1956 - 2016: Hungarian Embassy Announces Program of Events in Honor of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and Freedom Fight
Go the Embassy's website for a list of events
On November 2nd, AHF Co-Sponsoring film showing of "Torn from the Flag." AHF is proud to be the first Hungarian American organization to support this documentary film about the significant international consequences and participants of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Klaudia Kovacs’ multi-award-winning sociopolitical historical documentary was the last film of legendary cinematographer László Kovács. Ms. Kovacs will present the film and answer audience questions. [read more]
10/24/2013 - AHF Executive Chairman delivers multimedia presentation entitled "Reflections on the 1956 Hungarian Revolution" for the Shepherd Center World Affairs Series coordinated by A. Ross Johnson, Wilson Center Senior Scholar, Hoover Institution Research Fellow, and former Director of Radio Free Europe. Bryan Dawson, whose mother was wounded in the Freedom Fight, discussed the roots of the conflict and Polish-Hungarian sympathies, Hungary's history and national character that contributed to the uprising, and the Revolution's impacts internationally. [read more]
10/18/2013 - 1956-2013: AHF hosts reception in Honor of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution at the National Press Club on October 18, 2013. Guest speakers included Ferenc Kumin, Deputy State Secretary for International Communications. AHF speakers, Frank Koszorus and Bryan Dawson, urged an end to partisanship and politically motivated criticism of Hungary.
10/23/2012 - AHF Issues Statement on the 56th Anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution entitled, "The Hungarian 1956 Revolution and Freedom Fight: A Nation of Heroes." 1956 was not the first time in Hungary’s thousand year history that the Hungarian nation -- the people -- stood up for liberty, independence and democracy. One just needs to remember the Revolution of 1848 when Hungarians rose up against Hapsburg oppression and with Lajos Kossuth at the helm championed freedom and democracy. Or one can recall July 1944 when a Hungarian armored division blocked the deportation of more than 200,000 Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary. Or one can point to 1945 when despite Soviet occupation, Hungarians resoundingly rejected the Communist Party and elected the Smallholders Party. [read more]
10/19/2012 - Commemorating the 56th Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Gov. George Pataki were guests of honor at the "56 at 56" Gala Dinner sponsored by the Embassy of Hungary in Washington, D.C. marking the 56th anniversary of Hungary 1956. Additional speakers included Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi and Hungarian-American two-time Gold Medal winner Susan (Zsuzsanna) Francia who won in rowing at both Beijing and London. Hungarian Ambassador Szapary welcomed guests and made a surprise announcement: The Hungarian Government will seed the Victims of Communism museum with a $1 million donation. [read more]
10/19/2011 - AHF Remembers the 55th Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution... Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD) honors heroes of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and Fight for Freedom and refers to The American Hungarian Federation's commemorative statement in the Congressional Record. The statement reflects on the heroism and sacrifices made for freedom, but also acknowledges some if its consequences which still linger today such as the solidly Stalinist Romanian government's virtual liquidation of the Hungarian-language Bolyai University in Romania [read more]
10/23/2010 - AHF Honors the heroes of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, the first tear in the Iron Curtain. Hungarians from all walks of life rose up against insurmountable odds to fight the brutal Soviet-installed Hungarian communist government. Thousands died fighting, others tortured and executed, while 200,000 were forced to flee. 2010 marks the 54th Anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution. President Obama issues statement.
10/23/2009 - The White House Issues Statement Commemorating the 53rd anniversary of the Hungarian uprising of 1956... " We commemorate today the 53rd anniversary of the Hungarian uprising of 1956. On October 23, 1956, the Hungarian people stood up against tyranny in the name of freedom, bravely rising up to oppose the Communist regime which had been imposed upon them by the Soviet Union. During this uprising, many Hungarians died to defend and advance their country’s freedom and independence..." [read more]
10/22/2009 - Vice President Joe Biden recalls sacrifices of 1956 during presentation while visiting Central University Library, Bucharest, Romania. "Those of us who know about the bloodshed and the freedom fighters in Hungary in 1956; those who felt the chilling end to the warm Prague spring of 1968 in Wenceslas Square; those who shut down the shipyards in Gdansk in 1980; those here in Romania who endured the most ruthless totalitarian dictatorship in the latter half of the 21st [sic] century in Europe. Each and every one was struggling not only against something, but for something -- for government, a government that responds to the needs of its people; for a more tolerant society, built on respect and dignity; for the freedom to think, to believe, and to pursue your dreams. [read more]
6/12/2007 - The Victims of Communism Memorial was dedicated by President George W. Bush in a morning ceremony on Tuesday, June 12th. Washington's newest memorial honors the 100 million people who have been killed by communist totalitarian regimes worldwide. AHF is proud to have contributed to this great effort.
