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In Virtual Fashion, Hungarians Mark Beginning of Soviet Empire's End

In Virtual Fashion, Hungarians Mark Beginning of Soviet Empire's End
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By Friday, 23 October 2020 05:39 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Oct. 23, 1956 is a date edged in the hearts of Hungarians everywhere: the day their country rose up, forced its Soviet slavemasters out of power and for two weeks enjoyed the sweet taste of freedom.

As John F. Kennedy said, “No other day since history began has shown more clearly the eternal unquenchibility of man’s desire to be free, whatever the odds against success and whatever the sacrifice required.”

As it always does, the Hungarian Embassy on Friday held a celebration for the “56ers” and the day they brought freedom to their land — albeit briefly, as more than 1,000 Russian tanks would soon quash them and snuff out the lights of freedom.

While the coronavirus forced this year’s celebration to be virtual, the spirit of the ‘56ers was felt through strong statements from Dora Zombori, charge d’affairs of the Hungarian Embassy, and Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., co-chairman of the House Hungarian Caucus.

The program included a performance by acclaimed Hungarian pianist Balazs Fulei filmed just for the occasion.  What followed was  a screening of “Freedom’s Fury,” a powerful documentary of the 1956 Olympics in which a water polo match pitted Hungarians against Soviet athletes. 

In what co-executive producer Quentin Tarantino called “the best untold story ever,” the fight of Hungarians against the Russian occupiers is played out in a sometimes-violent battle in the water. 

With more than 100,000 Russian troops propping up a puppet regime in Budapest, thousands of fed-up Hungarians took to the streets 64 years ago, demanding an end Schoolchildren, university students, and laborers forged barricades from stones and manufactured petrol bombs.  Within days, they liberated thousands of imprisoned anti-communists, ncluding Josef Cardinal Mindszenty, the Roman Catholic primate of Hungary.

Tried and convicted as an enemy of the state in 1949, tortured to the limit of endurance, and filmed confessing to treason while clearly drugged, Mindszenty emerged to bless the freedom fighters and called for a free Hungary.

It happened on Oct. 28. Newly named Prime Minister Imre Nagy, a frequent critic of Soviet heavy-handedness, persuaded the Russians to withdraw their troops. On Nov. 1, he proclaimed an end to the one-party rule of the communists, announced the coming of free elections, and said Hungary was leaving the Warsaw Pact (the pact of Eastern European nations pledging fealty to Moscow).

All of this came to a crashing end on Nov. 4.  That’s when Russian tanks and troops killed more than 2,500 Hungarians and injured another 20,000. 

Some 865 freedom fighters were deported to Moscow for trial. Mindzenty took up asylum in the U.S. Embassy in Budapest (and remained there until 1971, when he was freed as part of a deal between the Kremlin and the Vatican; Mindszenty, who died in 1975, was named “venerable” -- heroic in virtue -- by Pope Francis in Febrary 2019 during the investigation that could lead to possible canonization as a saint.

Nagy and his top associates were executed as a warning to future rebels.

“The freedom fighters of 1956 gave their lives and their liberty so that one day Hungary would become an independent and free democracy,” said Dora Zombori from the Embassy website, “The goal of the 56ers was finally achieved in 1989, and we also celebrate today the 31st anniversary of the regime change. ... Long live Hungarian freedom. 

"Long live our homeland.” 

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

© 2020 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


   
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Oct. 23, 1956 is a date edged in the hearts of Hungarians everywhere: the day their country rose up, forced its Soviet slavemasters out of power and for two weeks enjoyed the sweet taste of freedom. As John F. Kennedy said, "No other day since history began has shown more...
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Friday, 23 October 2020 05:39 PM
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