Hungary commemorates 1956 uprising

05-11-2004

Hungarians this week commemorated the anniversary of November 4th 1956 when Soviet tanks crushed the short-lived Hungarian revolution. Awards named after the martyred prime minister Imre Nagy are given out on this day -and this year one of the proud recipients was 83 year old Bela Kiraly. Kiraly played a key role in the 56 revolution and then as a military historian - wrote several books during his long exile in the United States. We asked him to recall those days and how he met Imre Nagy during the revolution:

"I got out of prison in early September. In mid September, Imre sent to me a professor and two other colleagues reminding me that there was a group of friends who were preparing to return once again to the program of the first Imre Nagy government, which was in office between 1953 and 1955, and already at that time in September 1956 in every ministry and other important institutions there were people who were released from prison, rehabilitated, and put back into key positions.

"There was no conspiracy and no preparation for a revolution but there were definite programmes to reform to give a human face to the Communist regime. They nominated me to get into the ministry of defence to help the Army to be reformed from within. That is how our connection with Imre Nagy started so that when the revolution won on October 28th and representatives of freedom fighter groups gathered to create a central leadership, I was invited and was elected to preside over the Revolutionary Committee for Public Safety."

05-11-2004