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Imre Nagy Statue

Imre Nagy was a Hungarian politician who became the leader of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, and led the fight for Hungary’s freedom.

Imre Nagy Statue
Jászai Mari Square – Budapest
GPS: 47.512959, 19.047223

Imre Nagy was a Hungarian communist politician who served as Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Hungarian People’s Republic from 1953 to 1955. In 1956 Nagy became leader of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 against the Soviet-backed government, for which he was sentenced to death and executed two years later.

Nagy became prime minister in 1953 and attempted to relax some of the harshest aspects of Mátyás Rákosi’s Stalinist regime, but was subverted and eventually forced out of the government in 1955 by Rákosi’s continuing influence as General Secretary of the MDP. But Nagy remained popular with writers, intellectuals, and the common people, who saw him as an icon of reform against the hard-line elements in the Soviet-backed regime.

The outbreak of the Hungarian Revolution on 23 October 1956 saw Nagy elevated to the position of Prime Minister on 24 October as a central demand of the revolutionaries and common people.

The Soviet Union launched a massive military invasion of Hungary on 4 November, forcibly deposing Nagy, who fled to the Embassy of Yugoslavia in Budapest.

Nagy was lured out of the Embassy under false promises on 22 November, but was arrested and deported to Romania. On 16 June 1958, Nagy was tried and executed for treason alongside his closest allies, and his body was buried in an unmarked grave.

In June 1989, Nagy and other prominent figures of the 1956 Revolution were rehabilitated and reburied with full honors, an event that played a key role in the collapse of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party regime.

The statue of Nagy, the 1956 Revolution’s controversial, martyred prime minister, now faces the Danube in the middle of Jászai Mari Square about 1 km from its former location. According to the leader of the Steindl Imre Program (SIP) Tamás Wachsler, there wouldn’t be an official inauguration ceremony, but from now on, anyone can go there and pay respect.

The relocation of the statue in December drew controversy with Imre Nagy memorial societies, including Nagy’s granddaughter, the sculptor of the statue himself, Tamás Varga, and leftist parties protesting against the removal from its former, symbolic spot in Martyr’s Square, where it faced the Parliament building.

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