But on this last occasion, whilst going no further than the Újpest railway bridge, a small green area named Szabadság Park opposite the Mahart Hajójavító (Mahart shipping repairs compound) by the Duna shoreline caught my attention. When finally there, a most striking, irregular "ornament" caught my eye. Immediately I sensed remnants of communism, despite no follow-on inscriptions.

These days the nearest one gets to these shadowy antiquities is at the Memento Park. (See www.mementopark.hu) But that is "passé" compared to seeing one "for real" in 2020.

To lend more to the occasion, this immediate area of Újpest is like a theatre stage set, as directly behind there is a large but shabby Sovietesque building, also from the 1950s. It's distinctly different to local architecture and very much adds to the foregone atmosphere of this bygone era. The only thing that gave recent-time attention to this matter was a small wreath, clearly placed by the statue as a "tribute".

It's remarkable. Instead of having this symbol of darkness still perched like a pigeon, there should be a far more inspiring 1956 Uprising monument in its place. Or if this is not achievable, then why is this reasonably pleasant "family friendly" park still called Szabadság/Freedom Park? These contradictions occupied me for the rest of my ride back home.

#

Research commenced, albeit minimal and difficult to decipher. Online maps referred to this as the "Tanácsköztársaság-emlékmű", which translates as "Council Republic Monument." Apparently what was inscribed on a plaque, long since gone, was simply "Warrior of the Hungarian Army".

Its removal was on the agenda with the Újpest municipality, most recently in 2015, to have this monument symbolically moved by the May 1 Labour Day holiday that year. But far-left organisations intervened and this "event"' never took place.

Little else is revealed beyond this point. The statue was created by Tamás Gyenes (1920-1963) who made various public sculptures during the early Kádár dictatorship times. The nondescript base was designed by József Schall (dates unknown).

No matter how surprising and unexpected this matter is, lesser traces of communism still occasionally appear around the city on various facades, stoneware within buildings and so forth. Although they have lost their initial power, they are still apparent enough to represent that past era.

At its best, this "imposition" at Újpest has the virtue of a live history lesson. At its worst, it’s an affront to those who fought and gave their lives for freedom. The only real question that remains is, "What is this 'occupier' still doing here?"

The "workers" and their tow truck are only a phone call away.


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