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Béla Biszku dies at 94

April 4th, 2016

A conservative and a liberal columnist remember the Communist hardliner, who was found guilty of involvement in war crimes.

Former Communist leader Béla Biszku, who received a suspended sentence for involvement in war crimes (see BudaPost December 22, 2015) passed away last Friday.

Béla Biszku never expressed regret or apologized for his involvement in Communist violence, Barna Borbás writes in Heti Válasz. Although Biszku lived long enough to face his past, he remained defiant to the very end, the conservative columnist remarks. Borbás recalls Biszku’s last interview, in which he insisted that he was part of a progressive regime that the country should be proud of, rather than using the opportunity to acknowledge evil deeds and earn moral redemption.

In Népszabadság, Sándor Révész reminisces that Biszku was a hardline Communist who found even the Rákosi dictatorship too lenient. Biszku opposed any reforms or deviation from the classical Communist line, Révész notes. The liberal commentator nonetheless finds it highly problematic that Biszku was found guilty among other offences of the denial of Communist crimes. Révész thinks that, ironically, the legal sanctioning of the denial of Communist and Nazi crimes is fully in line with Biszku’s own worldview.