This year is the 60th anniversary of the October 1956 Hungarian Revolution, when ordinary Hungarians revolted against the Soviet-backed government. In November of that year, Soviet forces invaded Hungary and crushed the revolution. In all 2,500 – 3,000 revolutionaries were killed
The Terror Museum* has put on a very interesting, bilingual exhibition with lots of photographs, for this 60th anniversary outside its building at 60 Andrássy Ut. The exhibition is introduced with:
The Revolution and Freedom Fight of 1956 lasted for no more than two weeks. Nevertheless, it shook the world. It wrecked the regime established by the great power after World War 11 and unveiled the cruel reality iof the Soviet-type terror apparatus. Once and for all, the world woke up from the illuions of communism. In October 1956 the Hungarian nation proved that it was capable of taking control of its own destiny.
The desperation and anger that had been bottled up for so many years finally broke to the surface during the revolution. The spontaneous uprising grew to become a revolution and since the pre-requisite of freedom is to regain national independence, it became a freedom fight. Sixty years ago the whole world turned its attention to Budapest. This life-and-death struggle that barely lasted two weeks made it clear for everyone that the then existing powers did not allow the Hungarians fight for freedom to have the least chance. Yet, the death defying courage of the boys of Pest inflicted an incurable wound upon communism and shook the Soviet empire.
As well as the narrative and photographs chronicling the revolution, there are also two other exhibits, a segment of the Berlin wall
And the Iron Curtain monument
It was interesting to talk with Hungarian people and ask them what they knew from their parents’ of that time sixty years ago. One said because their parents, lived outside of Budapest, they only knew of the revolution from the radio but sent food parcels to Budapest.
*The Terror Museum is located at 60 Andrássy Ut. It is A memorial of political terror, where people were detained, tortured and murdered during the arrow cross and communist dictatorships from the late the later 1930s. The building was used as a meeting place by the Arrow Cross and later as the party headquarters, dubbed the house of loyalty. It was taken over by the communist secret police in 1945 and later served as headquarters for Hungary’s secret service organisation the state protection authority. (The arrow cross party was a nationalist far-right party. During its short rule many, (in particular Jews) were deported and murdered.)
The apartment where we stay is a five minute walk from the Terror Museum. One can only imagine the terror that was plotted and planned inside this building. I have never gone inside nor have any desire to. The wikipedia article on it tells me enough – It contains exhibits related to the fascist and communist regimes in 20th-century Hungary and is also a memorial to the victims of these regimes, including those detained, interrogated, tortured or killed in the building.
Pictures of victims line the wall outside the building.
Hungary’s stance on the plight of Syrian and other refugees is interesting when remembering the events of 1956. The Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, didn’t get the necessary 50% turn-out last Sunday to validate the referendum, though 98% of those who did, voted to exclude new refugees.
History has many, very sad moments. Today too.