Béla Garay

Béla Garay

Béla Garay was born in 1915 in Diósgyőr, his father was a machine fitter in an ironworks. He was continuously called up for military service from 1938, and was drafted in 1940. He was originally an infantryman, but was transferred to the infantry.

In the summer of 1944, he went to the front as the platoon commander of the 4th Armoured Cannon Company of the 23/II Battalion, Losonc. He took part in the 1st Army's battles in Galicia, and later in the fighting in the Lowlands. From November 1944 the Germans used the remains of the battalion for fortification works, by December all the soldiers in Nógrád County had escaped, he left first for Vágsellye and then for Budapest and obtained false papers. He was captured several times, but always managed to find a way to explain himself, and at the end of 1944 he was briefly assigned to the 1st Motorized Rifle Regiment in the encirclement. He was wounded almost immediately after his assignment. "I wandered from shelter to shelter until the Russian troops reached me."

On February 10, 1945 (transferred to Soviet troops, fought with unit 42616th PO Box 42616. According to his 1948 autobiography, he was assigned as 3rd Company of a Russian battalion in the unit of which he became the organizer and commander. From 10-28 February, he was under Soviet subordination as commander of one of the companies (Soviet Corps No. 42.616), and on 20 March he was handed over to the Hungarian government.

In 1945 he joined the MKP. After the merger of the workers' parties, he became a member of the MDP, but did not apply for membership of the MSZMP. He was awarded the Bronze Medal of the Order of Freedom, the Silver Medal of the Order of the Republic for his merits in demining, and the Soviet Medal for the Taking of Budapest.

From the autumn of 1947 he was a lecturer at the Kossuth and Táncsics Military Academies, and then the technical commander of the 17th Division.He was retired on 1 November 1950. His wife's background (she was his father-in-law's vinegar maker) played a role in this,

The November 1950 description of him is "a merchant type who wants to get rich. [...] He is under the influence of the kulaks because of his volatility and influence." Presumably as a result of this, the Minister of Defence, Mihály Farkas, wrote in a transcript that he no longer wished to serve, but 'I have no objection to his being placed in another career'.

From 1951, he worked at the Danube Waterworks as a project planner. He was called up several times for reserve officer exercises, and although his character reports were not particularly enthusiastic, he was not yet considered for removal from his rank. In 1958, at the request of the Military Staff Headquarters, his workplace gave the following description of him: 'He did his economic work well and there were no political objections to him. He was a member of the MDP. He was not actively involved in political life. He was a MPS member of the Municipal Council of the Municipalities of Minsk.

He became very active in the days of the October counter-revolution. He initiated the organisation of the Social Democratic Party at the Danube Ironworks. He explained to a large gathering that he had never been a communist and had joined the MDP only to secure his economic position. This exposed his careerist attitude. When the workers' and peasants' government under the leadership of Elvtárs Kádár was formed, he openly expressed his disagreement with it, but at the same time reiterated his support for a multi-party system. As the political situation consolidated, the ground grew hotter under him because of his behaviour during the October counter-revolution - so he asked to be released by the company, to which the company readily agreed because of his politically volatile behaviour." The action was not delayed, and he was stripped of his rank of officer.