22 October 2006
The Hungarian Revolution 50th Anniversary - page 1 - this page.
The Hungarian Revolution 50th Anniversary - page 2
The Hungarian Revolution 50th Anniversary - page 3
The Hungarian Revolution 50th Anniversary - page 4
I, a veteran of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, was looking forward to the 50th Anniversary, understandably with great expectations and excitement, much like many, many others.
My family, Endre, my son, Hui Chin, my wife and I visited Hungary a few times since on the anniversary of the 1956 Revolution, October 23, 1989 the Hungarian Republic was officially declared.
During the previous weeks the Revolution was also declared as a 'popular Uprising', a 'Freedom fight'.
During this period, which is popularly known in Hungary as "Régime change" democracy with multi-party elections was announced as well.
During our visits we noticed the changes and I was very happy to see the dramatic changes, but we weren't aware the deep undercurrent of dissatisfaction with the ruling Government, which really came to a head a few weeks before the forthcoming Anniversary celebrations, which adversely affected the celebrations as it turned out.
Endre drew my attention to the demonstrations in Budapest on the 17th or 18th of September and with my sense of humour, I instantly renamed it the "foreplay" to our upcoming 50th Anniversary Celebrations of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.
However, these demonstrations affected and soured the Celebrations which I and many thousand other veterans and other people were looking forward to and had hoped for peaceful, respectful and reverential memorial meetings and festivities.
On the eve of the Revolution, the 22nd (already a significant day at the time), at a meeting at the University (ELTE or Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem) where the 16 Points were read out and discussed, I found out about the march planned the next day's march to go to the Parliament. See my eyewitness story.
The Memorial Celebrations were not allowed to be held in the University's Aula, where it was held 50 years ago.
(Rumours had it that the Chancellor (Rector) didn't want to upset the Government or the Prime Minister by allowing it to be held there and affect the institute's financial grants).
Before the meeting in the afternoon, Hui Chin and I revisited many significant places of the Revolution, like the Corvin köz, Széna tér, the Rádió building also the now-fenced-off Kossuth tér, the square in front of the Parliament Buildings where until the previous day the demonstrations were held.
The Police removed the demonstrators by trick and by force, and as I understand it they were promised a trade off of some kind but it wasn't kept, according to my sources.
During the earlier part of Sunday the 22nd October, Hui Chin and I spent time visiting all the sites made famous 50 years ago, demanding, fighting for or defending our freedom and independence against the Soviet oppressors.
We visited the Corvin köz, one of most famous sites of the October and November struggle.
Unfortunately, one of the heroes of the struggle at Corvin köz, Gergely Pongrátz, passed away a few months before the Anniversary. RIP. A few days later we visited the "56-os Muzeum", in Kiskunmajasa, established solely by Mr Pongrátz and his family, including brother Ödön, who we were fortunate to meet, but more about this later.
There was a display of armoury, cars, trucks and many other items from the days of fifty years ago.
We also visited the Kossuth tér, that was fenced off and under heavy Police guard, and on the way we saw a very heavy Police presence with water cannons, many trucks, buses, cars and heavily armed police.
Another place we visited was the Andrássy út Terror House, the notorious torture chambers of the 'communist' and 'Fascists' regimes, with displays inside the building and outside on the street.
Little plaques with photos of the many victims were attached to the outside wall of the building and many candles were lit in memory of them.
Hui Chin and I lit some candles at Corvin köz and the Terror House in memory of the heroic struggle and in memory of the many victims of the torturing, including József Cardinal Mindszenty and my father, who was also forced to spend some time here enduring the usual torture and interrogation.
Széna tér was our next stop, of course this was another scene of fierce battles during October and November.
We lit some candles here too in memory of the heroes who fought and died here selflessly on behalf of the whole country.
We visited many other places and lit candles, like Kossuth tér as I mentioned before, the Hösök tere, the former 'Killián Baracks', the places I got shot, near the Déli Railway Station and Szent István körút.
I will go into a more detailed description of this places on my other pages as I will relate you the events as they unfolded during these memorable days.
As I have already hinted at, later that day Hui Chin and I attended the Memorial Meeting front of the ELTE University.
After the meeting we marched with torches to the Bem Statue, we listened to some more speeches, and met, talked and made some friends amongst the participants.
It was disappointing that the meeting couldn't be held at the original place, but that's the profile of today's democracy in Hungary.
Much more to come on other pages.
Corvin Lane - Corvin köz
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