John Berthoud on Szobor Park

Szobor Park (Statue Park)
Budapest, Hungary

After decades of the Communist dictatorship, the people of Hungary were thrilled with the collapse of the regime beginning in 1989. A joyful populace quickly ripped down the hated statues and memorials that had been created to honor Communist "achievements" and to inspire the masses.

Fortunately, during the heady days of liberation, some Hungarians had an eye towards history and saved the statues that were torn down. Rather than winding up in the Budapest History Museum, Hungary created an outdoor park for the statues, at the suggestion of literary historian László Szörényi. Szobor Park opened in late 1993 and is a short drive from downtown Budapest.

Szobor Park provides an awesome yet quiet sanctuary for reflection on Hungary's - and East Europe's - dark Communist past. The giant statues are a stark reminder of the propaganda machine that held sway for almost half a century. And ultimately, the park is a place to honor the heroes who suffered and gave their lives in the fight for freedom in Hungary.

			John Berthoud
			United States