AHF leaders attended the Gala Awards Ceremony that same evening where Bishop Laszlo Tokes minister delivered a stirring convocation. [read more]
1/30/2007 - Congressional Record - Congressman Christopher Smith (R - NJ) honors the 50th Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution... "Madam Speaker, this past October, Hungary celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian Uprising. As President Bush said in his October 18 Presidential Proclamation, ``the story of Hungarian democracy represents the triumph of liberty over tyranny.'' Like the President, I honor the men and women who struggled--not only in 1956 but for many years thereafter--for democracy in Hungary." He also recalled the powerful words of Istvan Gereben [read more]
Visit the site at:
12/5/2006 - Miami Screening of "Freedom Dance: The Movie," an animated documentary produced by AHF's Emmy-nominated producer Steven Fischer and Telly Award-winning animator Craig Herron, retelling the story of artist Edward Hilbert who, during his four months on the road to freedom with his newly wedded wife, kept a journal of cartoons detailing an adventurous escape from communist Hungary to the US during Hungary’s bloody 1956 revolution against Soviet occupation. The preview screening of Freedom Dance was held in front of an enthusiastic audience at KimbaraCumbara Cafe in Little Havana. Law & Order: SVU star (and famous Hungarian-American) Mariska Hargitay recently recorded the narration for Freedom Dance. [read more about Freedom Dance]
10/21 - 12/3/2006 - Andy Evva of the American Foundation for Hungarian Youth and Culture (AFHYC) working with Frank Dobos of Hungarian Club of Southwest Florida and local leaders dedicate "Talpra Magyar" memorial to 1956.
The Collier County Board of County Commissioners named the Main Government Complex as "Freedom Memorial Park" and approved the "Talpra Magyar" 50th Anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution Commemorative Sculpture unveiled on December 3, 2006. [read more]
11/3/2006 - Charles Fenyvesi delivers speech for a Hudson Institute panel discussion, “Hungary: 1956, 1989 and Today.” The title of his presentation, “Unhappy Anniversary: November 4.” [download]
10/25/2006 - AHF President Istvan Fedor Expresses Thanks to President Bush for His Proclamation About the 1956 Revolution. On this page below, President Bush's October 18 Proclamation honoring the 1956 Revolution is printed. On October 25, AHF President Istvan Fedor thanked President Bush for his Proclamation and for his personal involvement in the events commemorating 1956, such as his address at the Capitol in March of this year, and his visit to Hungary in June. Read more of Istvan Fedor's letter to President Bush. [read more]
- 10/29 - Texas AHF Chapter Grows with successful commemorations
of the 50th Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. The
University of St. Thomas hosts symposium and photo exhibit and the Hungarian
American Cultural Association hosts commemoration in Houston where Dr.
Robert Ivany is awarded the Col. Commandant Michael Kovats Medal of Freedom,
AHF's highest honor. The same photo exhibit displayed in the state Capitol
in Austin. Dallas Hungarians dedicate the “emlékoszlopok”
("memorial poles" are traditional Transylvanian carved wooden
monuments) in honor of the 1956 Revolution and the 50th year of the Cistercian
10/22/2006 - AHF Chairman, Akos Nagy provides keynote address at 1956 Memorial unveiling at Miami's Kossuth Club. Miami's Hungarian community commemorated 1956 with a service at the First Hungarian Church of Christ followed by the unveiling and unveiling of its 1956 Memorial.
The consecration ceremony began with the Ringing of Bell for the martyrs...
