Budapest (MTI) – The 60th anniversary of Hungary’s 1956 anti-Soviet revolution and freedom fight will have to be commemorated “adequately”, Human Resources Minister Zoltan Balog told the first meeting of a memorial committee set up to manage commemorative events, on Wednesday.
The committee seeks to ensure that commemorations of the revolution are “true and factual”, Balog said. Hungarians should “pay tribute to the heroes together”, the minister said, and argued that “if there is consensus over past events, agreement may be reached on some important future issues, too.”
The new committee was set up as a “representative” body to demonstrate the unity of the nation, Balog said. He added that members represent “institutions that have something to say on the occasion as well as experts of 1956”.
The 60th anniversary is a “great opportunity to cooperate and put 1956 in its proper place in the hearts and in the nation’s collective memory,” Balog said.
The minister insisted that “the shameful desecration of the memorial year in 2006 must be remedied”, referring to the 50th anniversary whose commemorations were held amid violent anti-government protests and police actions.
Maria Schmidt, director of the House of Terror Museum and government commissioner in charge of the 2016 memorial year, talked about the importance of making the anniversary a “shared national holiday”, of “getting 1956 closer to the people”. Young people need to be told “what sacrifice, heroism and courage meant, with which the nation rose against a huge power and demonstrated that Hungarians are always ready to fight for their survival”, she said.
According to the relevant government decree, the new committee, headed by Balog, will table proposals for next year’s commemorations and other events, for new memorials or shrines, as well as promote films, books and research on the subject.
The committee is co-headed by Schmidt, while members include several ministers, the head of the Academy of Sciences and the Art Academy, the head of the National Museum and the president of the Committee for National Shrines.
House Speaker Laszlo Kover will be the chief patron of the memorial year.