|AHF Featured Members (Alphabetical Order)|
Rev. Dr. Imre Bertalan was born in Nyirtass in Szabolcs County, Hungary in 1918. He attended the Sárospatak Seminary, and did post-graduate work in Halle, Germany, Basel, Zurich, and Geneva, Switzerland. Completing his studies in Switzerland in 1946, he was unable to return to Hungary due to first German and then Soviet occupation. Within a year, however, he recieved a scholarship to Princeton Seminary in New Jersey. He accepted his first post as a part-time pastor to the Hungarian Reformed Church on Staten Island. He would eventually become the minister of the Hungarian Reformed Church of Washington, D.C., in 1981. In 1980, he was elected President of the Hungarian Reformed Federation of America and led the organization until his retirement in 1992. He holds an honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from Hope College in Holland, MI (1988), and from the Theological Faculty of the Debrecen University (1989). He is President Emeritus of the American Hungarian Federation and has served on the boards of the HRFA, the Hungarian American Coalition, and the American Section of the World Alliance of Hungarians. Rev. Bertalan has recently been awarded the "A Magyar Köztársaság Tisztikeresztje." On September 25th, he was honored by his congregation as he celebrated 25 years of Pastoral service. Rev. Bertalan passed away on July 10, 2008. AHF mourns his loss. See his eMemorial
Les (Laszlo) Besser, was national under-16 year hurdle record holder in 1952, graduated from Kando Kalman technical school in 1954, and won two Hungarian national junior championships in 1955. Escaping to Canada after the 1956 revolution, he continued with his running career, and received a track scholarship to study electrical engineering in the US. At the University of Colorado he received the Pacesetter Award and was selected to be “The Outstanding Engineering Student” and co-captain of the school’s soccer team in 1966.
After gaining practical engineering experience at Hewlett Packard and Fairchild corporations, he authored COMPACT (Computerized Optimization of Microwave Passive and Active CircuiTs), the world’s first commercially successful microwave circuit optimization routine, soon to become the industry standard. He then founded Compact Software, a pioneer CAD software company (now part of Ansoft), and was active in serving the engineering design needs of the RF/Microwave industry during the next ten years. In 1980, his company merged with Communication Satellite Corporation (COMSAT) where Dr. Besser functioned as a Senior Vice President. In 1985, recognizing the need for advanced continuing education, he started Besser Associates, a training organization that has provided live training to more than 45,000 engineers, managers, and technicians world-wide, retiring from the company in 2004. In 2007, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) conferred on him the "Meritorious Achievement Award in Continuing Education." In 2012, The Hewlett Packard Memory Project published Les's memoirs entitled, "Hurdling to Freedom: A Hungarian's Escape to America" [read more]
AHF Board Member Dr. Bela J. Bognar, Professor Emeritus of Social Work and Gerontology at Wright State University, founded the Hungarian Scholarship Fund (HSF) to finance the educational needs of needy students of Hungarian descent. The HSF is a tax-exempt organization. HSF's goal is to fund students regardless of the educational areas they pursue. In the past and present, there have been and are students in medicine and health, law, theology, business, natural science, education, the humanities and the arts. Students funded are economically disadvantaged and live in Hungary and in the lands which were separated from Hungary at the Treaty of Trianon following WWI costing Hungary 2/3 of her territory, 1/3 of her Hungarian population and vast natural resources. In addition to AHF, other major Fund benefactors include Doris Buffett, sister of the famous investor, Warren and head of the Sunshine Ladies Foundation for which Prof. Bognar is also a "Sunbeam" volunteer. Dr. Bognar is affectionately known as "Professor Paprika" as he raises scholarship funds through the annual sale of his own garden-grown peppers. [Read more]
Steve Bognar, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and 2010 Oscar Nominee for "The Last Truck," a documentary about the closing of a General Motors plant in Moraine Ohio. The documentary aired on HBO in 2009. He is the son of a proud father, and AHF Scholarship Committee Chair, Bela Bognar, a.k.a., "Professor Paprika." Bognar is former assistant professor of media arts at Antioch College and has worked as a filmmaker-in-residence in schools throughout Ohio. Bognar’s work has been funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Soros Documentary Fund, the Creative Capital Foundation, the Ohio Humanities Council, the Ohio Arts Council and Culture Works. He is also a Rockefeller Fellow. [Read more] about him and [buy his films]!
