Tea in time of martial law
Budapest was in ruins. Soviet soldiers and Hungarian political policemen patrolled the streets regularly. 'It is impossible to live here.' – three Hungarian young men decided to leave the country at the end of November 1956. Ivánfi recalled: "The western border was already under the control of the Soviet Army. Also the Border Forces of the Hungarian Political Police were sent back. The border defence system was under reconstruction.” They didn't have any time to waste. They arrived to Szombathely late in the evening: "It was like a beehive when a thousand people got off the train.” The streets however were abandoned, martial law was introduced, they had to go somewhere until the following morning. One of the young man, a mechanical engineer, had been to Szombathely some time before and he remembered that there were barracks near to the station where his workers slept. They decided to go there: "They rang. A man came out, he looked at them and asked: ’Are you going to the West?’ They replied: ’Yes.’ ’Just come in!’ He opened the door, then he closed it, he spent the lights and he invited us to the room. He said: ’There are four beds here, you can sleep here. There is general strike in the country, all the workers went away, you can use their accommodation. I can offer you tea and some wine. Let’s sit down and talk!’ The watchman told them to behave very carefully especially at night because the Soviet forces control strictly the border and they arrest the refugees. Next morning before leaving the young man asked the price of the beds. He was offended. ’Do you really think that I ask money from people who are flying? Shake my hand and good luck!’ He said goodbye to us.” On the way to the bus station they saw Soviet soldiers with guns escorting a group of Hungarians. They were the refugees nabbed on the green border: "We hadn’t got an alternative. We understood that we had to resolutely concentrate on our aim.” They got their tickets and they went to Bucsu where their guide was supposed to wait for them.