People across the world were shocked to see the scenes from Budapest in 1956, when a massive number of Hungarians, fearing from Soviet suppression, were heading towards the West following the failed uprising. The thousands of Syrians and other asylum-seekers who walked from Budapest towards Austria in recent days thus followed a well-trodden route.

Referring to the failed Revolution of 1956 and its consequences, Western countries say that each Hungarian refugees was welcomed with open arms when they desperately needed it, and blame the current Hungarian government for building a barrier before those who are fleeing armed conflict, and thereby trying to stop them from receiving the same treatment as Hungarian refugees had back then.

Having received such a negative commentary from the West, and in such a serious humanitarian crisis anyway, it is important to look at things objectively. Unfortunately, today we are witnessing a situation in which the number of people fleeing is much greater than what we saw in 1956, but the two crises should only carefully – if ever – be compared to one another.


First of all, the 200,000 Hungarians who decided to leave their homes in 1956 tried everything in order to integrate into the host countries’ society: they respected the local laws, kept order, and fulfilled their obligations. However, we have been experiencing that those immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, economic migrants – or however we should call them –who have already entered the Schengen Area through Hungary do exactly the opposite: they make damages, revolt against the police, organise demonstrations, fail to comply with their obligations, and even rape women.

Secondly, within a few days of the first refugees arriving to Austria in 1956, a massive effort was launched to resettle the Hungarians. Over the following months, they were transferred to 37 different nations on five continents, where they settled down and started a new life, accepting their fate. The United States and Canada each took in around 40,000, while the United Kingdom accepted 20,000, and Germany and Australia some 15,000 each. Two African and 12 Latin American countries also welcomed Hungarians. By comparison, immigrants entering safe countries such as Turkey, Greece, or Serbia today, demand the right to move on to whichever EU country they wish, where the living standards – as well as unemployment benefits – are much higher.

Photo: Photo: Balazs Beli

Difficult though it may be, but we must be able to see the clear-cut difference between those who fled the Soviet dictatorship and those who only strive for a better standard of living by making use of the current immigration crisis.

Naturally, we must be grateful for those countries that welcomed thousands of Hungarians and showed great compassion in the face of that sudden influx – the same attitude that Hungary ought to show towards real refugees fleeing conflict – but we should also be aware that the current crisis is different in many respects to that of 1956.

written by Gábor Hajnal



  1. Nonsense. These refugees respect the laws of their host countries. Hungary is not a host country, it is a transit country. If Hungary just let them through to Germany then no-one would be attacking the fence.

    The migrants are not moving to ‘whatever country they wish’. They are moving to Germany because the German government and people have welcomed them. This doesn’t make them economic migrants, it just means they aren’t idiots.

    This paper will say anything to avoid putting any responsibility on the Hungarian government, including painting all refugees as potential rapists, which is incredibly irresponsible and without justification.

  2. The migrants should be taken back to there country they have no right to be here.

  3. Thank you for the above article. The difference between what happened in 1956 and what is happening in Europe now is very different indeed. This current mass of people streaming through Europe is not law abiding, plenty of evidence of that. They are not Europeans seeking refuge from totalitarianism, and cooperating with authorities on neighbouring countries, and accepting what ever country they were sent to as refugees. They are from the middle east marching their way across Europe to settle in an area they deem a soft touch. The Hungarians taken in by Australia in 1956, assimilated, became new Australians. The illegal immigrants that breached the boarders of Australia from the middle east for the last several years, did so because of our social security system and our politicians said we would take any one, anyhow. Of course we were seen as a soft touch. That meant though the real refugees stuck in camps got ignored mostly, we blew out our budgets on the illegal immigrants. We now have divisions in our country we never had before and to a dangerous degree. Two tribes now exist, Muslim, mostly supported by tax payers and the other tribe is the rest of us. Germany has created a rod for every one else’s back by inviting any one, anyhow to come to Germany, their politicians are as irresponsible as ours where. We finally got sensible leaders who stopped the boats, we can now take the genuine Syrian refugees stuck in camps. The difference between now, 2015 and then, 1956 is night and day.

  4. They do not respect the rule of law. They act as a mob and do not even support their women and children – witness the young men pushing to the front for food, to get on coaches etc etc. The leave a trail of litter and various other rubbish behind them and even throw away the food they are given. They are demanding rights they do not have. The Hungarian Government is correct to try and stem the flow. Look now what has happened to Croatia – completely overwhelmed.

    Do not forget Hungary has registered many migrants this year in excess of 100,000 it is only this great surge which has no respect. Sorry John but you are wrong.

