P.O. Box 178, 3500 AD Utrecht,
Prime Minister and Secretaries of State of Hungary,
On behalf of the persons, decorated here I
would like to thank you and the Government of the Republic of Hungary.
We would like to emphasize, that the decorations have for us a symbolic
meaning. We gladly accept this tribute, but we would like to accept these
as a tribute to all those people, who over the years contributed to the
co-operation between Hungary and the Netherlands in many different fields
as cultural and social life, churches, economy, military and economic activities
etc. Without these people we could not stay here.
We thank you not only for the decorations, but also for the fact that we received them in the New Church in Amsterdam, the most prominent church-building in the Netherlands.
In this church I remember the 4th of november 1956, the fatal date of the Hungarian Revolution, the day of the Russian attack on Budapest. On that day in the vestry of the church a Hungarian divine service took place, led by pastor Tüski, one of the decorated persons today. Hungarians and Dutch filled the vestry and sang the psalms wherein Hungarians and Dutch for centuries found their ultimate, divine, security. In the evening of the same day the prime minister of the Netherlands together with the leaders of the democratic parties in parliament and pastor Tüski protested in the Dutch Radio against the Soviet aggression in Hungary. - In the tragedy of Hungary the Dutch people recognized its own tragedy and its own fate during the War between 1940 and 1945 when it was overrun by Germany. - A few days later the Dutch trade unions organized here on the Dam in front of the Liberation Monument a great protest-meeting against the attack on Hungary. The meeting started with the Hungarian national anthem, the Himnusz, the Hungarian Wilhelmus, sung by a group of Hungarians in this very church. - Dutch athletes refused to participate in the Olympic Games in Australia, because they did not want to meet Soviet athletes as if nothing had happened in Hungary. - The Hungarian Revolution was a moment of truth for everybody. Communist political movements in Western Europe collapsed, when a small nation revolted against the greatest military and political power on the continent. The whole nation with an official, democratic coalition-government, fought with weapons in hand against the Soviet oppressors. They were the only people behind the Iron Curtain in 'Eastern Europe', who shot back, fighting with guns and Molotov-cocktails against the Soviet army. They defended, in the tradition of Hungarian history, general human moral values to be realized in liberty.
After the Revolution in 1956 the refugees arrived in this country. Her Majesty Queen Juliana welcomed them in a radio-speech. This is the moment to draw the attention to the fact, that members of the former Dutch Resistance Movement in the Second World War played an important role in the organization of the welcome to and the integration of the Hungarian refugees in this country. In this respect I mention here in Amsterdam, with warm feelings and thanks, the name of Gijsbert van Hall, burgomaster of this city - one of the leading persons in the Resistence Movement - who played a key-role in the activities. These are paramount details of the history of those days.
On the 4th of May of each year at 8 o'clock in the evening in the Netherlands street lamps are switched on and everybody stands still in silence for two minutes in order to commemorate the victims of the War. The Dutch people did the same only once for the victims of another nation: in november 1956 for the Hungarians. - Queen Juliana accepted in Utrecht in the Juliana Hall a revolutionary flag from the refugees, which was used as such in Budapest in the fights against the Russian army. The flag is kept in the Royal House-Archives in The Hague. Nowhere else in the world is a flag of the Hungarian Revolution kept at such a place among the relics of the nation, as is the case in this country.
Here we express our deepest gratitude to the government and the people of the Netherlands because this country 45 years ago granted a new home and new chances for many Hungarians. They are now well integrated members of Dutch society on all levels - without having forgotten their roots - because they have the same basic values, the same religious and cultural background as their Dutch brethren and compatriots. They contribute to the traditional unity in pluriformity of Dutch society.
we thank you again for the decorations received by us today.
Text of an acceptance-speech by Miklós
I. Tóth delivered on the 22nd May 2001 in the New Church in Amsterdam
on the occasion of the commemoration of the 325th anniversary of the liberation
of 26 Hungarian protestant ministers, sentenced to forced labour on the
galleys because of their faith, in 1676 in Naples by Admiral Michiel de
Ruyter of the Netherlands, whose tomb is in the New Church in Amsterdam.
During the ceremony five Dutch citizens received Hungarian state-decorations.
Hungarian Federation in the Netherlands
Phone: 070-3587248; Fax: 070-3584983