Bust of Ilona Tóth unveiled in courtyard of Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Hospital

Hungarian version of the article: Felavatták Tóth Ilona mellszobrát a kőbányai Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Kórház udvarán

October 22, 2020 at 5:00 PM

Ilona Tóth was a final year medical student who was an extern during the 1956 revolution became a symbolic figure of the communist regime's retaliation for the revolution. A new bust commemorating her has been unveiled in the courtyard of the Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Clinic and Hospital in Kőbánya.

A bust of the medical student Ilona Tóth, who was executed in 1957, has been unveiled in the courtyard of the Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Clinic and Hospital in Kőbánya – reports the MTI.

The carved stone statue by András Kontur was unveiled by Mária Wittner, a former revolutionary once sentenced to death, and Attila Bodnár, the director of the hospital. Praising her revolutionary partner, Mária Wittner said: "Communists carved Ilona Tóth into a sadistic murderer, but Ilona was deeply human." "This pure human being was executed in disgrace," she continued, adding there are those who still call Ilona Tóth a murderer and try to defile her memory.

Mária Wittner, a 1956 revolutionary, was also sentenced to death, pictured at the ceremony unveiling the bust (Photo: MTI/Illyés Tibor)

Regarding the invalidation of the 1957 verdict passed in 2001, Mária Wittner asked, "what does an invalidation mean, if her murderers still call her a murderer?" The revolutionary added: it is the responsibility of survivors to wash them clean "and to bring justice to those who have been defiled in life and in death," who "lie in the dirt face down their hands tied by wires."

Ilona Tóth has become a symbol of the hundreds of the unjustly accused, imprisoned and executed freedom fighters – said László Kocsis, Colonel of the National Guard, speaking for Szilárd Németh, Parliamentary Secretary of State at the Ministry of Defense. The Colonel added that the heroes and martyrs of 1956 are historical figures whose deeds were hidden for decades because those that "killed them, broke them, pushed them into poverty, spun lies from their deeds, defiled their names and memories, and exterminated them" remained in power.

Speaking for the Secretary of State, the Colonel continued that Ilona Tóth, a young woman charged with murder, had fallen victim to a cruel conceptual lawsuit. The inhumane regime wanted to set an example of the medical student. After decades of lies and silence and the falsification of history, it is down to posterity to explore the past with honesty – he added.

Mária Wittner and Attila Bodnár lay a wreath during the ceremony (Photo: MTI/Illyés Tibor)

Referring to the coronavirus pandemic, the politician added that thanks were not only due to the heroes of the past but also the present. When the 1956 revolution broke out, Ilona Tóth was an extern trainee in internal medicine at the hospital in Szövetség Street and was later transferred to the Péterfy Sándor Street Hospital, where she joined the Voluntary Ambulance Service.

From 1 November until her arrest, she was the acting head of the hospital's support department. She was arrested on 20 November, and on 8 April 1957, she was sentenced to death on charges of incitement and murder. Ilona Tóth was executed on 27 June 1957.

Attila Bodnár, director of the hospital, who initiated the erection of the memorial, praised the latest healthcare measures passed by the government, saying the salary increase offered to doctors and specialist nurses was an immense step forward. He also thanked the employees of the institution for their work during the pandemic. Following the ceremony, those present commemorated the dead of the pandemic by lighting candles.

Source: MTI

Cover photo: Bust of Ilona Tóth in the courtyard of Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Hospital on 22 October 2020 (Photo: MTI/Tibor Illyés)


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