Have you been impacted by the Hungarian Revolution of 1956?
From October 23 – November 4, 1956 there was a nationwide revolt against the Soviet occupation of Hungary. During the days, weeks, and months after October 1956, many Hungarians scattered all around the world and found new places to live and, eventually, call home. Even though this revolution happened over 63 years ago, there are new stories coming to light every year. Much of what is available can help people get a sense of the situation, but for every story published or recorded, there are many more that are not. If you grew up with someone who was impacted this revolution, it likely also impacted you. Where you live, the language you speak, your family culture, the relatives you know, and your citizenship are possibly different then they would have been.
If you have the opportunity, learn a bit more about this very important piece of Hungarian history. Each October, there are special events that occur all around the world designed to remember the Hungarian Uprising. If you live near a Hungarian community, the chances are high they will commemorate this event in some way, hosted by the local Hungarian club or church.
If you have a living relative, respectfully ask questions about their life in Hungary and how things changed when they relocated. Here is a LINK to some questions that might work for you!
If you belong to a Hungarian organization, there are likely members who might be willing to share their story. Check the questions above — most of them will work.
Read a book about it! We have some resources at the The Hungarian Store. We carry a number of books that outline the experiences of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution; some are historical fiction, some are non-fiction. Most are personal accounts and I am thankful these stories have been written. There are many stories that are waiting to be told. You can also check your local library.
Other resources include:
Freedom Fighter ’56 Oral History Project A collection of stories about 1956 that continues to grow to ensure that the spirit of Hungarian freedom fighters is never forgotten.
Hungarian American Visual History Archive An archive of over 100 interviews in 14 locations around the U.S., Hungary, and Germany documenting those who left Hungary after World War II and the Hungarian Uprising of 1956.
Will I ever completely understand what happened during that time? With so many people willing to share their experiences, I can only hope to gain a better perspective. Those who left and started new lives in other countries had their share of difficulties. Those who stayed behind had their own challenges. Life wasn’t easy for anyone. The trauma of the events of the Hungarian Revolution has had long lasting effects for many people. If we are patient, we might hear stories that have been tucked away for more than half of a century.