Carrying a Secret in My Heart
Children of the Victims of the Reprisals after the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 - An Oral History
Publication Year: 2020
Published by: Central European University Press
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In this volume we present the results of oral history research carried out under the title The Second Generation of 1956ers. In the course of our investigations we were looking for answers to the following questions: How were the fates of the children of those executed or imprisoned after the crushing of the 1956 Hungarian revolution affected? And how did the members of a generation that was...
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People’s memories of the revolution depend largely on how old they were when it took place and on the nature of the events they experienced, but also on how their families interpreted those events, both at the time and later. While the memories of those who lived in the capital, or in places where there were mass demonstrations or armed fighting, are based on...
A new world
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The arrest of the head of the family, a figure who represented security, marked the beginning of a new and difficult period in the life of the family. Children were left without fathers, and the intimate family atmosphere and security that had characterised their lives before the revolution suddenly disappeared. There were no more family outings and their fathers were no longer...
Communication within the family
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In terms of a child’s development the family—the space of primary socialisation— is of the utmost importance. At the time of their fathers’ arrests our interviewees were all children, thus their families played a decisive role in how much they learned about their fathers, about their fathers’ imprisonment or execution, and about the revolution itself. It was from their families that they...
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The ancient Greeks branded with clearly visible signs people regarded as unworthy or disgraced. A stigma was thus, for them, a mark of shame on the pariah of society. In the Christian tradition the concept was given a different interpretation: marks resembling the wounds of the crucified Christ were said to have been supernaturally impressed on the bodies of certain holy...
Society and the family
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On stepping outside the family circle, the children of the 1956 convicts came into contact with several different communities, such as the extended family, neighbours, school, workplace and army. Here they met with rejection, neutrality, or support. Officially, as we have seen, they usually encountered discrimination, although in their capacity as private persons officials did on occasion prove...
The pressure of duality
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The identity of an individual is shaped in the course of confrontation.We have seen how the children of the 1956 convicts became aware of their stigmatisation and how they experienced the fact that the political authorities and certain people in their immediate environment labelled them as socially undesirable. The father figure and the relationship of the child...
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As a result of the relative consolidation that had taken place, and with international acceptance of the system, the party leaders felt by the early 1960s that their position in power had stabilised. Restrictions became less severe and those sensitive to the political mood sensed amnesty in the air. During the partial amnesties of 1959 and 1960, first those who had been sentenced to less than two years...
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The opportunity to say a final farewell and to pay one’s respects to the dead is a fundamental human need. Funeral services and the tending of graves help the living to come to terms with their loss and pain, and at the same time provide an opportunity for remembrance. Following the defeat of the revolution the new authorities considered even dead bodies and graves to be dangerous: it was...
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In the foregoing chapters we have seen how the children of the convicts faced up to their unique situation and how they came to terms with the resulting conflicts. Today it has become clear to most of them what happened to them and why, and what examples can and should be followed from all that their fathers did in 1956. With respect to the taking of public or political roles...
Biographies of the interviewees
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József Andi was born on 18 March 1946.After completing elementary school he was unable to continue his education.In 1960 he found work in a Budapest cloth factory. He was not conscripted into the army.He wanted to further his education by attending evening classes at technical school but was not permitted to do so.He worked in a factory until 1968, after which he became a lorry driver...
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Page Count: 203
Publication Year: 2020