Historic panel discussion honoring Povl Bang-Jensen, the Danish hero of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution

Publicated on: December 5, 2016

H.E. Ambassador Katalin Bogyay hosted a historic panel discussion to honor the memory of Povl Bang-Jensen, the Danish hero who saved many Hungarian lives following the Revolution. Before the event, the Danish and Hungarian ambassadors and the panelists visited the rooftop of the UN Secretariat building where Bang-Jensen burned the list of secret witnesses in 1958.

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, the Permanent Mission of Hungary to the UN organized a unique panel discussion that allowed the audience to hear about Povl Bang-Jensen’s life and work at the UN following the 1956 Hungarian Revolution from the most renowned Hungarian and Danish experts, as well as from a family member.

The event hosted by H.E. Ambassador Katalin Bogyay aimed to honor the memory of Povl Bang-Jensen, the former Danish diplomat and UN staff member, who refused to share the names of the witnesses who testified secretly in 1957 before the Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary. For his courageous action that helped to save many Hungarian lives, Bang-Jensen is considered a national hero in Hungary and has been decorated posthumously by the President of Hungary in 1992.

Bang-Jensen served as Deputy-Secretary of the Special Committee established by the General Assembly in January 1957 and mandated to investigate and gather evidence on what happened during and after the revolution. The Committee was composed of 5 State representatives (Australia, Denmark, Ceylon/Sri Lanka, Tunisia, and Uruguay) and heard 111 witnesses in New York, Geneva, Rome, Vienna, and London, among them ministers, military commanders and other officials ,workers, revolutionary council members, factory managers and technicians, Communists and non-Communists, students, writers, teachers, medical personnel, and Hungarian soldiers.

In addition, the General Assembly – also in 1957 – designated a Special Representative on the Question of Hungary. First, Prince Wan Waithayakon of Thailand (13th PGA), then, for several years, Sir Leslie Munro of New Zealand (14th PGA) served in this role.

The Committee operated for several years and produced two impressive reports. While the first report focused on explaining the causes that led to the outbreak of the revolution and outlining the events that took place, the second, complementary report, reviewed the period of retaliation which followed the crushing of the revolution.

Opening remarks were delivered by the Permanent Representatives of Denmark and Hungary, H.E. Ambassador Ib Petersen and H.E. Ambassador Katalin Bogyay. Dr. Bo Lidegaard, the author of the book ‘The Highest Price: Povl Bang-Jensen and the UN, 1955-1959’; Dr. András Nagy, the author of the book ’The Case of Bang-Jensen: ’56 in Western Headwind’ and a guest of honor, Mr. Per Bang-Jensen, Povl Bang-Jensen’s son served as panelists.

The panel discussion was attended by members of the Bang-Jensen family, UN staff members, former members of the UN Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary, and many others.

Before the event, the panelists and the two ambassadors visited the rooftop of the UN Secretariat building where Povl Bang-Jensen – on the request of the UN leadership – allegedly burned the list of secret witnesses in 1958.

The panel discussion sponsored by the ‘1956 Hungarian Revolution and Freedom Fight 60th Anniversary Memorial Board’ was part of a series of events commemorating the anniversary of the Revolution.



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