I would like to offer two personal testimonies about this momentuous event:
- Shortly after being transferred to the infamous political prison Jilava, near Bucharest, Romania, in December 1959, I met a Romanian general who had spent 14 years as a prisoner of war in Russia and was then transferred to the Romanian prison. Prior to his transfer in 1958, he spent some time at Lubyanka (the KGB headquarters in Moscow), sharing a cell with two Hungarian teenagers who had been arrested in 1956 at the age of 16, sentenced to death and then kept in prison until they turned 18.
One morning in July 1958 they were taken out and executed. "I shall never forget, said the old general (he died in Jilava a few years later), the two Hungarian boys who were marching to their death blindfolded. They were shouting: "Freedom! Independence! Death to Communism!" Hundreds of Hungarian teenagers were executed in 1958-1959.
- Twenty years ago I met a former Soviet officer who had defected, together with 2000 other Soviet military during the Hungarian Revolution and had sought asylum in Austria. They were separated from the Hungarian refugees in December 1956 and were sent to a special camp run by U.S. personnel. On January 13, 1957, they were all forced to board a train that was supposed to take them to West Germany.
The train headed towards Bratislava (Slovakia) instead. My friend and a few others managed to jump off the train, when it slowed down to cross the bridge over the Danube river. The KGB troops were waiting on the other side of the bridge.
All people on that train were tortured and executed by the KGB in 1957.
Michael Olteanu, M.S.