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The Day Hungary Was “Crucified”
The Day Hungary Was “Crucified”

From: The Spirit of Hungary, by Stephen Sisa, published by the Rákóczi Foundation, 1983, p.228 (used by permission)

"...At the time these events took place, I was a boy of fourteen, in my fourth year of secondary school.  At ten o’clock that day, my class in botany was about to begin, and the tall spare figure of Demjén Kovách, our teacher, appeared at the door, promptly as usual.  He walked to the podium, signed the class log, but instead of calling on us to answer our homework assignments, as he usually did, he leaned his whole body forward, his head down, for one very long minute… and then the bells began to toll.  Demjén Kovách then straightened, went over to the cabinet which held the maps, removed the map that still bore the legend 'Political Map of the Countries of the Magyar Holy Crown', and hung it up – all this without a single word.

“Then he stood before it, a little to the side so as not to cover it from our view, and as he gazed at it his ever-stern expression softened to an ineffable tenderness such as we had never seen before.  In deadly silence we, too, looked at that map and at that figure that stood before it, that graying Cistercian priest, as his head sank ever lower unto his chest.  And as the tolling of the church bells drifted in from outside in the deepening stillness, he said, more to himself than to any of us, in Latin: 'Consummatum est.'  ('It is done.')

“There were fifty-four of us in that class, fifty-four fourteen year-old Magyar boys.  After these last words of Christ on Golgotha, we all bowed our heads onto our desks and began to cry.

“Outside the bells continued to toll.  The day of Hungary’s 'crucifixion' was June 4, 1920.

“A Friday...”

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