25 March 2021

The Pictures that Travelled and Divided the World – Life Magazine’s Photos Shot During the 1956 Revolution in Hungary – Part II

"The political police reproduced and duplicated the acquired films, negatives, paper prints, and photographs from newspaper cuttings in various sizes, and compiled photo albums that they used to capture and identify the rebels. The photographs taken by Life’s photojournalists feature in several albums, including the parts of them that document the atrocities in Köztársaság Square."


Life Magazine’s Photos Shot During the 1956 Revolution in Hungary1 Part II




Owing to the global wave of protest against the Soviet intervention, the UN resolution on the Hungarian situation, and the ensuing refugee crisis, Hungary remained a lively topic of debate among the general public and in the world’s press during the months that followed the suppressed uprising. This was especially true at Life and Time. Henry R. Luce,2 the editor-in-chief of both magazines and owner of Time Inc. – the media corporation that published them – was a Republican known for his anti-communist feelings, and he participated actively in the protests and charity drives condemning the Soviet aggression, and urging assistance for both the Hungarians remaining in the country and those who were fleeing it en masse.3 Luce was among the first to attempt to acquire the rights to publish the story of the trial, persecution, and imprisonment of Cardinal József Mindszenty, who had been granted temporary refuge in the US Legation in Budapest. He argued that the cardinal’s recollections would become widely known through Life magazine’s tens of millions of readers, and this would prick the conscience of the West. Luce, who had previously published the memoirs of Churchill, Truman, and Eisenhower in Life, had no success with Mindszenty.4 Nevertheless, Life’s editor-in-chief demonstrated his commitment to the Hungarian cause with an almost 100-page special edition commemorating the fallen revolutionaries, abundantly illustrated with photographs, entitled Hungary’s Fight for Freedom. It was edited by Timothy Foote and Kenneth MacLeish, with a foreword by Luce, and a dedication by Archibald MacLeish. As Luce stressed in the foreword, the purpose of the publication – which remains one of the most important visual records of the events of 1956 to this day – was to keep alive the discourse relating to the Hungarians’ struggle for liberty, and to make it possible to tell the story over and over and again with the help of the pictures.5

Besides featuring images that had already been published in Life magazine, the volume included several pictures by John Sadovy, Michael Rougier, and Eric Lessing that were seen in print for the first time. The editors of the paperback publication, which was printed in a slightly smaller format than Life magazine (at 21×29.5 cm), also drew on the photography of other well-known photojournalists, news and photo agencies. At the beginning of the publication – as in Life magazine – was an itemized listing of which photojournalists, news and picture agencies had taken the photograph(s) on each page. Life – unlike the European weeklies such as Paris Match or Epoca – was very precise in its handling of attribution.

The captioned black and white photographs, which often filled an entire double page spread, were accompanied by summaries to help readers understand the context, and eyewitness accounts from the likes of Stern photographer Rolf Gillhausen, John Sadovy, and Timothy Foote. (It is important to note that Sadovy’s recollections here concluded with a sentence that had not previously featured in either the American or international edition of the weekly magazine: ‘In some way one is responsible for what other humans do.’) Each of the photos in Sadovy’s series was published on a whole double or single page; that is, on a larger scale than before, enhancing the dramatic effect of the pictures.6 All the income from the fifty-cent special edition, available for purchase at newspaper stands or by mail order, went on aid for Hungarian refugees. The revenues were donated to the International Rescue Committee, a New York-based American foundation set up to assist the victims of political oppression under totalitarian regimes. This non-governmental organization provided invaluable assistance to Hungarian refugees settling in the United States.7

This was Life’s first themed special report, published independently of its regular issues. The success of its reception is clear from the $35,000 earned in revenue, and almost one million copies sold around the world. What is more, the publication was translated into Spanish and Italian, further raising awareness of the images and heightening the impact on public opinion.8 The special edition, and the photos it carried, received additional publicity due to the fact that it was published at the same time as Life’s global edition, Life International,9 which also contained a photo-report on the revolution.10 (The fortnightly Life International was compiled by a separate editorial team, in line with the preferences of the international readership and the later publication date, but generally included the most interesting photo reports selected from the previous two US editions.) Here, the front cover and introduction emphasized the historical importance of the photographs, while the headline highlighted the two ideological standpoints from which the supporters of ‘freedom’ and ‘tyranny’ (communism) interpreted the images. Among Western communist periodicals, for example, the French Regards wrote – in connection with Sadovy’s pictures – that ‘fascist groups’ had carried out the executions, and that they had killed many civilians with similar brutality. The magazine accused Paris Match, the first to print Sadovy’s picture series, of condoning the ‘Hungarian revolutionaries’ by portraying the victims as secret policemen.11 Besides Rolf Gillhausen’s photo of the funeral in Mosonmagyaróvár, this edition only featured Sadovy’s ten shots from Köztársaság Square. Apart from the photographer’s eyewitness account, the accompanying text and picture captions were not exactly the same, and the pictures were also laid out, sized and cropped differently.