10/20/2006 - The American Hungarian Federation Commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolt. The American Hungarian Federation honored the memory of the heroes of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, at a gala dinner at the prestigious Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C., on October 20th. Close to 150 Federation members, American Hungarians, their American friends and relatives attended the dinner. Seven American Hungarians received the Federation's "Michael Kovats Medal of Freedom Award" in recognition of their efforts on behalf of Hungarian causes. [read more]
10/18/2006 - President Bush issues a proclamation honoring the 1956 Hungarian Revolution... "The story of Hungarian democracy represents the triumph of liberty over tyranny. In the fall of 1956, the Hungarian people demanded change, and tens of thousands of students, workers, and other citizens bravely marched through the streets to call for freedom. Though Soviet tanks brutally crushed the Hungarian uprising, the thirst for freedom lived on, and in 1989 Hungary became the first communist nation in Europe to make the transition to democracy."[download the resolution]
10/16/2006 - AHF Co-President Imre Toth guest speaker at the Goethe Institute during 1956 film screenings. As part of the 50th Anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution commemorations, the Goethe-Institut presented films where each evening’s screenings were followed by a discussion with an expert. The event screened films by AHF members Klaudia Kovacs ("Torn from the Flag"), Jake Borritt (Budapest to Gettysburg), Reka Pigniczky ("Journey Home"), Arthur Rasco ("No Greater Love"), and Steven Fischer ("Freedom Dance"). Other films included "Szerelem" by renowned director Károly Makk and BBC documentary footage. [download the press release]
10/15/2006 - 1956 Anniversary Gala Concert at Carnegie Hall. New York City’s Carnegie Hall hosted a Gala Memorial Concert commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution organized by the Coordinating Committee for the Commemoration of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. The American Hungarian Federation was a founding member of the Committee and provided good offices, enabling contributions in excess of 200,000.00! The long-term plan is to finance, through donations, a permanent Memorial to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution to be located in New York City. Support this worthy cause [read more and donate!]
10/14/2006 - Eisenhower, Khrushchev, and AHF's own Imre Toth participate in "Cold War Conversations: The Uprisings and Revolutions of 1956." The American Hungarian Federation is proud to have co-hosted the event. The Cold War Museum convened panels of diplomats, officials and historians to discuss the 1956 Polish and Hungarian uprisings against the Soviets and Communism. [read more]
10/8/2006 - AHF Co-President, Imre L. Toth, featured in US News and World Report on 1956. "Revolution! The Hungarian uprising 50 years later; how it changed the Cold War" by Alex Kingsbury is the Special Report in the latest issue of U.S. News and World Report magazine. This story appears in the October 16, 2006 print edition of U.S. News & World Report. [see the article]
9/20/2006 - Professor Peter Hargitai and the American Hungarian Federation publish novel about child freedom-fighter, "Daughter of the Revolution." For 12 days, countless Hungarian teenagers fought in the bloody Hungarian Revolution against Communist tyranny and overwhelming Soviet armor. They set up tank barricades, tossed Molotov cocktails, and with their confiscated Russian submachine guns made a stand on the streets of Budapest, hoping to hold out until help arrived from the West. But there was no help. Nobody came to their aid. This is the story of one such brave freedom fighter-a 14 year-old girl. [order now]
6/27/2006 - Congressional Record - Congressman Christopher Smith (R - NJ) pays Tribute to Hungarian Victims of Communist Terror... honors the 50th Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution... "On October 23, 1956, these two powerful forces--tyrannica1 communism and the principles of democracy--met and clashed in the middle of Europe. Within the Soviet Empire, the 1956 Hungarian Revolution presented an alternative to a deceptively dangerous idea, the idea that the best solution to a war-ravaged world is to eliminate political, cultural, religious, economic and national differences by imposing a single, universal “truth.” This idea represented the incontestable dogma of communism." [read more]
6/12/2006 - California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger honors the 50th Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution... "...your nation's efforts tearing down the Iron Curtain helped many oother countries enjoy the blessings of self-governance. [download the letter]
6/12/2006 - Congressional Record - Senator Mike DeWine honors the 50th Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution... "Mr. President, today I honor the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution. In 1956, the people of Hungary stood in the face of adversity and expressed their passion for democracy and independence. They had a vision of what a free and democratic Hungary would look like--a vision that finally came to fruition after nearly 35 years. Only 10 years prior the revolution, Hungarians participated in free elections. Through those elections, the people felt the hope and promise of democracy. The perseverance of these strong people can be seen in their remarkable journey toward freedom. [Download the Congressional Record]
January - February 2006 - Art Exhibit in Baltimore to raise funds for "Freedom Dance the Movie" - an animated documentary film about the 1956 Hungarian Revolution! Original Art, created for the movie, to be sold.
