Ernö Gáll

1917 (Nagyvárad, Romania) - 2000 (Cluij-Napoka, Romania)


"Our belief was in many respects profane infatuation charged with high-grade ideological impatience and a dogmatism resembling confessions of faith."

Ernö Gáll was born to a Hungarian-Jewish family in Nagyvárad (Oradea), Transylvania on 7 April 1917. He began studying law in Kolozsvár (German: Klausenburg, Romanian: Cluj-Napoca) in 1941, and later changed to philosophy. He wrote articles on politics and sociology and joined the antifascist students’ movement of the Communist Party of Romania.

From 1942 to 1944 he was put to work by the "Organisation Todt" as a forced labourer, at the end of November 1944 deported to Buchenwald, classified as a "political Hungarian and Jew", and imprisoned there in the Little Camp.

Following liberation, Gáll returned to Transylvania and became involved in the efforts to establish Communism. He was appointed editor in chief of the Igazág newspaper in Kolozsvár, and in February 1949 as professor of philosophy at Bolyai University; from 1959 onward he taught at the Babeș-Bolyai University. He concerned himself primarily with ethics, issues of national identity and the sociology of intelligence. He was among the initiators of the liberalization of the cultural newspaper Korunk in the 1960s. He became receptive to non-orthodox Marxist philosophy, advocated the recognition of differences in the universally human and the "dignity of the singular". In the 1980s he wrote numerous self-critical essays on his dogmatic past.

Ernö Gáll died in Cluj-Napoca on 18 April 2000.