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Carrying a Secret in My Heart...: Children of Political Victims of the Revolution, 1956 Hungary -- An Oral History [Hardcover]

By Zsuzsanna Korosi (Author) & Adrienne Molnar (Author)
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Item description for Carrying a Secret in My Heart...: Children of Political Victims of the Revolution, 1956 Hungary -- An Oral History by Zsuzsanna Korosi & Adrienne Molnar...

For a decade now, the authors have been conducting interviews for Hungarys Oral History Archives, with the children of those Hungarians national heroes, as they are generally seen today who were imprisoned 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 ten-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 rgime 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.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Central European University Press
Pages   195
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.38" Width: 6.44" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   1.05 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Publisher   Central European University Press
ISBN  9639241555  
ISBN13  9789639241558  

Availability  0 units.

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Reviews - What do customers think about Carrying a Secret in My Heart...: Children of Political Victims of the Revolution, 1956 Hungary -- An Oral History?

a poignant memoir  May 17, 2003
Culling over forty lengthy interviews, historians Zsuzsanna Kõrösi and Adrienne Molnár show us in detail how the lives of the children of those repressed after the 1956 Hungarian revolution were wrested from them, figuratively speaking, over several years. Thrust into poverty and degrading manual labor, barred from secondary school, stigmatized by friends and society, these children arguably suffered more than their executed fathers. Kõrösi and Molnár are both research fellows of the Oral History Archive at the Budapest-based Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. They explain how this research grew out of the Oral History Archive's brave efforts in 1981 (when still illegal) to gather oral testimonies from over one thousand "witnesses of twentieth-century Hungarian history" (p. 2). Given the campaign orchestrated by communist authorities thoroughly to expunge the memory of the revolution and stigmatize it as a "counterrevolution," the Oral History Archive's work has proved invaluable in preserving Hungary's historical heritage. Carrying a Secret in My Heart consists of nine short chapters, a bibliography, biographies of the forty-two interviewees, and their poems and sketches produced as children. This highly readable memoir is apt to educe latent childhood memories in readers, especially those who have themselves lost parents or siblings, as they "bond" with the increasingly familiar interviewees.
The chapters trace - through the words of the interviewees - the several stages of the childrens' experience, from the revolution and their memories of it, the sudden poverty and heavy responsibilities during the father's imprisonment, patterns of communication within the family, and social stigmatization; to the adjustment after the fathers' release from prison (those who did survive), the public exoneration of the victims and their families in 1989, and the adult childrens' present-day reconciliation with their pasts.The age of the interviewees varied at the time the revolution first broke out (the student demonstration of October 23, 1956). Four of the children were over ten years of age, sixteen were between seven and ten, eight were between four and six, and fifteen were below four years of age (p. 6). While the younger ones retain only vague visual memories of red stars and statues being desecrated, the older ones recall participating in marches and standing in long queues for hours - often at 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. - to buy bread and milk. One respondent remembers accompanying his mother to the hospital (one hopes because she lacked a babysitter) and saw bodies writhing in pain, missing legs and arms. One man's intestines were hanging out (p. 14). The children intuited the revolution's end by the shift in mood at home. Some recall their mother's pleas that the father emigrate to save his life. Most cannot remember their fathers' actual arrest because they were either not present or too young to remember (p. 21). A few can still hear their fathers' last words as they were taken away. "You are the man of the family now; you must help your mother!" one interviewee, Tibor Molnár, was told - a heavy responsibility for a ten-year-old (p. 22).
_Carrying a Secret in My Heart_ is well worth reading and will interest not only historians, but political scientists, sociologists, and psychologists as well. ---Johanna Granville, Stanford University

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