  5. nonesence to you John / European Union demands certain things to be done in such cases ” like processing the migrants” … Other countries that are not in European Union don’t have to do the procedure and that’s why they just let them go through ( transit ) / the European Union expects Hungary to process and feed 30 million people ( ( they are coming ) and then according to Germany everything’s going to be ok . Hungary has only 10 million people / by the way i think all these people should be fed by the ones bombing them , who knows how much money is “US of A” spending on bombing ??? Nobody is asking that question and they are very quiet about the whole thing , actually they are more concerned about Elton John talking to Putin about some same sex rights …. How about America gives some of those millions used for bombing and uses that money for FOOD and accomodation to those people that they are sending to Europe

  6. John, you claim they all just want to go to Germany because they’re safe and welcome there. I’m sure that is the case for many, if not most. But what about the thousands protesting in Denmark wanting to go to Sweden? Or the ones in Sweden protesting because they want to go to Finalnd and Norway? It’s a legitimate question to ask. Why isn’t Germany, Denmark or even Sweden good enough? That’s when it stops being about fleeing from war towards safety to being about fleeing towards better economic standards. You can’t really blame them for trying, but that still doesn’t make it right. What you can blame them for, though, are violent protests when those requests are denied.
    I do, however, agree with you that suggesting they are all potential rapists is far-fetched and prejudical at best.
    But there’s someting about the massive arrogance of so many of them that gets me. Pictures from the train stations in Hungary where they throw away clean botteled water and food being provided for them because they’re not being transported to the destinations they want. All the while poor families across Europe are struggling to feed their kids.

  7. Can someone tell me why these refugees are throwing away their passports or forms of identification and are refusing to register themselfs?
    My parents were Hungarian refugees in 1956 both of them had identification documents with them when they arrived in Austria, like so many others.

  8. John! You are the nonsense personally! Do you really think that violate the laws of any country in any case can be normal and acceptable? Do really exist any acceptable case for attacking state soverenity? You are a fu***king braindead idiot!

  9. John you are full of nonsense. They are not refugees but migrants. How many refugees have you come across wearing designer labelled shirts and pants, with money in hand? They have already shown a total disrespect of any international law, the laws of the E.U. and destroying their identity cards and passports. A total menace to the European way of life and in fact any western worlds way of life. The muslim will not integrate and will build their own muslim quarters in each country, city and town they migrate to. Look at Sweden, France and England for excellent examples.

  10. Why don’t other muslim nations take them in? Come on Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan. Step up and help your fellow muslims.

  11. MIGRANTS MIGRANTS MIGRANTS Only to Germany or Sweden where you get the good life for FREE! Only 10 percent are REAL Refugees!!! These Illegal Migrants don’t want to REGISTER anywhere in Europe only in Germany and Sweden, if they register in Greece, Macedonia, Serbia or Hungary they will be stuck there as the quality of life is not as good as Germany and Western Europe. Majority of Europeans according to recent polls are supporting Hungary. 82 percent of Hungarians don’t want their country to be used as a transit or highway and they don’t want huge EU camps for the migrants in their country. In the next few years, you will see right-wing and far-right wing governments elected in Central and Eastern Europe because of this economic migrant issue. Western mainstream media continues to distort the facts, shut your TV off!

  12. The point in the article was that women are being raped, not that they may potentially be raped, so yes John and Andrew that point is lost on the two of you. Word coming out of camps in Germany is that women and children are fair game to rapists by the male immigrants, it’s happening now. It happened in our country when the illegal immigrants were given free rain to roam around, by our brain dead Government, the incident of sexual assaults in our country towns, skyrocketed. We have one high profile case were young Muslim men raped Australian teenage girls, abusing them that they deserved it because they were Australian. The Muslim father of the boys blamed Australia for making his boys rapists. Women and children are props for these marauding bands of men. They will use them how they want. We have already seen examples of that. Thank God Hungary is now protecting it boarders, women and children.

  13. we saw germans lining the streets armed with food and gifts welcoming these “refugees” (hahahahaha) 2 days later the self same refugees are beating the german police in the streets with ISIS flags. Get your heads out of your backsides and smell the coffee. Isis warned that they would flood europe and kill all non muslims, they have delivered and there’s still idiots welcoming them

  14. In 1956 we had soviet tanks blowing our Budapest apartment building away.We got through heavy fighting and reached Austria where my mother registered her self and us kids as refugees.She didn’t look for the country with the fattest welfare system.being safely out of the war zone was enough.We had only the clothes we wore..nothing more..not even a pot to piss in.Being in a safe place was enough.What we are witnessing today is anarchy and lawlessness..people crashing your borders illegaly because the grass is greener in elsewhere.
    People need to be safe and treated with dignity,but it is not Europe s responsibility to give them a” better life”.That is economic migration,and doesn’t have much in common with the events of 1956.

