Mezőfi, Vilmos

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MEZŐFI, VILMOS (1870–1947), Hungarian politician and journalist, leader of the socialist agrarian movement. Born in Debrecen, Mezőfi was a watchmaker's apprentice who became a journalist and columnist in liberal newspapers. He joined the Social Democratic Party and edited their daily newspaper, Népszava. He also edited the workers' literary magazine, Népolvasótár.

Mezőfi played a leading role in the Social Democrats' attempt to organize agricultural workers. He was elected to the Hungarian parliament in 1905 where he advocated universal suffrage and pressed for immediate land reform. He left the party in 1910 when he found that it was not applying itself to this question. After World War i Mezőfi joined the newly formed small landowners' party and edited its journal Szabad Szó ("Free Word"). He continued to be active in Hungarian politics after the counterrevolution of 1920. In 1938 legislation was introduced to deprive Jews of their civic rights. Mezőfi vigorously fought the proposals and helped to organize the defense of the Jewish community. He was elected president of the 14th synagogue district of Pest in 1941.

Among Mezőfi's many writings are A szociáldemokrácia evangéliuma ("Gospel of Social Democracy") and A munkabérek Magyarországon az 1896–1898 években ("Wages in Hungary During the Years 1896–1898," 1899). In 1937 he published a pamphlet, Irás a żsidókról ("Script on the Jews"), directed to the agricultural population to combat the antisemitic Nazi propaganda which was being distributed among them.


Magyar Irodalmi Lexikon, 2 (1965), 226; Magyar Életrajzi Lexikon, 2 (1969), s.v.

[Baruch Yaron]