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 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution.
The American Hungarian Federation is sponsoring the 1956 Portal to provide a central information resource for Hungarian American organizations across the nation to highlight and promote their 1956 Hungarian Revolution commemoration activities. Get involved and join us!
News on 1956
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 delivered a stirring convocation. [read more]
May 3-6, 2007 - Freedom Dance was selected for the Maryland Film Festival. Check out http://www.md-filmfest.com/ for screening schedules. Freedom Dance: The Movie, produced by AHF's Steven Fischer and Craig Herron, chronicles Edward Hilberth's escape from Hungary during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. [read more about Freedom Dance]
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]
10/18/2006 - 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]
10/8/2006 - 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]
Continuing News - AHF pursuing resolutions commemorating the 1956 Hungarian Revolution in all 50 states! Ohio, Colorado, and Virginia follow Texas in adopting the Resolution and congratulating the American Hungarian Federation on its 100th anniversary. AHF's 1956 Commemoration Committee announced a nationwide effort urging state houses and governors to adopt resolutions honoring the heroes of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Texas became the first state to adopt the resolution (House Resolution 75). How can you help? [read more]
3/22/2006 - AHF unveils 1956 Statue prototype for the Nation's Capital... AHF's 1956 Commemoration Committee is seeking your help to erect a statue in Washington, D.C. devoted to the heroes of the Hungarian Revolution. The AHF plan calls for an actual-size statue to be placed prominently in Washington while we raise funds for its bronze replacement. Seen here with his prototype design is renowned sculptor Gyuri Hollosy, who was responsible for the Boston Liberty Square memorial. At the recent Capitol Reception honoring 1848, Congressman Tom Lantos mentioned his intent to place a 1956 memorial in Washington. We must ensure this remarkable design is selected! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and join the 1956 Commemoration Committee!
New Video posted to the 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 the Video [Video]
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hosts reception in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. American Hungarian Federation issues statement. "For 12 days in 1956, the Hungarian people caught a fleeting glimpse of their independence. Armed with little more than a love of liberty, the impatient patriots of Hungary rose up against the mighty Soviet empire," noted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a commemoration of the 1956 Revolution at the Department of State's Benjamin Franklin Room on February 13, 2006. The American Hungarian Federation was represented by over 15 of its members. The Federation honors the true heroes of the 1956 Revolution -- those who were unwilling to compromise and who, against overwhelming odds and standing alone, made tremendous sacrifices for the cause of freedom, democracy and independence. [read more]
January 9 - February 10, 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. [see details]
12/15/2005 - AHF providing free Websites on the 1956 Portal to member organizations as they prepare for the 50th Anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution.If you know of any organization or group planning events for the commemoration of 1956, please contact us. The American Hungarian Federation is sponsoring the 1956 Portal as part of its goals to coordinate and assist member organizations across the country. The 1956 Portal serves as a central information resource for 1956 activities as our community prepares for the 50th Anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution. The Portal also includes Audio and Video files! If you have additional photos or have plans you would like to promote, contact us! Write to Bryan Dawson
UPDATED 12/7/2005 - 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."
Original Title: "Recognizing the 50th Anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution that began on October 23, 1956 and reaffirming the friendship between the people and governments of the United States and Hungary."
Passed Title: "Whereas on October 23, 1956, university students marching through the streets of Budapest were joined by workers and others until their numbers reached some 100,000 Hungarian citizens."
NOTE: You will need the free Adobe Reader to open the document. Click image to download.
10/23/2005 - AHF's Dr. Emery Imre Toth attends the 1956 Revolution commemorations in Budapest. Events included a memorial at the famed Corvin Koz and a 1956 Grand Celebration at the Budapest Opera House. AHF would later present Gen. Bela Kiraly with its Col. Commandant Michael Kovats Medal of Freedom. Bela Kiraly was Commander-in-Chief of the Budapest National Defense Force during the ill-fated 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Bela Kiraly is also one of AHF's newest members. [read more]
10/20/2005 - Successful 1956 Commemoration, Congressional Reception & Awards Ceremony
AHF kicked off a year of events devoted to remembering the heroes of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution at its Congressional Reception held on October 19. Congressmen Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Tom Tancredo (R-CO) were awarded the American Hungarian 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. Those donating at least $56.00 receive the mini-documentary on the 1956 Revolution shown here produced by AHF and member filmmakers Imre and Zsuzsa Toth who expertly enhanced and digitized the remarkable 10-minute DVD. [read more] or [see ALL AHF news stories]
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"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."
- John F. Kennedy, on the first anniversary of the
- 2006 in Review:
1956 Commemorations were a tremendous success! AHF worked with local chapters and member organizations across the country to plan numerous events in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. In addition to the major events, 1956 proclamations and resolutions were passed in many states.
