documentary History | Politics TRIUMPH AND ... - Interspot Film


documentary History | Politics TRIUMPH AND ... - Interspot Film

T he


History | Politics



Hungarian uprising on the 23rd of October 1956 was an

epochal event, a political earthquake without a centre, without

a concept and without a coordinated leadership. Yet it

destroyed the Communist regime within days. Secret documents

now accessible reveal the confusion, fear and split in the party

leadership in Budapest and Moscow, the fateful decisions about

two Soviet military interventions, the betrayal of the Imre Nagy

Government by the West and by the Tito regime in neighbouring

Yugoslavia. Even after the bloody crushing of the revolution, the

resistance went on. More than 3oo executions, tens of thousands

in jail and internment camps and finally the secret trial of Prime

Minister Nagy and his associates were the results of the revenge

taken by the reconstructed Communist regime under the leadership

of Janos Kadar. The 1956 Revolution was a victory in defeat

in Hungarian history and a milestone in modern European history.

„The main actors of the documentary are the still living freedom

and resistance fighters in Hungary with the international background

highlighted by exclusive interviews with the former KGB-

Chief General Vladimir Kriuchkov in Moscow and the longterm

Russian Ambassador Valery Musatov as well as with the former

US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger in Washington D.C.“



45 minutes

idea & script

paul lendvai


pedro chlanda


stephan mussil


heinrich mayer

executive producer

rudolf klingohr






english and german



History | Politics



he background of the uprising and the role of the main actors, the fate of the revolution during 13

„T days from seeming triumph to brutal repression during the months and years following the November

4th Soviet invasion are related by key figures …"

Their fate and their testimony also illustrates again and again why fifty years later the heritage of 1956 is still

an open wound and a bone of contention in Hungarian politics.

The “starring role” belongs to Imre Mecs, by profession and electro ingenieur and inventor. He has been for

the past 15 years a Liberal (SzDSz) member of parliament. Mecs shows the lobby of the Technical University

where the students on the evening of October 22nd started the movement of solidarity with Poland. He

attended the meeting which next day sparked off the revolution. After the Soviet intervention, he helped to

organise and to lead a resistance cell. Arrested and sentenced 1958 to death, he shows the cell where he was

kept for nine months before the death sentences was commuted to life imprisonment. He relates briefly what

he and his comrades went through. We see the place where Imre Nagy was executed, and the memorial in the

cemetery. Mecs spent almost five years in jail and went on fighting Communism after his release. We see his

flat and part of his family (he has 8 children from two marriages). Other outstanding participants also appear

in the film including a moving statement by the poet Istvan Eörsi (who died in the meantime). Jenö Fonay, also

sentenced to death, originally and later became president of the Political Prisoners Association, Ödön Pongratz,

who together with his brother Gergely Pongratz led the legendary freedom fighters of the Corvin-passage. We

also see the funeral services for the hero Gergely Pongratz and his private museum of ’56 in the countryside.

The crushing of the revolution and consolidation of the Kadar regime was assisted by tens of thousands of

informers and secret agents. The Historical Office, founded a few years ago keeps the records on the agents.

It is also a purpose of the documentary to show the immense international significance of the 1956 revolution.

„Two exclusive interviews with the former KGB-Chief General Vladimir Kryuchkov in Moscow (he was assistent

of Ambassador Andropov during 1954-1957 in Budapest) and with the longterm Russian Ambassador to

Hungary Valery Musatov in Budapest speak about the Soviet intervention with Musatov playing tribute to the

executed Prime Minister Imre Nagy. The US attitudes were profoundly disapppointing to the Hungarians, Radio

Free Europe from Munich was promoting the insurrection, yet the Americans had done nothing to help

Hungary. An exclusive interview with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in Washington contains a critical

comment on US-attitude.“

The Austrian factor was significant in two respects: on the one hand the State Treaty and the withdrawal of

occupation forces gave a powerful push to the declaration of neutrality by Imre Nagy; on the other hand

Austria played a vital role in welcoming, accepting and sheltering almost 200 000 Hungarian refugees.

Newsreels and possibly interviews about the significance of the revolution for the history of both countries.

Yet for all the celebrations, 1956 does not unite but rather splits the Hungarian society and belongs neither to

the political left, nor to the right today, but to the Hungarian nation as a whole and to European history.

For further information please contact


Interspot Film-Ges.m.b.H

A-1230 Vienna

Walter-Jurmann-Gasse 4

phone: + 43 1 | 80 120-420

fax: + 43 1 | 80 120-222


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