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For the Love of Freedom

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FERI HUNYADI A young Hungarian freedom fighter. An intellectual and an idealist, 20.

OSCAR A young Hungarian freedom fighter of a practical vein, an army conscript, 22.

MISS KISS Feri’s former school teacher who hides him.

STYX Regional commander of the Hungarian communist secret police.

ADJUTANT Next in line of command to Styx

FOUR SOLDIERS A group of regular army conscripts just assigned to Styx’ command

JULIA MARTAS Pregnant wife of Pal, 18, escapee.

ESTHER TABOR Widow of slain freedom fighter, in her forties, escapee.

PETER TABOR Esther’s older son, 18, who has a crush on Julia.

SANDOR TABOR Esther’s younger son, 12.

PAL MARTAS An opportunist adventurer, 20.

THREE VOICES Voices of a border patrol unit at the Austro-Hungarian border.

ASSISTANT Assistant to the Canadian Consul at Vienna.

AMBASSADOR Canadian Consul at Vienna

SECOND ADJUTANT The adjutant’s replacement at Regional Hq of the Secret Police.

SLIM Bartender, undercover government agent.

BEARPAW Middle aged Native Indian.

TRAPPER A spry old white trapper in his sixties.

AKLAVIK A middle aged Inuit, occasional hunter.

OLD RAVEN Aged Indian chief in his nineties.

MARK Young native worker, Old Raven’s grandson, 20.

MATTHEW Mark’s older brother, 22.

JOHN Aklavik’s nephew, 25

PAUL John’s older brother, 26

Scene 1



FERI This is it! This is exactly how I feel, what I think! What magnificent words!

Only a great poet like Petofi can write like this… Listen to this:

“Freedom and Love –

These two I heed.

For my Love I’ll sacrifice my Life

And my Life for the Freedom I need.”


getting to me! I am starting to develop the ears of a rat,

hearing everything, being startled by almost anything strange!


Oh, it’s Oscar! This must be an emergency!





OSCAR This is it, Feri, we can’t carry on any longer!

FERI What do you mean?

OSCAR Erik and Walter were arrested early this morning… The others are

all afraid… I have no ammunition left. We cannot do any more.

This is the end of our resistance.

FERI I myself have only one bullet left. I hope it works…I might need it!

But don’t we have some Molotov cocktails left?

OSCAR What’s the point? We can’t resist effectively any longer!

You don’t seem to understand this, Feri, but in modern warfare

superiority of weapons is everything. Without weapons

we are reduced to petty vandalism… SARCASTIC ALLY

And oh yes, I almost forgot… writing graffiti!

FERI No, Oscar, you don’t understand it! The Communists can win

only if we stop resisting.

As long as we continue resisting we are delivering a message more

powerful than any of their tanks could ever be, and the message is:

“We are not capitulating! You can kill us, but you can’t rule us.”

OSCAR Those are words, Feri!

FERI Not if you act on them!

OSCAR We have acted on them in late October and early November.

I would have agreed with you then. I have seen those tanks

myself, speeding down the Great Boulevard, firing aimlessly

right and left to scare us because the Russians inside them

were more scared than we were…The threat of a Molotov cocktail

was stronger then than the shells in the cannons.

But not now… This is not October or November… This is January,

Feri, January!

I think the people have already resigned themselves again, like

before… Everyone is scared once again… We are the last of the

freedom fighters, Feri, I tell you! If we should act on your words

now we’ll get ourselves killed, or maybe worse, captured.

Then it’s off to Siberia with us if we survive the interrogation.

I don’t want to die in Siberia, Feri… I don’t want to die, period…

Have you thought about dying?

FERI I thought about being captured… And my answer to that is that last

bullet I have been saving… I will not be captured alive, Oscar. I will not

surrender… I have tasted freedom for the first time in my life during the

revolution. It was a magnificent feeling! Such elation! Such a rush!

I was being shot at but I was not afraid. I have become addicted to it.

I tell you, I can’t give it up. I rather die than live without freedom to

express myself freely. I may be nervous now; I am not scared.

I will never be afraid! A man cannot be afraid and be free.

OSCAR True enough, I never saw you scared, though as God knows we were in

some tight spots together!

FERI That’s not what I meant… The point I am making is that I am not going

back to the life I led before the revolution because I know now that that

“life” was not worth living….

OSCAR It was some life all right! Mouthing slogans I did not believe in,

living in constant fear that I may lose those that I love,

a “life” of not being able to trust my friends,

a “life” of worrying who is going to report me to the authorities or

wondering if even my relatives could be trusted…

FERI Well, then you understand that I have had enough of that Soviet-styled

existence during a decade of Communist rule. I mean it, Oscar, never again!


OSCAR We should have left with the others, Feri. We should have gone to the

West where freedom is, rather than wait for freedom to come to us…

We should have gone to Austria with the others…

FERI I was there… I went with my downtown resistance unit. But I could not

bring myself to cross the border.

