On the occasion of the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Communism, the Municipality of Debrecen and the “Give back my mountains!” Foundation organised a commemoration and wreath-laying ceremony on the 25th of February 2024 at the 1956 Memorial of Miklós Melocco on the University Square.

László Papp, Mayor of Debrecen, said in his speech, “Today, on the  25th of  February, we remember the victims of one of the most evil ideologies in history, communism. We have been doing so since 2000, when the Hungarian Parliament decided to declare the day on which Béla Kovács, the General Secretary of the Independent Smallholders’ Party, was arrested on false charges for his stand against the communists and later deported to the Soviet Union, as the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Communist Dictatorships.

The politician’s arrest was the first step on the road that the Communist Party took to eliminate all those who opposed the establishment of a total dictatorship or simply obstructed its unfolding. 

This violent action dashed the last hopes that a sovereign, democratic Hungary could avoid a state of vulnerability and avoid the establishment of a totalitarian system based on violence. This arrest became a symbol of the disregard for democracy and freedom rights that characterised 40 years of Communism. 

Unfortunately, there are many days in our history that are well suited to recalling the atrocities of communism in Hungary. Even so, there is no denying that the evocation of Béla Kovács’s personal drama strengthens our resolve not to forget the terrible crimes of communism and the illegality that organised itself into a system.

The essence, the inhumanity, the soul, the nation, the communities, the destructive effects of communism were also suffered by Hungarian society. These decades were one of the darkest periods in our history.

Yet the Second World War had only just ended. But the real liberation, the happy, peaceful construction and independent development did not take place, but the communist takeover of power came all the sooner. They were indiscriminate in their methods, violence and cruelty.

A system completely alien to Hungarian traditions, endowments, natural and economic opportunities, and especially the will of the community, has been imposed on us. In this process, it was not only Soviet policy that played a role, but also their local, Hungarian governors, without whom the Stalinist system could not have been built.

The number of victims of communism worldwide reached 100 million. According to some estimates, the number of soldiers and civilians taken prisoner by the Soviets in Hungary during the Second World War was estimated at between 1 million and 1.1 million, one third of whom, and I stress one third, did not survive the ordeal of captivity.

During the darkest period of the dictatorship, thousands of people died as a result of political persecution, while tens of thousands were broken in the prison world of communism, in internment camps, in Recske, Kistarcha, Hortobágy. Almost every family experienced the methods and inhumanity of the communists.  

Displaced, interned, convicted in conceptual lawsuits, financially ruined by tax arrears and service obligations, rural peasants unable to accept the loss of their land, fleeing to suicide, socially crippled urban workers, spiritually disabled intellectuals deprived of their existence were to be found in every family.

It is symbolic that on the day of commemoration of the victims of communism, we have gathered here in front of the statue commemorating 1956. The Hungarians who rose up against the oppression of the communist regime in October 1956 wanted to achieve what the dictatorship had denied and taken away from us: freedom, a sense of belonging to the Hungarian nation, national identity, religion and faith, the preservation of our traditions, the family, fundamental human and civil liberties, the right to maintain contact with Hungarian minorities beyond the borders, property and the security of property.

After 40 years of dictatorship, we hoped for a world where these values would never again be threatened by anyone or anything. But more than thirty years after the regime change, we are finding that this is not the case. That the great common European ideal is incompatible with nation, religion and the ideal of family.

But let us not be surprised, because, as we know, the communist does not disappear, it only transforms. The communist ideology and ideal did not disappear with the regime changes.

In fact, in some respects it seems to be enjoying a renaissance,  it is emerging in new guises, with new ideas. We are also seeing that the conservative side and the liberal side do not judge and condemn with the same clarity one of the most inhuman ideologies of the 20th century, communism.

It must be said that communism and the dictatorial system based on it are inhuman, anti-autonomous and anti-social, and that it is the duty of all democratically-minded people to condemn those who have crippled the nations of Central and Eastern Europe for decades by promoting these ideas.

The European and the national left wing have never taken responsibility for the actions that have destroyed millions of people and families. The Left’s responsibility is zero today and has been zero in the past decades. The events of today are clear proof of this.

And you cannot trust power to people who never take responsibility for anything they do.

Moreover, nowadays, when they try to excuse the atrocities of communist regimes, they wrap their disingenuous arguments in progressive and other seemingly progressive ideologies.

The real reason for this, however, is well known. At Nuremberg, the international tribunal did not merely condemn the war criminals, the named individuals, but the whole system: their organisations, the Nazi ideology, their actions. But communism did not have a Nuremberg trial.

The international community did not condemn the communist leaders, their crimes, their ideology, their organisations, their movement. Thus, communist ideas and ideologies have often been whitewashed and, unfortunately, in many cases are now acceptable.

On many occasions, Hungarian society has had to fight for its own past, for justice and for its right to historical memory.

The ‘erasure culture’ that has become fashionable today is a threat to our past, to the Europe of nations and to Christianity. It falsifies and twists historical facts, relativises the suffering of the victims of communism and the crimes of its perpetrators.

Today, those who bow their heads to pay tribute to the memory of the victims of communism, show their respect for those who sacrificed their lives and fate for their country, as did József Mindszenty, István Angyal, Béla Kovács, Anna Kéthly, Kálmán Kéri, György Faludy, István Bibó or Béla Varga.

And for us, as descendants, not only on this day, but every time, it is our moral duty, our eternal task, to never forget the victims of communism, and to say that not only the communists, but also their heirs are unforgiven. Because that’s the only way we can truly pay our respects to the victims of this criminal political ideology.”

Reformed pastor Iván Barnabás said a prayer for the souls of the victims.

During the wreath-laying ceremony, the Debrecen municipality, political parties, armed bodies, civil organisations, representatives of the arts and sports life laid flowers at the memorial.

Folk singer Petra Ecsedi-Oláh, Jászai Mari Prize-winning actor Zsolt Dánielfy, actor István Papp and the members of the Csokonai National Theatre Debrecen participated in the ceremony. Orchestral artist Zsolt Györgyfi of the Kodály Philharmonic Orchestra played the trumpet.

Source: debrecen.hu

Author: Debrecen4U