Népbíróságok Országos Tanácsa, 1945-1950

  • National Council of People’s Courts, 1945-1950
Language of Description
1945 - 1950
Level of Description
  • Hungarian
  • Latin

Extent and Medium

171 boxes, 20 vols., 21,52 linear metres


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. The supreme appellate court of the people’s courts was the Budapest-based National Council of People’s Courts (Népbíróságok Országos Tanácsa). Its presiding judge was the superior authority of all People’s Courts.

Archival History

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 in the 1970s-1990s. The bulk of the records of the People’s Courts are in the Budapest Municipal Archives.

Scope and Content

Documents of the People’s Courts are among the most significant sources pertaining to the interwar and wartime history of Hungary as well as the Holocaust. The materials include trials against former prime ministers, 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 labour 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 Holocaust perpetrators and bystanders. The records of the National Council of People’s Courts mostly contain administrative documents pertaining to everyday work as well as the verdicts of the trials.

Archivist Note

Description was prepared by László Csősz.

Rules and Conventions

EHRI Guidelines for Description v.1.0