Get PJ Media on your Apple

The PJ Tatler

by
Rick Moran

Bio

November 3, 2013 - 7:11 am
Page 1 of 2  Next ->   View as Single Page

On November 4, 1956, Soviet tanks rumbled through the ancient cobblestone streets of Budapest, crushing a true “people’s revolution” that had wrested control of  Hungary from Soviet stooges and thugs.

The drama began in late October with spontaneous demonstrations by students and intellectuals against Soviet tyranny. The Soviets immediately unleashed their forces in the country, battling revolutionaries in several major cities. The escalation of violence eventually toppled the regime of Mátyás Rákosi, replacing the Communist dictator with Imre Nagy, who became Prime Minister and János Kádár First Secretary of the Communist Party. Revolutionaries began an aggressive offensive against Soviet troops and the remnants of the Hungarian army still loyal to Rakosi.

Nagy announced a liberalization program that allowed for the formation of non-Communist parties, the unmuzzling of the press, and the start of negotiations that would lead to the withdrawal of all Soviet troops.

But on November 1, Nagy signed his death warrant by announcing Hungary’s withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact. Soviet forces, which had largely vacated the capitol, came roaring back in on November 4 and after 6 days of mostly one sided fighting, had broken the back of the revolution and installed a new government with Kadar, who had broken with Nagy over the plan to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact, as prime minister. Nagy, who had taken refuge in the Yugoslav embassy, was given safe passage out of the country by Kadar. He was arrested by the Soviets upon leaving the embassy, tried in secret, and executed.

That’s the thumbnail version of events. But for my fiance Zsusanna, the uprising became a lot more personal. Her father, a high ranking officer in the Hungarian air force, had joined the revolutionaries and became a marked man. On November 4, a friend tipped him off that the secret police were on their way to arrest him. He gathered his wife and 7 children, escaping their home in the middle of the night as the police were rounding up some of his neighbors down the block.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
There are thousands of similar stories of Hungarians fleeing for their lives and eventually making it to America.

And those stories should be told. Thanks for telling this one.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (15)
All Comments   (15)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
When I was 14 My best buddie's father got us 2 tickets to sit in a UN security council meeting. The one we observed was about the Hungarian revolution.

The lasting memory of the spectacle was that these people who did the talking were just a bunch of pompous windbags who were succeeding in getting nothing done. I am now rapidly approaching 71 and my take away from that day has been reinforced quite regularly over the last 57 years.

The UN is useless, expensive and a cesspool of lickspittles, leeches and a bunch of vile, evil people.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
My grandfather and most of his family moved from Budapest to America in the late 1800s. He died just a year or so before this uprising. But his name and address were out there - he'd made sure of that, and I remember refugees showing up at my grandmother's house, a few at a time, staying just long enough to get their bearings, and then moving on, making room for a few more people to come. I was only 4 or 5 at that time, by the time people began to arrive, but I remember it well. Strangers all, my grandmother welcoming them to her Texas country home. I have a particular memory of a family standing on her front porch, backlight by the sun.

Thank you for this. Thank you. Sometimes I think I imagined it all - it's good to be reminded that I didn't, good to remember that my grandmother opened her home to people, that she helped in a small way.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Szervusz, Attila. Szabadsagra!

Back in October 2006 I published the story of one young doctor's long walk to freedom. It can be found at http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/temetni_tudunk_-_the_hungarian_uprising_of_1956-print.html and contains links to several other such stories.

As freedom is under attack even here in the US, take the time to read of these quests for freedom. It will deepen your appreciation for what it's worth.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
As a participant in the Hungarian revolution of 56, I can tell you even the progressives will not like it when socialism arrives in full armor. In 1956 Hungary had one of the most stringent gun laws. When the revolution broke out the country was in arms within 24 hours. Imagine what that will look like here in the USA.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
I work closely with a guy whose grandfather and father got out during the uprising as well. Lessons learned were not forgotten: My friend and his father still idolize Reagan for taking a serious stand & pushback against the Soviets. Also, my friend and his sister were at the first Tea Party protests in 2009; they got an early bad vibe from the financially irresponible socialist rhetoric coming from Washington at the time.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
My maternal grandparents were another one of these stories. Born in Almásfüzitő, Hungary, they worked at an oil refinery until being forced to flee the country in '56 in similar circumstances - tipped off that my grandfather was a person of interest. They too fled to Austria, sneaking through swamps though not with seven children in tow. They were sponsored for citizenship and settled in San Diego, where my grandfather worked as a machinist and riveter and did odd jobs on the side to raise their five children - three of which went to college. They arrived in this country with a suitcase of clothes and worked themselves to the bone to build a great life for their children and grandchildren, the true essence of the American Dream. Sadly, my parents are staunch Democrats and my brother is a literal Marxist. How soon we forget the lessons of history!
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Even though I was just a kid, I, too, remember when the Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest. I recall Elvis Presley speaking out on behalf of the revolutionaries on Ed Sullivan's show and asking his fans to donate to the cause through their churches (I believe he also did a Hungarian relief benefit).

Two of the lucky families who made it out settled in my town; a couple of the kids were my classmates. In eighth grade we had to write our autobiographies and we all sat spell-bound as our teacher read the harrowing account of the Szabo family crossing the border secreted beneath a mound of hay in the bed of a horse-drawn wagon. I've never forgotten it.

I was in Budapest in October. There's a moving statue of Imre Nagy behind the Parliament building. He stands alone on a bridge looking back at Parliament as though lost in contemplation of what might have been. I was proud to see also a statue of Ronald Reagan a short distance away in Liberty Square (erected in 2011 for his 100th birthday in honor of his role in ending communist rule in eastern Europe--it's an excellent likeness, too). In a bit of delicious irony, Ronnie looks upon the Soviet War Memorial erected to commemorate Budapest's "liberation" from the Nazis (out of the frying pan into the fire). It's one of the few Soviet era statues that survived the post-cold war purge and sits directly opposite the American embassy. Elvis Presley hasn't been forgotten either. There's a square in Buda that's been re-named for him and I believe he was made an honorary citizen of Budapest. Hungary has a fascinating history.

Congratulations on your engagement, Rick. You can't go wrong honeymooning in Budapest--the city abounds with lovers!


45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Great contribution. Thanks. How did you like the food?
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
I liked it very much, both the traditional cuisine and the international (Hungarians love Italian and do it very well). The neighborhood spots were the best, the menus sometimes pages long. The bread is to die for.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Except for the absence of mountains, that could almost be "The Sound of Music"! :)

Sorry for the flippancy, but seriously, just surviving the trek is a miracle. 100 miles on foot with 7 young children? My God! Heck, in real life the Trapp family just got on a train, leaving all their money and possessions behind.

God bless both of you and all your families.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Best book on the subject I've read is "Seven Days of Freedom" by Noel Barber. Very well done - out of print, but used copies are readily available.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
James Michener's The Bridge at Andau is a good collection of escaper stories written very shortly after the uprising.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Bridge-Andau-Compelling-Embattled/dp/0449210502/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 Next View All