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Just Like Other Students: Reception of the 1956 Hungarian Refugee Students in Britain
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Just Like Other Students: Reception of the 1956 Hungarian Refugee Students in Britain (Hardback)

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Based on extensive archival research and in-depth interviews with former refugee students, the author has painted a detailed picture of how and why the students came to Britain after the failure of the 1956 revolution. She chronicles their studies and achievements and their attempts to adapt to British society and recalls the extraordinary welcome extended to them by British higher educational institutions as well as the magnanimous response by the people of Britain to the appeal to raise funds to cover the cost of their education. The British people, feeling guilty that the Suez crisis had prevented the British government from being able to help Hungary in face of Soviet aggression, readily offered whatever they could to help the refugees pouring into Britain. The Lord Mayor of London's Appeal Fund was set up within a week of the Russian tanks rolling into Budapest. It had the then unprecedented sum of two million pounds as its target, which was collected, mainly from small individual donations, by the first week of January 1957.

The universities immediately began to organize the selection and transfer of refugee students from the Austrian camps to Britain, to interview them, allocate places for them and set up the necessary English language classes. Nearly one thousand potential students were interviewed, five hundred of whom were placed in higher educational institution all over the country. Well over the half of these students obtained degrees, and an unusually high proportion went on to gain higher degrees.

Magda Czigany was herself a Hungarian refugee student. She obtained a degree then a postgraduate Diploma in Librarianship at London University. She worked in the Library of University College London, taught history of art there and at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1986 she was appointed Director of Library Services at Imperial College. On her retirement in 2000, the College conferred an Honorary Fellowship on her in recognition of her achievements. She has published books and papers in both English and Hungarian.

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