OSCAR What?… You were actually at the border and did not cross?

FERI I was.

OSCAR Was the border guarded… mined perhaps?


OSCAR How do you know?

FERI I watched the others cross.

OSCAR You were actually right at no-man’s-land and did not

cross the border? Explain please!

FERI I guess I am a patriot.

OSCAR So am I, but I would have crossed over in the blink of an eye!

FERI Well, I could not. I felt I would be deserting those that stayed behind.

The fighting has stopped, the resistance would not…

The united will of the people to get rid of the Russians and their

Soviet-styled communism was impossible to miss during

the revolution. That… firestorm of freedom was elementary and


OSCAR That’s true. I don’t think the Hungarian people has ever been more united in

their thousand plus years of history.

There was no mistaking that the whole country was behind us.

FERI Exactly. So, you see, at the border as we were about to cross I said to the

others, “Why are we running? We must stay and resist.”

OSCAR And what did the others say?

FERI They reminded me of what happened after the war… You know, the

elections… When the first elections were held in Hungary after the war

the Communists had less than 20 percent of the popular vote,

still they gained power. They said the Communists could do that because we

were an occupied country then. They reminded me that we are an

occupied country still. The Communists can do it to us again….

OSCAR Well, they were right. You should have remembered their methods after

the war… They kept on drumming up charges against the leaders of the

opposing parties and jailing them then banning their parties,

and they just kept on holding election after election, outlawing one party,

“uniting” with another until they won… End of multi-party elections…

hello one party, Soviet style “elections” where you had to turn out

to vote for their candidate… No choice, really. By the way, I could never

understand that… What was the sense in that, Feri? You couldn’t even

just stay home, you had to go out and vote… They checked the voters’ lists

to see who voted and who did not! What a farce!

Did you ever understand that, Feri?

FERI Well, those elections were a sham all right, but I thought they

served a purpose. It was for international propaganda…

To show to the world that the people actually voted

for them… that they were a legitimate government.

Don’t forget that the Soviets were actively promoting communism on

other continents — just as they are doing now.

Their system had to be seen to be popular, or no one would buy it.

OSCAR I never thought of that, but it makes sense to me now… And of course the

rest was lways easy for them… After those last elections

there was no political opposition. Through the State the Communists

controlled every news media, every printing press, every mode of

employment, owned every building… and through these they could

control every single person… If an individual didn’t tow the line he could

lose his job, his home, and the future prospects for himself or his whole

family… And if the individual became too troublesome, he could just

disappear… The State controlled the judiciary, the jails; with all the backup

facilities they needed courtesy the Soviets in Siberia!

FERI That’s right. And in the meantime they could broadcast the most blatant lies

just like they are doing now, saying that our revolution has been

“a counterrevolution carried out by imperialist agents and ‘a few misguided

workers.” Total bull!

You are right, Oscar, perhaps I should have known better, but there,

at the border, I thought “We can’t let that happen again! We must resist!

I must resist.” Now, do you understand why I could not cross that border?

OSCAR I understand you, but you were wrong…. When were you at the border?

FERI In mid-November.

OSCAR By mid-November the armed resistance was all but over… You came back

to write graffiti and to die, Feri!

FERI Maybe. But there was something else at that border that held me back.

I could almost laugh at it now, but it was very powerful then. In my mind

there was the image of a display window of a jewelry store. The window was

broken, but the contents were all there! They lay just as they were among

the shattered glass that fell on them. I walked by that window for three

days during the fighting, and the only thing that protected that window was

a sign that some freedom fighter placed among the display and the shattered

glass. It read: “We are revolutionaries, not thieves.” Any passerby

could have helped himself to an expensive watch or an attractive gold

necklace. And no one did. That store was right on the Grand Boulevard of

Budapest, Oscar.

Hundreds and hundreds of people must have walked by that window day and night,

and many of those would have been desperately poor. Yet no one touched a thing.

Oh Oscar, it was such a beautiful revolution! I could not bring myself to abandon it!

OSCAR You are right! I was amazed how little looting took place, although in

October when we opened the jails we let everyone out.

The thieves got out with the political prisoners! And even though there was

tremendous pent-up anger against the AVO, we who fought

made a point of not being like them!

So we let a lot of them get away, even though there was constant

provocation by the AVO. How many times did they fire into the crowds?

How many people did they kill?

FERI I tell you, Oscar, participating in the revolution was such an uplifting,

soul-cleansing experience for me – for all of us. We were Hungarians again.

We took our country back. I am sure almost everyone felt that way…

There was a tremendous holiday spirit that was felt by everyone…

Everywhere people walked about with smiling faces!

Only people who have suffered oppression for years can ever understand it.

It was an unbelievable revolution! It deserved a much better fate.

I simply could not desert it, Oscar. You see, I too remembered those tanks

firing down the street without a single Russian soldier daring to show his face

outside of his tank… And I thought, “That’s it – they can not rule us from

inside their tanks… if we don’t let them out — if we just don’t stop resisting!”

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