Árpád Ecsedy

Árpád Ecsedy was born on January 6th, 1936 in Munkacheve (Munkács), a city in the Sub-Carpathian region once belonging to Hungary (most recently from 1938-1944). In 1936 it belonged to the Soviet Union, today it belongs to Ukraine. After WWII, he moved to Mándok (Hungary), where he lived from 1946-1956. His father owned a successful locksmith business, and worked on various large public works projects. After 1948, the state nationalized the business and all of its assets.

In 1956 Árpád was 20 and had completed his studies in machinery. He went to work as a locksmith because it paid better and because he spent much of his time doing competitive Judo. In his interview, Árpád talks about how he spent the 1950's, ironically as a celebrated worker, a 'Stahanovist," even receiving numerous red star medals for his work, even though he loathed the communist regime and the political and economic system.

In 1956 he took an active part in the revolution as an armed resister in the 14th district of Budapest, in the Zugló area of the city. He talks emotionally about the street battles he was involved in and the desire of those he was fighting with to get revenge on the Hungarian secret police. After the Soviets crushed the revolution on November 4th, he knew he had to leave. He left first, alone, but was later joined by his mother, brother and later his father. Together, they built a successful locksmith and construction business in Los Angeles, California.

While in Hungary (before 1948) he was an active scout, and he continued as a scout leader after arriving to California. He spent may years as a much-loved scout leader as well as an active member of the 1956 Freedom Fighters Association. He still asks himself: Did I do enough?

Interview conducted by Andrea Lauer Rice and Réka Pigniczky in Desert Hot Springs, California in April of 2016.

ALL MATERIAL: COPYRIGHT CALIFORNIA EUROPEAN CULTURAL INITIATIVE/MEMORY PROJECT

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