Viktor Orbán: We Were a Bone Stuck in the Craw of the Soviet Empire

Today (yesterday, actually, unless you’re on the West Coast or in Hawaii) was the 60th anniversary of the 1956 uprising against the Soviet occupation of Hungary. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Polish President Andrzej Duda commemorated the occasion in Kossuth Square in Budapest. Below is a subtitled video of their speeches.

When you hear Mr. Orbán mention “the executed prime minister”, he is referring to Imre Nagy, who was deposed by the Soviets and executed two years later. When Mr. Orbán is heckled by leftists in the crowd, he refers to them as the “devil coming back to whistle” — i.e. the Communist devil.

Many thanks to CrossWare for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:


02:06   …sent ammunition to us, and who knows? Maybe
02:12   that was the deciding factor of the battle in our favor.
02:16   (speaking Polish)
02:22   In ‘39, you opened the borders for our soldiers
02:26   who then successfully escaped from
02:29   the closing German and Soviet armies. (speaking Polish)
02:34   In the west this made it possible to create
02:38   the Polish Army.
02:42   You were always our friends,
02:46   We will never leave you alone to fend for yourselves.
02:50   You can always count on Poland!
02:54   In the most difficult moments,
02:58   we will march together…
03:02   Two countries that are based on Christianity.
03:05   (speaking Polish)
03:12   We are both free and independent and members of the EU.
03:16   (speaking Polish)
03:22   But together we take these thousand-year-old
03:26   Christian traditions into Europe
03:30   We will not let our traditions and our culture be taken from us,
03:36   nor our freedom!
03:40   We will not let them take it from us at any cost!
03:44   God bless the Polish!
03:48   God bless the Hungarians!
03:52   (speaking Polish)
03:56   Glory to the heroes of the revolution of ’56!
04:00   (speaking Polish)
04:06   God bless the Hungarians, with your grace and bounty!
04:10   Thank you very much!
04:14   (applause)
04:48   Thank you very much!
04:52   Ladies and gentlemen:
04:56   Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary!
05:00   (Applause — crowd: Viktor, Viktor!)
05:37   The Poles…
05:40   In their national anthem, the Poles sing:
05:45   “Poland is not lost as long we are alive.”
05:50   The Hungarians reply with their national song:
05:55   “By all the gods of Hungary, we hereby swear,
06:00   That we the yoke of slavery no more shall wear.”
06:04   The Polish Legion has it on their flag:
06:08   “For your freedom and ours!”
06:14   This was in 1848,
06:18   also in 1956 and
06:22   today, too! These are two freedom-loving brave nations,
06:28   a thousand-year-old friendship.
06:32   I would like to welcome from the bottom of my heart,
06:36   in the Hungarian capital, in the nation’s main square,
06:39   Andrzej Duda, president of the Polish people.
06:42   (applause)
06:54   With him together… With him together we welcome all Polish people,
07:00   God bless and protect Poland!
07:04   (applause)
07:10   With grateful heart, I welcome
07:14   the heroes of 56’, who are here celebrating with us.
07:18   We wish them a long life!
07:21   (applause)
07:24   With respect I welcome the friends of our country,
07:28   who arrived from 26 countries,
07:32   The ones who were with us in those hard days,
07:36   stood up for us,
07:40   and today they are celebrating with us.
07:44   Welcome to our country!
07:48   (applause)
07:52   Mr. President, Mr Speaker of the House,
07:58   Ladies and gentlemen, Hungarians all around the world:
08:04   We send you our heartfelt welcome,
08:08   to every Hungarian.
08:12   No matter where they live, in all corners of the world,
08:16   Hungary is their country and Budapest is their capital, too.
08:20   (applause)
08:26   Just as the bright memories of October 1956,
08:30   are also for every one of us.
08:34   For us October 23 is a day of pride.
08:38   Even after sixty years, still uplifting
08:42   and cleansing.
08:46   Such a common heritage is this,
08:50   which the students, the workers of Ujpest and Csepel,
08:54   The citizens of Pest and Buda,
08:58   locksmiths, apprentices, engineers, doctors, miners and
09:02   and military officers and the executed prime minister
09:06   left for us.
09:10   Our eternal gratitude, our grateful thanks for that.
09:14   (applause)
09:20   Dear celebrating Hungarians!
09:24   In Hungary, after 1956, for 34 long years
09:30   we had a communist dictatorship.
09:34   We must live!
09:38   Even in a dictatorship, this is the prime directive.
09:42   We live as best we can.
09:46   Boarded-up sky, bad bargains,
09:50   dissimulation, hiding away,
09:54   guarded glances aside, locked hearts
09:58   and distrust. The cold days of dictatorships
10:04   grind up human dignity.
10:08   After their fall, emptiness, diminished life force,
10:12   and pettiness. But here in Hungary,
10:16   but here in Hungary, we have
10:20   exactly our heroes of ’56 to thank, that even the darkest moments of the Hungarian history,
10:26   even under the Soviet occupation, too,
