Matyas Rakosi

Matyás Rakosi (1892-1971) was a Jewish Communist politician and de facto leader during the Communist seizure of Hungary from 1949 to 1956. Born Matyas Rosenfeld in Ada in present-day Serbia he lead the Communist Party in Hungary from 1945 to 1956 — first as General Secretary of the Communist Party (1945–1948) and later holding the same post with the Hungarian Working People’s Party (1948–1956). Rakosi followed a tyrannically Trotskyist line that was instrumental in causing the Hungarian Uprising of 1956. The American journalist John Gunther described him as “the most malevolent character I ever met in political life,” and even Jewish Bolshevik NKVD chief Lavrentiy Beria once rebuked Rakosi saying “Listen, Comrade Rakosi, Hungary has had Habsburg Emperors, Tartar Khans, Polish princes and Turkish Sultans, but she has never yet had a Jewish king, and that is what you are trying to become.” – (Thomas Azcél, ‘The Columbia University Oral History Project on the Hungarian Uprising of 1956,’ Record 500)