Revolutionists capturing a Russian tank in October 1956
Vienna, March 3 (MTI) – A research conference attended by historians and other academics was held on Hungary’s anti-Soviet uprising of 1956 at the Hungarian embassy in Vienna on Thursday.
Historian Miklós Kun talked about the role of Russia’s secret service in the crushing of the revolution. He said the history of the revolution was still somewhat blurry, noting that the report on then-Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s talks in Budapest in 1957 has not been made accessible to researchers. He added that details on Hungarian communist-era leader János Kádár’s visit to Moscow at the time were also limited. Kun said the “Western political elite” had “betrayed” Hungary in 1956 while the people of the West had shown an “unprecedented” level of solidarity to Hungarians.
Levente Benkő, a historian and publicist, talked about youth mobilisation in Transylvania in 1956 and the retaliation that followed the revolution in Romania. Between 1956 and 1962, some 28,000 people were arrested and around 10,000 people were sentenced to prison or death, he said.
Lajos Gecsényi, a university professor and retired director of the National Archives of Hungary, talked about Hungarian-Austrian relations in 1956. He praised the Austrian government at the time for the help it had provided to Hungary while doing its utmost to protect its own neutrality and interests. He noted that on October 28, 1956, the Austrian government issued an “unprecedented statement” calling on the Soviet government to stop the fighting.
Additionally, Austria distributed 3.5 million schillings worth of aid in Budapest by November 3, he noted. Gecsenyi also said that the Austrian embassy in Budapest had taken in French, Belgian and Dutch journalists whose own embassies had “dared not take them in”.
The conference was organised by Vienna’s Collegium Hungaricum, the Hungarian Institute of History in Vienna and the Gal Ferenc University of Szeged and sponsored by the 1956 Memorial Committee.