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1956 Commemoration, Congressional Reception and Awards Ceremony, 2005

11/03/2005: Update - A special thank you to all those who contributed to the event! See the list!

Frank Koszorus presents Cong. Tom Tancredo with AHF's Col. Commandant Michael Kovats Medal of Freedom10/20/2005 - Successful 1956 Commemoration Congressional Reception!

AHF kicked off a year of events devoted to remembering the heroes of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution at its Congressional Reception held on October. Congressmen Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Tom Tancredo (R-CO) were awarded the American Cong. Tom Lantos addresses the audience after receiving AHF's Col. Commandant Michael Kovats Medal of FreedomHungarian Federation’s Col. Commandant Michael Kovats Medal of Freedom for their “Leadership in Support of Democracy, Human Rights and Minority Rights in Central and Eastern Europe.” Col. Kovats was a founding father of the US Cavalry.

Both Congressmen are members of the Hungarian American Congressional Caucus and have supported AHF and Hungarian causes. They sponsored congressional resolutions, calling on Rumania to return AHF 1956 Commemoration, Congressional Reception and Awards Ceremonyillegally confiscated church properties. Congressman Lantos recently called on the Serbian government to stop the violence against Hungarians and other minorities in Vojvodina and helped secure the release of two Hungarians who had been illegally arrested and detained for AHF 1956 Commemoration, Congressional Reception and Awards Ceremonyrepresenting victims of violence. The Hungarian American Congressional Caucus also played an instrumental role in having the barbed wire fence torn down this summAHF 1956 Commemoration, Congressional Reception and Awards Ceremony - Stefan Fedor welcomes guestser in the divided ethnic Hungarian village of Szemlenc on the Slovak/Ukrainian border. The village was split in two when Stalin annexed the area after WWII. A border crossing may soon be on the horizon.

AHF 1956 Commemoration, Congressional Reception and Awards Ceremony - Prof. Gutay accepts his awardThe Congressmen congratulated AHF on the success of the event and praised Hungary and its people for their historic sacrifices. AHF’s Frank Koszorus, Jr., presented the awards to the Congressmen and remarked, “[The Hungarian Revolutionwas] the first major challenge to Soviet domination of the eastern half of Europe was theHungarian RevolutAHF 1956 Commemoration, Congressional Reception and Awards Ceremony - Dr. Szara accepts his awardion of 1956. As the world watched, Hungarians of all walks of life rose up, fought the occupiers against overwhelming odds, and left a chink in the Soviet empire that ultimately contributed to the events of 1989 and 1990.”

AHF 1956 Commemoration, Congressional Reception and Awards Ceremony - James McCargar accepts his awardStefan Fedor, AHF President, welcomed guests and reflected on AHF and the importance of 1956 to our community. AHF also awarded the Col. Michael Kovats Medal of Freedom for lifetime achievements to Dr. Lászlo Gutay (Nuclear Physicist, Purdue University); Dr. I. Stefan Szára (National Institutes of Health, retired Chief of NIDAHF also awarded the Col. Michael Kovats Medal of Freedom for lifetime achievements to Dr. Lászlo Gutay (Nuclear Physicist, Purdue University); Dr. I. Stefan Szára (National Institutes of Health, retired Chief of NIDA); Mr. Jim McCargar (CIA, Foreign Service Officer, retired) seen hereA); Mr. Jim McCargar (CIA, Foreign Service Officer, retired); and Mr. Stephen Sisa (Author, former editor of the Free World Review). Mr. Sisa’s son, Capt. Istvan Sisa (USN, retired), accepted the award on his father’s behalf and echoed AHF 1956 Commemoration, Congressional Reception and Awards Ceremony - Capt. Sisa accepts the award on behalf of his fatherAHF’s Vice President Bryan Dawson-Szilagyi’s call for unity as he spoke Petofi’s words, “Talpra magyar, hí a haza ! Itt az idõ, most vagy soha!” The California Hussars, in full dress, headed by Frank Bakonyi, presented the Hungarian and American Colors.

AHF 1956 Commemoration, Congressional Reception and Awards Ceremony - Hungarian Ambassador Simpnyi reflects on the historic events of 1956Hungarian Ambassador András Simonyi also spoke and paid tribute to the “heroes” of the Revolution. The Ambassador commended the organizers of the event and thanked AHF for “representing all of us.” Other guests included Sandor Racz, who in 1956 was the president of the Greater Hungarian Budapest Workers’ Council and was imprisoned for several years following the crushing of the Revolution; Sandor Racz - Hero of 1956 and President of teh Greater Budapest Workers' CouncilHouse and Senate staffers; State Department representatives; representatives from the Serbian Embassy; and members of the Central East European Coalition (Polish American, Slovak American, Baltic Amercican, and Belarus American).

