The memorial of Imre Nagy, Hungary’s prime minister during the 1956 revolution, was removed from Martyrs’ Square near Parliament in the early hours of Friday morning. Tamás Wachsler, the chief coordinator of reconstruction on the area around Parliament, said in a statement that the square’s rehabilitation has got under way in line with the relevant government decision. The scheme’s first step was the removal of the Imre Nagy memorial for restoration, he said.
Hungary’s committee in charge of major memorial sites gave its preliminary consent to the square’s reconstruction on December 7. The project involves the relocation of the Imre Nagy memorial to nearby Jászai Mari Square, at the Pest head of Margaret Bridge, which Wachsler said could happen before June 16 next year, the anniversary of Nagy’s execution in 1958. Wachsler has said then that the Imre Nagy memorial will be replaced by a reconstructed post-WWI monument dedicated to the martyrs of the communist Red Terror in 1919.
The decision to relocate the statue has received criticism by Katalin Jánosi, Nagy’s granddaughter, as well as by the Imre Nagy Association. Sándor Burány, an MP of opposition Párbeszéd, called it “unacceptable” that the government had “cowardly” removed the statue “under the cover of the night”. Nagy’s statue, depicting the martyred prime minister on a bridge, was inaugurated on June 6, 1996, his birth centenary.