Commemorations of Hungary’s 1956 anti-Soviet uprising started in Budapest on Sunday, the eve of the national holiday. Addressing a crowd at the Technical University, one of the focal points of the revolution, Justice Minister László Trócsányi paid tribute to the freedom fighters.
“Not only Hungary but Europe and the whole world have much to thank to the Hungarian freedom fighters of 1956.
They can rightly be listed among the ‘founding fathers’ of the unifying Europe. Had they been victorious, the Iron Curtain that divided Europe would have been demolished earlier,” he said.
Referring to the petition of 16 points drawn up at a student meeting at the university and sparking the revolution 61 years ago, Trócsányi said that an overwhelming majority of Hungarians continue to highly esteem political freedoms, national independence, rule of law, parliamentary democracy and social justice.
At that time, he said, Hungarians faced the key question whether they would ever join the free Europe.
“Now we are discussing what kind of Europe we want to see. We want to have a say in shaping Europe’s future. As a free and independent country we are and want to remain part of the European processes and disputes,” Trócsányi said. After the commemoration, thousands of people participated in a traditional torch-lit march from the university to Bem Square, another important location of the revolution.
“One of the big lessons from the 1956 revolution and freedom fight is that we must not concede a single millimetre from our national independence,” state secretary of human resources Bence Rétvári told the crowd. “Today we still have to fight for preserving our identity and culture, which came under threat in 2015 with the migration crisis,” he said.
Zsolt Németh, head of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said that, “just as many times before over the past decades, we are fighting together with our Polish friends to preserve our national sovereignty. The problem the European Union has with these two countries is that they stand up for their independence”, he added.
As we wrote before, the 28-year-old Emánuel Csorba lived at Körtér with his family in 1956, which meant that he was able to witness and capture the events of the revolution directly. The passionate photographer went from street to street and captured the historic moments of the last days of October, 1956.
Most of us know the storyline and there are many sources where you can read about the events, but today we want to share personal stories of civilians from the day. What better way to get an understanding of the case than from stories of the men in the streets?