"Laz" Buda is the son of Hungarian immigrants and is
a native of Cleveland. He holds a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering
from Carnegie Mellon University where he was a 3-year letterman in football,
as well as a Masters degrees in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from
Washington University in St. Louis. He currently works as a Six Sigma
Black Belt for Avery Dennison Corporation. His past employers include
The Boeing Company in St. Louis, Eaton Corp. in Cleveland, and North American
Bus Industries in Kaposvár, Hungary.
Friends of United Way-Hungary (www.unitedway.hu) was founded in 2004 to promote and support United Way-Hungary in North America. United Way-Hungary is an affiliate of United Way-International (www.uwint.org) which is based in Alexandria, VA. Laci is raising funds for United Way Hungary by riding his bicycle 1956 miles by October 23, 2006. He is seeking pledges/sponsorships in this 50th anniversary year of the Hungarian Revolution. "Laz" rode 1210 miles last year, so this would be 50% more - quite a physical challenge! Make a pledge and contact him at email@example.com. See www.1956in2006.org
Professor Andrew Davidhazy is one the world's foremost experts on technical / scientific photograpahy. He is a Professor and Chairman of the Imaging and Photographic Technology Department, School of Photographic Arts and Sciences, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Prof. Davidhazy's work in high-speed photography, as seen here in his famous "splash," is well-recognized. His father was a captain in the Hungarian merchant marine who later moved to Argentina and then to the US and was influential in shipbuilding industry. His long-term interest has been the field of scanning or strip photography. This started in the mid-60's and extends to this day. Applications include panoramic, peripheral, photofinish, and other derivatives of an "ingenious" approach to image-making. He served on the House Select Committee the reexamination of the photographs of Lee Harvey Oswald and was called upon to authenticate a photograph of O. J. Simpson wearing some shoes he claimed never to have owned! [See his personal site]
László G. Fülöp was raised in the towns of Tiszakécske, Máramarossziget (now in Rumania), and Szentendre. He was conscripted to a forced labor division in Komló and Budapest in 1954-55. In 1956, he took an active role in the Hungarian Revolution, then fled to Austria in January of 1957. He studied architecture in Vienna, Austria and at the University of Minnesota; he worked in private practice, then at the Universities of Minnesota and Wisconsin as Director of Planning and Construction 1975-90. With his wife Ágnes Sylvester, Mr. Fülöp has long been a member of the American Hungarian Federation and leader of the Minnesota Hungarians. He is also a Board Member of the American Hungarian Federation and a former President of the Hungarian Community of Friends. On 29 September, 2008, Mr. Fülöp was awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary from by President Sólyom László as conveyed by Kinga Göncz, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs. [Read more and see his books]
Pianist and composer Laszlo Gardony has been recognized worldwide for his extraordinary musicianship and is known as a "Hungarian Rhapsodist." He has released six albums, has toured in 22 countries, won numerous awards, and appeared on television and radio programs throughout the world. In 1987, Laszlo won First Prize at The Great American Jazz Piano Competition. JazzTimes has called him "one of contemporary music's truly original voices." Born in Hungary, Laszlo was improvising on the piano by the time he was five, showing an early talent for composing music. In 1976, Laszlo entered the Bela Bartok Conservatory where he studied African music and jazz along with Eastern European and 20th century classical composers. During this time he has also been attending the Science University of Budapest. He graduated from both schools in 1979.
After leaving the Conservatory, Laszlo went on to become a successful session player in Europe, toured extensively and recorded eight albums. In 1983 he left for Boston, where he received a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music. Laszlo graduated from Berklee in 1985, and joined the faculty two years later. Read more about him on his official site on www.lgjazz.com.
