1945-1991: Cold War world Wiki

From the longer English Wikipedia page [1]

Árpád Göncz (Göncz Árpád, Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈɡønt͡s ˈaːrpaːd]; 10 February 1922 – 6 October 2015) was a Hungarian liberal politician, who served as President of Hungary from 2 May 1990 to 4 August 2000. Göncz played a role in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. He was also founding member of the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) and Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary before becoming President.

Göncz played an active role in the work of the newly formed Petőfi Circle (Hungarian: Petőfi Kör), which established by reformist intellectuals under the auspices of the Union of Working Youth (DISZ), mass youth organization wing of the ruling communist Hungarian Working People's Party (MDP), in March 1955. The circle held twelve meetings in the first half of 1956. As an agronomist, Göncz expressed his opinion on the Soviet agricultural model during one of the forums. On 17 October 1956, he participated in an agricultural debate ("Kert-Magyarország?") at the Karl Marx University of Economic Sciences. There he criticized again the Soviet model considered unsuitable for the Hungarian conditions. Göncz also lay emphasis on free peasant education.

In a June 1995 speech, Göncz recalled the 1956 events as a "turning point" in his life which determined his fate until the end of his life, despite the fact that he did not participate in the armed resistance and uprising. On 23 October 1956, he was present at the peaceful mass demonstration, which marched in front of the Hungarian Parliament Building, along with his eldest daughter Kinga, who was nine years old at that time. Göncz's role in the October 1956 events remained fragmented. By 29 October 1956, he assumed a political role in the events. He participated in a meeting at Prime Minister Imre Nagy's house, when Nagy was informed the Suez Crisis and the Prime Minister said "Gentlemen! From now on, we need to discuss another thing because there is a dangerous possibility of a Third World War". Göncz worked as an activist in the newly recreated Hungarian Peasant Alliance during the revolution. In a 1985 interview, Göncz said he sympathized with the political vision of Imre Nagy. He also added, that he would join a Nagy-led Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party (MSZMP), if the Soviet intervention does not take place. Göncz noted the Nagy government and the new communist party would have started with a clean slate. Sociologist Péter Kende said Göncz can not be accused with communist sympathy, he just believed in "democratic socialism", like István Bibó.

After the Soviet intervention on 4 November 1956, János Kádár established a pro-Soviet government. The Revolutionary Council of Hungarian Intellectuals, members were writers, journalists etc., issued statements of protest against the Soviet army's invasion and appealed for help and mediation from the Western world. Göncz participated in the writing of several memoranda. One of the most influential writings was the Draft Proposal for a Compromise Solution to the Hungarian Question by intellectual István Bibó, who also served as Minister of State in the second and third government of Imre Nagy. Göncz took part in the debates on the proposal. Göncz had a good relationship with charge d'affaires Mohamed Ataur Rahman from the Indian Embassy in Budapest, thus he was also able to make contact with the Government of India who tried to mediate between the Hungarian and the Soviet governments following the revolution. Formerly, during the intense days, Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru expressed his sympathy and compassion towards the Hungarian freedom fighters, nevertheless India remained cautious and abstained in the UN General Assembly voting, which called on the Soviet Union to end its Hungarian intervention. As a result of the intercession of Göncz, the Indian government became more determined in the Hungarian issue. He handed over Bibó's draft proposal to charge d'affaires Rahman in December 1956, however India's mediation attempt ended in failure due to lack of interest in the Soviet Union.

Göncz also helped to transfer a manuscript of Imre Nagy ("On Communism in Defense of New Course") abroad, through the assistance of László Regéczy-Nagy, driver to Christopher Lee Cope, head of the British Legation in Budapest. They hoped the manuscript might have helped to rescue Imre Nagy from show trial and execution. Cope forwarded the manuscript to the emigrant Hungarian Revolutionary Council in Strasbourg, and the document was translated into several languages for several countries, including Italy, France and West Germany. Before his arrest, Göncz was campaigning for the Hungarian Aid (Hungarian: Magyar Segély) movement. Göncz organized to donate the emigrant Hungarians' support for families in need of help.

He was arrested on 28 May 1957, along with István Bibó, on the order of Minister of the Interior Béla Biszku. In the forthcoming months, Bibó, Göncz and Regéczy-Nagy were interrogated, isolating from each other by the secret police in connection with their relationships with India and the Western block. Once the prosecutor said to Göncz that "the traitor deserved to hang twice." Göncz and his inmates were charged with "organizing the overthrow of the Hungarian people's democratic state." Göncz was secretly tried, found guilty, and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of appeal on 2 August 1958, some weeks after the secret trial and execution of Imre Nagy. Later Göncz believed that he could avoid the capital punishment only due to Nehru's intervention. Dae Soon Kim, Göncz's biographer also argued it might be possible that the Indian premier' diplomatic efforts impacted on the severity of penalties regarding the Göncz and Bibó trials.

Göncz began his years in prison at Budapest Penitentiary and Jail (Gyűjtőfogház) in August 1958. He spent his punishment among hundreds of political prisoners, such as Tibor Déry, Zoltán Tildy, István Bibó and Imre Mécs. Göncz was isolated and separated from the outside world, visitors were permitted for only ten minutes in every six months and correspondence was allowed in every three months for the political prisoners. Later Göncz was transferred to the Vác prison.

In Vác, the conditions were freer; Göncz had spent the time learning to read and write English. The political prisoners were able to obtain literary works from the Western world, including the memoires of politicians Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle. According to György Litván, the senior party functionaries, who did not speak foreign languages, established a "translation agency" in the Vác prison to learn about the information available to Western public opinion. Göncz, beside political pamphlets, also translated John Galsworthy's The Forsyte Saga, transferring from the prison by Litván, which laid the foundation of his translation career after release. Imre Mécs said, a cohesive community of '56 democratic-minded generation emerged within the walls of the Vác prison, where there were constant political discussions and debates

The Hungarian Wikipedia page is [2].