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The Last Victim of the 1956 Revolution

His name was Hamusics János, and he was born in 1936.  He worked in the mines in the Bakony Mountains, at Padrag, which was eventually joined to the town of Ajka.  He passed the miners’ exam and was certified as an explosives expert.  A hard and conscientious worker, he was awarded a miners’ merit medal, and several times received a cash reward for his willingness to work in the deepest and most dangerous tunnels. 

In 1956, he eagerly joined the Revolution, and when that was defeated, twice attempted to leave the country.  

With some of his fellow miners, he secretly listened to the Voice of America and to Radio Free Europe.  The terrible working conditions and the general discontent would need only a spark to reignite the Revolution.  For the tenth anniversary in 1966, they considered helping matters along by doing something to attract attention, such as blasting the statue of Lenin in several cities, or blowing up a tranforming station. Then came news that Soviet military trains were continually traveling through Ajka to the West. Those would be the perfect target, and they would inflict a blow on the occupying Soviet forces. 

They chose a stretch of track near a guardhouse, so that the person on duty could immediatly alert traffic control to the explosion in order to avoid, at all costs, the taking of human lives.

Unfortunately, the schedule had been changed, and the explosion occurred half an hour after the last military train had passed.  It tore away a piece of the track, and a shunting locomotive bumped off the rails, but  that was the only damage that was done.     

The investigation led nowhere, until an informer implicated the whole group.  Of the nine people indicted, Hamusics as the leader was given the death sentence;  the rest received longer or shorter prison terms, had their property confiscated and were barred from taking part in public affairs.

The authorities did everything to deny the anti-Soviet aspect of the conspiracy, since it was especially inconvenient for them to admit that some of the hardest working members of society had resorted to violence to turn against the regime.  The group was accused of intending to put nicotine in the reservoir to poison the population.

Brought to trial, Hamusics János himself showed no remorse, maintaining all along that their action served a good cause. They had intended to do something that would make the people rise up again, and he bravely refused to sign those official minutes of the proceedings which did not contain what he had said.

He was sentenced to be hung. The sentence was carried out in Veszprém fortess in February of 1967.  With great dignity, he looked around at his executioners and said, ”Viszontlátásra, uraim!”  (So long, gentlemen! – Of course, the term ”gentlemen” was terribly politically incorrect by that time!)

His last letter to his two children was burned, and they never saw it.

Today, 31-year old Hamusics János is honored as the last victim of the Hungaran Revolution, the last martyr of freedom.

viola vonfi is our correspondent from Stamford, CT.





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