Recsk 2

“Wardens” in Recsk

In the camp there were Outside and Inside wardens. The Outside wardens were on duty along the outward barbed wire fence of the camp and they were forbidden to get in touch with either the Inside warden or the internees. Inside wardens were usually assigned to the Recsk forced labour camp as a penalty. Not knowing the names of their wardens, the internees gave them nicknames. Thus, János Varga, the Party Secretary of the camp became “Cutneck” and, László Nagy, the Operative Officer “Macaroni”.

Using a piece of cable “Macaroni”, from the ÁVH, beat the hands of János Pászthy, a poster designer, until they were full of blisters, shouting ”you rotten fascist, traitor, parasite, you will never draw again”. The first room, about two meters wide, in the prison building was the latrine. Inside there was an open cesspool with a pole above. The prisoners had to relieve themselves while balancing on the pole. Pászthy was hung on this pole by his backwards twisted hands and he was hanging there for several hours. The other men had to relieve themselves next to the man hanging there.

László Nagy („Macaroni”), State Security Second-Lieutenant, operative group leader in the Recsk – ÁBTL 2.8.2. 2-992. János Varga (“Cutneck”), ÁVH Party Secretary in the Recsk camp – collection of Lívia Gyarmathy
László Nagy (”Macaroni”), State Security Second-Lieutenant, operative group leader in the Recsk János Varga (“Cutneck”), ÁVH Party Secretary in the Recsk camp – collection of Lívia Gyarmathy
ÁVH wardens in Recsk – collection of Lívia Gyarmathy The main building, the centre of ÁVH in the Recsk camp – collection of Barbara Bank
ÁVH wardens in Recsk – collection of Lívia Gyarmathy The main building, the centre of ÁVH in the Recsk camp – collection of Barbara Bank

Humiliation and the Punitive Barrack

By December 1950 the internal discipline and punishment mechanism of the Recsk forced labour camp had been organised. A special Punitive Barrack was created. It was surrounded by barbed wire inside the camp. One evening while the numbers were being checked the camp Commander appeared with his staff and read out 120 names. He said these people had sabotaged work and poisoned the camp atmosphere so they would be separated in barrack Number 5. They had the windows of the half ready building whitewashed and wired. One of the most famous commanders of the Punitive Barrack was internee former Staff Colonel Kálmán Kéri.

In the beginning when there were no prison buildings whatsoever a 2 meter deep pit was simply dug. After work internees to be punished were ordered to spend the night down there. They had to use a ladder that was then removed. When the jail building was built, the water pit terminated.

Barrack No. 5, the so called Punitive Barrack, reconstructed in the early 1990s – photo by Barbara Bank The water pit prison – reconstruction, photo by Barbara Bank
Barrack No. 5, the so-called Punitive Barrack, reconstructed in the early 1990s – photo by Barbara Bank The water pit prison – reconstruction, photo by Barbara Bank
Kálmán Kéri (1901 – 1994) Colonel, politican – photo by Lívia Gyarmathy
Kálmán Kéri (1901 – 1994) Colonel, politican. In 1945, the military chief of the Ministry of Defense was led by Miklos Dalnoki the Provisional Government, the same year, was arrested on charges of sabotage. The court later acquitted from the charges, but having the file placed. In 1949, arrested again, then Kistarcsa internment camp and later to a labor camp was Recsk. When the camp was liquidated in 1953, going back four years nine months imprisonment – photo by Lívia Gyarmathy
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