Marta Fordos
The Effects of 1956 Across the Ocean
NOTE: This submission was created by using the online survey attached to this website. The survey consists of suggested questions to answer or ask family members to create a personal historic record of 1956 and discuss its effects on'56-ers and their family members.

Where do you currently reside in the US?
Fairview Park, OH

Where did you live in Hungary in 1956?
My grandfather was at the Vac prison as Prisoner of War

How did you become involved in the Revolution?
I was only 6 years old and my parents told my sister and me about it. They said my grandparents who lived in Szentendre are living under the communist regime that ruled with terror.

What role did you play?
My father wanted to save the 100 children that were to be slaughtered by the Communists once they reached the age of 18. He asked me to ask the principal of my school to write to the President and congress to ask the Russians not to go through with the slaughter. Unfortunately the principal was not interested enough to help.

How were your family members involved?
My grandfather was a general and vitez (Kudriczy Istvan), who was held prisoner since 1945 at the prison of Vac. He was tortured and brain-washed. The Freedom Fighters set him free, along with many other prisoners of war, after the revolution broke out on October 23rd. He escaped, but was very weak, since he had a hernia surgery only a week prior to the outbreak of the revolution. He had to recuperate somewhere and was given refuge at my father's parents apartment. While he was being nursed back to health under great risk to everyone around him, my grandfather's brother arranged for him to be transported to Yugoslavia on a frigid winter's night by being bundled up very warmly and stuffed into a freezer truck. The guard at the border was too cold to inspect the truck and they let the truck pass through. The truck went to a Belgrade camp where he was held until his other brother could take him out. My grandfather was told he had to leave Belgrade within 30 days, so Senator Clifford Case helped him get a visa to come to this country. When he arrived, he was welcomed by newspaper reporters, since he was supposedly the 2nd highest ranking general living at that time.

Was there a particular location where you were most involved during 1956?
My grandparents on my father's side lived in Szentendre at the time and feared for their lives in a 2-room apartment, since the Hungarian people were told by the regime that anyone who helps the prisoners escape or gives them shelter, will be executed or imprisoned. My grandparents on my father's side and the whole apartment complex kept his whereabouts secret at risk to their own lives. Nobody spoke up and they were determined to help him and saved his life.

What are your most vivid memories of the Revolution?
I was a Hungarian girl scout at that time and I remember a lot of new girls joining the scouts after their families arrived to Cleveland.

Who are the most unforgettable people you came across or heard about during the Revolution?
My grandparents in Hungary and my grandfather here told us vivid accounts of tragic events, including how their lives were changed or about family members were executed. Freedom of speech and religion was taboo.

What examples of heroism and or bravery did you encounter during the Revolution?
My friend in Canada also told me stories about how she was ridiculed and beaten up by the class at school for going to church. Her teacher coaxed the class to hate her and mock her. Kids were supposed to tell on their parents if they spoke against the Communists or went to church, etc.

How would you define the spirit of 1956?
Optimism that ended in a crushing defeat with no help from the U.S. or other free countries.

In what way has the Revolution affected your life?
Fighting for freedom, whether it's speaking my mind, supporting a cause or even a war, or just by influencing generations of the future, is worth fighting for no matter what the cost.

What message would you like taught or passed down to future generations about the Revolution of 1956?
A regime can intimidate and threaten your mind and body, but they cannot control your spirit!

When and how did you leave Hungary Where did you go and eventually reside permanently?
My grandfather left Hungary in November of 1956, went to Jugoslavia for refuge, then was brought here to Passaic, NJ in 1957.

Have you shared the stories of 1956 with members of your family or friends?
Yes

Have you returned to Hungary since you came to the US If so when and how many times?
My grandfather died of a mysterious illness in 1963. His mental and physical health deteriorated due to the immense tortures during his 10-year prison life.

How do you plan to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Revolution?
By helping the planning committee of the CHR50, which will be held on the weekend of October 21st and 22nd at the Cleveland State University, Wolstein Center. I am doing the interviewing of any Hungarian refugee, who is interested in being on a video that will be continuously played on a large screen during the events.

Are you currently active in the Hungarian American community If so please list the organizations you support?
Hungarian Girl Scouts and the Hungarian Veterans (MHBK)

Marta Fodros