Kitty Gogins' maiden name is Kitty Aniko Zoltai. Her parents have always called her 'Kati' or 'Katika'. Since her early childhood, she has been active in the Minnesota Hungarians,especially volunteering at the Festival of Nations, helping with theChristmas party, and as a Videki Hungarian dancer.From an early age, she has been fascinated with her parents’ journey to become Americans.The longer she worked in leading strategic and cultural change, the more appreciation she felt for their incredible cultural journey. "I feel honored to have had the opportunity to recently publish their story, 'My Flag Grew Stars: World War II Refugees’ Journey to America," she said. [read more]
Naomi Halas, D.Sci, Ph.D.,
Nanotechnology and Plasmon Pioneer
She is known as the inventor of nanoparticles with tunable optical properties controlled by their shape and structure and pursues fundamental studies of light-nanoparticle interactions that give rise to new properties and effects, leading to useful applications in biomedicine, chemical sensing, and energy. Her "gold nanoshells" (tiny glass nanoparticles coated in gold) are so small that 1,000 would fit across the width of a human hair and absorb large amounts of light, resulting in a dramatic rise in their temperature. They interact with the widest possible spectrum of sunlight energy and can be tuned to absorb specific wavelengths of light. For example, when light passes harmlessly through the human body, that light hits the injested nanoshells where they grow hot enough to burn away targeted nearby tissue such as a tumor. Later research revealed this same behavior could turn ice water into steam with sunlight, leading to far-reaching implications for disinfection, water distillation and desalinization, and green energy. With over 200 publication and election to Fellow of the American Physical Society, Dr. Halas' scientific career and history of innovation is nothing less then remarkable and a great source of pride for the Hungarian-American community. [read more]
Prof. Peter Hargitai wrote his first poem during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, when he was nine years old. Professor Hargitai grew up in the tiny village of Balástya in southern Hungary. He and his family fled the country in the aftermath of the Hungarian Revolution. They settled in the United States where he obtained a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Since then, he has published several books and award-winning translations from Hungarian literature for which he was awarded the Pro Cultura Hungarica medal from the Republic of Hungary. He has taught at several American universities including the University of Miami, the University of Massachusetts, and Florida International University where he is currently on the English faculty.
His book of translations of Attila József, Perched on Nothing's Branch is listed in Harold Bloom's The Western Canon. Peter Hargitai is also past recipient of the Landon Translation Award from the American Academy of Poets and The Füst Milán Award from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. His most recent work, "Daughter of the Revolution," a story of a brave freedom fighter - a 14 year-old girl - coincides with the 50th Anniversary of the ill-fated Hungarian Revolution of 1956. [Read more] about this book. Professor Peter Hargitai is a 2006 recipient of the Col. Commandant Michael Kovats Medal of Freedom.
Magdalina "Maggie" Herczeg became an AHF Freedom Circle Member in 2006. She is always interested in reading about American Hungarians as she finds their life stories and accomplishments fascinating. To her, it all goes back to the pursuit of the "American Dream." She earned a BA in music with piano as her primary instrument, voice being secondary. She went on to earn her MBA. After teaching music in the NJ public school system for a few years, she transitioned to the business world and has spent the last 23 years working in the pharmaceutical industry; specifically for Schering-Plough (now Merck), as a sales representative. [read more]
The HungarianAmerica Foundation...
General Robert Ivany, Ph.D. (b. Hungary, 1949)
Three-year-old Robert Ivany, the son of World War II refugees from Hungary, immigrated to the United States with his parents following the war. He grew up in Cleveland and eventually graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1969. Over the course of his 34 years of dedicated service in the United States Army as an armored cavalry officer, he led soldiers in the United States, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Vietnam where he was wounded in action and decorated for valor. He assisted several nations in the transformation of their armed forces. In 1990, Robert Ivany was the first senior military officer invited to Hungary to contribute to the democratization of their defense establishment.
General Ivany taught history at West Point, coached the West Point football team, spent 2 years as an aide to President Ronald Reagan, and commanded forces throughout the world. In July 1998, Major General Ivany was assigned as the Commanding General, Military District of Washington. General Ivany's career culminated with his appointment as the 45th Commandant of the War College at Carlisle Barracks, the Army's foremost institution for educating its leaders. Dr. Ivany retired from the Army on September 30, 2003 and is now President of Houston's University of St. Thomas.
