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Old Family Photo - Hungary 1940s Military - any information please?

Article about: Can anyone throw any light on the two photos below - The individual (far right) who appears in both images is my late father-in-law, who left Hungary in December 1956 - I believe these photo

  1. #1
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    Default Old Family Photo - Hungary 1940s Military - any information please?

    Can anyone throw any light on the two photos below - The individual (far right) who appears in both images is my late father-in-law, who left Hungary in December 1956 - I believe these photos were taken in the late 1940s? and we have just found them among his effects. We know very little about his time in the military, though we know by the time he left Hungary he was in the police - sometimes he let slip small details, but mostly his experiences were such he never talked about them.


    Any info at all that can be gleaned from the photos would be greatly appreciated - approx year, details of uniforms / helmets / badges etc etc - as we are not sure what to look for, what sort of unit it might have been etc - Thanks in advance.

    If this is not the appropriate place to post this please let me know and I will remove and re-post accordingly.

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Old Family Photo - Hungary 1940s Military - any information please?

    Sorry I can't help with the photos.

    Did your father-in-law leave (escape?) after the failed anti-communist revolution in Hungary, 1956?

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    Hungarian revolution - 1956. Date: 1956-11-04. Source: NATO
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Old Family Photo - Hungary 1940s Military - any information please?

    Hi – Yes he had to leave after the Revolution – He rarely talked about that period of his life, which is something we have also noted from Hungarian associates of his. He often looked after my two sons when they were young and did tell them a few stories, which we have pieced together + we visited Hungary last year and made contact with his sister – she didn’t speak English and we don’t speak Hungarian, so it was not easy! We also visited the Terror Háza Múzeum in Budapest and the bridge at Andau.

    It would seem he was in the police and charged with escorting a prisoner from Pecs to Budapest by train when the revolution happened and he got caught up in events in Budapest. He made several references over the years to having shot a Russian soldier dead – but gave only vague details. He returned to Pecs, perhaps thinking he was unlikely to be identified and missed the main exodus or refugees, but later realised he was grave danger when he was told that the authorities were looking for him. We discovered last year that by the time he escaped (December 1956), almost all the escape routes taken by others had been cut by the secret police, so he hatched a plan with two friends to walk across the frozen Neusiedler See (German) aka Lake Fertő (Hungarian) near Sopron at night. However, the winter was relatively mild that year and half way across the ice gave way and he went in and suffered a heart attack. His associates pulled him out and they reached the Austrian side, where an Austrian army medic managed to revive him – When I knew him, if you got him drunk you ran the risk of him showing you his frost bitten feet!!!

    The photos I put on only came to light this Christmas and we did not know he had been in the Hungarian army, though he did mention training in the air force a couple of times – I wondered if anything could be gleaned from the photos? Or perhaps it was just the Hungarian version of national service? As he looks very young in them.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Old Family Photo - Hungary 1940s Military - any information please?

    Very interesting story. I can see that there is a Soviet DP28 machine gun on the first photo. So it can be taken in 1945-1956. Hungarian revolution in 1956 is the real fight against the communism. But as always - our friends in the west were somewhere else. Maybe drinking champagne with Soviet leader Chrochow or just joking around... Even in the 1990-ies when Soviet terror regime collapsed, there were many "friends from the West" who actually supported Soviets and Soviet empire.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Old Family Photo - Hungary 1940s Military - any information please?

    Hi Nick,
    That's an interesting post, To me they look about 18 to 20 years old in the pic's, so if you know when he died and his age working back what year was he 18 to 20 and it should be a pretty close match to when the pic was taken. It looks a little hilly in the back ground, perhaps the hills North/North West of Budapest before the Danube.
    Cheers
    LS

  6. #6

    Default Re: Old Family Photo - Hungary 1940s Military - any information please?

    Quote by Frundsberg View Post
    But as always - our friends in the west were somewhere else. Maybe drinking champagne with Soviet leader Chrochow or just joking around... Even in the 1990-ies when Soviet terror regime collapsed, there were many "friends from the West" who actually supported Soviets and Soviet empire.
    I guess one could include Berlin 1953, Poznań 1956, and Prague 1968 but it is not quite true to suggest that the West sat back and did nothing; one example was 1952 Operation Splinterfactor the CIA's campaign to destabilise the entire communist system in Eastern Europe but unfortunately "Splinterfactor" ended in total disaster.

    Another example was the defection from Poland in 1953 of Józef Światło who was deputy director of the 10th Department of the MBP security service who after defecting worked for the CIA and broadcast over the CIA sponsored Radio Free Europe into Poland and Eastern Europe. The information gained from Światło and the following broadcasts by the CIA's RFE contributed to the reform of the Stalinist Polish security apparatus and the political liberalisation in Poland that was to become known as the Polish October revolution or Polish thaw of October 1956.

