|Book Highlight: Dr. George Szele - "From Hungary With Love"|
"From Hungary with Love” is a recollection, based of real life events, of a teenage boy living in Hungary during WWII, who witnessed first hand the horrors of the Nazi occupation and cold ruthlessness of communism that the Soviets instilled in Hungary after the war.
Dr. George Szele perfectly captures a first- hand experience of innocence lost, and being cast into darkness and confusion, as larger than life factors played a major role in transforming him from the carefree dreamer that he was before the war, into the cold realist that he was to become by the events of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.
Dr. Szele describes difficult events in his life, and life-altering decisions he had to make, affecting his and his family’s safety, in order accomplish what he believed was right. For example, the book starts off with warm undertones, as he rows down the Tisza in his boat, enjoying the sunset and watches children slide down the muddy bank of the river.
All this changes quickly, when he volunteers for the war effort, survives the German and Soviet occupations, and lives through eight grueling years under the brutal early stages of Soviet rule in Hungary. This book perfectly exemplifies loss of innocence, the struggle for survival, and the realization that one should never take the lives we live for granted.
First and foremost, I highly recommend this book to young Hungarian Americans, living in diaspora, who would like to reconnect to their Hungarian roots, and better understand how and why the Hungarian diaspora came to be. I also recommend this book to all who love learning more about world history, and who would like to know how and why many generations of Europeans immigrated to the U.S. to seek new lives. This book is available for purchase on Amazon or can be downloaded free with a subscription to Kindle Unlimited.
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Why So Many Hungarians Across the Border?
One thousand years of nation building successfully delineated groups based on culture, religion, geography, and other attributes to create the countries with which we are so familiar. While some Western European nations would continue power struggles and princely battles and civil wars, Hungary, founded in 896, was a peaceful multi-ethnic state for a 1000 years and her borders were virtually unchanged. Until 1920...
The Treaty of Trianon in 1920... in the aftermath of WWI, was extremely harsh on Hungary and unjustifiably one-sided. The resulting "treaty" lost Hungary an unprecedented 2/3 of her territory, and 1/2 of her total population or 1/3 of her Hungarian-speaking population. Add to this the loss of up to 90% of vast natural resources, industry, railways, and other infrastructure. The clear winner of the land grab, was Rumania, who, established only 60 years earlier, more than doubled in size overnight.
Ethnic Distribution in the Kingdom of Hungary in 1910 (Hungarians shown in red)
Hungarian populations declined significantly after forced removals such as the Benes Decrees and other pograms, the effects of WWI, and Trianon in 1920. With continued pressure and discriminative policies such as the 2009 Slovak Language Law, this trend continued over the past 90 years.
[read more on the Treaty of Trianon]