I'm reading up on the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, and it seems that if that one student hadn't died, the revolution never would have started.

The revolt began as a student demonstration, which attracted thousands as they marched through central Budapest to the Parliament building, calling out on the streets using a van with loudspeakers. A student delegation, entering the radio building to try to broadcast the students' demands, was detained. When the delegation's release was demanded by the demonstrators outside, they were fired upon by the State Security Police (ÁVH) from within the building. One student died and was wrapped in a flag and held above the crowd. This was the start of the revolution. As the news spread, disorder and violence erupted throughout the capital.

Does anyone know the student's name? If no one knows, why does no one know? Was this information kept under wraps by the Soviets?

  • 2
    Do you have a source besides wikipedia for this story? The same article later states(with a source) the ÁVH opened fire on the crowd, killing many and does not mention the single student wrapped in the flag?
    – justCal
    Oct 3, 2017 at 15:57
  • 7
    The revolt failed, and 3,000 civilians died. These circumstances make memorialization of the first victim unlikely (especially since many sources mention several victims of the initial shooting).
    – sds
    Oct 3, 2017 at 16:00
  • 1
    Do people really call this the Hungarian Revolution? I've seen it referred to as, e.g., the Hungarian Uprising.
    – user2848
    Oct 6, 2017 at 4:19

1 Answer 1


One of the sources quoted by the Wikipedia article is the United Nations Report of the Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary. If the document is genuine*, I would be inclined to give it much more credence than an unsourced sentence in an introductory paragraph to a Wikipedia article. On page 150, the report states that, on the evening of 23 October:

"... ÁVH men rushed from the entrance and began shooting in all directions. At least three people were killed - some say eight - and many wounded. For about twenty minutes the shooting continued from the windows of the building, resulting in more casualties among the demonstrators."

The report makes no mention of the body of a protester being wrapped in a flag and carried above the crowd. It does, however, state that

"The bloody clothes of the first dead were carried through the city and people rallied behind them in procession."

  • (p151)

None of those killed in the early stages of the revolution are named. However, from the details presented in this report, it seems that any impression that "if one student hadn't died, the revolution never would have started" is probably mistaken.

* Although there seems to be no doubt that a document by that name exists, I was unable to locate a copy of the report on the United Nations Official Document System search site (This may be because of the age of the report, or that it, together with associated documents, were classified Strictly Confidential when published, as shown in the Registry Section Summary (p711)). As a result, I cannot confirm that the report linked above is the actual report issued by the UN Committee. With that caveat, however, there does not seem to be anything in the content of the report to suggest that it is not genuine.

  • I have been said that the first student uprising came from the Technical University of Budapest. Was the first dead coming from this University ? Oct 4, 2017 at 22:56
  • @JeanMarieBecker As far as I am aware, nobody knows for sure. As I said, the UN report states that the first attack on the protesters resulted in a large number of fatalities, but by that point the protest had grown well beyond the original student groups. From what I read, I don't think it is possible to identify the first casualties. Oct 5, 2017 at 1:15
  • 1
    Thanks for the answer! When I read this it sounded similar to the plots of several series that I've read/watched and I was wondering whether their assertions had a basis in fact, such as the death of one person causes people to unite in opposition to the murderers. Oct 6, 2017 at 19:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.