in the village surrounded by his leather-clad men, who held bombs in their hands. The peasants denounced by the local Soviets were brought one after another before this revolutionary tribunal, composed of a single judge, round whom were grouped Szamuely’s companions. He himself, seated on a chair, his legs crossed carelessly one over the other, and smoking a gold-tipped cigarette, joked and laughed.” (Ibid., 145).

Tibor Szamuely speaks on recruitment day in Heroes’ Square

They also introduce Árpád Kohn-Kerekes (1896–1919), who was Szamuely’s partner in the killing spree and describe some of the executions, which were typically sadistic. Lajos Marschalkó also later quoted “the report of Imre Fehér, Colonel of the Red Army, sent by him to József Haubricht, the commander of the Italian army and the Italian military mission, on the actions of Samuelly’s [sic!] terrorists,” in which he said:

We accuse Samuelly and the terrorists of the following crimes: they have executed many innocent people in excess of their powers. The accused had no right to defend themselves and were executed without interrogation. Their procedure, which mocked any humanism of the slightest pretension, was as follows:

The terrorists, as soon as they arrived in a village, immediately rounded up and beat the male population. Samuelly selected 10 or 15, perhaps more, of them and, without saying a word to the unfortunates, handed them over to the Lenin Boys. The Lenin Boys, like wild animals, rushed at the unfortunate victims and began to beat them with rifles, hand grenades and stabbing them with blades. Blood gushed from the bodies of the men. A great many had their arms and waists broken, and then, standing them on chairs under a tree, they hung a rope around their necks and ordered them to kick the chair out from under them. If the unfortunate martyr was too frightened to do so, they stabbed him with knives until he was dead. (Quoted: Marschalkó, 1975, 182–183, Italics in original)

Marschalkó then refers to the work of the Tharauds: “We cannot take it amiss if Jenő Molnár [reporting the above] did not say what the Tharaud brothers later wrote, that it is so everywhere: ’Where Israel is king.’” (ibid., 188). Péter Konok describes the role of Lenin Boys in this way: “the official and semi-official terror groups (the term they themselves used) of the Soviet Republic were primarily focused on ’defending proletarian power.’ The aim was twofold: on the one hand, to ensure the Red Army’s effectiveness at the front and, on the other, to put down the growing counter-revolutionary rebellions and conspiracies in the rear. On April 21, the Revolutionary Governing Council set up the Committee Behind the Front, which also functioned as a tribunal” (Konok, 2010, 75). Its chairman was Szamuely, and “Political cases were handled by the Political Investigation Department of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs headed by Ottó Korvin on the one hand, and by the Behind the Front Committee and the Court of Imprisonment, which were independent of it on the other” (ibid., 77). Dávid Ligeti (2019, 33–34) also recalls that “the case of György [Georg] Lukács, who ordered the shooting of eight people as a political commissar of the 5th Division at Poroszló on May 2, is well known.”

Photograph ripped to pieces and thrown away at a headquarters portraying some of the Lenin Boys with their victim (source: Tormay, 1923)

Ligeti also notes that “the role of the three-member panels in the imposition of death sentences was particularly perverse: here the victims had neither the possibility of appeal nor of effective legal defence” (ibid., 32). Szamuely and his associates also expropriated the property of the Hungarians after their massacres. Instead of leaving their property to the possible survivors, or distributing it among the poor, they transported hundreds of cows, bulls, oxen, pigs, sheep and poultry to Budapest by train, as reported in a telegram from Szamuely to Kun on June 10, 1919 (in: Bizony, 1919, 72).

The Bolshevik Jews believed that after Russia, and now Hungary, other countries would be swallowed up one country after another, so there was no such thing as too much cruelty. This belief is exemplified, for instance, in the official Bolshevik newspaper, the Vörös Ujság, issue of April 9, 1919, which wrote: “What is happening in Hungary today is, if possible, of even greater significance than the revolution of the Russian people. We are bringing the proletarian revolution to Western Europe.” (quoted: Chishova & Józsa, 1973, 221). Pravda, in Russian, on April 12, 1919, in its second issue, stated that “[t]he present events mean neither more nor less than that we are carrying the socialist revolution into the sphere of the proletariat of Western Europe, since we are convinced that the proletarian revolution will triumph only if the whole of Europe is on our side.” (Quoted: ibid., 225).

With all that behind us, next we will analyze the manifestation and role of identity, as well as ethnic character, further figures and data, and then misleading historical manipulations will also be answered.

Go to Part 3. 


Barki Gergely. „A proletárdiktatura jót tesz az egésségnek” – Berény Róbert, 1919. Enigma 25. évf. 94. sz. (2018.) 128–146.

Bizony László. A magyarországi bolsevizmus 133 napja. Leipzig–Wien: Verlag Waldheim-Eberle A. G., 1919.

Böhm Vilmos. Két forradalom tüzében: Októberi forradalom, proletárdiktatúra, ellenforradalom. Munich: Verlag für Kulturpolitik, 1923.

Chishova, Lyudmila; Józsa Antal (eds.). Orosz internacionalisták a magyar Tanácsköztársaságért. Budapest: Kossuth Könyvkiadó, 1973

MacDonald, Kevin. The Culture of Critique (AuthorHouse, 2002; orig. Pub. Praeger, 1998).

Imre Magda, and László Szűcs (eds.). A Forradalmi Kormányzótanács jegyzőkönyvei, 1919. No. XIII. Akadémiai Kiadó, 1986.

Istóczy Győző. Istóczy Győző országgyülési beszédei, inditványai és törvényjavaslatai 1872–1896. Budapest, 1904.

Jérôme Tharaud, Jean Tharaud. When Israel is King. Antelope Hill Publishing, 2024.

Konok Péter. “Az erőszak kérdései 1919–1920-ban. Vörösterror–fehérterror.” Múltunk – Politikatörténeti Folyóirat 55.3 (2010): 72–91.

Ligeti Dávid. “Hazánk első totális diktatúrája: a Tanácsköztársaság a centenárium fényében.” Somogy 47.2 (2019): 30–35.

Marschalkó Lajos. Országhódítók. Munich: Mikes Kelemen Kör, 1975.

Pünkösti Árpád. “Rákosi a hatalomért: 1945–1948.” Budapest: Európa Könyvkiadó, 1992.

Rockenbauer Zoltán. A Nyolcak és az aktivisták 1919-ben. Enigma 25. évf. 94. sz. (2018.) 80–101.

Simor András. Korvin Ottó: „…a Gondolat él…”. Budapest: Magvető, 1976.

Szokolszky, A. (2016). Hungarian Psychology in Context. Reclaiming the Past. Hungarian Studies, 30(1), 17–56.

Tormay Cécile. An Outlaw’s Diary. Revolution. London: Philip Allan & Co., 1923.

Tormay Cécile. Bujdosó könyv. Első kötet. Budapest: Singer és Wolfner Irodalmi Intézet Rt., 1939.

Végső István. Garbai Sándor a Tanácsköztársaságról és a zsidóságról. Budapest: Clio Intézet, 2021.





1 reply
  1. Weaver
    Weaver says:

    This is so incredible, ty. Jews were after power, not ideology! And they were immune to “fascism,” which must be code for nationalism. The affirmative action empire…

    We see them wielding nationalism in Ukraine, today. Power is what they often seek! But some do take to sincere belief. And some aren’t loyal to Judaism. People tend to believe in ideologies that serve their interests, and Jews aren’t helped, neither individually nor as a group, by nationalism, in Hungary anyway.

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