On the 23rd of October, we commemorate the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. It was a nationwide revolution against the Hungarian People’s Republic (1949–1989) and the Hungarian domestic policies imposed by the Soviet Union.
The 23rd of October is a public holiday in Hungary, so stores and shopping centers such as Fórum Debrecen are closed. Fórum Debrecen opens at 9 am on Sunday.
On a sunny day in October, students and teachers, factory workers, men, and women, young and old, stood up and demanded the end of Communist Soviet oppression, as well as the Hungarian puppet government. When their peaceful demonstration against Stalinist terror was repressed brutally by bursts of gunfire, they did not back down. In heroic acts of bravery, ordinary people around the country took matters into their own hands to defy the Communist state’s police force and the Soviets with whatever means they could find.
A red-haired, freckled 15-year-old Hungarian girl held a Russian cartridge-disc rifle in her hands. The photo of Erika Szeles was widely published in the world press. Many people considered the photo as the symbol of the Hungarian revolution, the token of courage and hope.
The girl who participated in the 1956 uprising was shot to death on the 7th of November when she was trying to help the injured in a Red Cross armband. The bullet from a Soviet rifle hit Erika on the neck.
The photo that became well-known to the world was taken by Danish journalist, Paul Raae and his photographer, Vagn Hansen.
You can watch a 23-minute-long documentary directed by Arnold van Bruggen about it on Vimeo for free. It is called Tainted Revolution.
The 1956 revolution lasted from the 23rd of October until the 10th of November 1956. Only 19 days, but they determined the fate of Hungary for long years. People had to wait until 1989 to experience the long-awaited freedom. The 23rd of October was declared a national holiday only in 1989.
On the 23rd of October, the very first enfilade fire of the revolution volleyed in Debrecen. The Mayor’s Office of Debrecen City with County Rights will hold commemorations and wreathings in honor of the 65th anniversary of the 1956 Revolution and the War of Independence, and the 32nd anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Hungary.
- 8:45 am: Hoisting of the National Flag with military homage in Kossuth Square
- 9:15 am: Wreath-laying at the memorial plaque to the victims of the enfilade fire (Kossuth Street 8.)
- 10:15 am: Festive commemoration at the ‘56 monument (square in front of the University Church, Egyetem Square 1.): speech by: László Papp, Mayor of Debrecen
- “Apáink útján” – oDEon-ZeneTheatrum’s musical commemorational show on the occasion of the 23rd of October. Contributed by: Fanni Gellén, Judit Bátorfi, Csaba Kerékgyártó and Szabolcs Csáki. Edited by: Szabolcs Csáki
- 5:00 pm: Haul down of the National Flag with military homage in Kossuth Square
- 6:00 pm: Lighting a candle at the monument to the heroes and victims of the 1956 revolution and the war of independence in Debrecen (Kossuth Street 10.). The event will be attended by István Puskás, Deputy Mayor of Debrecen. Featuring: Zoltán Tordai (violin). The organizers give candles.