10:30   we had plenty to be proud of.
10:34   We are grateful that for us,
10:38   and for every future Hungarians not yet born,
10:42   there are not 45 years of depressing darkness to befell us as our heritage.
10:48   We do not get human weaknesses and discord,
10:52   but receive bravery, heroism ,
10:56   and the glory of greatness as our viaticum.
11:00   We can be proud of our ancestors and
11:04   we can be proud of our country.
11:08   (applause)
11:16   We Hungarians survived Communism
11:21   and the Soviet occupation.
11:24   Today we can hold our heads high,
11:28   in our height of strength, the self-confident sons
11:32   of a strong Hungary can stand here. We overthrew the Communist party state,
11:38   sent the Soviet troops home, and healed our country
11:43   from the complications of dictatorship.
11:46   Opening to the world, an upright posture,
11:50   clear speech, clear vision and open hearts.
11:56   Thanks and gratitude that we can build our future on these.
12:00   (applause – Viktor, Viktor, Viktor)
12:26   Dear celebrating Hungarians!
12:30   In October 1956 history took a sharp turn.
12:34   Instead of the foretold
12:40   World Communist Revolution,
12:44   There erupted a revolution against the Communist world.
12:48   We sent a message to the West:
12:52   the Soviet Union is vulnerable. And in today’s world, the only stars that remain
12:58   are on the tops of the churches.
13:02   (applause)
13:06   Soviet Communism, believed to be unshakable,
13:10   received such a fatal blow, that it was unable to recover from it.
13:14   After 1956 the system calcified and grew old
13:18   along with its leaders,
13:22   and finally they were both taken by the devil. (applause)
13:30   But it is true, sometimes it comes back to whistle!
13:34   (laugh, applause – Viktor, Viktor)
13:52   Nobody could know
13:56   how comes the strength and willingness of the Hungarians,
14:00   who attack from nowhere like David with the sling,
14:04   once every hundred years,
14:08   can produce the greatest miracles.
14:12   Perhaps in us the same type of
14:16   ancient knowledge works as in the Greeks.
14:22   The testament of the ancient Greeks sounds like this:
14:26   The secret of a happy life is freedom.
14:30   And the secret of freedom is bravery.
14:34   We Hungarians have a talent for freedom.
14:38   We always knew what to do with it.
14:42   We knew freedom is not a state
14:46   that we would reach, but a way of life.
14:52   It is like swimming: he who stops will sink!
14:58   Freedom always and everywhere is a simple question.
15:02   Either we make decisions about our lives,
15:06   or someone else does. Dear commemorators!
15:10   Hungarians will never give up freedom, and they will never give up reclaiming it, if it is lost.
15:16   And even in the most hopeless situation, they can conjure it back again.
15:22   (applause)
15:30   In the fall of 1956, in October,
15:34   everyone could see freedom.
15:38   All could see it in its perfect and flawless form.
15:42   It walked on the streets and squares of the city,
15:48   it queued up in front of the stores,
15:52   it sat at the family tables, showed up in the offices,
15:56   in the smoky gluey train stations,
16:00   in the sad metal counters of the pubs.
16:04   When it arrived, the Hungarians stood up there
16:08   and sang our national anthem.
16:12   If freedom is Hungarian, it’s still wonderful,
16:16   even in its death. And it was miraculous,
16:22   in an unmarked grave, buried face-down, rolled in tar paper,
16:28   legs tied together with barbed wire.
16:32   Now resurrected, it is here with us today
16:36   and gathers us together.
16:40   (applause)
16:48   Dear celebrating citizens!
16:52   If our country is not free, we can’t be either.
16:56   Someone can just be lonely, but never free.
17:02   The fate of vanished nations warns us:
17:06   if a nation gives up its independence,
17:10   it can sink back to simple ethnicity.
17:14   Against the appetites of empires
17:18   to annex and digest, only our national independence can protect us.
17:26   That is why we stuck
17:30   in the craw of the Soviet empire. It broke its teeth in us,
17:36   because we clung to our national ideas, we joined forces and did not give up our patriotism.
17:42   That is why we cannot accept now
17:46   that our shared home, the European Union,
17:50   can be converted into a modern-day empire.
17:54   We do not want the alliance of
17:58   the free European nation states to be replaced by European United States.
18:02   (applause)
18:16   The task of the freedom-loving nations of Europe,
18:20   is to save Brussels from the Sovietization,
18:26   they who want to decide — instead of we ourselves —
18:30   with whom we want to live and how we want to live in our own countries.
18:34   We Hungarians want to remain a European nation,
18:40   and not an ethnicity in a united Europe.
18:44   (applause)
18:54   As heirs of the ’56 revolution,
18:58   we cannot accept that Europe
19:02   will cut its roots, which made it great
19:06   and helped us to survive
19:10   the Communist oppression.
