Today is Polish-Hungarian Friendship Day and for the two countries, it is a friendship that has lasted centuries.
“Pole and Hungarian, brothers be” goes the word-for-word translation of a popular XVIth century saying about the friendship and camaraderie between Poles and Hungarians.
The two countries have long enjoyed a special relationship; both countries enjoyed a similar political structure, a noble’s republic, and a democratic parliamentary system in which the state and the king were controlled by a non-aristocratic noble class. Furthermore, the noble classes of both nations employed similar military tactics, and share a deep common history. The Hungarian, Stephen Batory, was even elected King of Poland in 1576.
In 2007, Hungary’s parliament declared the March 23 as the Hungarian-Polish Friendship Day, and the Polish parliament responded by naming the same day Polish-Hungarian Friendship Day.
The day is celebrated in both countries with festivals, concerts, events, and exhibitions; this year however, they have all been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stefan Tompson, a Polish-South African filmmaker and PR specialist has made a video spot for the occasion, documenting the Polish-Hungarian friendship over the last century. His video highlights the crucial role Hungary played in the victory of the Battle of Warsaw in 1920, and later, the aid the Poles provided Hungary during the Budapest Uprising of 1956 in the form of medical supplies.
Between 1919 and 1920, the Poles were fighting a desperate war against Soviet Russia, a country that was trying to export its totalitarian communist ideology to the West.
When the Soviets reached Warsaw, the Poles were running desperately low on ammunition when a last-minute transport of munitions from Hungary revitalized the Polish army and led to their spectacular victory over the Soviets in the Battle of Warsaw in 1920, also known as the Miracle of the Vistula.
The Battle of Warsaw, also known as the Miracle of the Vistula, led the Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin to call it “an enormous defeat” for his Red Army forces.
Conversely, in 1956, when Budapest rose up against the communist regime, the Hungarians were running low on medical supplies, leading tens of thousands of Poles to donate blood which was sent to hospitals in Hungary.