Dr. Ivany is a recipient of the 2006 Col. Commandant Michael Kovats Medal of Freedom from the American Hungarian Federation. He is also recipient of the General Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence in Military Writing. An expert on leadership development, he is presently conducting research on the leadership attributes of 20 generals and admirals who have transitioned to corporate leadership. In addition to earning a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he received a Ph.D. in Modern European History from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
AHF is especially pleased to congratulate him and wife Marianne on their son's upcoming graduation from West Point! Brian Ivany, the 6'1", 200 lb midfielder, is a two-year letterwinner in Lacrosse. He is major in American Legal System. His brother Chris Ivany is a captain in the U.S. Army while another brother, Mark, is a 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Army.
Dr. Geza Julius Jako (Szalardi- von Jako), White House Advisor for Cancer to Presidents Reagan and Bush Sr. Inventor of soft tissue microsurgery, laser surgery, minimally invasive surgery. Pioneer of human cochlear stimulation for deafness. Physician, scientist, educator." A 1956 Freedom Fighter remembered for his role in establishing emergency medical services in Budapest at the start of the ill-fated Hungarian Revolution, he went on to become a Professor of Head and Neck Surgery at Boston Univ and to receive staff appointments from Harvard Medical School, MIT, and North Eastern University for Biomedical Engineering. In addition, he has had four Presidential White House appointments (among them 8 years with President Reagan) and served at the highest levels of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Dr. Jako (pronounced yuh-ko) has hundreds of peer reviewed journal articles, books and chapters in surgery. His students have gone on top be some of the top ENT surgeons in the world. He holds several patents and the only patents on Lasers in medicine and endo-micro instruments. His first lasers are displayed in museums in Washington D.C. and in the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest in the section of Hungary's most significant scientists featuring Edward Teller, Albert Szentgyorgyi, and many others. His instruments and surgical techniques have become the "gold-standard' for head and neck surgery worldwide and in the fight against laryngeal cancer that today has saved hundreds of thousands of voice boxes. He was forced to flee to the West as a graduate medical student and today has a few historic commemorative plaque and tablets to his contributions during the '56 revolution at the significant sites during the battles. One of these shown here is at the hospital that became a focal point of the revolution and mentioned in several papers and film documentaries for 1956.
Katalin Kádár Lynn, Ph.D. was born in Budapest of Hungarian parentage and emigrated with her family to Germany at the end of WWII and then came to the US as part of the Displaced Persons immigration program. She was educated in the United States ( BA from the University of Colorado and an MLA from Washington University in St. Louis, MO). After a long career in the world of business, including a stint as a business professor at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO, she returned to graduate school to obtain a PhD at ELTE in Budapest and was awarded her PhD in June of this year with honors.
Katalin's area of specialization is 20th century history, with an emphasis on WWII, the Cold War, and U.S.–East European political relations and Émigré Political Movements. Since she returned to graduate school to pursue her doctorate, she had several research papers published both in the US and in Hungary. Her dissertation, topic, “Tibor Eckhardt his American Years 1941-1972," was published in 2007 by L’Harmattan Press, Paris and Budapest in Hungarian and in English by East European Monographs, Boulder and distributed by Columbia University Press. The Introduction to her book on Tibor Eckhardt with personal reminiscences about him, was graciously written by Dr. Otto von Habsburg, a friend of long standing of Tibor Eckhardt. She also edited the posthumously published autobiography of Tibor Eckhardt (Tibor Eckhardt in His Own Words) published in June 2005 by East European Monographs and Columbia University Press. Read about Tibor and his work with AHF on the Movement for an Independent Hungary which sought to extracate Hungary from the Axis sphere. Purchase her books on the AHF Amazon Store!
Bobbie Kalman, an AHF Kovats Circle Member, is co-founder of Crabtree Publishing Company and one of the most prolific authors of children's books. She recently completed a book targeted at older children, chronicling her experiences as a 9-year-old in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, entitled "Refugee Child." AHF is proud to endorse this book:
"1956 saw the first tear in the Iron Curtain. A people rose up against impossible odds and fought for freedom only to be brutally crushed by the Soviet military machine. 200,000 would flee across the minefields to freedom. What must this have been like for a 9-year-old girl and the parents that tried to protect her? "The Soviets occupied our country and wanted Hungarians to forget who we were." But Bobbie's own memories make sure we do not forget. A bittersweet tale of innocence, fascination, fear, courage, compassion, and re-awakening, "Refugee Child" is filled with descriptive illustrations and gives us a unique glimpse of this historic time from the perspective of a wide-eyed young girl. This is a must read for children and grown ups alike. We must never forget." - Bryan Dawson-Szilagyi, Executive Committee Chairman, American Hungarian Federation.