19:14   There is no free, prestigious
19:18   and honorable Europe,
19:22   without the lifeblood of nations and the wisdom of two thousand years of Christianity.
19:30   (applause)
19:34   We cannot watch it idly,
19:38   while in an open and organized way,
19:42   it replaces the soil
19:46   where European civilization grew.
19:50   If our homeland, because of its size and weight,
19:54   is not capable of shaping Europe’s future,
19:58   we must take responsibility
20:02   for our own destiny. If the majority of Europe decides to replace
20:08   the foundation of its own civilization,
20:12   replace and mix its own ideals and population,
20:16   we still must be able to preserve and protect
20:20   the Hungarian slice of that Europe,
20:24   which has always warmed our hearts
20:28   and inspired the Hungarians.
20:32   (applause)
20:42   Ladies and gentlemen, dear citizens!
20:46   The secret of freedom is bravery,
20:50   not something that can be measured easily.
20:56   Either someone is brave, or a coward.
21:00   Who we are will be decided when
21:04   the time of trial arrives.
21:08   In the Hungarians bravery and common sense
21:12   can fit together very well.
21:18   We never wanted a role which was beyond our strength.
21:22   We never drove our axe into too large a tree which,
21:26   in the end, fell on our own head.
21:30   Yet maybe it is our geographic location,
21:36   but once every thirty years history tosses us into
21:40   the vortex of arguments about Europe’s future.
21:46   In 1956 when the Soviets left Austria,
21:50   we wanted to push the
21:54   Iron Curtain to our Eastern borders,
21:58   We were brave, and armed only with Molotov cocktails,
22:02   we attacked the Soviet tanks. In 1989 we had to open the borders,
22:08   so Germans could find their way to Germany.
22:14   We were brave, despite the fact
22:18   we had Soviet troops stationed here.
22:22   And now in 2015-16 we must close the borders,
22:28   to stop the migration flood from the South.
22:32   We were brave, we did not let a threat
22:36   or blackmail to change our resolve.
22:40   (applause)
22:46   We never asked… We never asked for this task.
22:52   History gave it to us; fate brought it to us.
22:56   Our part was that we did not run away,
23:00   We did not back down.
23:04   We did our duty. We still cope, when those attack us from the back,
23:10   those whom we are really defending and protecting.
23:16   We have courage to face injustice.
23:20   in the land of the Magyar, injustice,
23:24   does not exonerate one from his duty.
23:28   For that Europe can always count on us.
23:32   (applause)
23:38   Dear celebrating Polish guests and Hungarians!
23:42   For ourselves, I wish that we
23:46   never become coward nations. Cowards have no country!
23:52   We always have dramatic situations,
23:56   strong enemies and serious stakes.
24:00   There is no reason to let fear get the better of us.
24:06   No reason to give in to despair,
24:10   to give in to terrorists, who declared war
24:14   on the Western world, to give in to profit-seekers
24:20   who push hundreds of thousands of people,
24:24   hoping for a better life, towards Europe.
24:27   To give in to the naïve fools — who have no idea —
24:30   into what grave danger they put Europe and themselves.
24:36   If you can choose between two roads, take the harder one:
24:42   This is the first rule of courage.
24:46   The modern world is suffering because it forgot this lesson.
24:52   Today Europe would rather have the cheaper, thinner and the more comfortable.
24:58   Immigrants rather than their own children,
25:02   speculation rather than honest work,
25:06   debt instead of a disciplined life. We Hungarians chose the harder path:
25:12   we want our own children instead of immigrants,
25:16   work instead of speculation and welfare,
25:20   to stand on our own feet, rather than be a slave to debt,
25:24   and we chose border defense, instead of raising surrendering hands.
25:28   (applause – Viktor, Viktor, Viktor!)
25:42   Greatly respected members of ’56, dear celebrating citizens!
25:48   There is no victory without hearts being lifted up;
25:52   there would not have it in ’56, either.
25:56   It made the cowards brave, turned the suspicious towards each other,
26:02   brought the desire to act,
26:06   to replace the fainting numbness. It brought unity, and helped to create national unity,
26:12   where before were feud and incitement to class warfare,
26:18   poisoned wells and a nation torn asunder.
26:22   My friends! Political strength does not matter
26:28   in the parliament and with the new Basic Law [constitution],
26:32   because all that is necessary, but not enough.
26:36   We can’t win without lifting up our hearts,
26:40   and without the spiritual awaking of the Hungarians.
26:46   Ahead of us burning brightly is the example of ’56.
26:50   He who has eyes can see it,
26:54   who has ears can hear it,
26:58   the thousand-year-old truth: On important things, unity;
27:02   on other things, freedom; and in everything: Love!
27:08   Glory to the brave! Hooyah Hungary, hooyah Hungarians!

