Recsk 1

Recsk the beginnings of the camp

“Hope is the only thing left for you who enters this place!”

The camp in Recsk was opened at dawn, the 19th July, 1950. As time went by and the number of inmates grew the behaviour of warders was getting ruder and ruder. By late autumn 1950 five barracks had been erected. The maximum number of inmates was about 1,300 – 1,700.

“We were forced into an inhuman frame of mind. We did not know it whether we were still human beings or not.”
(Confession of László Suba, former internee)

Entrance of the camp for pedestrians – photo by Péter Herendi Rear entrance for horse carts in the second half of the 1950s – photo by dr. László Kőrösmezey
Entrance of the camp for pedestrians – photo by Péter Herendi Rear entrance for horse carts in the second half of the 1950s – photo by dr. László Kőrösmezey

The camp

The area of the forced labour camp in Recsk used to belong to the estate of the Barkóczy family – it used to be a pasture for sheep. The first internees, placed in the sheep folds, started to build the barracks and they built the 3-meter barbed wire fence around the area assigned for the future camp. They also built sentry towers on high basements about 50 meters from each other. Lights were placed along the fence and these were switched on all night. Three sentries on high towers with machineguns and searchlights which could be turned in a full circle were on duty in the camp all the time.

The camp was more or less rectangular in shape, 1,600 metres by 600 metres. During the years a small village came to being with streets, pavements, about 50 buildings and a few artificial lakes.

After 1950 internees built eight residential barracks. The barracks were 7 meters by twenty meters with a wooden structure built on piles. The wooden structure was covered from the outside with split round timber and inside they built a wall of a single layer of bricks laid edgeways. The roof was covered with tiles, the fissures let the rain and the starlight in and the warmth out.

One of the lakes dug out by prisoners in 1952 – collection of Lívia Gyarmathy Barkóczy-castle, Recsk – picture postcard. The castle of the Barkóczy family was expropriated by the ÁVH and made into their Headquarters.
One of the lakes dug out by prisoners in 1952– collection of Lívia Gyarmathy Barkóczy-castle, Recsk – picture postcard. The castle of the Barkóczy family was expropriated by the ÁVH and made into their Headquarters.
English