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Carrying a Secret in My Heart
Children of the Victims of the Reprisals after the Hungarian Revolution in 1956
An Oral History

Zsuzsanna Kôrösi and Adrienne Molnár are sociologists at the Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, based in Budapest.

Translated by Janos Hideg and Rachel Hideg

"This book will fascinate anyone who is interested in Hungary, and also be of great interest to students and scholars working in the fields of historical memory, myths and identities... The book is intelligently organized, with sufficient historical and historiographical background so that it will probably be easily intelligible to people without specialist knowledge of Hungary. All the quotations are attributed, and the book could almost be read as a novel, if one started with the biographical notes at the back and followed the individual respondents through the book. The translation, by Rachel and János Hideg, is excellent." - Slavonic and East European Review

"Probably the only scholarly analysis available in English on the effect of the policy of retribution and the attendant social and economic devastation on the psyches and subsequent educational and career opportunities of the children." - Contemporary Review

"Carrying a Secret in My Heart is well worth reading and will interest not only historians, but political scientists, sociologists, and psychologists as well. While several analyses of the children of the martyrs of 1956 have been published in Hungarian (including the Hungarian original of this book), Carrying a Secret in My Heart is virtually the only source in English."
- The Hungarian Quarterly

For a decade now, the authors have been conducting interviews for Hungary's Oral History Archives, with the children of those Hungarians - national heroes, as they are generally seen today - who were imprisoned or executed for their involvement in the 1956 revolution. The vast body of material that has been collected, and is now at the disposal of sociologists, psychologists and others in the academic community, forms the basis of this volume.

This is a documentation of memories of the revolt and, more particularly, its aftermath. The virtually spontaneous twelve-day uprising exerted a lasting effect on the fates of the families of the more than 20,000 who were imprisoned and 229 executed by the régime in the harsh reprisals that followed the crushing of the revolution (the last of them as late as the early 1960s), with active police surveillance extended to tens of thousands more. This intimidation, and the attendant social and economic devastation that it wrought, bore especially hard on the psyches, upbringing and education, and hence the subsequent opportunities and life courses of the children who grew up within those families.

The material is grouped by theme: e.g. the effects on communication within families, changes in social status, how relatives and friends reacted, and what sorts of problems these children encountered in pursuing their studies, in trying to assimilate into society as adults, and in relating to those fathers who did return. In an appendix, the editors present detailed biographies of the people most directly affected, offering an unparalleled glimpse into the fates of those they interviewed. The documentation includes letters that the children wrote to their imprisoned fathers and the farewell letters of the executed to their families.


Foreword Introduction Chapter 1 The revolution Chapter 2 It's a changed world Chapter 3 Communication within the family Chapter 4 Living with a stigma Chapter 5 Society and the families of political victims Chapter 6 The pressure of duality Chapter 7 Together again Chapter 8 The turn: belated recognition Chapter 9 The legacy Appendix Biographies of the interviewees Bibliography

196 pages
ISBN 978-963-9241-55-8 cloth $39.95 / €33.95 / £30.00