Bobbie is the author and publisher of several hundred children's books. She has created many of Crabtree's most popular series, including Historic Communities, Lands, Peoples, and Cultures, Kid Power, Native Nations of North America, Dolphin Worlds, Life Cycles, Food Chains, and many more. Bobbie's books are extremely successful in schools and public libraries because she writes them with specific curriculum needs in mind. She works with a team of creative writers who thoroughly research each subject. Bobbie has taught at both the elementary and secondary levels and has traveled extensively. [Read more] or buy now on
Born in Budapest, Éva B. Kisvarsányi was a Junior at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest in 1956, majoring in geology. She participated in the students' march on October 23 under the banner of the University as the 1956 Hungarian Revolution began. After November 4, she and her husband, Géza Kisvarsányi, waited in vain for a month for help from the West, and escaped to Austria in December. The Kisvarsányi's arrived in the United States on January 16, 1957, and moved to Missouri. Eva continued her study of geology at the University of Missouri, and earned a Bachelor of Science in Geology in 1958, followed by a Master of Science in Geology in 1960 from that institution. From 1959 to 1993, she was employed at the Missouri State Geological Survey, rising from the rank of research geoJogist through Section Chief to Assistant Director. She has published more than 100 scientific research papers, maps and books in the field of Precambrian geology. She retired in 1993 and moved to Sarasota, Florida where she is the Executive Director of the Hungarian American Cultural Association, Inc., The Kossuth Club of Sarasota, and founder and editor of the Club's newsletter, The Hírmondó. Her books are available on the AHF Amazon Store! [read more] about Eva!
Atilla Kocsis is a member of AHF's Executive Committee, directs operations for AHF's Washington D.C. office, and acting Secretary. As a young entrepreneur, Atilla started a Website hosting business in 1995 which has grown into a highly successful operation. We thank him and Digital Phenom for hosting the AHF Website!
Atilla was born in New Jersey and became a soccer star. He graduated from Clark University in 1991 with a B.A. in economics and concentrations in computer science and business management. He completed Army ROTC training in 1992. After his training he moved to Washington, D.C. to work for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in the International Division. Atilla served as International Affairs Assistant for three years before leaving to start Digital Phenom. As the sole investor, Atilla worked tirelessly to build the company with an emphasis on building lasting relationships with his clients. He continued to learn more about his clients' needs and created new products and services to help them. Sales increased an average of 120% each year for six years in a row. During those years, Atilla accumulated a large body of knowledge on all things Internet. He continues to grow and refine his expertise so that he can find solutions for his clients. Atilla married Sarah in September 2003! Finally.
Andrew Laszlo was born László András on January 12, 1926 in Pápa, Hungary... His education in one of Hungary’s best private schools was interrupted by the German occupation of Hungary on March 19, 1944. Shortly after, Mr. Laszlo was conscripted into a forced labor unit of the Hungarian Army. He escaped twice and was recaptured and transported to the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp in Germany, and from there to the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp in Czechoslovakia. Having survived the camps but losing his family, he immigrated to the United States on January 17, 1947.
After a difficult start learning the English language, he continued his childhood infatuation with the camera, working in various jobs that involved photography. He was the first person drafted from New York City during the Korean War and spent two years in the United States Army Signal Corps as a combat cameraman with the rank of Sergeant.
After being honorably discharged from the service Andrew Laszlo eventually established himself as a cinematographer and rose to prominence as one of Hollywood’s top cinematographers. His career in film and television spans nearly fifty years, from the original “PHIL SILVERS SHOW” (Sgt. Bilko) to Walt Disney Pictures “NEWSIES,” "RAMBO: First Blood," "POLTERGEIST II," and "STAR TREK V: The Final Frontier." [read more] and [buy his books and films]
Dr. Ádám Makkai participated in the 1956 Hungarian Revolution as a college student. After the Soviet army crushed the Revolution, he emigrated to the United States, where he received a B.A. from Harvard, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale. Adam Makkai's current interests include the history of lexicography, the present state of the art and its possible future development with the arrival of the electronic age. He is engaged in translating Hungarian poetry into English (two volumes have appeared) and continues to research appropriate ways to render Hungarian poetry in English to best advantage. See his personal site and the University of Illinois site.
