“I was born 1951, five years before the uprising. I was entering an age of unheralded brutality. By then the Kulaks, the peasants who had been targeted by the AVH, the then secret police, had gone. We reckon four hundred thousand arrests were made, simply because they were peasants and peasants did not fit the Soviet model.
“AVH controlled everything. They were the state. Even when Stalin died in 1953 they got stronger, not weaker. And AVH fed our justice system.
“Until 1953, when Imre Nagy opened the gates of the internment camps, this brutality continued. We reckon there were four hundred executions over eleven years up to 1956.
“One year before that, our communist stogie government joined forces with the Warsaw Pact, allowing the Soviets to further remain in our country. Then 1956 came, starting with Khrushchev denouncing Stalin, we saw that as a split. We started to demonstrate only to be greeted by the secret police. And their guns. But, regardless, Nagy swept into power and declared the one party system would be abolished and replaced with elections. Free elections. Two days later the Soviets said they wished to ‘amend our relationship’ and invaded. We withdrew from the Warsaw Pact but it was too late.
“November 4th. I remember it well. Soviet tanks in central Budapest, firing randomly and at will. And at my father and my grandfather, both killed. Two and a half thousand killed, two hundred thousand wounded. And five thousand arrests, many of them youngsters carted away.
“60 Andrassy Boulevard was a busy place then.
“Nagy was sentenced to death and executed 1958. From the start of World War One through the degeneration of our society into World War Two then the removal of the Nazis by a regime more brutal than the Nazis, we were in an era where everything, just everything, had gone. Except one thing. Us.
“No people can be subjugated forever, one can and must take up the fight against a power thought to be invincible and its very existence on danger. We inflicted a mortal wound in the Soviet empire”.
We both wiped away a tear.
“And now, today, we have prosperity. And you can now feel as well as see we will never ever relinquish that freedom again.
“So your visit to House of Terror, you could see what happened. But now through myself, though Janos and Orsolya, and through Zsolt…..you can feel that as well. Different people. Different stories. Different aspects. All different except one thing. Our belief in us, the people of Budapest.
“And now I answered your last question; the first war was well before us. The recent events are our events and you now know you are our ambassador. Thank you”.
I replied, quite simply, “I know”.