The girl in Budapest

the girl in budapest

This photo was taken by Danish press photographer Vagn Hansen and appeared on the front cover of Danish illustrated weekly magazine Billed Bladet in November 1956. The solemn girl in the photo is an insurgent about fifteen years old, donning military uniform and holding a PPSh-41 submachine gun in her hands, became a symbol of heroism and courage of the generation.

On 23rd October, 1956, Hungarian students and workers took to the streets of Budapest and issued their demands which included personal freedom, democratic election, the removal of the secret police, Soviet troops, and Communist control etc. AVH guard ( Hungarian State Security Authority) opened fire. People did not back down, a revolution was ignited. To suppress this and restore oder, former U.S.S.R deployed heavy tanks and troops into Budapest. They acted with immense brutality even killing wounded people.

By 14th November the revolution was crushed. About 3,000 Hungarians were killed and another 200,000 fled the country. The liberal Hungarian prime minister Imre Nagy was tried and executed and buried in an unmarked grave. Many insurgent leaders and fighters were later identified by press photographs and were arrested, sentenced and killed by the authority.

Children as young as twelve were reported fought against Russian tanks and soldiers. The girl in the photo was later identified as Erika. According to source, she saved the wounded freedom fighters as a Red Cross volunteer and died during the fights after the Soviet invasion of 4th November.