Screening at the Freedom First Film Festival, commemorating 60 years since the Hungarian uprising over the Soviets in 1956 which brought 37,000 refugees to Canada, The Fifty-Sixers gives an in depth look at the uprising that started this historic moment, and the ways in which Canada aided the refugees by offering a new home. Not everything was smooth though, and we hear from some of the people who moved to Canada about their highs and lows in their new country.
What Young Rebels briefly looked at at the Freedom First Film Festival, The Fifty-Sixers explores in a more in depth and historical point of view. Exploring the actual uprising, the film gives a brutal look at what Hungarian people were subjected to during the reign of the Soviets. The uprising was violent and deadly, for both sides of the battle, but it was the Hungarian people who quickly lost to the much more powerful Soviets.
The race to escape was on, and while the overall idea of Canada helping sounds beautiful and hopeful, it was not something that happened quickly. This is where The Fixty-Sixers excels in its storytelling. It doesn’t hide that fact that while Canada was certainly a country who was willing to help the refugees, they were also not quick to do so. The political landscape led to a bit of feet dragging when it came to finding these refugees a home, and it wasn’t until things were almost at their lowest point that Canada stepped up.
Eventually, the aid they needed was given, and in massive numbers. These new Canadians still faced some uphill battles with racism, but many of them were simply glad to have a place to live where they weren’t being terribly oppressed. As the years have passed, some of the struggles have faded, and listening to the stories of these one time refugees shows just how happy they are to be in their new home of Canada.