Maléter, Pál.

Back to all people

- Medals


Maléter, Pál, born 04-09-1917, in Eperjes, Sáros County, Kingdom of Hungary, Austria-Hungary to Hungarian parents in the northern part of Historical Hungary, today Prešov, Slovakia. He studied medicine at the Charles University, Prague, before moving to Budapest in 1938, going to the military academy there. He fought on the Eastern Front of World War II for Axis, until captured by the Red Army. He became a Communist, trained in sabotage, fought against the Germans in Transylvania and was sent back to Hungary, where he was noted for his courage and daring. About 600 Hungarian partisans fought against the Nazis during World War II. They attacked Miklas Horthy’s pro-Hitler army and Szálasi’s Arrow-Cross thugs and they also fought in the Slovak National Uprising with Soviet and American operatives. The U.S. Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency, dropped Americans by parachute in Slovakia around Banská Bystrica (in Hungarian Besztercebánya). The Americans operated behind enemy lines collaborating with Soviet, Slovak and Hungarian partisans. One of these Hungarian units was led by 27-year-old Pál Maléter.

Ferenc Szálasi was the leader of the Arrow Cross Party – Hungarist Movement, the “Leader of the Nation”, being both Head of State and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Hungary’s “Government of National Unity” for the final six months of Hungary’s participation in World War II, after Germany occupied Hungary and removed Miklós Horthy by force. During his brief rule, Szálasi’s men murdered 10,000–15,000 Jews. After the war, he was tried and executed by hanging on 12-03-1946, aged 49, in Boedapest, by the Hungarian court for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during World War II.The hanging was conducted in the Austrian pole method. A large post had a rope attached to a hook at the top. Szálasi was marched up steps, placed with his back to the post, his legs and arms were tied, the noose placed around his neck, the rope tightened, and the steps were removed. With the post only leaving a couple feet between Szálasi and the ground it is likely that he died slowly due to strangulation rather than being instantaneously rendered unconscious and dying shortly after as would happen when utilizing the standard drop. This would also explain why his arms and legs were bound as to prevent struggle during the process

In 1956 Maleter was a colonel and the commander of an armoured division stationed in Budapest when he was sent to suppress the Hungarian Uprising,

   but on making contact with the insurgents he decided to join them, helping to defend the Kilian Barracks, after Kilián György He was the most prominent member of the Hungarian military to change sides, allying himself with the insurgents rather than with Gerő’s communist government.

Death and burial ground of Maléter, Pál.

As the chief military presence on the insurgents’ side he came into contact with the new government, and enjoyed a rapid promotion from colonel to general, and on 29 October was appointed Minister of Defense. On 3 November he went to Tököl, located near Budapest, to negotiate with the Soviet military forces based there. During discussions on the following day, and against international law, Soviet officers arrested Maléter at the conference and imprisoned him.

He was executed along with Prime Minister and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Hungarian People’s Republic Imre Nagy

and others in a Budapest prison on 16-06-1958, on charges of attempting to overthrow the Hungarian People’s Republic. His first wife and three children went to the U.S. in the wake of the uprising, while his second wife remained in Hungary; both wives subsequently remarried. He was married twice, second wife  Judith Gyenes ( 1954–1958)

, and first Mária Pausz ( 1945–1953), he had three children Mária Maléter, Judit Maléter,

Pál “Pali” Maléter   from his first marriag, all living in the USA.

In June 1989, on the anniversary of their deaths, Imre Nagy, Pál Maléter, three others who had died in prison and a sixth, empty coffin symbolising all those who had died were formally reburied in Budapest with full honours on the Rakoskeresztur New General Cemetery, Boedapest, Hungary..Mij friend Radek Hroch visited the cemetery and sent me the grave photo, with thanks.

Share on :