Gergely Pongrátz (Szamosújvár, 18 February 1932 – Kiskunmajsa, 18 May 2005) was a famous veteran of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. He was the commander of arguably the largest and perhaps the best-known group of freedom fighters, at the Uprising's strongest and most lengthy point of resistance, Budapest's Corvin Passage (Corvin Köz); between the 1 and 9 November 1956. Under his command, the Corvin Passage fighters destroyed at least a dozen Soviet tanks, and resisted several waves of assault. Following the conflict, Pongrátz escaped capture and by 1957 had moved to the United States where he spent the majority of his exile until returning to Hungary in 1991. During his exile he was elected both Vice-Chairman and then Chairman of the Hungarian Freedom Fighters' Association (Magyar Szabadságharcos Szövetség).
Involved in the Battle of the Corvin Passage
Gergely Pongrátz was in a bad relationship with Pál Maléter, who was sent to the Kilián Barracks by the government to restore order , and initially he did not recognize that he was standing on the side of the opposition of neighboring Corvin. Pongrátz had already openly criticized Maléter, even at the time of the Revolution, who did not agree with his appointment as Minister of Defense. All this could have been the rivalry with Iván Kovács , who supported Maléter , who was replaced when Gergely Pongrátz became the commander-in-chief of Corvin.
It was probably the difference of their political views that played a role in the bad relationship between Maléter and Ivan Kovács. Maleter, though he thought of the Communist Party as belonging to the Revisionist wing led by Imre Nagy , was suspiciously watching not only because of the tension between the insurgents and the soldiers led by Maleter, but because he did not regard his views as radical. In a statement asking why he did not travel home to emerge Imre Nagy (and Maleter) , Pongrátz replied:"Before the funeral, the New York Consul came to me in Arizona, my guest for three days, I was convinced to come home to the Imre Nagy funeral. so I'm not coming. "
Despite all this, with the exception of the first days, Corvin's public fighters and Kilián's barracks were able to work together to fight against the Soviets.
On Nov. 4, the Soviet troops resisted the attack on the Corvin and continued for days. Pongrátz crossed into Víg Street with part of the group that night because, because of the huge losses, he did not believe he could be kept with Corvin. Even that night, he resigned from the HQ.
In late November, he left the country with his family, with the help of Hungarian soldiers, and joined the Hungarian Revolutionary Council in Vienna .
Pongrátz first founded a museum of the 1956 revolution in 1991. It was closed in 1995 after the local authorities wished to use the building for a different purpose. Pongrátz then purchased and renovated an old school building in Kiskunmajsa and turned it into the only museum of the 1956 Revolution that exists in Hungary.