Who inspired the statue of a naked, young boy, and what is the story?
Budapest is not only full of beautiful spots and parks where you can have a rest or admire the breathtaking view of the city, but many of them have a mysterious story or a glorious history. The Péter Mansfeld park in Buda on the Rózsadomb (Rose Hill), close to Margaret Bridge, is one of these places.
Apart from the beautiful panorama, the park has a surprising feature. There is a 4-metre-tall granite memorial with a bronze statue inside. The statue is of a naked, young boy, Péter Mansfeld.
Who was Péter Mansfeld, why is the park named after him, and why is he depicted naked?
Mansfeld was born in Budapest in 1941, right in the middle of the Second World War. His father and his grandfather were deported by the Soviets to do forced labour. Although his father made it back to his family, he was broken, started drinking, and the parents split up.
In 1956, when the revolution against the Hungarian People’s Republic and its Soviet-imposed policies broke out, Mansfeld was only 15 years old.
Despite his young age, he joined the uprising, where his diligence earned him a position.
Up until the invasion of Budapest by a large Soviet force on November 4, he worked with the freedom fighters. After that, hoping for a new uprising to start, he collected weapons to have an arsenal ready. He also stole cars and committed several crimes with his friends.
With the fall of the revolution and the end of all his activity, he became an enemy to the political system.
After kidnapping a policeman to acquire his weapon, Mansfeld and his friends were all captured. In prison, they tried to break him, but he held on and did not reveal the identity of his friends.
He was accused of numerous crimes: the organisation and setting up of a confederation against the democratic state and the People’s Republic, hiding explosives, hiding weapons and ammunition, stealing, robbery, aggression against the authorities, a violation against personal freedom, and so on.
He was sentenced to death.
Not long after his 18th birthday, Péter Mansfeld was hanged.
Ironically, it happened on the 40th anniversary of the Hungarian Soviet Republic, on March 21, 1959.
The park and its territory named after Mansfeld, where his statue stands today, goes way back in Hungarian history. As Budapest100 writes, already at the end of the 17th century, a chapel stood here, which was later reconstructed and extended. Unfortunately, it took serious hits during the Second World War, and the city decided to demolish it rather than rebuild it.
Thanks to a civilian movement, the statue of the youngest victim of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution was inaugurated in the park in 2006.
Finally, in 2009, it received its current name.
Péter Mansfeld was an iconic figure of the country since the Communists tried to use him in their propaganda as a negative personage, someone who broke out the uprising. After the regime change, his name was cleared, and today, he is remembered as the person he was: a hero of the Hungarians.
The huge, granite monument of 295cm x 400 cm x 302cm is the work of Péter Mensági. The statue of Mansfeld is made of bronze, writes hellomagyar.hu.