Some of the photographs taken by the Life team in Hungary were also published by its sister magazine, Time, including images that had not been printed in Life’s publications before. A notable example of these is one of Sadovy’s photos taken after the group execution, showing a seventh solder who also appears at the right-hand edge of the third frame in the series. In this picture, published in the 12 November issue of Time, it is plain that the enraged onlookers at the corner of the square (not far from their shot companions) are blocking the path of a man trying to escape in the direction of Kenyérmező Street, together with another soldier, by forcing them up against a wall (see picture 3). Unlike his companion, however, he tries to escape another way, in the direction of Sadovy. In the next frame shot by Sadovy, which only appears in the special edition, the man and a person in civilian clothes, seen from behind, signal to each other. Meanwhile, someone in the crowd strikes a blow to the man’s head with a gun stock.12 One week later, the news magazine devoted a separate article to Sadovy, the photographer behind these sensational pictures. The most dramatic frames from his stunning photo series were reprinted, along with a picture of Sadovy himself.13

The photographs had an influence in other ways too. Boris Chaliapin, the artist who created several hundred cover illustrations for Time, took inspiration from Rougier’s shots taken in Budapest, among others, for his picture of the ‘Hungarian Freedom Fighter’ chosen as person of the year 1956, printed on the cover of the first issue of 1957.14 Besides the reporting of news related to the Hungarian cause, therefore, Time Inc.’s media empire itself made efforts to keep the issue on the agenda and have its reporters’ photographs published as often as possible.

Professional praise for Life’s Hungarian photos was soon forthcoming. For Sadovy, true recognition came in spring 1957, when the photographer received one of the most prestigious accolades, the Robert Capa Award, for his Hungarian photo report. The Robert Capa Gold Medal Award is presented by the American Overseas Press Club to photographers for ‘superlative still photography requiring exceptional courage and enterprise abroad’.15

Perhaps the most important aspect, in terms of the pictures’ impact, was the number of people who saw the photographs. At that time, Life had a circulation of six million copies. Its actual readership, however, was several (at least five) times this figure. (Newsstands sold almost 1,020,000 copies of the 12 November issue. Its price was twenty cents.16) To these were added the readers of the international and Spanish issues, the special editions translated into several languages, and of Paris Match. The readers, as always, made known their opinions about the latest issues of Life. The newsroom received fewer than five hundred letters about the 12 November issue, which was not a conspicuously high number for the magazine; furthermore, the bulk of these were not reactions to the Hungarian photo report. Most of the readers’ letters relating to Hungary published in Life were prompted by the international edition.17 None of the letter writers had been able to detach themselves from the effect of Sadovy’s pictures. For example, a battle-hardened marine, James M. Perry, wrote that he could understand why the photographer had cried after taking the pictures. Even he had flinched at the sight of Sadovy’s photo series, which in his opinion deserved every photographic prize for the year. Allison Murdach, meanwhile, referred to the Hungarian rebels’ violent action against their oppressors as something that could never be fully appreciated or understood, and B. Bokhout accused the magazine of being unethical and sensationalist for publishing photos of the dead. Erich M. Weisinger, on the other hand – citing his own experience of Soviet brutality in 1945 – considered the Hungarian reactions to have been understandable and justified: ‘What the rebels did against the Communists is only a reaction for crimes committed on themselves.’18 The weekly also printed a letter from Gregor H. Riesser, who wished to commemorate his late friend, the Paris Match reporter Jean-Pierre Pedrazzini, who had died of his injuries during the uprising. Riesser wrote: ‘I wonder if you could publish Pedrazzini’s picture as a tribute to a fine fellow and to the courage of the photographers and newspaper-magazine correspondents all over the world.’19 His wish was granted. A few readers’ letters responding to the special edition were also published. An American reader living in the Netherlands, expressing admiration for the bravery of the correspondents and photographers, commented that the illustrated publication said more about the Hungarian Revolution than all the newspaper reports published to date.20 The editors of Life, in response to the criticisms relating to the publication of such horrifying pictures, maintained their original stance: these were the best way to give a sense of the hatred felt by the Hungarians towards their oppressors.21

