For the Love of Freedom 3
Written by Admin in English -
KISH Not intentionally! And you are wrong about your
mother, Feri. She is a very strong woman. As much as
I admire your intelligent courage and your risking your
life to fight for freedom, I admire your mother’s
courage the more!
FERI Is that so?
KISH Yes. Don’t get me wrong, Feri! I am a patriot myself
and I truly appreciate what you and the others have
done for our country. I shall never forget this revolution
and I could hug each one of our young people for what
they have done for our country. You certainly
reconfirmed my faith in our youth just when I began
to have my doubts about them.
I can now go on teaching my students contentedly
for the rest of my career…
KISH But it is your mother’s courage I admire the most…
Yes, she panicked, but she did not become paralyzed with
fear… Knowing that she might be watched, that she
could be arrested herself for contravening the
authorities, she walked all afternoon, making
inquiries, collecting money for you, borrowing what she
could… She made it possible for you to escape, Feri!
FERI I did not ask for it.
KISH I am not so sure of that… You need looking after in
ways that don’t even occur to you.
You are a perceptive young man, but there is a lot
you don’t know or appreciate precisely
because you are so young…
FERI For example?
KISH Your mother loves you more than anything in this
world… You are her only child, and she has dedicated
her life to you. I had many discussions with her while
you were in my classes and I know this.
FERI I know that, too. I know only too well how much she
loves me. She suffocates me with it!
KISH But do you have any idea what it might be like for her
to arrange for a permanent separation from the one she
loves more than anything in this world? Do you have
any appreciation of the sacrifice, selflessness, and
courage contained in that act?!
FERI Perhaps not…
KISH Well, I don’t think I could have done that… I think
that in her situation I would have been telling myself
that somehow there is some hope, and that I won’t have
to lose you… I would have been paralyzed with fear and
worry, and would not have been able to act. Your mother
is a phenomenal person, Feri!
FERI I know. Still, I would have to get away from her in any
case. I would have to separate myself from my parents
even if I should stay here… I have to become my own
person. This is very clear to me.
KISH There you go surprising me again! You can be wise
beyond your years…
FERI I do not feel wise… I keep discovering how stupid I had
been! I was so sure I could trust my father!
KISH Your father is a much-respected man, Feri. He is a man
of integrity. And he is not disappointed in you like he
was when you were skipping school. Your mother
has told me that he is very proud of you again since the
SHE HOLDS UP A BULGING ENVELOPE STUFFED WITH
Of course you can trust your father! Look at all this
money! He raised most of this for you! And he also
thinks you should try to escape to Austria!
And so do I… Here, take the money!
FERI STEPPING BACK I don’t want his money!
KISH Be sensible, Feri. You will need money to get to the
border, and you may need a lot more after that…
This is not the time to declare your independence
from your parents…
FERI This may be precisely the time!
KISH I don’t understand you…
FERI Do you know that my father has joined the
Communist Party at my mother’s behest?
KISH Who told you?
LOOKS AROUND THE ROOM AGAIN WITH ALARM.
Someone has been here!
A NOISE IS HEARD UPSTAIRS
What was that?!… Did you hear that?
FERI That was your mother upstairs flushing the toilet!
KISH Don’t make fun of me, Feri… My nerves are pretty much
frayed, and you can’t blame me. And you are not
making this any easier… See?
POINTS TO THE CURTAIN THAT HAS BEEN MOVED
Someone has been here!
READJUSTS THE CURTAIN MAKING SURE THAT NO ONE
CAN LOOK IN. Feri, you exasperate me! You must
give me your word that you won’t have visitors here!
We will both be discovered for sure if you do!
FERI You have my word, Miss Kish. I only arranged for one
person to come to me, and that in an emergency.
He has now gone back to his army unit. There will
be no more visitors. You can trust my word. It’s my
father’s you should worry about… He is the one that has
KISH Oh! You young — idealists… Just the other day I talked to
another idealist…Only he is a communist. He believes that
the ideals of communism have been betrayed
by its practitioners! He fought against other communists
and joined the revolution to purify the country so that
he could start communism all over again!
FERI A communist is an international…He is no patriot.
KISH He thinks he is! He believes the Russians should not
be here… That they are doing communism more harm
than good. Many of the leaders of the revolutionary
government were former Soviet-trained communists.
Imre Nagy was a communist along with Pal Maleter, the
new Minister of Defense. He was arrested while
negotiating with the Russian Military Command and
Nagy had to seek asylum in the Yugoslav Embassy.
FERI Yeah, he sought protection from other communists!
Many of us thought even Nagy would not last long in
power after the Russians left. We have experienced
communist “reformers” before…Rakosi was followed by
Gero! Some reform!! More like a slight tone change on
the same red chameleon.
KISH You may have a point there…Kadar himself has been a
reform communist too, and just look at what he is doing!
FERI The problem was that the revolution happened
spontaneously, and there was a temporary vacuum of
leadership at the top. But I don’t believe the Communists
could have hijacked the revolution in the long run, and I
tell you why. The workers were organizing Revolutionary
Committees in every major factory and institution.
