Deconstruction of a Myth? Austria and the Hungarian Refugees of 1956-57

JVF Conference Papers

The wave of refugees created by the 1956 Hungarian revolution constitutes a particularly interesting example of political migration.

When studying this exodus and its effects, Hungary’s Western neighbour Austria deserves special attention since it was the country that at first received the majority of the refugees. Large-scale refugee movements typically have important political and security repercussions for both the sending and receiving of countries. Judged by today’s standards—with the routine news in the apathetic “first” world of tens of thousands of refugees desperately trying to enter Europe in search of a brighter future—it seems almost amazing how positively, even passionately, the Hungarian refugees were welcomed in Austria and elsewhere in the West.

Download pdf