"As the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution approaches
and memories of its destruction by Soviet forces recede, it is vital to
show the sufferings of ordinary Hungarians. This film is a bold endeavor
to help Americans understand both the bravery of a people yearning for
freedom and the brutal invasion that was intended to crush their hopes."
Freedom Dance is produced and directed by award-winning filmmakers Steven Fischer and Craig Herron. They collaborated with 1956 emigre Edward Hilbert in combining recorded interviews and photographs with the unconventional use of character-driven cartoon animation. [read more]
12/7/2005 - Congressional Record - House unanimously passes resolution recognizing 50th anniverary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. By a unanimous and recorded vote, the House of Representatives passed H. Res. 479 on December 6, 2005. The resolution, which had been introduced by Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA), recognizes the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and enjoyed the support of the American Hungarian community and its various organizations. The American Hungarian Federation applauds Congressman Lantos for taking the initiative to introduce and secure passage of H. Res. 479. As stated earlier by the Federation, "With this resolution, the Congress has eloquently recognized the extraordinary sacrifices made by Hungarians 50 years ago, reaffirmed the historic ties and close friendship between the United States and Hungary and acknowledged the tremendous contribution made by Hungarians forced to flee tyranny and start a new life in the United States." [Download H. Res. 479]
New Video posted to the AHF 1956 Portal! "News Magazine of the Screen" presented "Flight from Hungary" in early 1957 featuring video taken after the brutal Soviet re-occupation. "This is battered Budapest under the brutal Russian boot, Soviet tanks roam the streets under the ruins they laid as communist secret police hunt down heroic Freedom Fighters. 25,000 Hungarians are dead." A fascinating video, it also includes news about the Suez Crisis and more glimpes into life during this time. [See all our Videos]
On October 22, 1956, a group of Hungarian students compiled a list of sixteen points containing key national policy demands. They were read at the foot of the General Bem statue, a Polish hero of the 1848 War of Liberation, in solidarity with the anti-communist demonstrations in Poznan, Poland. Following an anti-Soviet protest march through the Hungarian capital of Budapest, the students attempted to enter the city's main broadcasting station to read their demands on the air. The students were detained, and when people gathered outside the broadcasting station to call for their release, the state security police fired on the unarmed crowd, setting off the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Click the picture to read the 16 points!
The 1956 Hungarian Revolution was the first tear in the Iron Curtain. Hungarians from all walks of life rose up against insurmountable odds to fight the brutal Soviet installed Hungarian communist government. Thousands died fighting, others tortured and executed, while 200,000 were forced to flee. 2006 marked the 50th Anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution.
AHF's work regarding the tragic events nearly 50 years ago, dates back to the early days of the revolution and thereafter assisting tens of thousands of refugees. In 1956 the American Hungarian Federation activated the second Hungarian Relief program for the refugees of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, providing $512,560.00. With the support of the American Hungarian Federation, over 65,000 refugees arrived in the USA. Get involved and help us continue our tradition of helping our community! Join Us!
States that have passed the 1956 Revolution 50th Anniversary Resolution:
4/28/2006 - Texas became the first state to adopt the AHF 1956 resolution (House Resolution 75). AHF extends sincere thanks to Texas Senator Janek and Representative Woolley for introducing the measure and to AHF's Texas Chapter President Chris Cutrone in Austin and Honorary Consul for Hungary Phillip Aronoff in Houston for their efforts in securing the introuduction of the resolution. The resolution's title: "Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution and recognizing the sacrifices of Hungarian Freedom Fighters, the contributions of Hungarian Americans, and the friendship between the people and governments of the United States and Hungary." Full text of the Texas resolution can be found on the Texas House Website.
The Houston Chronicle also published an Op-Ed calling attention to the resolution by Hungarian Honorary Consul Phillip Aronoff in Houston and Bryan Dawson-Szilagyi, AHF Chairman of the Executive Committee.
