A few notes on the remaining days of the dictator:

They tried to isolate Tőkés from his family too, and increasingly worrying news reached us from Timişoara.

At 15:00 on December 16, the priest’s brother András Tőkés called on me and informed me with great joy that he had heard from Timişoara that László had won. He could stay in his residence, and could receive anybody. But our elation lasted only a few hours. It turned out that this was only a misleading manoeuvre.

For the authorities had finally ordered that the demonstrators who had been trying to defend the Tőkés home should be shot at, and we learned that László and Edith had been carried off to an unknown place. The killing that swiftly led to the dictator’s downfall had begun, in Timişoara.

We listened to the radio all the time, and passed on to each other the telephone messages we received from Timişoara.

On December 19, I travelled to Bucharest, where I had a hearing at the Supreme Court on the 20th.

I was startled to see how unaware the people in Bucharest were of the horrors of Timişoara, and also how strong the general collective fear in the capital still was. I told a colleague simply that I also was very afraid, because I was László Tőkés’s solicitor. She at once excused herself, she urgently had to go to a hearing...

My intellectual friends in Bucharest were sincerely fearful for my fate, our fate, and admonished me to be careful with every step and word. At the flat of a Romanian friend from student days, Sile Dan, we listened to Ceauşescu’s December 20 broadcast speech. Ceauşescu was no longer able to ignore the as yet localised unrest. We at once said how good it was that he had called a mass meeting for the 21st, since something may happen there. Indeed, defiance arrived in Bucharest with Ceauşescu’s appearance at this mass meeting. To his horror, he found he was being heckled. The shooting in the capital started there; the next day the Ceauşescus fled.

Before this, however, I went on foot down Magheru Avenue to the Piaţa Romană – every 20 metres stood a uniformed young Securitate man, in plain clothes.

I put it in that paradoxical way because they wore completely identical civilian clothes. Bucharest people said about these young Securitate men that they came from orphanages and were brought up to love Ceauşescu as their father. It is believed that they became the “terrorists” who did the shooting and murdering during the few days of the revolution. But they were never put before a court. They simply disappeared.

I arrived back in Târgu Mureş on the morning of December 21, before the unrest broke out in Bucharest. Going home at noon I saw that armoured cars were guarding the building of the old town hall, where the County Committee of the Romanian Communist Party and the People’s Council were headquartered. But in the afternoon the demonstrators assembled, and I, too, went there.

The security forces were in fearful readiness. Members of the antiterrorist brigade also appeared, wearing masks so that they would not be recognised. We watched the events from the footpath in the spirit of sympathisers, since in my already exposed position I thought that this was not the best time to fall into the hands of the authorities.

The crowd chanted the slogans with extraordinary discipline and only in Romanian. This was necessary to show that we Hungarians in the crowd were not irredentists or revisionists and did not seek the separation of Transylvania from Romania, but only wanted to rid ourselves – and Romanians – of the dictatorship. I loved it most when they chanted/we chanted: “Doina Cornea/László Tőkés [Cornea a prominent Romanian dissident-opponent of the regime.]

We went home at 21:00. There, I was warned by telephone to spend the night away from home, and thus in a state of shock I heard the shootings while standing in a neighbour’s courtyard.

In Târgu Mureş during the revolution, we had six dead heroes: Sándor Bodoni (H, aged 33). Lajos Hegyi (H, 25), Adrian Hidoş (R, 21), Ilie Muntean (R, 30), Károly Pajkó (H, 33) and Ernő Tamás (H, 38) victims drawn from both communities.