Steven Domonkos’ memories about 1956

by Steven Domonkos Sr.

(October 23, 1956)

Tuesday afternoon was the beginning of a short lived but historically significant Hungarian revolution against the Soviet Union and the Hungarian Communist government.

On that day 19-year-old Steven Domonkos left his work at the Csillebérci AF Kutató Inintézet in Budapest, Hungary, to find out about an anti-government demonstration in the center of the city in front of Brody Sándor Street Radio Station, which was only one block from his old high school, the Treffort Street Gyakorló Gimnázium. Within hours the spontaneous demonstration spread throughout the city and with free access to guns from the recently deserted Hungarian military barracks, it quickly became an armed uprising against the government.

(October 26, 1956)

Close to his home of the Castle district in Buda, Steven joined a small group who took control of a building used for the metro construction at Széna square. Under the command of János Szabó they picked a fight with any Communist government or Russian soldiers who attempted to drive through or occupy this important regional transportation hub of Buda. Soon after he was issued a signed ID card to carry a weapon and Citizen Milita papers, he officially got on the list of the fighters of the Széna tér group.

(October 30, 1956)

This group occupied a (by then) mostly deserted, large five story AVH Secret Police headquarters, facing Vérmező on the corner of Maros Street. This self-contained AV building complex then was used for a short time to stockpile supplies and as a center from which to direct the fighting in the Castel district

(November 4, 1956)

Hearing of the massive early morning attack of the Soviet troops on Budapest, he and two other young men loaded a covered communication military truck parked in the courtyard of the AV building with guns, boxes of ammunition, military transmitters and radios then drove up to the János-hegyi Lookout Tower in the hills west of Budapest. Later they parked and camouflaged the truck on the property of the Korányi Tuberculosis Sanatorium close by. For a few days, this makeshift shortwave radio station, with good reception, became a source of Austrian and Western European news for the civilian fighters retreating from the Russians up to the forested hills of Buda.

(November 10, 1956)

When the final word came that the revolution was over and the radio message from Austria advised all fighters to disperse, the three young men disabled the truck, wrapped the electronics and weapons and buried them. Then Steven slipped back to the city through the Russian lines that encircled Budapest.

(November 16, 1956)

He said good-bye to his family and friends and left Hungary through the border town of Mosonszentjános. After a short stay in Vienna, Austria, he immigrated to the United States.

(August 10, 1958)

For two years he worked in Sitka, Alaska, then he enrolled in the University of Alaska in Fairbanks for five years, where later he found employment at the Geophysics Institute, involved in Aurora Borealis research until 1970.

(June 24, 1961)

He married an Alaskan native, Florence Milne, and built a house in the hills overlooking Fairbanks on a two acres land; 5.3 miles Farmers Loop Road.

(June 6, 1962)

He became a citizen of the United States. In the 1960s Steven and Florence Domonkos had three beautiful children, Heidi, Steven Jr. and John.

(April 10, 1970)

Steven and his family transferred from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks to the same working environment at the University of Washington, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences Department in Seattle, Washington.

(Apr 14, 2010)

Working at the University of Washington for 40 years, at the Atmospheric Sciences Department he retired as a Senior Research Engineer in 2010.


(November 10, 1956)

PS: Information gathered from court-martial trials in Budapest noted that János Szabó with a small remnant of the group from Széna tér, gave up fighting in the vicinity of the town of Solymár.

(November 19, 1956)

A spion, at the Technical University of Budapest, János Fekete, revealed and betrayed János Szabó’s hiding place in Budapest to the newly reinstated Communist authorities. János Szabó was arrested and tried in court.

(January 19, 1957)

He was executed. All in all, just from the Széna tér group, most of the fighters went to prison and four of their leaders were executed by the bent-on-revenge Communist government of János Kádár and the Russian military, which was determined to restore the Communist order in Hungary.

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