Radio Legend Barry Farber Revisits His Role in the Hungarian Revolution

On the heels of its 60th Anniversary last October, the Hungarian Freedom Fight arranged an email announcing the Government of Hungary’s citation of Barry Farber for his assistance to the people during and after the Hungarian Revolution. Below are some details of his mission……….(Some dialogue spoken in first person to capture the true realism of Farber)

Barry worked with a team led by Ambassador Thorvalt Stoltenberg of Norway who later became foreign minister of Norway.  His son, Jens, is now secretary-general of NATO.  Stoltenberg led the “Freedom Navy”, consisting of one inflatable rubber raft, two oars and young people from as many as seventeen countries. 

The refugees were led by guides who knew the territory.  They, arrived in groups of about 40 all through the night and huddle on the far bank of the Einser Canal.  Barry’s  boatmen helped these refugees up the ridge to freedom and safety in Austria.  Afterwards, he wound up finding homes, jobs, English lessons, and a variety of other things for refugees resettling in Greensboro, North Carolina.

One of the intricate details of this mission was time. Knowing the time limitations of these rescue attempts, it was well explained that high drama erupted at dawn. What ensued after dawn can be explained by the sequence of events below….

As taken from one of the Irish boys came running up the ridge yelling, “Another load of refugees is waiting across the canal.”  Like an animated cartoon in quadruple time we cut the raft back down, ran back to the canal and started our operation again.  That “late arrival” was enough to strike terror by itself.  To multiply the tension, there was a light far away deep into Hungary.  The only ones who’d use flashlights were the bad guys.  And day was dawning.

In the confusion the first raft-load of refugees got pulled with each boatman thinking the other one was on the raft with his paddle.  So there we were.  Raft and one load of refugees on our side of the canal with no paddle; forty or so refugees on the far side with our two boatmen and no raft.  And the Communist troops with the lights were headed our way.  I was second man on the rope.  Thorvalt Stoltenberg was first.  Without an instant’s hesitation he belly-flopped into the raft and tried to paddle across with his bare hands.  It was fruitless.  He couldn’t fight the current which took him downstream. 

Suddenly Thorvalt spotted a stick of some kind jutting up out of the water.  He grabbed it and fortunately it was not rotted.  He successfully paddled his way across the water thereby putting our boatmen and their paddles on the same side along with the refugees.  We worked feverishly and got the last raft-load of refugees across before the light in the woods got too close.

The above is a true enactment of a well known time in history. Not only does it cover all the finite details, but it brings you firsthand knowledge of the finite details that can only be told by someone on the frontline. Now Barry will spend the rest of his life wondering what would of happened if he would have belly-flopped into that raft with the bad guys closing in and the sun coming up revealing our position. Only Barry himself knows how to answer that.

About Barry Farber:

On the 60th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution the Hungarian Government honored Barry “for activities during and after the Hungarian Revolution.” Barry’s southern accent betrays his Phi Beta Kappa intellect. He says, “A southern accent is the world’s best substitute for having something to say!”

Barry has plenty to say and he’d like to say it on your station, too. He’s a “stomp-down conservative” but the most frequent theme in his fan mail is liberal listeners declaring, “I don’t like your politics at all but even worse is missing your show!” If you’ve got room for Barry’s one-hour show across the board we can make it very easy for you to join the excitement.

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