|AHF Members Celebrate 110 Years of Service
4/22/2017 - AHF Celebrated 110 years of service to the community! New York area AHF members celebrated the 110th Anniversary of the American Hungarian Federation's incorporation and service to the community at the Garfield Hungarian Citizens League on April 22, 2017. There was a full house including leaders of Hungarian civic organizations in the four state area comprised of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
Two Roman Catholic priests (Fathers Csete Ivan-Port Jervis, NY, and JuhaszImre-New Brunswick, NJ ) and one reformed minister (Rev. Oetvos Zsolt-New Brunswick, NJ) gave invocations, blessing of meals and blessing at the end of the dinner. Dr. Szakacs Imre and spouse were guests of honor from the Hungarian Consulate in NYC (Consul/Counselor of National Cohesion). Two AHF Presidents Emeritus and spouses were present, Dr. Thomas Hilberth and Beke Imre, as well as 5 other AHF members of the Board of Directors.
Nagy referred the participants to peruse the folded brochures which were placed on each table (several copies) and for their organizations to join the AHF and help with the AHF’s mission.
Dr. Szakacs Imre was the first speaker and gave a heartwarming and encouraging speech reflecting on the AHF’s 110 year history and importance in helping Hungarians in the USA, Hungary and the Carpathian Basin. Dr. Szakacs quoted the AHF founder and first President, Kohanyi Tihamer, final parting counsel at his death bed calling on all American Hungarians to put the interest of the community above any personal ambitions and to work together as unity is the key (relevant today as it was then). Dr. Szakacs referred to the impressive accomplishments of the AHF over the last 100 years as summarized in the brochure on each table.
Imre Beke was the next speaker, amplifying on his 50 year involvement in AHF and the achievements, paying particular attention to the AHF’s role in stopping the Rumanian dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu from bulldozing 300 Hungarian villages in Transylvania (one of them included the grave of Queen Victoria’s mother and AHF’sefforts and expose of the barbarism even got Prince Charles to voice his opposition).
Mr. Beke also talked about the AHF’s organization in 1989 of a banquette which culminated in the then President of the Hungarian Parliament, Dr. Szuros Matyas, of laying a wreath on the 1956 Memorial in Passaic Park (built by Garfield Hungarian Citizens League, an AHF member organization). The sculptor, Csaba Kur, was also the sculptor who responsible for the bust of Kossuth now in the US Capital. Mr. Beke also mentioned that at a banquette circa 1985 Nobel Laureate Dr. Wigner Jeno attended the AHF Convention in Fairfield, NJ and at the urging of Dr. Zoltan Szaz, then Chair of the AHF International Relations Committee, was elected and he accepted the title of Honorary President of the AHF.
The next speaker was AHF Director Dr. Judith Kerekes, who spoke about the future of Hungarian culture in the USA. This effort requires a well functioning system of Hungarian weekend schools for grade school age children. To further this effort Dr. Kerekes is incorporating a 501C “Hungarian American Schools Association, Inc.” She is also the President of the American Hungarian Collegium (501C3) which is an AHF member organization and holds weekend and summer camps several times a year (working with the William Penn Association and various Hungarian church facilities) for youth who are graduates of the weekend Hungarian schools. The objective is to further their knowledge ofHungarian history and culture beyond what they learned at the elementary level in the weekend schools.
Akos Nagy added: "Many attendees spoke with me and other Board members and inquired about AHF and were impressed with the speeches extolling the AHF’s past, present and future and the brochure. I would like to extend special thanks to Ildiko Vass (National Secretary) and Adam Grosz (AHF Board member and Chairman of theGarfield Hungarian Citizens League) for their hard work in making this 110th Anniversary a success. Also, a special thanks to AHF Vice President Bryan Dawson for preparing the brochures summarizing the AHF’s illustrious achievements over the last 110 years."
More Photos! (Special thanks to the American Hungarian Citizens League / Garfield Hungarian Club)
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The American Hungarian Federation® (AHF) (Amerikai Magyar Szövetség / AMSZ), an all volunteer, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, was founded in 1906 in Cleveland, Ohio. The largest Hungarian-American umbrella organization in the United States, AHF is also among the oldest ethnic organizations in the country. AHF was established as an association of Hungarian societies, institutions and churches to "defend the interest of Americans of Hungarian origin in the United States."
Over the past 100 years, AHF's mission has broadened to include support of people of Hungarian descent on both sides of the Atlantic and in the successor states of the Carpathian Basin. The American Hungarian Federation strives to unite the American Hungarian community through work that supports common goals. AHF is a national, non-partisan, independent umbrella organization representing the interests of its member organizations and the Hungarian American community.
The 1907 Kohányi Szózat (Appeal)
“Amerika egy millió magyarja, nemcsak hogy követeljük, de keresztül is visszük azt, hogy Magyarország népének ugyanabban a szabadságban, ugyanabban az igazságban, ugyanabban a jólétben legyen resze, mint a mely szabadság, igazság, es jólét abban az Amerikában van amelynek lakósai, polgárai vagyunk.”
“We, America’s 1 million Hungarians, do not just demand, but will work to ensure that the people of Hungary may partake in the same freedom, the same justice, the same prosperity as we, citizens of America, partake.”
AHF 100 YEARS DISPLAY
Key Dates in Hungarian-American Diplomatic Relations: Diplomatic relations between Hungary and the United States were formally established in 1922, although unofficial contacts have been present ever since the War of Independence. Colonel Commandant Michael Kováts, a Hungarian nobleman is regarded as the founder of the American Cavalry, and was one of the first heroes to lay down his life for American independence near Charleston, South Carolina. Friendly relations between the two nations were further enhanced through Lajos Kossuth’s visit to the United States in 1851 – whose bust is one of the few foreign nationals present in the Capitol Rotunda. Kossuth was the second foreign national – after the Marquis de LaFayette – ever to be given the honor of speaking before a joint session of Congress.