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Cold War Files: All Units: People: Miklós Németh

Miklós Németh
b. 1948

Miklós Németh, born in 1948 in Monok, Hungary, and served as prime minister of Hungary from 23 November 1988 to 23 May 1990. He was one of the leaders of the Socialist Workers' Party, Hungary's former Communist party, in the tumultuous years that led to the collapse of communism in eastern and central Europe.

As Prime Minister, Németh took the controversial decision to allow East Germans, long held captive by their country's communist regime, to pass through Hungary en route to freedom in West Germany. This decision is widely credited with helping to bring about the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989.

After leaving office in 1990, Németh served as Vice President of the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the financial institution established by the international community to assist the countries of eastern and central Europe and the former Soviet Union in their transition to democratic market economies. He left the EBRD in 2000 to return to Hungary. He attempted to become the PM-design of the opposition socialist party, but didn't succeed as Péter Medgyessy was appointed to this role. Medgyessy later became Prime Minister.

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