Pal Geher is the son of a lawyer who lost his license because he refused the role of prosecutor in the now-infamous case of Peter Mansfeld, a teenager accused of treason for involvement in the 1956 Revolution. He could practice law again later only in a town far from his family in Budapest. Pal was allowed to attend the university because of his high academic achievements; he subsequently went to medical school and became a rheumatologist and later a Ph.D. During the Kadar regime, he organized a scientific society that arranged international medical meetings for Hungarian doctors who were otherwise not permitted to travel, enabling them to exchange scientific information with doctors of other countries. After the fall of Communism, he served in the Ministry of Welfare of the Hungarian government, from 1993 to 1994 and from 2001 to 2002. In the latter period he was Vice-Secretary of State, and instrumental in reorganizing and privatizing the health care system in Hungary. He comments on both Communist and post-Communist politics and economics and the effects of the different systems on personal life.
Discursive Table of Contents: Family background, early education—University, becoming a rheumatologist—Post-Communist changes in hospital system—Study in France, considering remaining there—Passport availability, possibilities of leaving Hungary—PhD—Medical meeting in Budapest—Ministry of Health position and politics—Political comments—Hungary and international politics—Hungary, NATO and E.U.—Current freedom of speech and press in Hungary—Computers, internet and freedom of speech—Freedom of speech and personal relationships