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Thank you, Austria!

“How can I ever thank the people of Austria, who opened their country and hearts to nearly 200,000 Hungarian refugees? We were a huge burden to such a small country, yet you treated us with the utmost kindness and respect! I’ll never forget the compassion you showed us. You replaced our fear with love and helped heal us.” (Refugee Child page 5)

As I wrote the Austrian section of Refugee Child, feelings of gratitude filled my heart. I decided to find the family who took my sister and me into their home over Christmas holidays in 1956, and I’m so happy I did. After many years, we still have deep feelings for one another and have become “family” once more.

When we Hungarians commemorate the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, we need to remember that most of us were refugees in Austria! I have spoken to many 1956 refugees, and most also experienced the same gracious treatment by our Austrian hosts. Yet, the Austrians have not been mentioned in most of the Hungarian commemorations. I would love to hear from you if you have any information or ideas about thanking the Austrians for their act of power in helping their neighbors in need. Just as the Hungarian Revolution must not be forgotten by the world, so should kindness of such magnitude be remembered as part of this great event in history.

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