Today, 6th of October is officially the national day to be sad in Hungary, according to the central legislation that officially declared the “Day of National Mourning” in 2001. The 13 Martyrs of Arad were the thirteen Hungarian rebel military generals executed on 6th of October 1849 in the city of Arad. On the same symbolic day, exactly one year after the revolution in Vienna broke out, Count Lajos Batthyány (1806–1849), the first Hungarian prime minister, was also executed in Pest in an Austrian military garrison.
The execution of the 13 generals was ordered by Austrian general Julius Jacob von Haynau after the Hungarian Revolution and War for Independence of 1848-1849 had failed. Forces of the Austrian Empire and Imperial Russia re-established Habsburg rule in Hungary after crushing the revolution. The generals were captured by the Austrian army and executed to make sure that Hungary will never again rebel against the Habsburg realm.
The 13 executed generals have come to regarded as martyrs for promoting the ideals of independence and national freedom. Not all the generals were ethnic Hungarians, some had German or Slavic origins. According to the legend when the execution was taking place, the Austrian generals were drinking beer and clinging their mugs together arrogantly in celebration of the defeat of the Hungarians. Hungarians vowed never to cling glasses of beer together for 150 years after the execution.
The 13 Martyrs of Arad:
Knezić Károly, Nagysándor József, Damjanich János, Aulich Lajos, Láhner György, Poeltenberg Ernő, Leiningen-Westerburg Károly, Török Ignác, Vécsey Károly, Kiss Ernő, Schweidel József, Dessewffy Arisztid, Lázár Vilmos.
photo: Gergely Botár (kormany.hu)