There is every sign that the Italian issue of the special edition was well-received in Italy, too. On 2 May 1957, an art exhibition entitled ‘The Uprising of Hungarian Workers and Peasants Against Communism’ opened in the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome, where the special edition was distributed free of charge at the entrance. The exhibition was visited by at least 25,000 people in two weeks, according to the Hungarian envoy in Rome.22 The Italians were deeply shaken by the crushing of the Hungarians’ struggle for freedom and independence, and a massive outcry was triggered by the anti-revolutionary stance of one of Western Europe’s most powerful communist parties, as well as the smear campaign run in the columns of Italy’s communist press regarding the events in Hungary. Of the Italian political parties, only the Italian Communist Party dubbed the anti-Stalinist uprising a counterrevolution, believing its bloody suppression to have been necessary and right.23

In the years that followed, besides featuring in issues of Life showing selections of the best pictures to mark the anniversary of the magazine’s foundation or the revolution, Sadovy, Rougier, and Lessing’s pictures could be found in publications dealing with photography, photojournalism, and war photography.24 The photos also found their way into cinematography. The Hungarian report photographs in Life and Paris Match had such a profound effect on British film director Peter Gattwick, for example, that he used them as the basis for reconstructing the scenes in one of his early works, a 17-minute docudrama entitled Forgotten Faces (1961), in which they were played by amateur actors and civilians who had been chosen for their similarity to the people in the photographs.25



Reacting to the photo report on Hungary in Life International, a reader living in Beirut, Tony N. Manner, wrote a letter to the editors. Published in early 1957, it drew attention to the implications of the revolution for the Middle East: ‘The Hungarian bloodbath will provide an important lesson to the Middle Eastern countries which idealize Moscow’s peace-loving principle.’26 The letter-writer’s prophecy would be proven correct in 1959, so much so that the special report on the Hungarian Revolution was also published in Arabic. Besides the US dailies, Life naturally also reported on this event.27 Under the headline of ‘A Surprising Best-seller for Mideast, the weekly gave an account of how the United Arab Republic used the Arabic version of the Life special edition – which was identical to the original English issue apart from its cover, title (‘When Communism Enters a Country’) and foreword – as a part of its new campaign against communism. As stated in the foreword, the pictures of the Hungarian Revolution and Soviet aggression were intended to make readers aware that a similar situation would be repeated in the countries of the region if communist forces were to take power in Iraq. Here, the photos were being used politically for the purposes of Arab anti-communist propaganda. Life reported that the success of the publication – especially in Cairo and Beirut – was unprecedented by local standards: 300,000 copies were sold. Below pictures of the covers of the English and Arabic special editions, the weekly also showed an enlarged version of James Burke’s excellent picture, shot by the Life photojournalist in a park in Cairo by the Nile. The foreground is dominated by a close-up profile of a man with a cigarette in his mouth and the Arabic special edition in his hand. He is looking at Michael Rougier’s picture, filling a double page spread, showing four Hungarian revolutionaries talking in the street. Rougier’s most striking character, the young man in a bowler hat (József Tibor Fejes) seems to be looking out at the Arab man. Regardless of whether or not Burke staged this scene, the photo gives a good sense of the myriad indirect impacts of Life magazine’s 1956 photographs. At the same time, the article is a great example of how the magazine referred back to the earlier work of its photographers and editors, creating a new opportunity to express their solidarity with the Hungarians rebelling against the communist dictatorship.

The 20 July 1959 issue of Life International with James Burke’s photograph on page 43. Library of the Hungarian Parliament




Not long after the crushing of the Revolution, it turned out that those in the Life newsroom who had worried about reprisals against people who were recognizable in the photographs were right. To legitimize its power, the Kádár regime set out to denounce the Revolution, and to discredit and criminalize the revolutionaries. Based on the Köztársaság Square atrocities, they drew parallels between the events of 1956 and the barbaric acts of the Hungarian White Terror of 1919. The most persuasive and widely usable evidence for furthering the objectives of the new communist regime consisted of amateur and professional, foreign and home-grown moving and still pictures, which could be cited as proof of the rebels’ brutality and the ‘counterrevolutionary atrocities’.28 These images, especially the high quality press photographs of Western magazines, were used during investigations to locate and identify people who actively took part in the Revolution, as material evidence in trials of the rebels, for blackmail, for use in the various propaganda materials (press, books, exhibitions, films), in history books (including school textbooks), and for promoting the narrative of a counterrevolution.

