The Lenin Boys (Hungarian: Lenin-fiúk) were a band of Communist enforcers formed to support the short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic of 1919. The group seems to have contained about 200 young men dressed in leather jackets, acting as the personal guard of Tibor Szamuely, Commissar for Military Affairs. Their unit commander was József Cserny.
The Lenin Boys were used as an instrument to suppress counter-revolutionary urges against the communist government.
After a failed counter-revolutionary coup attempt in June 1919, Communist leader Béla Kun is said to have unleashed the Lenin Youth in a more savage fashion, in order to stamp out any more counter-revolutionary urges among his opponents. Tallies of the number of victims of the terror vary; different sources generally count the dead at close to 600. A book published by Dr. Albert Váry in 1922, titled "The Victims of Red Terror in Hungary" documents 590 suspects executed by the communist police.
With the backing of the occupying French, Romanian troops entered Hungary and took Budapest from the Hungarians on August 6, 1919. Kun and his Party of Communists colleagues fled. After the arrival of Miklós Horthy's counterrevolutionary Hungarian death squads in Budapest three months later, virulently anti-Communist officers carried out a wave of savage retributive violence against Communists and their supporters (as well as suspected leftists of any stripe) known as the White Terror. As many communist leaders were ethnically Jewish, this encouraged anti-semitic lynchings in Budapest by these paramilitary forces. The Lenin Youth were also particular targets for their wrath.
Cserny was captured, tried and executed by the new regime in December 1919, along with several other Lenin boys.
- Borsanyi, Gyorgy. The Life of a Communist Revolutionary, Béla Kun, translated by Mario Fenyo, Boulder, Colorado: Social Science Monographs; New York: Distributed by Columbia University Press, 1993.
- "Execute Joseph Cserny And 13 Other Reds; Commander of 'Lenin Boys' Pays Penalty of His Crimes at Budapest", The New York Times, December 23, 1919
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