Dr. Joseph Nagyvary, Professor of Biochemistry at Texas A&M University and father of the "Nagyvarius" violin, was born in 1934 in Hungary in the quaint university town Szeged, whose most celebrated citizen was Albert Szentgyorgyi, the discoverer of vitamin C and much of the citric acid cycle. Thus, his inspiration came early and naturally to follow a career in natural products and biochemistry. In the years 1952-1956 he attended the Eotvos Lorand University of Budapest majoring in organic chemistry, though he enjoyed most those classes offered by physics professor Istvan Cornidesz.
Scientific American writes: "Joseph Nagyvary set the world of violinmaking afire in 1977 with his research into the legendary Stradivarius violins. The instruments made by Antonio Stradivari in the 17th and 18th century, along with other instruments made in the northern Italian city of Cremona, are widely recognized by violinists as superior to any made since. Controversially, Nagyvary suggested that the chemistry of the instruments is as—or more—important than their craftsmanship.
A native of Hungary, Nagyvary fought briefly as a guerrilla in an unsuccessful student movement against the Communists in 1956 and afterward fled to Zurich. There he studied chemistry under Nobel laureate Paul Karrer and had his first formal violin lessons on a violin that once belonged to Albert Einstein, which sparked his infatuation with the violin and helped to turn his attention toward the science behind music. "I remember that taking out the violin from its glass cabinet was almost a religious experience for me," Nagyvary says. "I often wondered if he Einstein was considering at all what made its sound so pleasing and sonorous, or whether he was thinking about the waves of the universe."
In 2005, Dr. Nagyvary was the headline/speaker at the Albert Einstein Centennial celebration by the Japanese Physical Society in Tokyo, December 13. He received the gold medal for his discovery of micro-and nanocomposites in Stradivari violins. [read full Scientific American interview] or visit his official site [Nagyvary Violins]
T. Zane Reeves, Ph.D., served in Brazil in the Peace Corps. His graduate work was at UCLA and USC. He taught at Pepperdine and California State, Dominguez Hills, before moving to the University of New Mexico, where he retired as Regents’ Professor Emeritus. Zane visits Hungary often where he is a board member of the Julius Rézler Foundation in Budapest. He also is the author of a number of books, including From Budapest to Albuquerque: The American Life of Julius Rézler and says, “I was told this story by Hungarians and wanted to pass it on.” T. Zane Reeves, Ph.D., is pleased to announce the release of his new book "Shoes Along the Danube" which refers to the memorial of cast iron shoes that honor Hungarian Holocaust victims. Based on a true story, this amazing book follows the lives of two extended Hungarian families, the Rézlers and the Földes, one gentile and the other Jewish, through three decades. It includes the story of Col. Ferenc Koszorus and the battle against Nazi forces. [read more]
Dr. Francis Robicsek is Chairman of the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at Carolinas Medical Center; Medical Director of the Carolinas Heart Institute; and Professor of Surgery at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is certified by the Hungarian Board of Surgery, the American Board of Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery, the American Board of Surgery, and the European Board of Cardiovascular Surgery. Dr. Robicsek is originally from Miskolc, Hungary but has lived in Charlotte, North Carolina since 1956.
Dr. Robicsek’s accomplishments are as numerous as they are diverse. He is Past Governor, American College of Cardiology of North Carolina; a member of the Scientific Council of the Cardiothoracic Institute of Monaco; and Past Chairman, Committee on Medico-Legal Affairs, Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Dr. Robicsek is a Past Examiner for the American Board of Thoracic Surgery and is a member of many professional societies including the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the American College of Surgeons, the American Vascular Society and many more. He is Past President of the Southern Thoracic Surgical Society and is an Honorary Member of the German Society of Thoracic Surgery, the Scandinavian Society of Thoracic Surgery, most recently the European Society for Cardio Vascular Surgery, the Surgical Society of Guatemala, and the Surgical Society of Costa Rica, to name a few.
