Fact Check: Anna Donáth's Grandfather Did NOT Help The Soviets Crush Hungary's 1956 Revolution


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Fact Check: Anna Donáth's Grandfather Did NOT Help The Soviets Crush Hungary's 1956 Revolution Was Anti-USSR

Did Ferenc Donáth, grandfather of Hungarian opposition politician Anna Donáth, help the Soviet Union crush Hungarian freedom fighters in the 1956 Revolution? No, that's not true: Ferenc Donáth was a supporter of the 1956 Revolution who spent years in prison for his efforts to liberate Hungary from Soviet occupation.

The claim appeared in a Hungarian-language video (archived here) on a TikTok account belonging to Boglárka Illés, a member of Hungary's Parliament with the governing Fidesz party, on August 30, 2023, under the title "👉 István Hollik's answer!". (All translations by Lead Stories staff.) It shows Fidesz spokesman István Hollik at a political debate on August 26, 2023, asking an opposition politician why he cooperates with the grandchildren of people who supported Hungary's Soviet-backed dictatorship in 1956. Hollik says:

Maybe we should ask the people around Anna Donáth, because, of course, her grandfather also took part in putting down the revolution and in the operations of the repressive Communist power.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Wed Sep 6 04:45:50 2023 UTC)

Anna Donáth's grandfather, Ferenc Donáth, was a member of the communist Hungarian Workers Party (MDP) who worked with Prime Minister Imre Nagy to free Hungary from Soviet occupation in the revolution that broke out on October 23, 1956, according to numerous historical documents available on the Web, including this one at online archive arcanum.com. It says:

On October 30, 1956, [Donáth] became a member of the temporary management committee of the MSZMP [Hungarian Socialist Workers Party], which was established at that time. In late October and early November 1956, he was a staff member of Imre Nagy's secretariat.

When Soviet tanks rolled into Hungary to crush the revolution on November 4, 1956, Donáth, Nagy and other revolutionary leaders took refuge in the Yugoslav Embassy in Budapest. Arcanum's article continues:

On the 24th, he left the Yugoslav embassy, was arrested by the Soviet authorities and interned with his family in Snagov, Romania. In 1958, as a secondary defendant in the Imre Nagy trial, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison on charges of initiating and leading an organization aimed at overthrowing the popular democratic state order. He was freed under an amnesty in April 1960.

Donáth's grandaughter, Anna Donáth, currently represents Hungary in the European Parliament. As opinion polls list her as one of Hungary's most popular opposition leaders, she is the frequent target of Fidesz and its allies in the media.


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