Recsk 3

Escapes from Recsk

Escape of József Dobó
In August 1950 József Dobó escaped from the Recsk camp. He was not found but he gave himself up when he learnt that the ÁVH had arrested his parents and another member of his family. When Dobó got back to the camp 200 men were ordered to line up on the main square. Dobó had to run between the two lines and the men creating the line had to hit him. If somebody did not hit him that person was kicked or hit from behind. Dobó was carried away in a sheet then had to appear before a court where he was sentenced.

Escape of Géza Lőcsey and his fellows
There were eight of them: Gyula Michnay, Géza Lőcsey, Mendel Stern, Pál Stern, József Kihut, Géza Kertész, József Haraszti, and Mihály Mózes. They had made a detailed plan for their escape and at 8 o’clock on a Sunday morning, the 20th May, 1951. They simply walked through the gate lead by Lőcsey disguised as an ÁVH officer as if they were going to work. As soon as their absence had been noticed in the camp a nationwide warrant of capture was issued. Seven of the escaped internees were soon detained but Gyula Michnay managed to get out of the country. He went to Vienna, then to Munich and he read out the names of several hundreds of fellow prisoners in a broadcast on Radio Free Europe. This was when the West learnt about the existence of the camp and some family members in Hungary got to know that their “disappeared” family member was still alive. The seven former Recsk internees and their helpers were sentenced to several years in prison.

József Dobó – collection of Lívia Gyarmathy Photo of Gyula Michnay as a prisoner – ÁBTL 3.1.9. V-101916.
József Dobó – collection of Lívia Gyarmathy Photo of Gyula Michnay as a prisoner – ÁBTL 3.1.9. V-101916.
Aerial photograph of Recsk – photo by Lívia Gyarmathy
Aerial photograph of Recsk – photo by Lívia Gyarmathy

Recsk – those who died

Poor food, hard labour, accidents, cold weather and the cruelty of the wardens resulted in the increasing numbers of deaths in the winter of 1951. Most internees who died in the camp were buried in the prisoner cemetery in Vác.

”It happened a few times that somebody was chased off to work in the morning, found dead at noon and carried back on a stretcher. Whenever a joiner who worked in the joiner’s workshop came back in the evening saying that they had to make a 2 meter toolbox we knew that someone had died.”

”I knew Imre Nagy well. I definitely remember how he died. On 6th October, 1952, a Monday, he felt unwell so did not go out to work. He died in the barrack around noon. His body was carried away from the camp in a lorry. I can’t say the names of those who took him away; they were some of the wardens.”
(Confession of Dr. Lóránt Somóczi – ÁBTL 2.1. X/13.)

Imre Nagy internee in Recsk – ÁBTL 2.1. X/17. Unearthing the remains of Imre, Vác Csata-dűlő – ÁBTL 2.1. X/17.
Imre Nagy internee in Recsk – ÁBTL 2.1. X/17. Unearthing the remains of Imre, Vác Csata-dűlő – ÁBTL 2.1. X/17.
Village cemetery in Recsk
Village cemetery in Recsk – ÁBTL 2.1. X/13.
Internee József Jankech, electrician, was shot to death by a drunken ÁVH officer while he was working on a pole saying that he had wanted to escape although he was only fixing the wires. He was the only one to be buried in the village cemetery in Recsk. His wife received a notice in 1956 saying that her husband had died in 1952.
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