  15. It is obvious that John (the first commenter) a migrant himself and has posted his comment from his mobile phone during the way or has a strong interest in having the migrants here, in Europe

  16. The other difference is how the Hungarian refugees in 1956 were treated by the country the escaped to. Looks like Austria treated them far more decently and humanely than the current refugees have been treated n Hungary. I haven’t seen any old photos of Austrian police going after those Hungarian refugees, no one being hit, no reporter going about kicking children or any such thing. Those 1956 pictures show people being fed, sheltered and treated as human beings. That is a difference that should also be noted.

  17. Jean wake up!!
    The Austrians and Austrian police weren’t brutalized by the Hungarian refugees! The ’56 Hungarians lined up, got processed and accepted their fates. They appreciated everything given to them. They didn’t protest, didn’t complain, didn’t demand passage to certain countries, didn’t throw food or water back into the faces of those providing. The ’56ers had dignity and respect for the country they entered. They respected said country’s laws. These migrants show a blatant disregard for laws and freedoms. The reason that they were sprayed with water and tear gas was because they were throwing stones etc. at the border police. The migrants are using a mob mentality.
    Jean don’t even try to compare the 56ers, the Czechoslovakian from ’68 with these economic migrants. There is NO comparison!!

  18. This is only racism and ignorance, the only difference betwen the current refugees in Europe and the Hungary refugees in 1956 is their skin color, only that, many people here do not have the foggiest idea of the issue that are talking, the refugees have money, and have cellphones, and had car before the war, of course, they are from all kind of economic stautus, even higher than yours, do not be ignorant, they do not travel to get your coffe tips, they are running from death.

    You can argue whatever you wish and shake up the fantasy you wish about ISIS flags and attacks to police and rapes and crime, but without any single proof or evidence of that they are just lies from your twisted mind, they are not a single academic proof to blame the refugees from the crime in any European country, actually the Federal Office of Criminal Police of Germany1 aimed the main criminal activity to second generation people from the North of Africa and above all from Estern Europe (Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Serbia and Hungary1,2)… very ironic…
    The Cologne newyear eve attackers was described from that origin and actually the crime levels had descended since the refugees arrival, a refugee seeker do not risk to be repatriated breaking the law, they follow the laws and try to learn german, Maybe You are not understanding the concept of Refugee, they not travel the death trip and enter to xenophobic ignorant goverments territory and walk between chauvinist ignorant mobs to take your kids or posion your well, they are going to Germany beacuse in contrast with the transit countries and far away from Hungary they can feel a safe place that brings them shelter and care and not neonazi and far right deranged criminals seeking blanks for their wickedness hate (they do not even wish to go to Hungary, their goverment is only harassing them while they pass), a Refugee not seek become “assimilated” or a new generation of anything, thats not what a refugee is, they are away from thier contry not for pleasure but for the must basic need, keep alive and will retur to it when the danger be over, “Why don’t other muslim nations take them in?(sic)” the people writing here are from some part of deeper medieval Dark ages? actually Turkey, Jordan, Egipt, Lebanon and Iraq have by far the most of the Refugees with an 80%, Europe is very far to be overcrowded, that is simply a lie 3.
    They do not whant you to give them a “Better life”, they want to survive the war.

    You think you are witnessing an invasion?, you are wrong, the people of Iraq know how is witness a real invasion with armed thugs and all the murder and horror (the reality these people are running away defenceless), this is just your hate to the different.

    Hungary is giving a shameful spectacle to the rest of the world, is not only how behave with refugees or people coming of other countries, is also with the jews, with the gypsies, with the homosexual and disabled people, with the foreigners and to your own citicens, you are deeply dived in to the far right with the fascism and the ignorance and hate and is not coincidence that Hungary became the european country where any trace of democracy degrade and vanish faster with characters like Victor Orban and Jobbik.

    You will have to realise at some time that they are just people like you, even if you do not want to see it, the difference between the 1956 hungarian refugees and the ones now traveling to Europe is only the skin color and the clothes.

    And Your angry hate attacks and fanatic personal opinions do not give force or support your speach they do the opposite thing.


  19. the biggest difference is thatt fhe HUngarians share the european judeo-christian culture and traditions.

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