The mini-documentary produced by AHF with award-winning filmmakers Imre and ZsuzsaToth was shown on a monitor throughout the event, offering a glimpse back into triumph and tragedy in the fight for freedom. The reception also featured a 1956 book display featuring the works of internationally renowned members and others such as Prof. Johanna Granville Ph.D., Prof. Beverly James, Ph.D., Dr. Bela Kiraly, Csaba Teglas, Dr. Istvan Tuba, Hugo Tischler, Gabe Kubichek, and Bela Liptak (click on their names to read their book display overview -AHF 1956 Commemoration, Congressional Reception and Awards Ceremony - Gabriella Koszorus-Varsa Michael Kovats MasterworkNOTE: You will need the free Adobe Reader to open the document. Click the image to download and install it). Many of these books are available on AHF's Publications Website. Each participant received a CD of Szabolcs Magyarody's remarkable Corvinus Electronic Library, a collection of works available free online. Artist Gabriella Koszorus-Varsa displayed her masterwork depicting Col. Commandant Michael Kovats’ charge into battle.

AHF 1956 Commemoration, Congressional Reception and Awards Ceremony - Bryan Dawson-Szilagyi opens the eventEchoing the sentiments of AHF, Bryan Dawson-Szilagyi opened the event saying, “1956 is our inheritance. It is our present. It is our future. It is easy to glorify war, to remember the slogans and to forget the courage, the pain and the sacrifice. But we must not forget. 1956 is often referred to as a tragedy, but it is clearly not. It is a triumph. Look around the room. Each of the Freedom Fighters here today can tell a similar story, a very AHF 1956 Commemoration, Congressional Reception and Awards Ceremony - Congressman and Mrs. Lantos, Frank Koszorus, the Embassy's Viktor Szederkenyi and the artist Gabriella Koszorus-Varsa at her Col. Michael Kovats masterworkhuman story. Each came to the United States with nothing and built a better life. This is an example for all of us. But 1956 can teach us much, much more; a lesson we must learn and embody in everything we do. 1956 brought Hungarians from all walks of life and from all political persuasions together to fight for a common cause. It is that unifying force that must continue through today and into tomorrow. All Hungarian Americans must learn to focus on common ground for the benefit of our children’s children. Only in unity can we find strength. May the spirit of 1956 lead us to that unity. Most vagy Soha!”

[back to ALL AHF news stories]

Kováts Circle (> 1000.00)
Kálman Nagy
Sandor Murray
Bela Kiraly
William Penn Association

Freedom Circle (> $195.60)
Dr. Paul J. Szilagyi
Attila Micheller
Stefan & Erika Fedor
Zsolt Takács
Hungarian Reformed Federation of America
Geza Wass deCzege
Janos & Nelly Kiss
Tom Pataki
Zsuzsa Kopits
The deTorok Family
Zoltan Bagdy

Supporters (> $56.00)
Zoltan Korossy
Dr. Cheryl Pellerin
Eva Bodnar
Laszlo & Agnes Fulop
Kati Nagy
Aniko Gaal Schott
Agnes Miles
Andrew Foldi
Csaba Teglas
Akos & Katalin Nagy
Maria Farkas
Steve & Judit Oroszlan
Irvin Varkonyi
Joe Balintfy
Peter Mitchell
Barbara Kiss
Katalin Karasz
Dr. Alfonz Lengyel
Papa Faal
Maria Schattenstein
Arpad Kovacs
Tibor Purger
Jake & Gabor Boritt
Frank Wilson
Erzsebet Thuleweit
Dr. Laszlo Megyeri
Daniel Lowy
Count Charles Teleki
Mary LaPorta
Eva Kiss
Imre & Zsuzsa Toth
Frank Koszorus, Jr.
Tamas Teglassy
Paul Zador
Hugo Tischler
Laszlo Csukonyi
Dr. István Szára
Zsuzsa Nagy
Bryan and Chiquis Dawson-Szilagyi
Yolanda Horan
George Jeney
Atilla & Sarah Kocsis
Peter Kurz
Therezia “Teca” Takacs
The Makovenyi Family
Janos Szebeni
Peter de Gajary
Andras Ferenc Bodor
Christine Zapotoczky Kelleher
Erzsebet Toth

PLEASE let us know if we accidentally missed your name! It was NOT intentional! Also, all those who contributed but did not receive their complimentary copy of the 1956 mini-documentary, please contact us!

Are you or your organization planning an event for the 50th Anniversary of 1956? AHF is calling on all local organizations to coordinate efforts to ensure that this important event receives national and worldwide attention.

Member organizations receive publicity on the AHF Website and eNewsletters. Importantly, AHF can serve as a central information resource for all.

All are invited to help both local organizations and AHF in its own efforts at commemorating 1956 in the Nation's Capital!