25 thoughts on “Viktor Orbán: We Were a Bone Stuck in the Craw of the Soviet Empire

  1. What healthy, sunny, healers-of-the-European-soul Hungary and Poland have become! And thanks for refreshing the notion of love again…like an old friend, lost and missing for awhile. The world is lucky you remain in its flanks, ready to help. And thanks for these inspiring words.

  2. What a great man!
    How we English have need of such as he in this hour of of our need.

  3. Imagine Hollande, May, Trudeau, Obama, Clinton, any government school teacher or RINO even remotely speak in this way.

  4. Thank God for the Hungarians and the Poles. As long as they live, Western civilization still breathes. We know that Germans are now flocking to Hungary to escape the insanity of Merkel and the Global Dictatorship of Social Justice.

    • How do we know these Germans won’t do what Californians have done to several US states – move there and vote in leftist leaders and policies that destroyed the quality of life in California?

      • Surprisingly similar to Hijra, isn’t it?

        The connection between leftoids and Islamists runs deeper than one can imagine!

      • I think you have a very good point.

        There is a limit to the amount of immigration that is good for a country. Orban himself said it is better to have their own children than to have immigrants.

        Imagine a situation where a German favors immigration, but finds Germany itself becoming too uncomfortable. He moves to Hungary without considering the cause of his dissatisfaction, and votes in globalism and welfare.

        I agree with you completely. Hungary is not obligated to take in all Germans who are fed up with the lawlessness, treachery, and anarchy of Germany. The Germans are obligated to fix their own house.

      • My thoughts ezactly… and knowing a little bit of the expat scene in Poland, they:

        A) come mostly for the girls, maybe the beer

        B) don’t really like mixing with the locals, for any reason other than A)

        C) are very pro-EU, think their own country has a “problem with xenophobia”, and maybe their host country too – if it thinks differently to their own enlightened selves…

        D) in their discussions, can be quite superficial – topics restricted exclusively to football, music etc.

        E) sometimes express a longing for their host country to also adopt multiculturalism.

        So are they there to flee “Merkelisation”, or might they also, consciously or not, be implementing “Californication”?

