Hungarian-Americans commemorate 1956


WASHINGTON -- Hungarian-Americans paid tribute Thursday to the 30th anniversary of the Hungarian revolution and President Reagan praised the uprising as a 'shining example of idealism, patriotism and sheer courage.'

At the National Press Club, a small group of Hungarian Americans unveiled several art murals painted by internationally acclaimed artists Eva Makk, Americo Makk, and A.B. Makk. The huge paintings depicted the uprising that began Oct. 23, 1956, and in which 5,000 people were killed in fighting against Soviet troops.


Edward Teller, the Hungarian-born nuclear scientist, told the gathering in a brief and emotional speech that 'people died for freedom (in Hungary) but freedom was attained for a very short time.'

Teller, who left Hungary as a young man well before World War II, opened his speech in Hungarian: 'I was not there, but I will never forget it.'

Teller, clutching a cane, made a pitch for President Reagan's space-based 'Star Wars' program, saying it will help protect America's security and freedom.

'Today, 30 years after the Hungarian revolution, you who are here will have a chance to continue to work for freedom,' he said.

Laszlo Pasztor, then a freedom fighter in Hungary and now an executive member of the National Federation of American Hungarians, said in an interview: 'The Hungarians are pretty good fighters. We feel that the Hungarian freedom fight was not in vain. The Russians were tought a lesson.'


In a statement before leaving Washington for two days of campaigning for Republican Senate candidates, Reagan said, 'Let all Americans honor the Hungarian freedom fighters with profound gratitude for our own freedom and with renewed solidarity with everyone whose dream is the noble one of freedom.'

'Today,' Reagan said, 'we commemorate the shining example of idealism, patriotism and sheer courage that is the immortal legacy of the freedom fighters of the Hungarian Revolution.'

The State Department also marked the aniversary by calling on the communist leadership 'to come to terms with its past.'

'Progress has been meaningful but incomplete,' State Department spokesman Charles Redman said in a statement issued to commemorate the anniversary of the uprising that was crushed by Soviet tanks within a week.

'This tragic event deeply affected many Americans,' Redman said. 'We witnessed the Hungarian nation fighting for the very ideals that are at the center of the American conscience.'

'We encourage the Hungarian leadership,' said Redman, 'to come to terms with its past, frankly acknowledge the genuine needs of the nation, and press forward with efforts to make Hungary a free, generous and prosperous home for all its citizens.'

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