AHF needs volunteers and funds to make our bold
and far-reaching goals a reality...
Join AHF and help us coordinate events around the nation and the world. Contact info@americanhungarianfederation.org or click the image below to Contribute or join online!

(You do not need to become a member to donate. The American Hungarian Federation is a tax-exempt 501c(3) organization.)

In Memoriam

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 more].


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]

  • The American Hungarian Federation is helping to coordinate events across the country and planning a year of events in Washington DC starting October, 2005! Join Us! Also see our new 1956 Portal - www.hungary1956.com
  • The 1956 Institute, headed by Dr. Janos Reiner, is a great site devoted to exploring the 1956 Hungarian Revolution in English and Hungarian.
  • Magyar Radio Online - includes many audio files and an analysis in Hungarian: "Ki húzta meg a ravaszt eloször 1956. október 23-án?" "Who was the first to pull the trigger?"
  • Time Magazine's gave Hungarian Freedom Fighters the title "Man of the Year" on July 1, 1957. "The Freedom Fighters filled the empty bottles with gasoline and corked them with table napkins, making what they called 'benzine flashes."
  • The Hungary Page - offers information on 1956, the 1956 Olympics, the popular "Nobel Prize Winners and Famous Hungarians," resources on Trianon, Transylvania, History, Music, and more.
  • Wikipedia - the free, online encyclopedia that allows readers to manage its content!
  • The 1956 Institute in Hungary (1956-os Intézet)
  • The 1956 Hungarian Revolution Historical Documentation and Research Foundation in Hungary - a source for thousands of photographs from the period
  • The National Security Archive at The George Washington University provides a wealth of information on the 1956 Revolution available for download in PDF.
  • The 1956 Hungarian Revolution - a short chronology of events with pictures
  • Pal Maleter on Wikipedia - the military leader of the Hungarian Revolution
  • www.sulinet.hu has as site that transcribed many of the various speeches given before, during, and after the revolution - a fascinating chronology from Nagy to Mindszenty. (Hungarian)
  • Az 1956-os Magyar Forradalom igaz története - in Hungarian. "What the history books left out." Published by the 1956 World Federation.
  • Az 1956-os forradalom története Esztergomban - The Revolution in Esztergom (in Hungarian)
  • Arcok és sorsok - a great site with photos and biographies of some 1956 Freedom Fighters
  • Nagy Imre október 23-án: Nagy Imre október 23-án eleinte hallani sem akart arról, hogy a Parlamentbe menjen és szóljon a tömeghez. Ám mégis megtette. Döbbenetet érezhetett, amikor lenézett a Parlament ablakából, s akkor is, amikor kifütyülték az „elvtárs” megszólítást. Beszéde az alant álló ismeretlen erovel szembeni aggodalmát és szorongását mutatja.


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,
on the first anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution.

  • Toronto, Ont - statue. (The first one in the Americas)
  • Denver, Colo - statue and square
  • Erie, PA - Memorial and square (TX to v. Juhasz Ferenc, AHF VP)
  • Bridgeport - Statue
  • Fairfield, CT - Memorial plaque in Town Hall (2003)
  • Berkeley Springs, WV - plaque, cemetery, and church (TX to Mrs. 'Sally' Gyorik, Ft Vitez Baan OFP)
  • Boston, Mass - Liberty Square statue and square by George Hollosy
  • Los Angeles, CA - statue by Arpad Domjan (1966)
    (TX to Czene Ferenc and LA Hungarians)
  • New York - Plaque at East River/92d Str
  • Passaic, NJ - statue
  • Lorantffy House, Akron, Ohio 1956 - Plaque
  • North Olmstead , Ohio - Plaque and cemetery (Thanks to Dobolyi Arpad & Juhasz Ferenc AHF VP)
  • New Orleans, La - small statue/plaque
  • Loraine, Ohio - Statue under construction
  • Miami, Fl - First Hungarian Church Stained Glass Windows
  • Camp Kilmer - plaque now in New Brunswick, New Jersey
  • Cleveland, Ohio - Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty statue and square
  • New Brunswick, NJ - Mindszenty statue and square
  • Miami - Mindszenty Str. (27th Str) NW (TX to Tarr Sandor, tb Consul)
  • Budapest - statue/plaque at the Chain bridge in Buda by Ocsay Karoly
  • Korvin koz - statue of the young freedom fighter
  • Budapest, II kerulet; Manheimer Statue
  • Budapest, XIII kerulet: Park of Statues: granite obelisk
  • Budapest, XIII kerulet: Park of Statues: Plaque of the martyrs (2000 Oct. 23)

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
to the memory of all our comrades who passed during those faithful days of October, 1956.

- Read this in German, Hungarian, French, and Spanish on this AHF member site, the [American Hungarian Museum]

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