“In October 1956, the Hungarian youngsters did something sensations: they hammered the first nail into the coffin of the superpower with the greatest military might of the age”, Minister for Innovation and Technology László Palkovics said at a commemoration held at the University of Technology and Economics in Budapest on Tuesday.

“Since Petőfi, we have known that Hungarian youths are capable of transforming the world”, Mr. Palkovics said. “In 1956, the State party forgot about this special capability, the strength that lies in Hungarian youth”, he added.

The “servants of the soviets, who had crippled the region” thought they had dealt with the Hungarian people, and that they would be incapable of standing up again. They were wrong, and their mistake was so great that “it shook the whole communist system”, the Minister said.

“After the glorious October of 1956, Soviet power was never the same again. It took another thirty years for the system to be thrown onto the garbage heap of history, but 1956 saw the permanent start of it well-deserved passage towards destruction, and we have the freedom-loving Hungarians and the youths of Hungary to thanks for that”, he explained.

“They clearly had reason to fear the revenge of the authorities, but despite this they united and uncovered the system’s lies. They became heroes, and this was not brought about by the necessity of history: it was their own courageous and independent decision”, he added.

“The Hungarian university students put into words the burning questions that were affecting Hungarian society. They were able to look beyond the stressing of their own interests, the university overcrowding, the unacceptable teaching conditions, the lateness of grant payments, the terrible condition in halls of residence or the awful canteen meals”, the State Secretary declared.

“They saw what the country was suffering from and recognised the unfairness, and when formulating their demands, from points that were initially aimed at improving the situation of students, they increasingly shifted emphasis to lifting up the Hungarian people and demanding national independence”, he stated.

“The university and college students of 1956 were the innovators of freedom, who gave hope to the East, and woke up the West”, he said.

Mr. Palkovics also spoke about the fact that the truth cannot be caged, because it will always force its way out. “The youths of 1956 opened the ‘windows that had been shuttered closed with terror’, enabling the Hungarian people to finally breathe some fresh air and inexorably soak in freedom”, he explained.

“As a catalyst of the Revolution, the young university students gave hope to the Hungarian people, who had been crippled by tyranny and thrust into fear. It was also from this hope that the regime-changing generation sustained itself, and it is from this hope that we too live”, the Minister added.

In his speech, Rector of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics János Józsa recalled: “63 years ago, the university’s teaching staff were also the leaders, ‘fatherly supporters’ and protectors of the University of Technology’s students, and they suffered various reprisals after the Revolution was beaten down.

“One member of this community was world-famous water industry civil engineer Emil Mosonyi, a professor and member of the lecturers’ temporary revolutionary committee. During the Revolution, Professor Mosonyi asked students ‘not to get carried away and commit any kind of atrocity’, because their duty was ‘to study and become the outstanding engineers of a free Hungary”. After the Revolution was quashed, Emil Mosonyi was dismissed from the University, as a result of which he was forced to leave the country. He had no choice but to live abroad and as a result was sentenced to achieve global fame”, he said, adding that he shared this fate with many other world-famous Hungarians, who were forced into emigration during the various periods of devastation of Hungarian history.

During the event, a wreath was placed at the plaque commemorating the University’s heroic dead.

Following the commemoration, the participants set off on a traditional torchlight procession to Bem Square.

At the general meeting of the students of the Budapest University of Technology on 22 October 1956, the students set down their demands in 16 points, and voted to march to Bem Square the next day in a show of solidarity with the workers’ protests in Poland. At the rally held at the Petőfi statue in Budapest on 23 October, slogans against Rákosi (General Secretary of the Hungarian Communist Party) and Gerő (chief of the secret police) were shouted, and the participants demanded the withdrawal of soviet troops. The soviet central emblem was cut out of the national flags, making the flag with a hole in the middle an emblem of the Revolution. The mass rallies in Budapest and rural cities were accompanied by bloody atrocities on the part of the administration.