Antifascism, the 1956 Revolution and the politics of communist autobiographies in Hungary 1944-2000
Using oral history, this contribution explores the reshaping of individuals' public and private autobiographies in response to different political environments. In particular, it analyses the testimony of those who were communists in Hungary between 1945 and 1956, examining how their experiences of fascism, party membership, the 1956 Revolution and the collapse of communism led them in each case to refashion their life stories. Moreover, it considers how their biographies played varying functions at different points in their lives: to express identification with communism, to articulate resistance and to communicate ambition before 1956; to protect themselves from the state after 1956; and to rehabilitate themselves morally in a society which stigmatised them after 1989.I didn't use this word 'liberation' (felszabadulás), because in 1956 my life really changed. Everybody's lives went through a great change, but mine especially. … I wasn't disgusted with myself that I had called the arrival of the Red Army in 1945 a liberation, but [after 1956] I didn't use it anymore.
This is a postprint of an article whose final and definitive form has been published in Europe-Asia Studies © 2006 University of Glasgow; Europe-Asia Studies is available online at http://www.informaworld.com.
Volume 58, Number 8, pp. 1209-1240