GERÖ, ERNÖ (formerly Singer ; 1898–1980), Hungarian statesman. Gero was born in Budapest and joined the Hungarian Communist Party before the revolution of Béla *Kun (1919). Following the downfall of Kun, he left Hungary for Germany, but returned secretly and served as editor of the Communist underground newspaper. Later he settled in the U.S.S.R. and took part in the Civil War in Spain (1935–36), where, it is assumed, he served as an agent of the nkvd. It is stated that he was responsible for the "guidance" of the Catalan Communists and partly also for the death sentences passed on actual or presumed "deviationists" in the International Brigade, among them Hungarians. He was regarded as more trustworthy even than the Hungarian dictator Mátyas *Rakosi, and it was even rumored that one of his duties was to keep him under surveillance.
Gerö returned to Hungary with the Russian army at the end of 1944. He was appointed minister of transport and placed in charge of the reconstruction of the devastated country and its industry. Among the works attributed to him was the rebuilding of the splendid bridges over the Danube which had been destroyed by the Nazis. He was appointed head of the committee for implementing the Five-Year Plan.
In 1952, Gerö was appointed deputy prime minister and, as a member of the party Politburo and the United Party, was a central figure in the harsh dictatorship. During the period of relaxed rule which followed the historic 20th Congress, at which Khrushchev exposed Stalin and his regime, Gerö was appointed head of the delegation of reconciliation which was sent to meet Marshal Tito in Yugoslavia.
Following the deposition of Rákosi in 1956 Gerö was appointed first secretary of the Communist Party and tried to crush the revolution which broke out on the first day by Stalinist methods. When that failed, he appealed for help to the Soviet army stationed in Hungary. Two days later, he himself was deposed and in 1960 again went to the U.S.S.R., returning to Hungary in 1962, when he was expelled from the Communist Party.
J. Estebán Vilaro, El Ocaso de los Dioses Rojas (1939); H. Thomas, The Spanish Civil War (1961), index.