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Dr. László Varjú | Memory Project

Dr. László Varjú

Interview by Réka Pigniczky


Dr. László Varjú, 1956er

Dr. László Varjú was born on July 28, 1938 in Igal, Hungary. On April 4, 1955, he took part in an campaign to disseminate flyers against the communist regime on the eve of the celebration of Hungary's 'liberation' by Soviet forces in 1945. After brutal interrogation, he was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison and was not allowed to complete his third year of high school. He was released in June of 1956 and was allowed to re-enter high school in the town of Csurgó in the Fall. When the Revolution began in October of 1956, Varjú immediately became the president of the revolutionary student association, becoming the youngest member of the town's revolutionary committee. Although he did not see active fighting during the revolution, he took part in making Molotov cocktails to use against the Soviet tanks and stood firmly on the side of the revolutionaries. After the Revolution was crushed on November 4th, he didn't give up hope and stayed until February of 1957. At that point, the only way out was through Yugoslavia (of the 200,000 refugees, only 16,000 escaped across the Southern border).
In his compelling and heartfelt interview, Varjú talks about mistreatment by the Yugoslav authorities during his five months in a refugee camp there. He eventually emigrated to the U.S., arriving in late 1957. In the U.S. he immediately joined the Hungarian community in New Jersey, including active involvement in the Hungarian-American Rifle Association, a paramilitary organization training for possible involvement in Hungary's liberation from Soviet rule. He was an active member of this group until going back to Austria in 1968 to begin medical school. After receiving his medical degree, he joined the U.S. military and achieved the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the U.S. Air Force.
Varjú was always very active in the Hungarian community, and in 2001 moved back to Hungary with his wife, working as a dermatologist and becoming the mayor of his birth town, Igal.

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