  5. Great job Cross Ware! What I’m taking from this speech it this: Cowards have no country! It took Poland 123 years -5 generations – to be back on the world map (in 1918), because once you’re gone, a coming back is very hard. I am so happy that Hungarians and Poles united their forces together again, because it worked so well when Báthory István,(Hungarian) Stefan Batory (Polish) was our common king in 16th century. Never after that was Poland this prosperous and powerful.

    • Yes, Cross Ware. Through your work we have this utterly inspiring speech. I would highly recommend using the subtitling, rather than reading the text. The oral delivery adds hugely to the impact, even if in Hungarian for an English-speaking listener.

      Orban spoke of ethnicity and nation. Both are necessary. The ethnicity provides the common heritage, culture, and values. The nation provides a border that can be physically defended against aggressors.

      An empire, or large country, that truly wishes to defend itself will encourage independent, friendly or non-aligned countries to surround it. These countries will not support visions of empire, but they will provide a strong force against external aggression.

      Russia after the Soviet Union would have been satisfied to have the former countries of the USSR as neutral, independent neighbors. Much as I hate to say it, the US and NATO triggered defensive Russian moves by expanding NATO to the actual Russian borders and installing a Ukrainian government hostile to Russia. Any idiot would be able to see Russia reacting to those moves.

  6. Pole and Hungarian brothers be,
    good for fight and good for party.
    Both are valiant, both are lively,
    Upon them may God’s blessings be.

    Polak, Węgier — dwa bratanki,
    i do szabli, i do szklanki,
    oba zuchy, oba żwawi,
    niech im Pan Bóg błogosławi.

    Lengyel, magyar – két jó barát,
    Együtt harcol s issza borát,
    Vitéz s bátor mindkettője,
    Áldás szálljon mindkettőre.

  7. In essentials unity; in differences liberty; in all things charity.” – Viktor Orbán

  8. Yeah, and we bailed on Hungary in 1956 when we had the chance at the behest of the State Dept. striped pants with Nixon’s acquiescence. We could have prevented 35 years of misery because Khrushchev was still new to the post of Premier and had a lot of politburo impressing to do.

    • Are you sure a war with Russia in 1956 would have been wise for the US or even for Hungary?

      Perhaps it was better to stand back and let the natural evolution of economics and politics bring Hungary to independence and national pride. The cure might have been worse than the disease.

  9. Well, it’s history now. But how thrilling to hear Orban speak. It’s good for me to hear Hungarian but I’m glad there were subtitles because my Hungarian is not that good anymore (too many years of living in the heartland where you can’t even FIND a Hungarian!). Other than your husband (who no longer remembers Hungarian).

    I thought so much of what Orban said was extremely intelligent and logical. Hungary is lucky to have him and I will write to my cousin in Hungary to tell her that. she is a very nice young woman but grew up under communism unfortunately.

    I was a child in 1956 so do not know exactly how/why America did not pitch in to help Hungary at that time. probably politics? I am guessing.

    Crossware, you must be Hungarian and actually speak/write the language? Lengyel, magyar – két jó barát, — this I understood, so I still have a little Hungarian left in me. Two good brothers. Or friends?

    Anyway, as always, Gates of Vienna is my go-to place to find a believable window on the world. Thank you, Baron and Dymphna, for all you do.

    And kudos to Hungary and Viktor Orban.

    • Consider that in the end, all of Eastern Europe left the Communist empire, almost completely without bloodshed. The US has a poor record of making the right diplomatic moves. I’m not sure staying out of the situation was that wrong of a decision.

      I see an analogous situation to the Green Revolution in Iran. Obama was criticized for not supporting the Iranian protesters, who were brutally suppressed by the Islamist government.

      As Robert Spencer points out in his book,
      the Green Revolution protesters were mainly Islamists of another stripe. This was one case where Obama probably got it right: stay out of complex situations you are not familiar with, and only have an indirect interest in.

  10. I was just in Budapest. The city is a gem of turn of the century art nouveau architecture, Because of years of Soviet occupation and post Soviet economic mismanagement many of these buildings are in a run down state. I see Budapest as an Eastern European South Beach waiting for an infusion of American can do capitalists to revive this beautiful fin de siècle masterpiece and join the Viktor Orban spirit with the enhancement that this pearl of the Danube deserves.

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