16. (1956) The Revolution
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THE REVOLUTION THE DATE was October 23, 1956, and one of my girlfriends and I decided to go out to a movie. While we were at the theater, students at Szeged University in Budapest gathered outside to listen to students declaring the unfairness of lack of free speech under the communist government. They were fed up with the Russians pillaging Hungary’s precious mineral supply, specifically uranium and aluminum. The Hungarians were receiving no compensation. Since the war, the Hungarians’ hatred toward the corrupt Soviets had been growing. The students marched to Parliament Square with their resolute declarations. But someone had tipped off the authorities that a campus protest was under way. After a short time, an ambulance drove by, filled with secret police, and they opened fire on the students. In the interim, the movie ended, and my girlfriend and I parted ways. I noticed that people in the streets were agitated, but I didn’t bother to ask anyone what was happening. By the next morning, a major riot had developed, which could be seen just outside the Kentner’s home. No transportation was available . I walked downtown to ask people what was happening. They explained about the university incident that had happened the night before and that had led to the present rioting. I decided to walk over to the City Gas Company. The office was closed, and the employees were on strike. The employees were huddling in groups, discussing the incident and their futures. My view, which I kept to myself, was that, although I still agreed with the communist philosophy of fairness and equality, I no longer accepted communism under Russian influence. Nevertheless, all I could do was think about Sweden. I began to wonder whether this uproar would become an obstacle to my trip. 123 1 6 C H A P T E R (1956) ch16_193032_Gallaudet_Dunai 5/14/02 11:33 AM Page 123 That evening, I watched as the angry people banded together, tying a rope to a huge bronze statue of Stalin. With all their collective might, they succeeded in pulling the statue to the ground. It broke into large chunky pieces. Then, the people grabbed hammers, chisels, and whatever they could get their hands on to break the bronze chunks into smaller pieces. They didn’t want the statue resurrected. Everyone was grabbing up the pieces to save as keepsakes. I stayed out of it, strictly remaining an observer. I wasn’t about to ruin my chances of going to Sweden. For a few days, it seemed as though the Hungarians had won the fight—what became known historically as the Hungarian Revolution . The Russians gave up their tanks. But, the conflict wasn’t over. The Russians knew they had to fight back because, if they didn’t, they would lose control of the entire Eastern European empire. On November 3 and 4, the Russian army came back from Romania in droves. They blasted their cannons at the city of Budapest, and the fighting ensued for days. The free radio from Germany told the Hungarian people “to keep fighting until blood drips.” The Hungarians believed that the western European countries and America would come to their aid. Homes were looted and burned to the ground. Nobody came to assist the weak Hungarians. After the Russians claimed their victory, they began installing a new governmental body, and the people of Budapest grew anxious about their future. Tremendous chaos, shooting, and lawlessness raged out of control. The borders opened up because no soldiers were available to man the boundaries. Hungarians packed their essentials , leaving their history behind, and headed for the Austrian border, never looking back. They weren’t the only ones; many of the Russian soldiers fled, seeking refuge for a better way of life. On the other side of the borders, the Red Cross assisted those people who wanted to start a new life or paid their way to a new country. I decided it was in my best interest to wait during this uprising, maintaining good faith with Mr. Kékési. I wanted him to know that I was faithful to my country, plus I didn’t want to make him look bad. Up until this point, most of my friends had thought I was crazy CHAPTER 16 (1956) 124 ch16_193032_Gallaudet_Dunai 5/14/02 11:33 AM Page 124 for trying to obtain a passport through the legal channels. Many of them fled when the borders were opened, begging...


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Subject Headings

  • Jews -- Hungary -- Biography.
  • Holocaust survivors -- Biography.
  • Dunai, Harry I., 1934-.
  • Jewish children in the Holocaust -- Biography.
  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Hungary -- Personal narratives.
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