Zalka, Máté

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Zalka, Máté


(pseudonym of Béla Frankl). Born Apr. 23, 1896, in the village of Matolcs, Hungary; died June 11, 1937, in Huesca, Spain. Hungarian writer; participant in the Civil War of 1918–20 in the USSR; hero of the Spanish national revolutionary war of 1936–39. Member of the Communist Party from 1920. Son of a rural innkeeper. Graduated from a commercial school.

During World War I (1914–18), Zalka fought as an officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army on the Italian and eastern fronts. In 1916 he was captured near Lutsk by Russian forces. The October Revolution of 1917 attracted him to the communist movement. In 1919 he was a member of the partisan army of A. D. Kravchenko and P. E. Shchetinkin in Siberia; from 1920 he was a commander in the Red Army. During 1921–23 as a member of the Cheka and the State Political Directorate (GPU), he participated in the liquidation of Makhno’s mutineers and the kulak bands. From 1923 he was first a diplomatic courier and later became involved in economic work. He directed the Theater of Revolution in Moscow during 1925–28. From 1928 he worked in the Communist Party Central Committee apparatus. Zalka was a member of the International Union of Revolutionary Writers (MORP). He commanded the Twelfth International Brigade in Spain from 1936 under the name of General Lukacs and was mortally wounded.

Zalka’s stories were first published in 1924. Most of them—Khodia (1924), Cavalry Raid (1929), and Apples (1934)— were devoted to the Civil War in the USSR. Zalka portrays the awakening of class consciousness in his heroes under the influence of the revolution and praises international brotherhood. His novel Doberdo (1937) exposes the imperialist character of World War I. Zalka was awarded the Order of the Red Banner and, posthumously, the Order of the Liberation of Spain, created by the Spanish Republic.


A bolygók visszatérnek, vols. 1–2. Budapest, 1966.
Az érekló börtön, vols. 1–2. Budapest, 1967.
In Russian translation:
Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1955.


Gordon, la.Mate Zalka: Ocherk zhizni i tvorchestva. Moscow, 1956.
Rossiianov, O.Mate Zalka: Kritiko-biograficheskii ocherk. Moscow, 1964.
Gidash, A. “‘Duet veterok s Dunaia . . . ‘ (o Mate Zalka).”Inostrannaia literalura, 1967, no. 12.
General Lukach: Sb. vospominanii. Moscow, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.