Budapest – 20 Years Later: In Memory of Imre Nagy

Budapest – 20 Years Later: In Memory of Imre Nagy

The man whose memory we honor here was 62 years old when he was murdered. He was the same age as Aldo Moro. A coincidence, of course. A more curious coincidence is that both men were kidnapped as they were coming out of a building and about to enter their cars; Aldo Moro was leaving his home in Rome, Imre Nagy the Yugoslav Embassy in Budapest. Both were taken hostage and detained in the strictest secrecy and isolation; the one man was held captive for little more than a month, the other for almost two years. Both were condemned to death in secret trials, and the world learned of their executions only after their deaths. The Italian was killed by the Red Brigades of Rome, the Hungarian by the Red Brigades of Moscow and Budapest.

There are, of course, numerous differences. Imre Nagy was not kidnapped alone but together with his family and his closest associates; he was not killed alone but together with several of his friends. Whereas the world press gave front-page coverage to Aldo Moro’s captivity for so long as it lasted, it all but forgot Imre Nagy a day after his abduction. The Pope offered himself in exchange for Moro; no one concerned himself about Nagy. The murderers of Moro considered themselves enemies of the state; the killers of Imre Nagy had supreme control over the state. The former are pursued by police the world over; with the latter one cordially shakes hands and signs treaties of human rights.

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