Dr. Robicsek was elected Citizen of the Year by the state of North Carolina in 1976, and listed among the 100 Carolinians of the Century by the Charlotte Observer in 1999. He received the Order of the Quetzal, Rank of Commander, Guatemala, and is a recipient of the Justus-Liebig Medal of Distinction, Justus-Liebig University. He is an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Queens College and a member of the James Duke Society, Duke University. He was listed in The Best Doctors in America in 1995 and 1996.
Dr. Robicsek has published seven books and written more than 600 papers in medicine, anthropology and bioengineering, and has presented more than 500 lectures at national and international meetings. Dr. Robicsek has provided surgical assistance and training in several foreign countries and provided equipment and helped build hospitals in many third world countries.
Dr.Robicsek is an avid collector of art and established the Pre-Columbian collection at the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, NC. He also has a noted collection of Spanish-Colonial art, Medieval Dutch paintings and Russian icons and has written several books on Pre-Columbian art. He is married to Dr. Livia K. Robicsek and has four children, Steven, Susanne, John and Frances, and 5 grandchildren.
On November 1, 2007, Dr. Robicsek becomes the first physician to receive the World Citizen Award given by the World Affairs Council. [Click here] to download the invitation and attend this gala awards dinner.
Paul Sohar made his way as a young student refugee from Hungary to the USwhere he abandoned his formal education with a BA degree in philosophy with chemistry as his minor. The latter subject turned out to be the basis of his daytime job with a drug company while he hoped to pursue his literary interests. He would go on to not only publish his own poetry, but to translate into English the works of great Hungarian and Transylvanian poets.
January 2013 saw the publication of a collection of Faludy poems in his translation: "Silver Pirouettes" by The Write Deal publisher as an e-book. [read more].
AHF Member, the Honorable Helen M. (Ilona) Szablya (pronounced Sub-yuh, meaning "sabre") is the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Hungary for the States of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho based in Seattle. Born and raised in Budapest, Hungary, she is an award-winning author, columnist, translator, lecturer, and former publisher of Hungary International, a newsletter for Americans about business in Hungary. She has two university degrees, speaks six languages, and lived in five countries under seven different political systems. The number of her English language publications exceeds 700, many of which won awards. Szablya Consultants, Inc. is her translation and consulting agency. Two of her latest books include, "The Fall of the Red Star" (a story of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution through the eyes of an "illegal" boy scout troop), and "My Only Choice: Hungary 1942-1956," the story of what happened to her and the pursuit of freedom as lived through the coming of age journey of a seven year old little girl who becomes a woman and mother in Hungary. [Read more about her] and purchase her books on AHF's Amazon Store!
Balazs Szabo, is a world-renowned artist and "1956 refugee #M14543." In the aftermath of the bloody Hungarian Revolution, the Szabo family was under Hungarian AVO house arrest. On November 20, they fled toward the Austrian border. The turmoil of WWII and the Hungarian Revolution and their impacts on him and his family influenced Balazs, the younger son of one of Hungary's most celebrated young classical actors Sandor Szabo, greatly. Balázs and his family fled the country separately during the 1956 Revolution and were reunited in America. He has written a historical memoir about his dramatic escape from Hungary "A Knock In the Night."
Balázs Szabo's career, first in commercial art and later in fine art, has taken him all over the United States from Hawaii to Connecticut. While the artist currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina, his experience of living under communist oppression resonates with many different ethnic groups who have shared similar circumstances. It is this perspective and his childhood, spent in the midst of artists and actors, that give him a unique vision of the world.
At the age of 23, Balázs was commissioned to paint a portrait of McDonald's hamburger king Ray Kroc. Along with portraits, he has done numerous murals in public buildings and businesses from coast to coast. His works are in museum, corporate and private collections. Balázs paints in a variety of styles, but is known in particular for his "fantastic realism" style, which draws its inspiration from the Flemish master of the 15th century, Hieronymous Bosch and the Surrealists Salvatore Dali and Max Ernst. His true love is Surrealism. "It is my music. It's more expressive, intellectual and emotional." It's "my personal poetry," he says.
His father, Sándor Szabó, who learned English within a year, became the best known actor of Hungarian descent on Broadway and went on to a prolific career in film and television. His book "Országom, Visszanyertem én..." chronicles his escape from Hungary in 1956 and his life in New York and Hollywood. See his filmography on IMDB.
