We were recently in an office building in the Liberty Square area of Boston. We looked out of the window onto the center of the square. The tenant we were with happened to mention that the statue there has 22 faces in it. We wanted to find out more!
We learned that the Hungarian Revolution Memorial was created by sculpturist Gyuri Hollosy in tribute to the heroism of Hungary’s citizens.. It was erected in 1986 to recognize the unsuccessful Hungarian Revolution of 1956. In October of that year, students had begun a short lived revolution against communist occupation. They had believed that they were to be assisted by Radio Free Europe and Voice of America, but that help never arrived. Thousands of people died in that uprising. Hundreds of thousands of supporters of democracy subsequently fled Hungary to world ports, including Boston.
The statue itself is really quite remarkable. It is created by the artist using many overlapping pieces of bronze. This technique creates a highly textured and expressive facade. The scene plays out with a good deal of emotional intensity. There is a female figure at the very top of the statue. She raises her baby to the sky. The woman is standing on a foundation of rubble mixed with the bodies of the young demonstrators.
Within the rubble and bodies, one can see a wounded man waving the Hungarian flag. The plaque beside the monument quotes John F. Kennedy, praising Hungarians for their “courage, conscience, and triumph”
The statue occupies the central place in Boston’s Liberty Square Park in the location where citizens are believed to have destroyed the British Stamp Act Office in 1765. Each year, Boston’s Hungarian community congregates at this location to remember the revolution and to celebrate Hungary’s long-delayed freedom.
It’s interesting that we can walk by something almost every single day without really looking at it, or truly understanding its significance. Although we have not yet taken a few minutes to head back over and count how many faces are actually on the statue, (we were unable to find a reference on the internet), we will not walk by the piece again without thinking about the bravery of the young revolutionaries who valued freedom for their people.
Although we have been working in Boston for over 35 years, each and every day, we find another treasure in this beautiful and history-rich city.
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