After the Second World War, hundreds of thousands of young Hungarians became prisoners of war (POW). Most of them were transported to the east, to the Soviet Union, but still large numbers were captured by French, British or American troops after the collapse of the Third Reich. Hungarians and Germans joined the French Foreign Legion (FFL) in large numbers due to the terrible living conditions of the prison camps. Thousands of former Honvéd soldiers and members of the Hungarian Royal Levente Movement joined la Légion étrangère to escape those camps, just to die for France in Indochina, from the mountains of Cao Bang to the fields of Dien Bien Phu. This period of the FFL is less researched than the well-known “période hongroise” (Hungarian Period), the wave of refugees after the ill-fated 1956 Revolution. This article is about those young men, who went from a war to another just to fight on an even more lethal battlefield.
Interesting. I was under the impression that the arrival en masse of Hungarians in the Legion was a consequence of the 1956 failed attempt to topple the Communist regime. Didn’t know that there was an earlier “wave”.