Balazs joined AHF in May 2006. To help AHF with fundraising, he donated his memoir as well as his award-winning artbook featuring a 3-D, gold plated cover, "The Eye of Muse" for the AHF May Gala in Washington on May 20th. We honored to have him with us! Visit his official site and order "The Eye of Muse" or commission his work on www.balazsart.com.
He also published a book entitled, "Knock in the Night." [Read more] or buy now on the AHF Amazon Store!
AHF's Tako Geza Award winner, Dr. Stephen Szilagyi, founded SARA, "Sharing America's Resources Abroad. SARA is a Christian ministry offering medical assistance to improve lives around the world.From humble beginnings, SARA has distributed millions of dollars in medical supplies, services, and medical care, establishing a network of doctors and suppliers ready to assist the needy.
[Read more] about his book "Habakkuk to SARA: A memoir of the Reverend Stephen Szilagyi and his Founding of the SARA Ministry."
Dr. Emery Imre Toth is the last surviving Secretary of the Revolutionary Committee for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Imre Nagy Government. Dr. Toth served as Co-President of AHF from 2005-2006. He is a Motion Picture/Video Producer-Director with national and international reputation. Produced over 250 documentary and feature film projects. He received 38 National and International Awards for Excellence and is a Lifetime and Honorary Member of the CINE International Film Festival's Board of Directors. His recent notable production was for the 60th Anniversary of the Holocaust entitled “Passport to Life.” The Hungarian Embassy featured it as a premier showing for the occasion of the anniversary. He and his wife Zsuzsa Kiss-Toth produced a mini-documentary for AHF on the 1956 Hungarian Revolution shown in US Congress and across the country.
On October 25, 2005, Dr. Toth received the Golden Diploma from the Eõtvös Lorand University in honor of his work and 50 years of professional excellence. / Az Eõtvös Lorand Tudományegyetem Tanacsa ARANY DIPLOMA-t adomanyozott Dr. Emery Toth Imre Urnak, 50 even at kifejtett ertekes szakmai tevekenysegenek elismeresekent.
Professor Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek has published much in the area of comparative literature and cultural studies and has taught both in Canada and a number of countries around the world. He taught comparative literature at the University of Alberta 1984-2000. Residing in Boston since 2000, he teaches media and communication studies at the University of Halle-Wittenberg and literature at National Sun Yat-sen University. Tötösy is editor of the Purdue UP humanities and social sciences quarterly CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/clcweb and series editor of the Purdue UP monograph series of Books in Comparative Cultural Studies. [Read more] and see his numerous works.
Liz (Szabo) Vos
The William Penn Association founded on February 21, 1886, is the largest, wealthiest and most successful of all the Hungarian American fraternal organizations. It's former Chairman of the Board is AHF President ex-officio Stephen J. Varga and the National President is George S. Charles, Jr. The William Penn Association was founded in Hazelton, Pennsylvania, by thirteen Hungarian coal miners. It was chartered by the State of Pennsylvania in December of that same year under the name “Verhovay Aid Association.” The goal of the founders was to extend a helping hand to each other and to the many Hungarian immigrants who worked and suffered in the mines and industrial centers of America at a period in its history when insurance of any sort was still in the faraway future. With no sick benefits, no unemployment compensation, and no death benefits for their families, and with the immigrants being maimed and killed by the thousands in the ever-recurring industrial accidents, they had no other recourse but to turn to each other for help. This is how fraternalism was born in America, and these are the same conditions that prompted the thirteen founders to establish the Verhovay Aid Association.
After nearly four decades of growth, and with well over three hundred chapters throughout the northeastern states, in 1926 the Home Office was moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. By this time the Verhovay had grown into the largest, wealthiest and most successful of all the Hungarian American fraternal organizations. After numerous mergers, the name of the joint organization was changed to “William Penn Association” in 1972. [READ MORE about the WPA ]
Featured members are selected at random. AHF members come from all walks of life and from different religious and political backgrounds. They join AHF because they believe in working together for common causes and on issues that unite, not divide. This page provides the public a small glimpse at the broad cross section of the community AHF represents. AHF is an all-volunteer, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) non-profit educational and charitable organziation serving the community since 1906! Join and Support Us!
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