Recsk 6

Agents and informers

There was a network of informers in all the internment camps and in the closed camps in Hortobágy. After the escape of prisoners in May 1951 the activity of internal preventative measures in the Recsk forced labour camp, which had been quite strong before, was enhanced by extending the network of informers.

“There were a lot of informers in the camp who were given some advantages in return. They either got more food or were sent to easier work and to reach these they were ready to do anything.”
(Memoires of Géza Böszörményi)

There were informers all over the camp even in the “bedrooms”. Some commanders were also appointed whose duty was to report on everything.

There were some really evil leaders among the internees; the worst of them being Kornél Pellach and Sándor Jeges. Sometimes they seemed worse than the State Security wardens. To prove how reliable they were they treated their fellow prisoners more cruelly than the wardens.

Kornél Pellach– collection of Lívia Gyarmathy The site of the Punitive Barrack – photo by Barbara Bank, 2010
Kornél Pellach– collection of Lívia Gyarmathy The site of the Punitive Barrack – photo by Barbara Bank, 2010
Inner guard, group photo – collection of of Lívia Gyarmathy
Inner guard, group photo – collection of of Lívia Gyarmathy

Dissolving the camps

In his policy speech in Parliament on the 4th of July, 1953 Prime Minister Imre Nagy announced that according to the policy of the new period flagrant cases of injustice, such as internment, police jurisdiction, deportation and “kulak”-lists, would be ceased.

On the 26th of July, 1953 the Presidential Council of the Hungarian People’s Republic issued a Decree of Amnesty and the Council of Ministers passed a resolution about ceasing internment and deportation and dissolving internment camps.

By July 1953 about 5030 cases were reviewed. It was ordered that people considered dangerous had to be kept back until the final phase of dissolving the camps. Afterwards they had to appear in court in Kistarcsa and those sentenced had to go to prison.

In the beginning Recsk and Kazincbarcika internees were set free in the smallest numbers and most of the internees who gained their freedom were from Tiszalök and Kistarcsa. The free places in Kistarcsa were filled up with internees from Recsk, Kazincbarcika and other internment camps. These people were questioned and charged in the new place. In Tiszalök internees of foreign citizenship were gathered from the other camps and from that time on their cases were managed by the National Central Office for Controlling Foreigners (KEOKH).

Prime Minister Imre Nagy in Parliament, 1953 – collection of Lívia Gyarmathy Rudolf Garasin – collection of Gyarmathy Lívia
Prime Minister Imre Nagy in Parliament, 1953 – collection of Lívia Gyarmathy Rudolf Garasin (1895-1969) In 1952 the Ministry of Home Affairs, led the Prison Department. Summer of 1953 became head of the Prison Affairs Department – collection of Gyarmathy Lívia
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