MURDER IN STEEL
John G. Lenard
Copyright John G. Lenard (2011)
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John G. Lenard
575 Clair Creek Blvd.
Waterloo, Ontario N2T 2B9
Published by John G. Lenard, 2011
I am truly grateful for the support and encouragement of my daughter and my wife which made the writing of this novel enjoyable.
I sincerely thank my editor, H. Racko, for the suggestions, corrections and creative advice, transforming a set of notes into a readable and hopefully enjoyable book.
The photographs on the front and back pages were taken by Stig-Goren Nilsson. They are reproduced by permission of Jernkontoret, the Swedish Steel Producers Association.
MURDER IN STEEL
Disclaimer: this book is pure fiction. There is no relation to reality anywhere in it, with the exception of the tragic death of Mr. Valyi. Any resemblance to real people, dead or alive, or to real events, exists only in the imagination of the writer.
A number of political parties, spanning the right-left spectrum, competed in the 1948 general elections in Hungary. The Communist Party was the winner and in a very short time the one-party system was introduced. The mantra of the Communists was, "If you are not with us, you are against us." No criticism of the rulers was allowed. While everyone was deemed equal, the personality cult insured that the leaders were more equal. They were godlike and omnipotent.
The "official Party line", often changed daily, told the people what to think, what to say, what to do and how to do it. Variations, comments or individual opinions were not welcome. Anything that was permitted was compulsory or, at the very least, highly recommended. Citizens were to address everyone by the title "comrade", translated literally from the Hungarian word as "partner in ideas".
Nobody dared to discuss political ideas in public. Even potential thought crimes were harshly prosecuted. The thought-criminals were subjected to highly publicized show trials and after confessing their guilt, summarily executed. Fear affected all. Countless numbers of studies, essays, films, documentaries and novels detailed the history of these events. By the mid-fifties people had enough. Revolutions broke out in Poland and in Hungary. What follows is a story whose origins are found in these difficult times.
BUDAPEST, LATE FALL, 1956
The visitors were over the container in which the hot, molten steel was bubbling. The chief visitor, the Minister, standing by the low banister, looked into the inferno and turned to tell a joke to his next-in-command. A blood-curdling scream followed, the Minister disappeared into the flaming conflagration, and the group was motionless in total shock.
The body was taken away in an ambulance, even though the charred corpse showed that death was practically instantaneous. The foundry was taken over by senior officers of the much-feared Secret Service, including their crack, black-clad, body-armored SWAT unit. All doors were locked and heavily armed guards were stationed at all of them. The scene of the unfortunate occurrence was studied closely, photos were taken of everything, especially of the footprints, all evidence was collected, all personnel were fingerprinted and photographed. All were interrogated at length with no distinction between blue and white collar workers. All were told to relate events independently and handwritten notes were taken, slowly and laboriously. The proceedings took all day and all night. Nobody was allowed to leave, not even the group of visitors. No unescorted washroom breaks, no food, no drinks were allowed. Everybody was processed by the morning, all were searched bodily while stripped naked, and were told to leave the foundry, to take the rest of the day off, but not to leave the city without informing the police. Detailed interrogations were to follow. The times were to be posted.