As a revolutionary, Tóth tended selflessly to the wounded, whether street fighter of communist, Hungarian or Russian. When she was not caring for the injured, she was making forays to the Austrian border to secure food an medical supplies. The young intern barely slept, relying on caffeine tablets to keep going. And when the uprising was suppressed, she joined the resistance, hiding freedom fighters among the sick and wounded and assisting and assisting in the printing and distribution of illegal newspapers, including Obersovszky's Életünk. But Tóth's greatest sacrifice—the act that won her the epithet “Hungary's Jeanne d'Arc”--occurred after her arrest, when she took responsibility for the murder of Kollár in a fruitless effort to protect two co-defendants charged with participating in the act.
When the death sentence was handed down around Easter, the anguished mother stated that she couldn't bare to live if her daughter was executed. “Mother don't even think about such things” replied Tóth. Before Tóth was executed her despairing mother asked “Where is Christ my child,” Ilona responded, “Here, right next to me.” During her mother's final visit, Tóth reportedly comforted her with these words “Don't cry mother, I will die as a brave Hungarian soldier. You know that the charge is false, and they just want to besmirch the holy revolution.”
(Imagining postcommunism: visual narratives of Hungary's 1956 Revolution
By Beverly Ann James)
Ilona Tóth was executed in 1957, at the tender age of 25, with other revolutionaries, ordered by the first secretary of the communist party, János Kádár, a bloodthirsty lumpen prole.