The 28 April 1957 issue of Szabad Föld with pictures by John Sadovy (above) and an unidentified Hungarian photojournalist (below) on page 6

Like most armed conflicts, the Hungarian Revolution had tragic episodes where tempers were unleashed and people could not be stopped from taking the law into their own hands. Among the incidents of mob lynching, the violent events at Köztársaság Square stood out from the rest, both in terms of how serious and how well-documented they were. The police agencies knew that a lot of pictures had been taken in the square, because those days had seen the largest presence of foreign correspondents in Budapest. One of their main tasks was to gather as much press coverage as possible relating to events in the square and elsewhere, including photographs, documenting brutality on the part of the rebels. Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs contacted Hungarian embassies abroad, emphasizing the need to select press coverage providing evidence of violent acts. A letter written to the Hungarian Legation in Rome reveals – though here there was no separate reference to press photographs – that the ministry was primarily interested in articles relating to Hungary, and going back as far 20 October 1956, which ‘are concerned with arbitrary atrocities committed by counterrevolutionary elements’.29 At the same time, the authorities mobilized considerable resources to confiscate the evidence available in Hungary, including moving and still pictures. The political police reproduced and duplicated the acquired films, negatives, paper prints, and photographs from newspaper cuttings in various sizes, and compiled photo albums that they used to capture and identify the rebels. The photographs taken by Life’s photojournalists feature in several albums, including the parts of them that document the atrocities in Köztársaság Square.30

Just like the other images, Life’s photographs were also used in propaganda to bolster the regime’s ideological legitimacy. It was among the newspaper columns that the Hungarian public first got to know a small portion of the photographs taken for the American magazine. In this category it was Sadovy’s pictures, especially that hard-to-forget series of photographs, that featured the most in the newspapers. Before they appeared, however, the Ministry of Defence’s own newspaper, Honvéd Újság, published a verbatim translation of the photojournalist’s eyewitness account in its issue of Saturday, 12 January 1957. The text was illustrated with two small, rather poor-quality reproductions of Sadovy’s photos (without captions): one was the picture of the woman spitting on the corpse of the soldier hanging from a tree, while the other showed a surrendering State Protection Authority soldier in the moments before being shot in the back.31 The photos were taken from Life International, which was also obvious from the fact that the magazine’s masthead was also visible. In the introduction, the paper’s editors were at pains to express their ‘gratitude’ to Sadovy for his dramatic account and courageous photographs revealing such horrors’, and to the American magazine for publishing and disseminating them widely: ‘Thanks to “Life”, readers on five continents learned what monstrous acts, what repugnant murders our homeland had to be liberated from.’32 The most popular publication of Time Inc., dubbed the ‘bastion of anti-communist propaganda’, was accused of sensationalism driven by business interests.

The Hungarian press also soon published the shots in Sadovy’s best-known photo series. To the best of my knowledge, Népszabadság was the first to carry the pictures. This central party newspaper – serving as the main propaganda tool for the regime, which also led the way in smearing the persons visible in the pictures by Life’s photographer (for example: the woman spitting on the corpse, accused of being a prostitute and dubbed ‘Filthy Maria’, and ‘Stumpy Legs Johnny’, said to be a gangland boss who died sometime around 4 November) – published the first and second pictures in Sadovy’s series to illustrate a report on the publication of the second volume of the ‘White Book’, indicating in the picture caption that the images were from the Life special edition.33 Not long after this, József Sólyom’s report on the two victims (Lajos Berta Somogyi and József K. Farkas) who survived the shooting, was published in Magyar Ifjúság.34 The youth magazine printed a recent picture of each of the former conscripts, together with the first, second, and fourth pictures in Sadovy’s series. In the first picture, the subjects are indicated with arrows. The editors not only indicated the source of the pictures in the accompanying text, but also displayed the Paris Match masthead – superimposing it over the two bottom photographs – to make it clear that the photos had been reproduced from the French magazine’s photo report. A few days later, József Sólyom’s full article was also printed by Népszabadság, although this time only with the first and fourth shots from Sadovy’s series, and without the Paris Match logo.35 József Sólyom’s article was followed in subsequent months and decades by numerous features devoted to the fates and private lives of the survivors, who were by then treated as ‘national heroes’. These were frequently illustrated with the report photographs taken by Sadovy and/or Hungarian photojournalists.36 In April 1957 Szabad Föld, for example, published one of Sadovy’s most powerful images above a photograph of the four smiling survivors at the site of the shooting, in front of the wall of party headquarters. Beneath this photograph is the following commentary: ‘These four young workers and peasants were among those who, on 30 October 1956, defended the party headquarters from the onslaught of deranged, murderous counterrevolutionaries and common criminals. The counterrevolutionaries tried to execute them. All were seriously wounded, but miraculously they recovered from their injuries. They recently visited the site of their ordeal. Our picture shows them in the spot where the deadly bullets attempted to take their lives.’37

