Budapesti Népbíróság iratai. Büntetőperes iratok

  • People’s Court of Budapest. Criminal Trial Records. 1945-1949
Language of Description
1945 - 1949
Level of Description
  • Hungarian
  • Latin

Extent and Medium

cr. 22,000 case files


Biographical History

People's court (népbíróság) is a term referring to special criminal courts established by the decree of the Interim National Government of Hungary on January 25, 1945. The primary function of people’s courts was to initiate criminal proceedings against the perpetrators of war crimes and the so-called crimes against the people. Their sphere of jurisdiction extended to Hungarian citizens, including the members of the army and law enforcement agencies as well as to foreign citizens captured in or extradited to Hungary. People’s Court of Budapest (Budapesti Néptörvényszék, later Budapesti Népbíróság) began to operate in February 28, 1945. Its sphere of competence was Budapest and its vicinity (the territory of the Budapest Criminal Court and the Pest and Vicinity Court (Budapesti Büntetőtörvényszék and Pestvidéki Törvényszék). The supreme appellate court of the people’s courts was the Budapest-based National Council of People’s Courts (Népbíróságok Országos Tanácsa).

Archival History

From 1947 onwards several provincial people’s courts were disbanded and their files were handed over to the People’s Court of Budapest. In 1949, all the people’s courts were disbanded and the records of open criminal proceedings were allocated to the Budapest Criminal Court (Budapesti Büntetőtörvényszék). In the 1950s, the bulk of the trial materials were taken into the custody of state security organizations, which often re-organized the files. The material was taken to the archives in several phases int he 1970s-1990s. However, some of the trial documents were kept by the Ministry of the Interior, therefore an important part of these files, primarily the investigative documents are still in the custody of the Historical Archives of the Hungarian State Security (Állambiztonsági Szolgálatok Történeti Levéltára).

Scope and Content

Documents of the Budapest People’s Court are one of the key sources pertaining to the interwar and wartime history of Hungary as well as the Holocaust. The materials include trials against former prime ministers Béla Imrédy, László Bárdossy, Döme Sztójay and Ferenc Szálasi, several ministers, undersecretaties of state and other protagonists of the anti-Jewish policies as well as the direct perpetrators of murders and other atrocities against labor servicemen and Jewish civilians, trials against members of the Arrow Cross, the Volksbund, gendarmerie and various other pro-Nazi organizations and institutions, journalists, informants, beneficiaries of anti-Jewish measures and many other categories of perpetrators and bystanders. The trial documents often consist of original archival materials from the files of state and municipal administration and include maps and photographs.

System of Arrangement

the collection is arranged by the file numbers of the trials

Finding Aids

  • Finding aids include the original repositories and indexes of the People's Courts, a name card index prepared in the 1970s as well as an MS Access database created in the 1990s containing more than 42,000 records, which is searchable by the names and personal data of the defendants and the registration numbers (főlajstromszám) of the cases.

Existence and Location of Copies

  • USHMMA RG 39.006M

Related Units of Description

  • VII. 5. e. Budapest Criminal Court (Budapesti Büntetőtörvényszék) In 1949, the records of open criminal proceedings of the people's courts were allocated to the Budapest Criminal Court; Certain documents pertaining to war criminals, primarily the investigative materials are in the records of state security investigations of Hungarian war criminals at the Historical Archives of the Hungarian State Security

Publication Note

Kenyeres, István- András Sipos, eds. A levéltár iratainak ismertetője. Budapest: BFL, 1997. Budapest Főváros Levéltára fondjainak jegyzéke. A magyar állami levéltárak fondjegyzékei. III. köt. Budapest: BFL, 1970.

Archivist Note

Description prepared by László Csősz

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