Chapter 1 – The happiest days of your life
Updated: Jul 24
Tales of a Teenage Spy - The Life and Times of Gábor Rimner
It was spring, and the kind of day when, as a kid, you just long to be out in the fresh air, running and shouting and screaming: in short, having fun.
But here, at school in the leafy hills of Buda, teachers, staff, boys, girls and soldiers – yes, soldiers, from the Hungarian Army - were standing, trying to look interested and attentive. We were half way through a long, astonishingly boring ritual acted out every April 4th – the anniversary of the “liberation” of Hungary towards the end of the Second World War.
The year was 1963. Miles away in a place called England everyone was talking about some new musicians called the Beatles: in Hungary, we could only talk about old battles.
Do you know how much the average nine year old understands about events of 18 years previously? Not much, I can tell you. He doesn't understand much about capitalism or fascism either, nor about the astonishing bravery of the Red Army in 1945, no matter how many times they said it.
How much longer would this officer drone on for?
I wasn't alone in getting restless: just then, the kid in front of me, moving from one foot to the other, stepped on my toes.
And automatically, without thinking, I blurted out: "You fucking, communist, Russian, Jewish bastard!"