Besides being covered by the Hungarian press (and Life magazine, after the news broke), the survival of the defenders was also mentioned by an English-language Soviet propaganda organ. Alongside two of Sadovy’s photos, it published a more recent picture of two survivors at a banquet table after being decorated.38

Alongside the media coverage, the regime also relied heavily on exhibitions to present its counterrevolution narrative to the public.39 In 1957, static and touring exhibitions featuring up to several hundred photographs were organized at locations all around the country. Tableaux and posters, mostly illustrated with copies of photos from foreign newspapers, displayed with the most important propaganda messages relating to the counterrevolution. One example of these showed four of Sadovy’s and one of Lessing’s best-known photographs, and was entitled: This Is How It Happened … Atrocities of the Counterrevolution.40

The photographs, including the report photos taken by Life’s photojournalists, also featured prominently in the five-volume publication known as the ‘White Book’, which was intended to provide the most detailed and systematic summary of the counterrevolutionary ideology. Eleven of Sadovy’s photos were published (a few several times) as were three of Lessing’s.41 As with the exhibitions, the purpose here was to show the ‘crimes of the counterrevolutionaries’ and the ‘bestial fascist bloodletting’ in a way that could be understood by everyone, creating continuity between the events of 1919, the Horthy era and 1956. Most of the images are shown in small, rather poor-quality (typography, paper, printing technology, binding) pamphlets gratuitously aimed at showing the ‘counterrevolutionary violence’ and the ‘atrocities of the Hungarian White Terror’. A noteworthy example can be found in the last volume, which was intended to reveal the propaganda of the Western, and specifically the émigré Hungarian, press, by using Sadovy’s famous series of photos to show how the anti-communist media falsified the facts. To illustrate this, they showed a cutting from the South American émigré newspaper Délamerikai Magyar Hírlap in which four of Sadovy’s photos were printed with the following headline: This Is How the Russians Kill. The headline and picture caption in the Hungarian-language newspaper – either intentionally or unintentionally – gave the impression that the Soviets had been shooting and the rebels were the victims.42 This is a good example of how, by using picture captions and text to redefine the original context – similarly to the communist propaganda, but with a different ideological charge – press photos can be used for the manipulation of news.

One of Sadovy’s photographs even found its way into a secondary-school history textbook under the heading ‘Slaughter of the Defenders of the Budapest Party Headquarters (1956)’. In the centre of the picture is a soldier with his hands up and his back to the crowd, standing in front of the headquarters building. Although the reproduction is not of the highest quality, it is plain to see that two people have already been shot. This photo, which is also part of a series, must have been chosen because both the shooters and the corpses are visible; furthermore, the surrendering victim is about to be shot in the back (picture caption: ‘Bloody White Terror unfolds on the streets. Counterrevolutionary gangs launch an attack on the Budapest party committee’s building in Köztársaság Square, brutally murdering most of its defenders’).43

We can also find examples of the magazine’s photographs being shown, while not explicitly being used as propaganda. In a scene from János Herskó’s 1963 feature film Párbeszéd (Dialogue), a character played by the actress Mari Törőcsik is leafing through Life magazine and, upon seeing Sadovy’s photographs taken in Köztársaság Square – also shown in close-up – she shudders and shows them to another character. The violent images clearly serve as a counterpoint to the archive footage of 23 October, also played in the film, which supports the official interpretation of the Revolution at the time. The brief scene is interesting because the regime was careful to keep publications and weekly magazines dealing with 1956, including the various editions of Life, out of the public’s sight. In the film, however, images that were already familiar from propaganda were shown here in their original context, if only for a fleeting moment.44




