News from Texas
10/22 - 10/29/2006 - TEXAS AHF CHAPTER GROWS WITH SUCCESSFUL 1956 COMMEMORATION EVENTS
The events started with the Metroplex (Dallas-Fort Worth) Magyar Cultural Circle's commemoration with a Hungarian mass on Sunday, October 22 at the Cistercian Abbey and Preparatory School cafeteria in Irving, Texas. During the Hungarian mass, members of the DFW Hétvégi Magyar Iskola under the leadership of Péter Váli, led the congregation in several Hungarian songs, suggested by Louis Ott. Following the service, there was the dedication of the “emlékoszlopok” (traditional Transylvanian carved wooden monuments representing male and female forms) near the monastery, in honor of the 1956 Revolution and the 50th year of the Cistercian Abbey. Later, delicious Hungarian food and drink was served and there was a viewing of Zoltán Czigany's pictures made during the thirteen days in 1956, from October 23 to November 5. Please visit www.magyarszo.net for more information.
AHF would like to thank the Imre Gazda and the Metroplex Magyars, along with Beata Szechy and the Hungarian Multicultural Center, for joining AHF!
To coincide with the 50th anniversary, the exhibit "1956 - The Hope of Freedom" was unveiled in the Doherty Library on the University of St. Thomas campus on Monday, October 23rd. The exhibit, which tells the story of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution through photos and written commentary, is free and open to the public during normal library hours. This same exhibit had been displayed in the Texas Capitol in Austin from October 2nd thru the 6th and was sponsored by Texas Speaker of the House Tom Craddick with the help of the Hungarian Consulate in Houston and AHF.
On Friday, October 27th a symposium was held commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Hosted by the University of St. Thomas and sponsored by Houston Hungarian Consulate and AHF, the symposium consisted of two panels and a film screening. The first panel consisted of two Hungarian born authors who shared the personal experiences that inspired their writings. The authors were Csaba Teglas, author of "Budapest Exit" and Arpad Gergely, author of "The Face Behind I Hide". Following that, there was a screening of Steven Fischer's film Freedom Dance After the screening, Steven spoke about the making of the film and took questions from the audience.
Finally, there was a panel of experts that led a discussion on the implications of the Hungarian Revolution on the wider Cold War, the Eastern Bloc and the Hungarian minority situation in surrounding countries and the current political situation in Hungary. Bryan Dawson-Szilagyi, Executive Committee Chairman of AHF, was among those participating along with Dr. Lee Williams, Professor of History from the University of St. Thomas and Dr. Witold Lukaszewski, a Professor of Political Science from Sam Houston State University who brought a Polish perspective on the events of October 1956.
A special thank you goes to University of St. Thomas President Dr. Robert Ivany for hosting this symposium. AHF would also like to thank Gustavo Wensjoe and Diana Garcia of the U. of St. Thomas' Center for International Studies for their work behind the scenes, U. of St. Thomas Board Member Lee Cutrone Jr. and last, but not least, to Marianne Ivany for her moral support.
Finally, on Sunday October 29th, the Hungarian American Cultural Association (HACA) of Houston and AHF had a 1956 commemoration event complete with speakers, poetry, and music and dancing. Csaba Teglas, as keynote speaker, gave a very moving account of 1956 and its meaning and AHF President Stefan Fedor presented Dr. Robert Ivany with the Colonel Commandant Michael Kovats Medal of Freedom. Ivany then addressed the audience, reminding them of how the spirit of 1956 is still strong and must be preserved through future remembrance. Also, the audience was treated to traditional Transylvanian dancing from the Csardas Hungarian Dancers based out of Austin, Texas. After the poetry and music, Freedom Dance was screened. AHF would like to thank Olga Bogdan for her tireless work on putting this event together and thanks also go out to Dr. Eva Stubits and Gabor Cserei.
We are happy to welcome HACA to the AHF family!
Please also check out the write up that the Houston Chronicle did on Honorary Consul Phillip Aronoff... Phillip, thanks for being there throughout all of this!
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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.
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!
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