Béla Király in 1995|
Béla Király in 1995
14 April 1912|
4 July 2009 (aged 97)|
He was born in Kaposvár, Hungary. Commissioned as a second lieutenant of the Hungarian Army in 1935, he fought actively in World War II. Following the war, he joined the Hungarian Communist Party, and rose to the rank of major general in the Hungarian army. In 1951, he was arrested on what many felt to be false charges and sentenced to death. On appeal, the sentence was reduced to life imprisonment. In September 1956, however, he was released from prison.
During the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the military guard and military commander of Budapest. After the Soviet military intervention in Hungary, he fled to Austria and later the United States, where he attended Columbia University. He received his doctorate in history in 1962 and taught Military History at Brooklyn College, where he held the title of Professor Emeritus. During his tenure at Brooklyn College he served as director of the Society In Change Program on East Central Europe, supervised Brooklyn College Press (the college's Publishing House), and served as the advisor to the Brooklyn College Military History Club.
After the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, he eventually returned to Hungary, and from 1990 to 1994, became an independent member of the Hungarian Parliament. In 1993, he was named “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem. Since then, he assumed the role of government adviser. In 2004, he was made an associate member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
- Király, Béla K. Hungary in the Late Eighteenth Century; The Decline of Enlightened Despotism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1969.
- Király, Béla K. Basic History of Modern Hungary, 1867–1999. Malabar, Fla: Krieger Pub, 2001. ISBN 0-89464-950-7 
Kiraly died in his sleep in Budapest on 4 July 2009, aged 97.
- "1956 National Guard commander Bela Kiraly dies". naplo-online.hu. 2009-07-04. http://www.naplo-online.hu/fooldal-foldalrovat_legfrissebb_hirek/20090704_bela_kiraly_dies. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
- http://www1.yadvashem.org/yv/en/righteous/pdf/virtial_wall/hungary.pdf, p. 8
-  NY Times July 8, 2009
- Personal papers of Béla Király at OSA Archivum
- Article by the American Hungarian Federation
- 1996 Interview
- Article from Freedom Fighter 56
- Bela Kiraly - Daily Telegraph obituary
- NYT obituary
- Remembering a Hungarian Freedom Fighter by Austin Bay
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