October 26, 1956

Armed clashes continued throughout Budapest on the fourth day of the revolution as the government pleaded for a ceasefire over the airways that went ignored. Among the flashpoints where armed groups organized to fight the Soviet troops were Corvin Lane, Práter Street and Baross Square in District VIII, Tűzoltó Street and Tompa Street in District IX, and Móricz Zsigmond Circus and Széna Square in Buda.

Most of the fighting was concentrated in Districts VII, VIII and IX, which are in Pest and were primarily working class districts. Tellingly, it was the working classes, the alleged darlings of the communist system, who rose up in the greatest numbers, thereby laying bare the lie that they had benefitted so greatly under the regime.

In addition to the fighting groups, workers’, revolutionary and national committees begin to form throughout the country, which in many cases would come to exist almost as parallel governments. The communist party leadership, perhaps in denial or clinging to the last straws still refused to recognize the event as a popular uprising.

October 26th is also remembered for the incidents in Miskolc in the northeast and Mosonmagyaróvár in the northwest not far from the Austrian border. Crowds of protestors had gathered in both cities and had been fired upon by the secret police, with over 50 losing their lives in Mosonmagyaróvár. In both cases the protestors eventually gained control of the buildings where the secret police had fired from, and mob justice ensued.

The actions of the crowd cannot be excused and must be condemned, but they also need to be understood. The party’s fist, as the secret police were called, had terrorized the nation for approximately a decade, and had just killed dozens without warning moments earlier.

Zoltán Csipke