Tuesday, October 23, 2012

56 Years Ago Today: A New Beginning

He was the victim of a political joke both figuratively and literally. The problem was that he told it to two trusted friends but who unfortunately did not trust each other. The political poison of government suppression is, that the first to report the "wrong" doer will be spared punishment, therefore one of them reported him for the quaff. You see, political jokes or any political comment was not allowed unless it was of a positive kind and of course puns are not, therefore it was against the state.

At the time he was the head of a department of an important engineering firm which designed weapons (illegally after WWII for the Russians) and in such a position it was not a good idea to be anti-communist. In fact it was not a good idea to refuse to join the Communist Party. Joining the Communist Party was no easy task, one could be a communist but not an official member unless invited and he refused the invitation causing another black mark on his record. Ouch. He already had a black mark against him because he survived the most brutal of Russian prisoner of war camps post WWII, in Romania. Now, he was about to survive being tortured by the feared Hungarian secret police: the AVO (comparative to the KGB).

After his arrest, torture and release, he was not allowed to work for longer than six months at any one firm. Yes, everyone had a history and everyone had a record and everyone had to have a National ID card. Just think, this was before Google and they kept good enough records to keep track on everyone.

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was no accident. It was after many years of suppression, brutal treatment, endless propaganda, lack of food in a land of plenty and lack of supplies produced by them, when the people had finally had enough. According to many it was the first crack in the Iron Curtain. Still, the Revolution's success was short lived. The rejoicing was too early because the people of Hungary had only lived for 2 weeks in freedom when, on November 4th, the Soviet Army returned and crushed a hopeful people once again.

After the Revolution was crushed, he realized that that he only had one chance to survive a sure death awaiting those who had prior political black marks and were "outspoken" anti-communists. So he had no choice but to leave his beloved homeland and family behind to become one with 250,000 other refugees who escaped at the end of that year to find freedom in the Western World.

We are proud of this history because we stood up, weak as we were against a mighty army feared all over the world by governments much larger and more powerful than us. The Revolution can be compared to the American fight for freedom in 1776 which started with dumping tea. The Hungarian revolt was marked by bonfires of burning propagandist books and symbols.

Below are two short BBC Videos of the History which led to this Uprising and which all Hungarians, no matter where they live in the world, commemorate today.

Part I of BBC short Documentary Hungary, 1956:

Part II of BBC short Documentary Hungary, 1956:

Thanks for Reading
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