For, Against and Without Communism
In the spring of 1960, György Dalos, born to Hungarian Jewish parents in Budapest in 1943, joined the Communist Youth Association to find himself amongst people his own age who defined themselves as the avant-garde of the post war generation. It seemed like the way out from the loneliness of a Jewishness surrounded by the dead. The ardent communist was rewarded with a place to study in Moscow. But then everything turned out differently.
For communism: reasons for sympathy go back as far as January 1945, when the Red Army broke through the walls of Budapest’s ghetto to save young György and his parents from transportation to a German extermination camp. Without communism: confronted with Soviet reality, the fervently communist history student soon sobered of his early commitment. When the author had returned to Hungary in 1968, he was sentenced to seven months in prison due to supposed Maoist activities, and so started his life as dissident against communism.
Dalos, who has been awarded the Leipzig Book Prize for European Intercultural Understanding, tells the story of his life with unsparing frankness. At the same time, he offers a history of the many lives lived according to the delusion of ‘really existing socialism’ in the Soviet Union from 1956 to its collapse in 1990.
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