    The CIA archives are full of many such covert operations some more successful than others

    The CIA did stoke up the expectations of Hungarian activists with hints of strong support for revolution which led some of the activists to perceive as a possible US military response to the Soviets but the US/NATO was never likely to deliver military assistance despite the anti-Soviet pronouncements being broadcast into Hungary by the CIA.

    Thank goodness for Reagan's 1983 "Star Wars" speech, brilliant pebbles and the strength of the US economy to finally win the Cold War

    - - Updated - -

    Quote by NickW View Post
    Hi – Yes he had to leave after the Revolution – He rarely talked about that period of his life, which is something we have also noted from Hungarian associates of his. He often looked after my two sons when they were young and did tell them a few stories, which we have pieced together + we visited Hungary last year and made contact with his sister – she didn’t speak English and we don’t speak Hungarian, so it was not easy! We also visited the Terror Háza Múzeum in Budapest and the bridge at Andau.

    It would seem he was in the police and charged with escorting a prisoner from Pecs to Budapest by train when the revolution happened and he got caught up in events in Budapest. He made several references over the years to having shot a Russian soldier dead – but gave only vague details. He returned to Pecs, perhaps thinking he was unlikely to be identified and missed the main exodus or refugees, but later realised he was grave danger when he was told that the authorities were looking for him. We discovered last year that by the time he escaped (December 1956), almost all the escape routes taken by others had been cut by the secret police, so he hatched a plan with two friends to walk across the frozen Neusiedler See (German) aka Lake Fertő (Hungarian) near Sopron at night. However, the winter was relatively mild that year and half way across the ice gave way and he went in and suffered a heart attack. His associates pulled him out and they reached the Austrian side, where an Austrian army medic managed to revive him – When I knew him, if you got him drunk you ran the risk of him showing you his frost bitten feet!!!

    The photos I put on only came to light this Christmas and we did not know he had been in the Hungarian army, though he did mention training in the air force a couple of times – I wondered if anything could be gleaned from the photos? Or perhaps it was just the Hungarian version of national service? As he looks very young in them.
    Very interesting account! Thank you for sharing it here and I hope you do find out some further information.

    Is there not a Hungarian military of Police records archive that you could contact? Now that your father-in-law is no longer alive and the communist regime long gone any "official" wrong doing by your father-in-law by defecting or leaving his post whilst he was in the communist police would presumably not cause any issues today.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Old Family Photo - Hungary 1940s Military - any information please?

    Quote by 4thskorpion View Post
    Is there not a Hungarian military of Police records archive that you could contact? Now that your father-in-law is no longer alive and the communist regime long gone any "official" wrong doing by your father-in-law by defecting or leaving his post whilst he was in the communist police would presumably not cause any issues today.
    Hi - I have certainly thought about that, but the language barrier would be a major obstacle I feel - There must be records as on the first visit he made back to Hungary in the 1970s, he was immediately arrested and it turned out his military record recorded him as not having handed his uniform and side arm in - He ditched them in the lake apparently - They let him go once he paid for them!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Old Family Photo - Hungary 1940s Military - any information please?

    Quote by NickW View Post
    Hi - I have certainly thought about that, but the language barrier would be a major obstacle I feel - There must be records as on the first visit he made back to Hungary in the 1970s, he was immediately arrested and it turned out his military record recorded him as not having handed his uniform and side arm in - He ditched them in the lake apparently - They let him go once he paid for them!
    .... hopefully a small price to pay for continued freedom in the "West"
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Old Family Photo - Hungary 1940s Military - any information please?

    Hi, these photos were taken between 1949 - 1956 (in 1949 the cursed "Rákosi Era" have started - when in the army they wiped out any "Hungarian style" (from WW1 and WW2, like the M35 helmets, etc.) and adapted full "Soviet style" uniforms.

    I just started to get into collecting these - and although currently they are not as expensive as the WW2 "Horthy Era" uniforms, they are getting quite rare, and a lot more pricey than the "Kádár Era" (1956 - 1989) uniforms.

    I just got a hold of these 2 days ago, all origial:

    - 1 pocket shirt
    - tunic ( first lieutenant artilleryman )
    - officers long coat/parka ( artilleryman )
    - officers belt with shoulder-starp
    - gun holster - it is for a Hungarian TT ( no hand gun yet )

    see the pics, they're not really good, the seller's photos - I don't have the items yet with me...

    anyone interested in the price, all together it was around 165 USD total - so it was a bargain!

    I'll open a thread here soon, with better photos I hope...

    Cheers,
    Fabe

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Old Family Photo - Hungary 1940s Military - any information please?

    Interesting items Fabe - we looked on a couple of markets in Hungary and I did get a nice WWII Trench Art shell case decorated with the "Kossuth" Coat of Arms but the only uniform bits we saw were all Russian or Russian derived - Hoping to go again this summer - Budapest and Pecs - any tips on places to look / visit?

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