After the Uprising of 1956: Hungarian Students in Britain


By Ann Kneif, published 1st December 2006

Much has been written during the last 50 years about the events leading up to and during the Hungarian Uprising of 1956. Less consideration has been given to the students who arrived in Britain as refugees. During the weeks following the Soviet intervention in Hungary around 25,000 people were killed and a further 2,000 executed. From the beginning of November 1956 thousands of Hungarian citizens were rounded up and deported to Russia for no other reason than that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Some fearing for their lives but many using the opportunity to escape from an oppressive regime, around 200,000 Hungarians took the opportunity to flee the country. The majority crossed the border into Hungary’s only neighbouring non-communist state, Austria. Among them were many students. The students in Hungary had been closely involved in the uprising. Many feared reprisals and felt themselves vulnerable if they should remain in Hungary. The students at British universities were quick to lend support to their Hungarian counterparts. At first the...

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