Edith Bone was born Edit Hajós in 1889 in
In 1936, she was on a touring holiday in
In 1947, Bone went to
It is likely that allegations about her widely-supposed Hungarian aristocratic birth (which family members today dispute was factual) was a factor in the false accusation but her itinerant years before the Second World War and coincidental ability to be at places when dramatic things occurred also made for suspicion in the fevered atmosphere that the cold war was now ushering in.
Some claimed that she had been accused of being a covert Trotskyist but it more likely, if this was so, that she would have been called a `Titoist’ at this time. Lastly, her free-lance status, which meant that her arrival had not been properly cleared with the Hungarian Party authorities in advance, must have caused difficulties on her attempt to exit the country, which – as far as the Hungarians were concerned – did not follow procedures for a recalled correspondent of a fraternal party’s newspaper.
To add further damage to an already outrageous circumstance, Bone was detained in solitary confinement without trial for fourteen months and eventually sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment. The discernment that a serious error had been made, in all probability, contributed to the effective hiding of Bone in the Hungarian prison system from both British Communist and
She was released by protesting students during the last days of a temporary government that arose during the 1956 revolt in Hungarian Revolution of 1956. She wrote a book about her jailing called `Seven Years Solitary’, published in 1957. In this she recounts how she made herself a printing set out of bread, shaping letters out of breadcrumbs. She also made a pin sized spy-hole in the door to her cell, so as to simply look out.
As far as the British Communist Party was concerned, Bone had simply disappeared a couple of years after she went to
Edith Bone died in 1975, having devoted herself to translation work after her ordeal. She had already a number of major translations to her credit from the 1940s, such as Tolstoy’s `Road to