Dedicated to the 100 million victims of communism worldwide.
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National Exhibit
National Exhibit
Janos Kadar

Kadar (1912 - 1989) joined the illegal Hungarian communist party in 1931 and spent several years in prison in the 1930s for his political activities. Between 1943-45 he was the first secretary of the underground party, in 1946 deputy secretary of the new communist party dominated by the so-called "Moscovites" - that is, communist functionaries who spent the inter-war period in exile in the Soviet Union and seized power in Hungary in 1948. In 1949 he replaced Laszlo Rajk as minister of interior (in charge of the police) but in 1950 was arrested, tortured and sentenced to life charged with being a Titoist and police informer under the pre- communist, right of center regime. During the 1954 amnesty he was released and in 1956 briefly jointed the revolutionary government of Imre Nagy.

He defected from that government in early November and following the defeat of the Revolution emerged as the head of the new pro-Soviet government and of the new party renamed Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party. He was general secretary of the latter beginning late 1956 – 1988 and prime minister between late 1956 - 1958. He was replaced as head of the party in 1988.

Kadar's career was complex and contradictory. On the one hand he abandoned and betrayed the Revolution and presided over a campaign of terror and retribution that followed. He has also been credited with deciding to put to death Imre Nagy and his associates in 1958. After the years of repression, beginning in the early 1960’s he charted a more independent and liberal
course for Hungary which earned him respect and popularity. He defined the more moderate course by declaring that "he who is not against us is with us" - a substantial departure from the demands made on the population under Rakosi. During the Kadar period the standard of living improved, free expression increased and it became easier to travel to Western countries.

Kadar impressed on the population that he sought to carve out a greater sphere of autonomy for Hungary within the Soviet Bloc, while supporting Soviet policies such as the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. He became associated with a long period of stability and greater personal freedom. It was said that Hungary under him was "the merriest barrack in the peace camp."

Click for sources of the victims of communism

Location:  Eastern Europe
Capital:  Budapest
Communist Rule:  1949-1989
Status:  Dissolved - 23.10.1989
Victims of Communism:
27 000