Recordings found
Recordings of the Radio Free Europe program broadcasted during Hungarian Revolution '56 have been found in German archives, digitalized and made public. more
The anniversary of the Hungarian uprising 56 Print

On the 3rd of November 2011 the conference titled “Our troops took on the fight...” has taken place at the Polish Radio in Warsaw. The conference regarded both: the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 as well as Radio Free Europe’ program recordings from the same period. One of the key subjects during the conference was the role Radio Free Europe played in the events.

Marshal of the Senate, Bogdan Borusewicz, took the honorary patronage of the conference, which was organised by portal Polish and Hungarian Institute of Culture in Warsaw. Among the guests were witnesses of the uprising, Polish and Hungarian historians and former employees of Radio Free Europe. The detailed program of the conference can be found below.

The Hungarian Uprising broke out on the 23rd of October 1956 as a response to the Soviet’s domination and oppressions of the communist system. Following the successful beginning of the uprising and withdrawal of the soviet army from Budapest, on the 4th of November there was a second soviet’s intervention. The uprising was bloodily suppressed and the wave of repressions followed.

Soon after the defeat of the uprising, the Hungarian department of Radio Free Europe was heavily criticised for cheering to fight, giving military instructions and broadcasting suggestion of possible West intervention. As a result of that, the RFE was accused both directly and indirectly for being jointly responsible for the defeat of this deprived of success spurt. The analysis of the radio program carried out later on by the directors of RFE, German government and the UN commission, has stated that allegations do not have coverage in the broadcasted content, apart from two or three doubtful cases. Regardless to that, in some studies they are still lingering. The variety of opinions about the role of the RFE Hungarian department was also noticeable during the conference in the Polish Radio.

The further study of this still rather painful matter can now be conducted thanks to new tapes being found in the state German archives in Koblenz, covering all broadcast from the period from the 19th of October till the 13th of November 1956. The unusual history behind those unique tapes stood as a separate panel of the conference. The Polish Radio, next to RFE/RL took an active part in reconstructing and digitalising of the recordings.

Broadcast from Polish RFE department from this period have already been made available in the PR service, Radia Wolności. The Hungarian National Library Széchényiego in Budapest is going to transcript and translate into English at least some part of key programs from Hungarian broadcast. Romanian stream of the "Koblenz recordings" received the Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile in Bucharest, which plans creation of an educational website that would make them accessible to the public.

Polish version:  Translation: Marta Mils


Conference Program

9.30            Opening 

Andrzej Siezieniewski (Chairman of the board of the Polish Radio), Jan Lityński (Advisor to the president of Poland Bronisław Komorowski), Robert Kiss (Ambassador of Hungary in Poland )

10.00         Budapest 1956 

moderator: prof. Alfréd Reisch fomer RFE researcher, author of Revolt in Hungary, Free Europe Press), Ákos Engelmayer (participant of the revolution 1956, former ambassador of Hungary in Poland 1990-1995), Zofia Romaszewska (organiser of help for fighting Budapest), dr János Tischler (director of the Hungarian Institute of Culture in Warsaw), prof. Andrzej Friszke (Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, PAN)                                 

11.45      The voice from the past: secrets of the recordings from Koblenz

moderator: Andrzej Mietkowski (director of portal, former chief of Warsaw office of RFE), A. Ross Johnson (former director of RFE, currently Hoover Institution), Manfred Hanspeter (director of Telecommunication and IT, Radio Free Europe, Prague), Bea Lukács (chief of the Collection of historical interviews at National Library of Széchényiego, Budapest), dr Nikodem Bończa Tomaszewski (director of Polish National Digital Archive, NAC)       

14.00      Radio Free Europe: commentator or participant?

moderator:  A. Ross Johnson (former director of RFE, currently Hoover Institution), prof. Zdzisław Najder (former director of RFE Polish Broadcasting Department), prof. Alfréd Reisch prof. Paweł Machcewicz (historian, author of  „The Munich menagerie”, fight with RFE 1950-1989) on SKYPE, prof. Antoni Dudek (historian, political scientist, Krakow Jagiellonian University, UJ)           

15.30          Poland- Hungary1956: two ways of escape

moderator:  prof. Andrzej Paczkowski (Collegium Civitas, Warsaw), prof. Jerzy Eisler (director of Warsaw branch of Institute of National Remembrance, IPN), dr Krzysztof Persak (IPN, Institute of Political Studies PAN), dr András Mink (Open Society Archives, Budapest)              

17.00         Summary

dr Łukasz Kamiński (President of the Institute of National Remembrance), dr János Tischler (director of the Hungarian Institute of Culture in Warsaw)

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