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‘Hungarian Gentleman in Connecticut’ Calls WNYC to Advise Ukrainian Civilians

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"Thinking fondly of the Hungarian gentleman in Connecticut who called into WNYC this morning to explain the necessity of everyday Ukrainians knowing how to make a Molotov cocktail to throw at tanks and gave a pretty detailed how-to before being abruptly disconnected by the host[.]"

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Amid an active invasion by Russia on February 25 2022, a Twitter screenshot appeared on Imgur describing a “Hungarian gentleman” who called into WNYC to “explain the necessity of everyday Ukrainians knowing how to make a Molotov cocktail to throw at tanks”:

A screengrab of a February 24 2022 tweet by New Yorker staff writer Alexandra Schwartz read:

Thinking fondly of the Hungarian gentleman in Connecticut who called into WNYC this morning [February 24 2022] to explain the necessity of everyday Ukrainians knowing how to make a Molotov cocktail to throw at tanks and gave a pretty detailed how-to before being abruptly disconnected by the host[.]

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Twitter search for “Hungarian” and “WNYC” returned several contemporaneous tweets by listeners commenting on the purported caller and his commentary — supporting the validity of the anecdote from the perspectives of several different people:

“An old guy called into WNYC/NPR this morning to share his experience in the Hungarian Revolution and went straight to “you need molotov cocktails, bottles, for the tanks” before they cut him off. Did anyone else hear this? He is my hero.”

“A Connecticut gentleman, who identifies himself as a veteran of the 1956 Hungarian rising, called into WNYC this morning to tell Ukrainians how to make a Molotov cocktail to throw at Russian tanks; he was giving a pretty good how-to before the host abruptly disconnected him.”

“Just listened to an older Hungarian man call in to @wnyc to instruct Ukrainians on the importance of making Molotov cocktails and the finer points on how to do it properly. I uh… I got nothing”

“Oh my god… A elderly Hungarian just called into @NPR @WNYC and was detailing the importance of molotov cocktails for Ukrainians, exactly how to make them and use them. It took them a hilariously long time to cut him off… They should have let him stay on.”

“not that you need calibration for how bad this is but I just turned on wnyc, where a caller who described himself as a former participant in hungarian protests is currently advising ukrainians that ‘the Molotov cocktail is a very powerful tool in street fights'”

A  few people asked for more details about the segment. One commenter, Meghan Bishop (@msbishop) shared a purported screen recording of the man speaking:

https://twitter.com/msbishop/status/1497016939608264705

On WNYC.org, we located the clip seen in the video, titled “Thursday Morning Politics: Ukraine, Biden, More.” At roughly the 10:22 mark of the audio clip, a host introduced a called named Béla from Stanford, Connecticut.

Béla identified himself as “a former participant of the Hungarian revolution” who wished to share some of his “experiences in connection with Ukraine.” Béla implored the United Nations to intervene and protect civilians in Ukraine, and recounted his recollections of the revolution.

Béla then began addressing Ukrainian civilians, before being cut off by the host:

[Béla]: “The other thing I’d like to mention is that for the average population, the molotov cocktail is a very important tool in a street fight in cities and in that connection, people have to think of the practical details — such as have a wine bottle or something and empty it and make sure that you have gasoline which you fill it with and then put a piece of cloth in it so that when the tank is coming, you light …”

[Host]: “Uh Béla, thank you so much for sharing what sounds like an incredibly traumatic experience during your time in Hungary …”

On February 25 2022, Philip Bump (who was on the show) also validated the story:

As did the host of the show herself:

In a viral February 24 2022 tweet, Schwartz referenced a “Hungarian gentleman” who called in to WNYC that morning to “explain the necessity of everyday Ukrainians knowing how to make a Molotov cocktail to throw at tanks and gave a pretty detailed how-to before being abruptly disconnected by the host.” Several other Twitter users tweeted about the segment, which we located on WNYC’s website. It is linked and embedded above.