From their ranks the new leadership would have
emerged naturally and legitimately. I myself
presided over one of those factory meetings as a
representative of the local fighting unit. The
workers there said they had a problem. I said,
“What’s the problem?” They said they wanted to elect
someone to the leadership who was in the leadership
before… He was a good man, but he was a communist.
KISH So what did you say?
FERI I said the nation needed all the good men it could muster.
So you see a few former communists like Maleter and
maybe even Nagy may have survived without Soviet
backing, but only as good men, not as Communists! The
days of the Communists in power would have ended the
moment the Soviet troops were gone, I am sure of that!
The whole idea of communism was already discredited
before the revolution started!
In fact that was the overriding sentiment that gave rise
to the revolution in the first place, the sentiment that
communism was just a smokescreen for the blatant
subjugation and exploitation of our country by
Imperial Russia, itself disguised as “The Soviet
Union.” I would bet most of the “Soviet Republics”
want to be out as much as we do!
KISH Well, Feri, even if you are correct, I can tell you that there
is much more to this world than politics. The world needs
peace and prosperity more than it needs political
idealism… Most people don’t care a hoot about politics,
period. They just want to be able to carry on with their
lives…We need reason and compromise to rule us,
SHE TAKES FERI BY THE ARM, PERSUADINGLY.
You must not lose respect for your father, Feri. He acted
like a mature, reasonable man. He did not lose the
respect of his men. On the contrary! He is an important
man. He has twelve hundred men in the factory working
under him. He did it for them. He had to join the newly
named Communist Party, or lose his position.
Everybody knew this.
KISH Really. And his men begged him to join the
Communist Party if that’s what it took
for him to stay. They are well aware of his
sentiments, and appreciate that your
father is sacrificing his principles for their sake,
and they respect him for that, too.
They simply did not want an outsider
– likely a true communist – to take over the
leadership of the factory.
FERI So you believe he is actually preventing the communist
takeover of the leadership by staying?…
KISH Exactly! You see, Feri, far from “selling out” – he is actually
continuing to fight effectively against the communists,
the only possible way he can under the circumstances.
Now do you understand? Your father made the correct
choice, as usual. And the correct choice was a reasonable
FERI That may be, but I must wonder … Some things can not
be compromised, or they are lost. Freedom of speech is
one of those things… Our integrity is another.
The day I compromise my integrity or my freedom is the
day I shall lose both.
KISH Have it your way, but do not blame your father. For now,
the revolution is lost, but it will not have been in vain…
There will have to be changes made here as a result of
what you and others have done. But first, there will be
retribution… You must escape that retribution, or you will
not survive! I beg of you, Feri, go!
FERI It will be very difficult for me to leave. For I am a patriot
and a freedom fighter; How can I choose between my
country and freedom? I have to have both.
KISH It’s more like a choice of life and death, Feri.
But your mother has found out that one of your former
classmates is organizing a group to escape to Austria.
They have a plan.
You can go with them if you have some money.
That is why your parents have been raising money for
you… HANDS FERI A SLIP OF PAPER Here is the
They are meeting tonight, at ten… You are supposed to
meet them there. They are expecting you. Your mother
has arranged it.
FERI Who is organizing the escape?
KISH Pal Martas… He is a clever, practical young man.
I used to teach him. You will need his shrewdness on the
journey… But I must warn you, Feri. He is not as
honest as you are… Beware of him, he is shifty!
I am not sure you can trust him.
FERI I know him… Not my favourite type of person,
but I think he should be all right.
It won’t be him I will worry about. There is a lot more
on my mind!
HE IS DEEP IN THOUGHT FOR A MOMENT,
THEN SEEMS TO COME TO A DECISION.
All right, I will go to the meeting, but I will not take this
money. I have a few Forints myself… Nothing like that,
GESTURES TOWARD THE ENVELOPE IN MISS KISH’S HAND
but enough to pay my way to the border…
KISH As you wish… But don’t bear grudges against your
parents, Feri! They are tremendous people…
SHE SMILES Just like you! REFLECTING FOR A MOMENT
My own position has not been easy, either. I have an
invalid mother upstairs to care for. I am her only support.
If something should happen to me…
But you are welcome to stay here for as long as you need
to, Feri. I want you to know that…
FERI And I want you to know that I do appreciate what you
are doing for me, and the risks you are taking to hide
me. And thank you for the advice. At this point I am
not sure myself what I will do, only that I must have
freedom to consider life worth living. I feel I need
freedom like I need the air. I will never surrender it
again! And I will fight for it if I have to.
KISH That’s what my fiancée said also… Those were his exact
words… He was very idealistic, very principled, very
decent… and shy. You remind me of him a lot,
Feri. He said those very words before he went to the
Russian front…He left me… He never came back.
Fighting leaves people dead, Feri. You must choose life
and escape now! For your mother’s sake… and mine!
SHE DASHES OVER TO FERI, GIVES HIM A DESPERATE
HUG AND RUSHES OUT THE DOOR.
LIGHTS FADE OUT
End of Scene