A new historical era of ascent is beginning in Central Europe. Photo: Balázs Szecsődi/ Press Office of the Prime Minister
In Krakow on Friday, at a ceremony commemorating the events of 1956, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that a new historical era of ascent is beginning in Central Europe, and in this new era young people will have to discover how to rebuild Hungarian-Polish friendship.
The Prime Minister was speaking at a ceremony for the unveiling of a plaque commemorating protests by the Revolutionary Committee of University Students and the assistance Poles extended to the Hungarian people in 1956. Mr. Orbán said that “we know how to be friends in a time of suffering, but now we are preparing for different times”, referring to great advances in Central Europe, and peaceful, free, happy, contented and prosperous lives for Central Europeans.
The Prime Minister stressed that Polish-Hungarian friendship is a special thing, no other country in the world has as high an opinion of Poland and the Polish people as Hungary, and that this is reciprocated. What is special about this friendship, he added, is that it has existed for a thousand years.
In his opinion, friendship does not mean that we are blind to each other’s faults, but we forgive each other for those faults, and value each other’s virtues all the more. Some believe that this is romanticism, but it is important that the “romance of Polish-Hungarian friendship” should remain part of our lives, he said. He added that it is therefore right to jointly commemorate events such as the present one.
Mr. Orbán stated that on 23 October Andrzej Duda, the President of Poland, paid a visit to Budapest, which was a great honour for the Hungarian people. He said that Mr. Duda had mentioned the fact that the Polish people sent consignments of blood to Hungary during the 1956 Revolution.
The Prime Minister said that throughout Hungarian history blood has played an important role: to gives one’s blood is to give everything to one’s friends. In the Hungarian language, he said, there is the term “blood compact”. An example of this, he observed, was when the Magyars occupied the territory of present-day Hungary 1,100 years ago: the seven tribal chiefs gathered together and mixed their blood in a bowl, thereby expressing that those with whom their blood was mixed were their brothers.
Mr. Orbán linked this to the fact that the Poles came to Hungarians’ aid by donating blood after the 1956 Revolution and Freedom Fight had been crushed. He said that the blood of the Hungarians and the Poles has mingled, and after 1956 the Hungarians not only look upon the Polish people as friends, but as brothers and sisters with whom they have made a blood compact. The newly unveiled memorial plaque reminds everyone of this, he said.
The Prime Minister added that young Poles are welcome in Hungary: the Hungarian and Polish governments are creating scholarships and cultural foundations, so that young people can sustain Polish-Hungarian friendship.
Mayor of Krakow Jacek Majchrowski said that when the 1956 Revolution broke out, the Hungarians sought to express their support for Poles after recent events in Poznań; but the Hungarians managed to take their demands further than the Poles had been able to. Later, however, they had to pay the price for this in blood and enduring oppression, he added.
He said that a significant amount of Polish aid came from Krakow, from where a large number of consignments were sent to Hungary. The memorial plaque now inaugurated, he observed, will enable every citizen of Krakow and every tourist to better acquaint themselves with the shared historical ties which connect the Hungarian and Polish peoples.
After 1956 the Hungarians not only look upon the Polish people as friends, but as brothers and sisters with whom they have made a blood compact. Photo: Balázs Szecsődi/ Press Office of the Prime Minister
After the event the Prime Minister met Jarosław Kaczyński, President of the governing Polish party Law and Justice (PiS), alongside whom he laid a wreath in Wawel Cathedral at the tomb of former President of the Republic of Poland Lech Kaczyński and his wife Maria, who both died in the Smolensk air tragedy in 2010.