The presence and use of Life’s pictures in Hungary from the regime change until the present day – where most of the famous Western press photographs of 1956 are concerned – has been somewhat paradoxical. Although the pictures are part of the collective memory, and are present as illustrations in many publications and as book covers, besides appearing on posters and at exhibitions, the name of the photographer and the place of their original publication are often omitted, and they are by no means regarded as the photojournalist’s intellectual property or art. In most publications, either the picture caption and notes are missing entirely, or instead of the photographer’s name, the location of the reproductions and paper prints in Hungary, for example the Historical Photo Department of the Hungarian National Museum, are cited. In some cases, the pictures have been taken out of their original context, edited or coloured. Because of the difficulty of accessing sources – a substantial proportion of the foreign media organs cannot be found in public collections in Hungary, and not all of them list the names of the photographers in an itemized manner – researching the photos can be complicated and time-consuming. However, where Life’s photographs are concerned, we are fortunate. The US editions of the magazine from 1936 to 1972 have been accessible to anyone via Google Books since 2008, and the photojournalists can also be precisely identified. It is also thought-provoking that the Western press photos of 1956 have featured in few major exhibitions and high-quality publications in Hungary. While the works of Life’s three photojournalists have been displayed at several highly successful exhibitions abroad, the Hungarian public remains unaware of most of Sadovy’s and Rougier’s pictures, except the most famous shots, to this day.45 An exhibition of John Sadovy’s photographs, curated by Colin Ford, opened in London in 2016.46 We can only hope that the original pictures by the Czech-born British photographer, together with the report photos of Rougier, Lessing and others, will one day also be exhibited in fitting circumstances, and published in book form, in Hungary.

Translated by Daniel Nashaat



1 This essay was originally published in Hungarian. See: Judit Antónia Farkas, ‘A képek, amelyek bejárták és megosztották az egész világot. A Life magazin 1956-os fotói’ (The Pictures that Travelled and Divided the World. Life Magazine’s Photos Shot During the 1956 Revolution in Hungary), Korall, 19/73 (2018), 171–201. See Hungarian Review’s website for the unabridged version with the complete and detailed bibliography.

2 Cf. Julia Sonnevend, Global Iconic Events, How News Stories Travel Through Time, Space and Media (PhD Thesis, Columbia University, 2013), 167–170.

3 Cf. ‘10,000 at Garden Back up Hungary’, The New York Times (9 Nov. 1956), 15; ‘2,600 Hungarians Due Here in Week’, The New York Times (6 Dec. 1956), 4.

4 Margit Balogh, ‘Egy amerikai újságíró „interjúja” Mindszenty Józseffel 1956 novemberében’ (An American Journalist’s “Interview” with József Mindszenty in November 1956), Múltunk, 56/2 (2011), 18.

5 Henry R Luce, ‘Foreword’, in Kenneth MacLeish and Timothy Foote, eds, Hungary’s Fight for Freedom. A Special Report in Pictures (Time-Life Inc., 1956), 2.

6 MacLeish and Foote, Hungary’s Fight for Freedom, 36–41: 30.

7 ‘On sale now “Hungary’s Fight for Freedom”’, Life (10 Dec. 1956), 183; MacLeish and Foote, Hungary’s Fight for Freedom, back cover.

8 The Italian and Spanish special editions of Life (1956): La battaglia per la libertà in Ungheria. Servizio speciale fotografico di 96 pagine. (A cura della redazione di Life); La lucha de Hungría por la libertad. Reportaje gráfico especial de 96 páginas; ‘A Surprising Best-seller for Mideast’, Life (29 June 1959), 43; Life (17 March 1961), S4.

9 ’Born This Week’, Life (22 July 1946), 95; ‘Letters to the Editors. Life International’, Life (3 June 1946), 8, 11; ’Life International Edition’, Life (10 Nov. 1956), 11. The report on Hungary was probably also published in the Spanish edition. The first issue of Life’s first foreign-language edition, the fortnightly magazine Life en Español, was published in January 1953. ‘A New Spanish Edition of LIFE to Link Two Continents’, Life (12 May 1952), 154.

10 Serrell Hillman, ‘The Case of Hungary: Pictures Which Divided the World between Supporters of Freedom and Tyranny’, Life International (10 Dec. 1956), 18–22.

11 Regards (Special Hongrie) (January 1957), 22. The magazine’s special edition devoted to Hungary featured the first and third frames of Sadovy’s photo series, and two photos from his series showing another execution. ‘Hard Work at Both Fronts’, Life International (10 December 1956), 11. On the cover showing a wounded Egyptian soldier, the Hungarian report was announced with the following strapline: ‘Hungary’s Blood Bath, “Life’s” Own Historic Pictures’, Life International (10 Dec. 1956), 1.

12 Time (12 Nov. 1956), 37; MacLeish and Foote, Hungary’s Fight for Freedom, 42–43.

13 ‘Portrait of Death’, Time (19 Nov. 1956), 72.

