We decided that only Lendvai, the chairman of the council remained in the factory and the others could stay at home. All of us gave an address where to be contacted. At about 10 or 11 o’clock I was called to come to the factory because a Soviet military delegation had arrived.
Well, I spoke to doctor Takács by phone who lived about 15 minutes walk from my house and we got off walking, there wasn’t any traffic service. After one hour and a half, two hours we got to the factory beside the Public Park (Népliget) from Farkasrét. We saw three tanks and two armoured cars and a truck in front of the factory, the soldiers were in the truck and the crew was on board.
We entered and we found three Soviet officers, two lieutenant-colonels and a major there. And to our great suprise there were also the representatives of the workers’ council of the Hungarian State Railway and Machine Factory (MÁVAG). We knew two of them, the third one was unknown for us. I can’t recall the names. Then the Russians asked by the help of an interpreter why we didn’t work, why we were on strike when the fightings were over, there was peace and so on. Well, we told them our reasons and they tried to convince us for a long time. Also the representatives of MÁVAG joined the discussion and they told they didn’t strike and they didn’t really understand why we were striking and they told us to stop it because it was very harmful for the country and they told groovy phrases. I heard their standpoint very suprised. Finally they stood for it so firmly and they kept up to point outside at the tanks which were there and I have to mention that they were in coats all along, it seemed that they didn’t feel the circumstances secure enough to get off their clothes. We were told to send an appeal to the Radio by which we would announce the end of the strike. We thought about it and we decided on certain pretences to send a call to the Radio by which...
Q: On which day was it?
A: On the first day of the strike.
Q: Still in 1956?
A: On December 10, 1956. So the call should have contained that, I don’t know now, on Tuesday, yes, the strike was on Saturday and Sunday or on Sunday and Monday? No...
Q: I think it was on Monday because...
A: Exactly, on Sunday and Monday. So it would have said that the the production would restart at the factory on Tuesday at the ordinary time. They wanted us to pick it up on the following day, on Monday. It wasn’t possible because we had to heat it and we set out a lot of objective excuses. At the end we didn’t send the appeal to the Radio, nothing happened. They left angrily, in a very furious way.
Q: And the Russians?
A: Both the Russians and the MÁVAG’s representatives. So the strike at the Ganz Railway and Machine Factory lasted two days.
I didn’t go there in fighting mood of the barricades I was elected and I performed my functions
He was born in Wien. His family of noble origin lived in Upper-Hungary. His father, who was a cavalry officer and his mother, a nursery teacher left their home at Lőcse (Levoča) after the peace treatment of Trianon. His father died when he was only three. His maternal grandfather who had fled the Checzs’ rule, adopted him with his sister. So they lived at the new settlement Mária Valéria in Budapest since 1927.
He joined the free legion of the fugitives from Upper-Hungary, the so-called Gyopár company of riflemen in 1938 but he could participate only in a training for sparks because of his young age. Later he was active in the youth’s paramilitary movement. He ceased his studies at Széchenyi István Secondary School. The family’s financial circumstances after the world economic crisis worsened, they couldn’t cover the expenses of the repetition of a school year. He was taken by an orphanage for a short time. In 1939 he became apprentice at Ganz Railway and Machine Factory. In 1942 he qualified as engine fitter.
In 1944 he joined voluntarily the military forces and was captured by the Russian army in the territory of Austria. He could return home at the end of 1945. He continued to work at Ganz Factory, he finished his secondary school studies. He was sent to a two year course of management on planned economy. He was appointed foreman, department head, finally deputy head of the Management Department.
In October 1956 he was elected member of the leadership of the temporary workers’ council at Ganz Factory. He became the secretary of the council after its reelection in November. He was arrested on December 5, but he was released after two days because of the workers’ strike at the factory. The workers’ council continued to operate under difficult circumstances still up April 1957 when he was dismissed together with a few functionaries. He was again arrested on May 13 and was sentenced to 8 year imprisonment in December 1957. He joined the convicts’ hunger strike at the National Penitentiary at Vác in April 1960. He was put to a one-man cell as punishment for half a year. He was released in 1962.
He was employes as engine fitter at Csepel Docks. He worked at Óbuda Ship Factory since 1963. He graduated after evening courses at Bánki Donát Engineering Institute. He worked as technical administrator since 1969. He moved to Tiszafüred Ship Factory for a short time in 1983, but later he returned to Óbuda and was active as environmental consultant. He retired on pension in 1991.