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    Thank you for that. Very moving, and wry at the end. I sometimes wonder, if Britain had opened its arms to German Jewish parents as well in the 1930's, how much better off it would be today. And how much unbearable pain for those children would have been avoided.


    My mother told me how she and my father hardly slept for 3 weeks as they huddled over the radio, listening to the broadcasts coming from Hungary. I think it must have been the President's broadcast she was referring to which said "we appeal to you in the Free West to come and help us!"

    And we didn't. The foulness of communism spewed its poison over eastern europe for the next 30 years.

    I believe we still feel the effects of communism now. How many of todays terrorists were trained by the communists, funded and armed by them. How many disaffected and foolish westerners from gangs such as Bader Meinhoff were encouraged by them?

    I don't think of communism with any affection at all, Judy. I remember travelling to the Ceauscescus' Romania, with its poverty, treachery and cruelty. And Albania, a few months and years after the death of Enver Hodxha, with what one of its impoverished residents called "its colour of fear".

    It's easy to say that there are problems now in such countries, just as there are horrendous problems in Iraq. But I'll bet there aren't many Hungarians, Albanians or Iraqis who'd go back to the rule of the Ceauscescus or Hodxha, or Saddam.

    Only foolish people, amongst whom the left are disproportiately represented, reflect with nostalgia upon communism's glory days.

    Yusuf Smith

    What you are forgetting is that Hungary was isolated from the west, surrounded by communist countries and one neutral country, namely Austria. The nearest NATO countries were hundreds of miles west and it would have required the troops to travel through there. If the effort had failed, as it might well have done given Hungary's physical isolation, it might well have led to the Sovietisation of Austria as well (as well as far wider destruction).


    the UK opened its doors to the Hungarian refugees with a generosity that it never again showed.

    ? Kenyan Asians ?

    George S

    As an occasional reader of this blog and as a participant in the Hungary programme you write about, Judy, the one niggle about it was the lack of reference to the situation of Jews in Hungary in the time leading up to the revolution, during it, and after.

    Granted, since the issue is complex, it would have taken another programme, one that would be worth making some time, but it is a question a couple of us on the panel discussed afterwards. Especially since, as the other panellist remarked, of that list of Nobel Prize winning Hungarians briefly trailed in the programme, some 90% were Jewish.

    And yes, we did receive a very warm welcome, and, as a joint letter in The Times from several notable British academics born in Hungary shows, we are indeed grateful.


    The Hungarian revolt was against a largely Jewish class of bolshevik functionaries, as revealed in David Irving's 'Uprising!'.

    Why should the West have risked a nuclear showdown to aid these anti-semites?

    Hungary emerged as one of the freest and most prosperous countries in the Soviet bloc, since it was allowed to be a test bed for limited capitalism for fear of a repetition of 1956.

    A pretty optimal result for all concerned, I'd say.

    George Szirtes

    'As revealed in Irving' - his was the first book I read on the subject - is not necessarily a recommendation.

    There is in fact a story to be told there, but Irving is not the best man to be telling it.

    'A pretty optimal result for all concerned, I'd say.'

    Not for the dead. Not for Hungary. Not for the following years. Not later. Not now. You cannot dismiss the Uprising as an outbreak of anti-Semitism. Not by a long chalk. Nor did the West's non-intervention have anything to do with perceptions of the Uprising as anti-Semitic.

    If it is the truth at last you are interested in, then it is worth looking for the proper relationship between things. There was, after some days, after the opening of the prisons, an element of anti-Semitism in the crowd, and there was indeed a strong, if not substantial, representation of non-practising Jews in the ruling party. At the top level they were Moscow based, but lower down they were radicalised Hungarian survivors of the war.

    Furthermore, it is true that there existed and continue to exist strains of ugly anti-Semitism in Hungary, as elsewhere in the old Soviet empire, though not especially in Hungary, except in so far as the country was left with a sizeable number of Jews in Budapest at the end of the war on whom anti-Semitism might be focused.

    The revolution of 1956, in my opinion, was not particularly marked by anti-Semitism and it would be doing serious dishonour to most of the participants to label them anti-Semites. A number of Jewish friends in Budapest celebrate 1956.

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