14 Time (7 Jan. 1957), 1. Cf. Phil Casoar and Eszter Balázs, Budapest hősei (Budapest’s Heroes), (Budapest: Scholar–Vince, 2016), 242–244.

15 ’Speaking about Pictures: Prize-winning Press Photographers of the Year’, Life (1 Apr. 1957), 16–17; George P. Hunt, Editor’s note: ’For Exceptional Courage and Enterprise’, Life (11 Apr. 1969), 3.

16 Louden Wainwright, The Great American Magazine. An Inside History of Life (New York: Knopf, 1986), 248. Cf. James L. Baughman, ’Who Read Life? The Circulation of America’s Favourite Magazine’, in Erika Doss, ed., Looking at Life Magazine (Washington–London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2011), 42–43.

17 Wainwright, The Great American Magazine, 248.

18 ’Letters to the Editors: Hungarian Patriots’, Life (3 Dec. 1956), 30; ‘Letters to the Editors: Hungarian Patriots’, Life International (4 Feb. 1957), 4; Wainwright, The Great American Magazine, 248.

19 ‘Letters to the Editors. Hungarian Patriots’, Life (3 Dec. 1956), 30; ‘Letters to the Editors’, Life International (4 Feb. 1957), 4.

20 ‘Letters to the Editors: Hungary’, Life International (18 Feb. 1957), 6.

21 ‘Letters to the Editors: Hungarian Patriots’, Life International (4 Feb. 1957), 4.

22 National Archives of Hungary (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Secret Case File Documents, Italy, 1945–1965, MNL OL XIX-J-1-j 7. d. 4/j. 002590/1–2. Italian Visual Artists and the Hungarian Counterrevolution. Imre Szabó’s letter to the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 20 May 1957; Anna Tóth’s letter to the Hungarian Legation in Rome, 1 June 1957.

23 Henry R. Luces wife, Clare Boothe Luce, who was the US ambassador to Rome between 1953 and 1956, voiced criticism of the Italian communists on several occasions. Henry R. Luce spent half his time in the Italian capital, and besides maintaining an office there where he dealt with his company’s affairs, he also helped his wife with her diplomatic work. Alan Brinkley, The Publisher. Henry Luce and His American Century (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010), 384–388.

24 A few examples: ‘Moments Remembered. The Camera, Producing Masterpieces on the Spot’, Life (26 December 1960), 98–99; Carl Mydans and Shelley Mydans, The Violent Peace. A Report on Wars in the Postwar World (New York: Atheneum, 1968), 42–43, 236; The Best of Life (Introduction Ralph Graves) (Sine loco: 1973), 36; Reg Gadney, Cry Hungary. Uprising 1956, Intr. George Mikes (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1986), 84–88; Harold Evans, Pictures on a Page. Photo-journalism. Graphics and Picture Editing (London: Pimlico, 1997), 113–114.

25 John R. Cook, ‘“This Is Not Hollywood!” Peter Watkins and the Challenge of Amateurism to the Professional’, in Ryan Shand and Ian Craven, eds, Small-gauge Storytelling. Discovering the Amateur Fiction Film (Edinburgh: R. Shand, I. Craven, 2013), 183–200.

26 ‘Letters to the Editors: Hungary’, 6.

27 Arabic special edition of Life: (1959, Cairo); ‘Sequel: A Surprising Best-seller for Mideast. LIFE’s Hungary’s Fight for Freedom in Arabic’, Life (29 June 1959), 43; Life International (17 Aug. 1959), 74; ‘Nasser’s Three Faces of the World’, Life (20 July 1959), 98. Here I would like to thank Egyptian historian Abdallah Al-Naggar for kindly translating and sending me the unnumbered, unsigned one-page foreword.

28 Regarding the use of photographs and film footage for reprisals and propaganda, see István Rév, Retroactive Justice. Prehistory of Post-communism (Cultural Memory in the Present), (California: Stanford University Press, 2005), 240–249; and regarding the role of the press in reprisals, see Sonnevend, Global Iconic Events, 201–217.

29 MNL OL XIX-J-1-j. 7. d. 4/j. 007750/1. Impact of Hungarian events on Italian domestic policy. Request for briefing. Letter from department head József Kállai to the Hungarian envoy in Rome, 23 November 1956.

30 Historical Archives of the State Security Services (ÁBTL) photo albums nos. 4.1. A–236 1, A–237 2, A–238, 5 of 1956.

31 Budapest: ’Úgy hullottak az emberek, mint a legyek’ (‘People Were Dropping Like Flies’), Honvéd Újság (12 Jan. 1957), 1, 3.

