It was an symbolic event of the Cold War when one simple student-led demonstation blossomed into a full out national uprising against communist tyrants and their Soviet rulers. As the news spread, foreign news media rushed their reporters to Budapest and to the Austrian border where 200,000 refugees left the country for the West. Erich Lessing was one of these photographers.
On 24 October 1956 Lessing took a plane back to his native Vienna, then drove to Budapest, Hungary. He had only just crossed the border when he photographed rebel soldiers taking down Lenin’s portrait at the city hall in Györ.
Although the revolution was suppressed by Soviet troops and Hungarian loyalists of the hard-line communist regime, it left a mark: “Even if Soviet domination lasted another thirty years,” Lessing would comment fifty years later,” this was the prelude to its end”.
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