Dr. Edith Bone has decided not to cry.
On this autumn afternoon in 1956, her seven years of solitary confinement have come to a sudden end. Beyond the prison gates, the Hungarian Revolution’s final, scattered shots are echoing down the streets of Budapest. Inside the gates, Bone emerges through the prison’s front door into the courtyard’s bewildering sunlight. She is 68 years old, stout and arthritic.
Bone was born in Budapest in 1889 and proved an intelligent — if disobedient — child. She wished to become a lawyer like her father, but this profession was closed to women. Her options were schoolmistress or doctor; she accepted the latter.
The Great War began soon after her graduation, and so she went to work in a military hospital. Perhaps it was there, seeing the suffering of the poorer classes, that her communist sympathies bloomed: She watched an illiterate Romanian soldier, a shepherd before the war, as he cried at the window for days, cradling a shattered arm and worrying about his lost children. He was only one broken man among many.