32 Budapest: ’Úgy hullottak az emberek, mint a legyek’, 1.

33 ‘Emlékeztető az ellenforradalom napjaira. Megjelent a Fehér Könyv második füzete’ (A Reminder of the Days of the Counterrevolution. Second Volume of White Book Published), Népszabadság (3 Feb. 1957), 12; Cf. Katalin Bognár, ‘Az 1956-os forradalom nyomai a Népszabadság fénykép-archívumában’ (Köztársaság Square, 1957. Traces of the 1956 Revolution in the Picture Archive of Népszabadság), in István Ihász and János Pintér (eds), Történeti Muzeológiai Szemle. A Magyar Történész Társulat Évkönyve 15 (Budapest, 2017), 73–86.

34 József Sólyom, ‘Vádolnak a sírból visszajöttek’ (The Resurrected Accuse), Magyar Ifjúság (16 Feb. 1957), 3.

35 ‘Vádolnak a sírból visszajöttek. Sólyom József riportja a Magyar Ifjúságból’ (The Resurrected Accuse. József Sólyom’s Report from Magyar Ifjúság), Népszabadság (19 Feb. 1957), 9.

36 Cf. Katalin Bognár, ‘Köztársaság tér’, 78, 83.

37 R. L., ‘Újra a Köztársaság téren’ (Back in Köztársaság Square), Szabad Föld (28 Apr. 1957), 6.

38 Belokon, Alexei, and Tolskilov, Vladimir, The Truth about Hungary. Facts and Eyewitness Accounts (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1957), between pages 64 and 65 without the actual page numbers. Cited in Isotta Poggi, ‘The Photographic Memory and Impact of the Hungarian 1956. Uprising during the Cold War Era’, Getty Research Journal 7 (2015), 201.

39 For details, see Müller, ‘A megtorlás fényképei’ (Pictures of the Retribution), 326–327.

40 ÁBTL 3.1.9. V-143709. Cited in Müller, ‘A megtorlás fényképei’ (Pictures of the Retribution), 333–334. Cf. Casoar and Balázs, Budapest hősei (Budapest’s Heroes), 83–85.

41 [White Book I–IV], Ellenforradalmi erők a magyar októberi eseményekben (Counterrevolutionary Forces in the Hungarian Events of October), (Budapest: n. d.). [White Book II], 72, 76–78, 84; [White Book III], 11, 45, 36, 87; [White Book IV], (142); [White Book V], Nagy Imre és bűntársai ellenforradalmi összeesküvése (Counterrevolutionary Conspiracy of Imre Nagy and His Accomplices) (Budapest, n. d.), 98, 101, 108, 172.

42 [White Book V], (108). Cf. ‘Így hazudnak ők’ (This is How They Lie), 5; Rév, Retroactive Justice, 243.

43 Endre Balogh, Történelem a gimnázium IV. osztálya számára (History for Year 4 Secondary School Students) (10th edition, Budapest: Tankönyvkiadó, 1977), 320. Thanks to László L. Lajtai for the data.

44 Murai, ‘Újrahasznosított felvételek’ (Recycled Shots), 85.

45 Lessing’s photographs were displayed at an exhibition and a book was also published about them. ‘Magyarország 1956-ban Erich Lessing képein. Kiállítás a Budapesti Történeti Múzeumban. 2006. szeptember 23.–december 31.’ (‘Hungary in 1956 on the Photographs of Erich Lessing. Exhibition at the Budapest Historical Museum); Erich Lessing, ‘Visszaemlékezés 1956-ra’ (Recollections of 1956), translated by Zoltán Ábrahám, in Budapest 1956 a forradalom. Lessing fotográfiái, (Budapest: 1956-os Intézet, 2006), 14–21.

46 Colin Ford, Freedom First – The 1956 Hungarian Revolution in Pictures. Photographs by John Sadovy (Booklet accompanying the exhibition of the same name, compiled by the staff of the Hungarian Cultural Centre in London) (London, 2016). 

by BL Nonprofit Kft. It is an affiliate
of the bi-monthly journal Magyar Szemle,
published since 1991

Editor-in-Chief: Tamás Magyarics
Deputy Editor-in Chief: István Kiss
Associate Editors: Gyula Kodolányi, John O'Sullivan
Managing Editor: Ildikó Geiger

Editorial office: Budapest, 1067, Eötvös u. 24., HUNGARY
E-mail: hungarianreview@hungarianreview.com
Online edition: www.hungarianreview.com