Ohio. Special thanks to the Hon. Péter Ujvági, Ohio State Representative (D) who successfully pushed the resolution (#212) through both state houses. [download the resolution] Ohio Governor Taft also issues a proclamation [download]
- AHF President Emeritus, Entrepreneur, Freedom Activist,
and 1959 US "Citizen of the Year," George K. Haydu, passed away
after long illness. The death of this great humanitarian and
leader is a major loss for the Hungarian-American community and to all
his many friends. Despite many death threats and being shot in the leg
during "Loyalty Day" parade in New York City, George was undeterred
in his efforts to bring freedom to Hungary and comfort to refugees.
5/19/2005 - Gergely "Bajusz" Pongratz, a leader and hero of Hungary's anti-communist revolution of 1956, has died at age 73.
Pongratz suffered a heart attack on Wednesday in the southern
Hungarian town of Kiskunmajsa where he lived, said Dezso Abraham, secretary
general of the World Council of Hungarian 56ers revolutionary veterans
group. During the revolution, Pongratz was commander of one of the key
resistance groups fighting the Soviet army. [read
12/10/2004 - JENO SZEREDAS, 90, Hungarian Freedom Fighter Federation Founder, AHF Member, and Noted Artist Dies...
Jeno Andras Szeredas, Hungarian political activist and Senator, 1956 Freedom Fighter, Founder of the Freedom Fighters Federation in the United States, poet and artist of rare talent died quietly in his sleep at his daughter's home in Connecticut on November 30. He had just celebrated his 90th birthday.
Born in Iglo, Hungary (now Slovakia) in 1914, Mr. Szeredas was both witness to and active participant in the turmoil sweeping over Europe for the balance of the 20th century. [more]
Memorials Dedicated to 1956
"October 23, 1956, is a day that will live forever
in the annals of free men and nations. It was a day of courage, conscience
and triumph. No other day since history began has shown more clearly the
eternal unquenchability of man's desire to be free, whatever the odds
against success, whatever the sacrifice required."-
President John F. Kennedy,
Albert Camus' Stirring Letter to the World:
"The Blood of the Hungarians"
I am not one of those who wish to see the people of Hungary take up arms again in a rising certain to be crushed, under the eyes of the nations of the world, who would spare them neither applause nor pious tears, but who would go back at one to their slippers by the fireside like a football crowd on a Sunday evening after a cup final.
There are already too many dead on the field, and we cannot be generous with any but our own blood. The blood of Hungary has re-emerged too precious to Europe and to freedom for us not to be jealous of it to the last drop.
But I am not one of those who think that there can be a compromise, even one made with resignation, even provisional, with a regime of terror which has as much right to call itself socialist as the executioners of the Inquisition had to call themselves Christians.
And on this anniversary of liberty, I hope with all my heart that the silent resistance of the people of Hungary will endure, will grow stronger, and, reinforced by all the voices which we can raise on their behalf, will induce unanimous international opinion to boycott their oppressors.
And if world opinion is too feeble or egoistical to do justice to a martyred people, and if our voices also are too weak, I hope that Hungary’s resistance will endure until the counter-revolutionary State collapses everywhere in the East under the weight of its lies and contradictions.
Hungary conquered and in chains has done more for freedom and justice than any people for twenty years. But for this lesson to get through and convince those in the West who shut their eyes and ears, it was necessary, and it can be no comfort to us, for the people of Hungary to shed so much blood which is already drying in our memories.
In Europe’s isolation today, we have only one way of being true to Hungary, and that is never to betray, among ourselves and everywhere, what the Hungarian heroes died for, never to condone, among ourselves and everywhere, even indirectly, those who killed them.
It would indeed be difficult for us to be worthy of such sacrifices. But we can try to be so, in uniting Europe at last, in forgetting our quarrels, in correcting our own errors, in increasing our creativeness, and our solidarity. We have faith that there is on the march in the world, parallel with the forces of oppression and death which are darkening our history, a force of conviction and life, an immense movement of emancipation which is culture and which is born of freedom to create and of freedom to work.
Those Hungarian workers and intellectuals, beside whom we stand today with such impotent sorrow, understood this and have made us the better understand it. That is why, if their distress is ours, their hope is ours also. In spite of their misery, their chains, their exile, they have left us a glorious heritage which we must deserve: freedom, which they did not win, but which in one single day they gave back to us. (October 23, 1957)
AHF dedicates this work
- Read this in German, Hungarian, French, and Spanish on this AHF member site, the [American Hungarian Museum]