Hungary Calling: A Student’s Appeal to the Conscience of the World

Gabriel Ronay remembers the dramatic days of October 1956 when, as a student in Budapest, he was at the heart of the protests against the Soviet occupation.

On February 25th, 1956, in a secret speech to the Soviet Communist Party’s 20th Congress, Nikita Khrushchev, the party leader, revealed Stalin’s crimes. He tore the mask from the face of the ‘great leader and teacher of the Soviet people’. Instead of the carefully fostered image of the ‘torch-bearer of progressive mankind’, there appeared a mass murderer drenched in the blood of millions of innocent people. The mass repression, the purges, the Gulag were not the figments of the class enemy’s imagination. These were facts now exposed by the Soviet Party’s own First Secretary. He blamed it all on Stalin and his ‘cult of personality’, not on Soviet statecraft, and repudiated terror and repression as tools of building Communism.

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