Ilona Juhász L.: „We, Hungarian Workers Have Always Trusted in Him.” Two Symbolic Funerals at the Time of the Cult of Personality

Joseph V. Stalin, Soviet Prime Minister and General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union died on 5 March 1953. Nine days later he was followed by Klement Gottwald, the first Czechoslovak worker-president, head of the Czechoslovak Communist Party. On the days when the funerals of the two leading politicians were taking place, symbolic funerals were held on the command of the Communist Party in the municipalities of Czechoslovakia as well. This study—based mainly on a recent collection carried out in the municipalities Dolné Saliby, Horné Saliby and Rudná, and on the contemporary press coverage—recalls how the national mourning manifested itself in the municipalities and what externals characterized the two symbolic funerals. It touches upon, inter alia, the “spontaneously” written letters published in the contemporary press, examines the memories of the informants on the contemporary events and shows what information was recorded in the chronicles of the three examined villages on those days.