See the stories below from Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Cosmos Club in Washington D.C.; St. Thomas University and the Houston Hungarians; Miami, Naples and Sarasota in Florida; Boston, Mass; and Lorain Ohio and read how we honored the memory of our heroes:
- 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 initiated the effort working with the
Hungarian Freedom Fighters Federation to establish the Coordinating
Committee for the Commemoration of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.
Numerous AHF members, local organizations and individuals joined the effort
leading to this tremendous success. AHF seeded the fundraising effort
with it's first $5000.00 and later provided accounting and good offices,
enabling contributions of almost $250,000.00! 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
Washington, D.C. I:
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]
Washington, D.C. II
- 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
Washington, D.C. III
The Hungarian Reformed Federation of America, chartered by the United States Congress celebrated the heroes of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution against the communists and Soviets at the HRFA Kossuth House, its home office. HRFA placed a large banner declaring "Hungary: Initiated the Fall of Communism." The Kossuth House's strategic location in Dupont Circle in downtown Washington ensured wide viewing.
The celebration included a solemn invocation, moving folk songs sung by a young Hungarian American, the recital of the Szozat and the Nemzeti Dal. HRFA President and AHF Vice Chairman, Jules (Gyula) Balogh gave a personal account of current events in Hungary from his visit to Budapest a week before this celebration.
10/22 - 10/29/2006 - 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 (seen here) 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 Abbey. [read more]
10/21/2006 - Commemorations began at 2pm at Boston's Liberty Square site of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution Memorial (seen here) by AHF's Gyuri Hollosy whose design is behind the AHF's 1956 National Memorial effort.
Brief commemoration speeches featured Gabor Garai, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Hungary in Boston, Karoly Balogh, President, Hungarian Society of Massachusetts, followed by a poem by Gyula Illyes' "A Sentence About Tyranny" by Judy Van de Geer. Organizers layed a wreath in Memory of the Heroes as participants sung the Hungarian National Anthem and then listened to Taps.
At 3pm, famed Faneuil Hall was the site for a large commemorative event. Participants were greeted by Gabor Garai and Dr. Karoly Balogh followed by the Commemorative Speech given by John Lukacs (Professor, Chestnut Hill College) [read more]
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]
Another AHF member organization in Southwest Florida, the Venice Hungarian Club also commemorated 1956. Kalman Magyar, see here with Dr. Paul Szilagyi, had earlier kicked off the year for AHF with the unveiling of the club's own 1956 memorial AHF VP Kalman Nagy of the Venice Hungarian Club proudly showed participants AHF's 1956 memorial unveiled on October 23, 2005 as Hurricane Wilma approached. [read more]
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 [read more]
6/16/2007 - The Freedom
Statue Committee of the Cleveland Hungarian Revolution 50th Anniversary
Committee dedicated the Freedom Statue at
A reception immediately followed the dedication
9/17/2006 - The American Hungarian Council of Lorain County officially dedicated its 1848-1956 Memorial Monument starting with a dedication ceremony at Oakwood Park. The dedication was followed by a banquet in the social hall of the Hungarian Reformed Church. The Honorable Mayor Craig Foltin and the city of Lorain, through proclamation, designated a property on the corner of East 31st Street and Grove Avenue in Oakwood Park as the future site of the monument. AHF congratulates John Peters and all those in Lorain who made this possible. AHF National is proud to be a sponsor! [read more]
Get your Free Website and get the word out about your 50th Anniversary Commemoration plans!
AHF is calling on all local organizations to coordinate efforts to ensure
that this important event receives national and worldwide attention.
Join AHF and help us coordinate events around the nation and the world.
Contact AHF at (202) 737-0127 or email@example.com
Featured 1956 Video
"Five Days of Freedom in Budapest" - "Budapest is in revolt. With uncontrolled fury, crowds set fire to Russian flags... The impossible has happened. A handful of heroes has shaken the communist world to its foundations." (5.2 Mb)
[See more audio and video files]
1956 Films in Production
from the Flag
AHF is proud to support this feature-length, English-language feature dedicated to the universal values of freedom, democracy and human rights is being produced to honor the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian uprising. [read more]
Journey Home/ Hazatérés:
A journey by two American women to bury their father's ashes in Hungary
turns into a quest to find out exactly what he did as a freedom fighter
there during the revolution of 1956 and how that changed his and
Freedom Dance: The Movie - an animated film about 1956!
"Freedom Dance" re-tells the inspiring story of a Hungarian-born artist named Edward Hilbert who (with his newly wedded wife, Judy) made a dangerous escape from occupied Hungary in 1956 during the violent Hungarian Revolution, taking refuge in the land of Edward's dreams: America! Throughout their 4 months on the road, Edward, the child star of the Hungarian classic film "Meseauto," kept a journal in cartoon form illustrating various episodes from his adventure. [read more]
- Gergely "Bajusz" Pongratz, a leader
and hero of Hungary's anti-communist revolution, dead at 73. Pongratz
suffered a heart attack on Wednesday in the southern Hungarian town of
11/15/2005 - 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. [read more about George Haydu] or see [All Memorials]
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