Hungarians ask reporter: "How do I get out?"

By RUSSELL JONES  |  November 21 1956
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BUDAPEST, Nov. 21, 1956 (UP) - They ask the same whispered questions in the hurried conversations that spring up wherever the only American goes in search of news in Budapest.

"How do I get out?" ... "What are the borders like?"

"How many times do the Russians check you before the borders?"

The news has come to this battletorn city that President Eisenhower will allow 5,000 Hungarian refugees to enter the United States. Hungarians want to know how to get out, and this reporter is a busy man.

Already the U.S. legation has been besieged by dozens of Hungarians seeking visas under the "Eisenhower Plan."

While the fighting was going on, many a newspaperman received tearful pleas for help, for moral support from the freedom fighters-both men and women. Now there are whispers, and the notes. Dozens and dozens of times, in three weeks in Budapest, you have found the notes.

You come back to your car and find a note stuck under the windshield wiper. You find them under your plate at lunch. They are slipped into your hand as you pass by.

Sometimes they want you to get word to relatives in America. At the Csepel Island Steelworks south of Budapest yesterday, a hand reached out of the crowd and pressed a dirty scrap of paper into my hand.

"To Louis Menyhert, 34-54 89th St., Jackson Heights (New York City)," a scratchy pencil had written. "We are all living. I also have uncles in San Diego and Detroit. We miss them."

It was signed "Louis."

To the Louis in Long Island, I can only say: Your friend or relative is safe. I did not see him, only the hand, but there is his message and God bless him.

--

(Russell Jones won the 1957 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for his dispatches from Hungary).

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