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Remembering the 55th Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution

AHF Honors the 55th Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian RevolutionCongressman Andy Harris (R-Md) honors heroes of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and Fight for Freedom and enters to The American Hungarian Federation's commemorative statement into the Congressional Record10/19/2011 - 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, which was implemented by the secretary of the Central Committee, Nicolae Ceausescu. The university has yet to be restored.

(Extensions of Remarks - October 18, 2011)

[Page: E1892]


  • Mr. HARRIS. Mr. Speaker, the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was not only a culmination of Hungary's struggle for freedom, democracy and independence, but also presaged the collapse of the Soviet Empire. Indeed, the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and Fight for Freedom 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. Many died fighting, others were tortured and executed, while 200,000 were forced to flee. 2011 marks the 55th anniversary of that historical chain of events.

  • The American Hungarian Federation, founded over 100 years ago and the oldest and largest umbrella Hungarian American organization in the United States, honors those whose enormous sacrifice seemed futile 55 years ago but that today is universally recognized as having contributed to the ultimate demise of Soviet domination of central and eastern Europe and the restoration of freedom and independence in Hungary and the region.

  • We must never forget the heroes of 1956--the students, the intellectuals, the workers, the farmers and the cross-section of the entire Hungarian nation--who knew exactly what they wanted 55 years ago and were prepared to realize their dreams at great personal sacrifice. They fought and died for freedom, a multi-party democracy and independence from the Soviet Union.

  • Two of our great presidents, among many others who cherish freedom and the courage to struggle for it, remembered the Hungarian Revolution as follows:

  • ``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 Hungarian Revolution.

  • ``The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was a true revolution of, by and for the people. Its motivations were humanity's universal longings to live, worship, and work in peace and to determine one's own destiny. The Hungarian Revolution forever gave the lie to communism's claim to represent the people, and told the world that brave hearts still exist to challenge injustice.''--Excerpt from Ronald Reagan's Presidential Proclamation issued on October 20, 1986.

  • We also recall the impact the massive Soviet invasion had on the Hungarian communities in states neighboring Hungary. One consequence was the solidly Stalinist Romanian government's virtual liquidation of the Hungarian-language Bolyai University in Romania, which was implemented by the secretary of the Central Committee, Nicolae Ceausescu. Five years ago Nobel Laureates and Wolf Prize Laureates, including Elie Wiesel and George Olah, and 69 other internationally acclaimed scholars called upon Romania to take ``immediate steps'' to ``re-establish the public Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca/Kolozsvar.'' The university has yet to be restored.

  • Another victim of communism was Janos Esterhazy, who despite being the only member of Slovakia's parliament to vote against the deportation of Jews in 1942, nevertheless died in a Czechoslovak prison in 1957. While Russia has done so, Slovakia has yet to exonerate him.

  • Righting wrongs against Hungarian minorities (e.g., the Esterhazy case and the Bolyai University matter) that extend back to the Cold War period and respecting the rights of such minorities would be a fitting commemoration of 1956 and a tribute to the memory of thousands of unsung heroes who did not compromise but sacrificed their lives for the cause of liberty fifty-five years ago. Moreover, in order to strengthen democracy and safeguard freedoms throughout the region, today's generation--the beneficiary of the restored freedoms following the demise of communism--must be vigilant and guard against the curtailment of democracy and infringement of fundamental human rights and Western standards relating to minority rights.

  • Consistent with its practice of fifty-five years, the American Hungarian Federation is committed to keep the memory of the heroes of 1956 alive. As we contemplate the promise of Hungary 1956, we are reminded that that promise must never be forgotten or abandoned, as the heroes of 1956 deserve nothing less.

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AHF is pursuing resolutions commemorating the 1956 Hungarian Revolution in Congress and State Legislatures! In honor of the Revolution's 50th Anniverary, 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 and congratulated the American Hungarian Federation on its 100th anniversary. Ohio, Colorado, Maryland, and Virginia followed with other states. AHF continues efforts to ensure our heroes are not forgotten.
Join us and help!

Go to [ALL 1956 Resolutions]

Go to [ALL 1956 News]

[< back to all AHF news]

In Memoriam

George Haydu's Memoir11/15/2005 - 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]

Pongratz5/19/2005 - Gergely "Bajusz" Pongratz, a leader and hero of Hungary's anti-communist revolution of 1956, has died at age 73.

Pongratz suffered a heart attack on Wednesday in the southern Hungarian town of Kiskunmajsa where he lived, said Dezso Abraham, secretary general of the World Council of Hungarian 56ers revolutionary veterans group. During the revolution, Pongratz was commander of one of the key resistance groups fighting the Soviet army. [read more].

Szeredas12/10/2004 - JENO SZEREDAS, 90, Hungarian Freedom Fighter Federation Founder, AHF Member, and Noted Artist Dies...

Jeno Andras Szeredas, Hungarian political activist and Senator, 1956 Freedom Fighter, Founder of the Freedom Fighters Federation in the United States, poet and artist of rare talent died quietly in his sleep at his daughter's home in Connecticut on November 30. He had just celebrated his 90th birthday.

Born in Iglo, Hungary (now Slovakia) in 1914, Mr. Szeredas was both witness to and active participant in the turmoil sweeping over Europe for the balance of the 20th century. [more]


  • The American Hungarian Federation is helping to coordinate events across the country and planning a year of events in Washington DC that started in October, 2005! Join Us! Also see our new 1956 Portal - www.hungary1956.com
  • The 1956 Institute, headed by Dr. Janos Reiner, is a great site devoted to exploring the 1956 Hungarian Revolution in English and Hungarian.
  • www.celebratingfreedom1956.org - The Cleveland Hungarian Revolution 50th Anniversary Committee (CHR50) is organizing a major observance event of this important historical milestone on October 21st and 22nd, 2006 in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Magyar Radio Online - includes many audio files and an analysis in Hungarian: "Ki húzta meg a ravaszt eloször 1956. október 23-án?" "Who was the first to pull the trigger?"
  • Time MagazineTime Magazine gave Hungarian Freedom Fighters the title "Man of the Year" on July 1, 1957. "The Freedom Fighters filled the empty bottles with gasoline and corked them with table napkins, making what they called 'benzine flashes."
  • www.FamousHungarians.com - offers information on 1956, the 1956 Olympics, the popular "Nobel Prize Winners and Famous Hungarians," resources on Trianon, Transylvania, History, Music, and more.
  • Wikipedia - the free, online encyclopedia that allows readers to manage its content!
  • The 1956 Institute in Hungary (1956-os Intézet)
  • The 1956 Hungarian Revolution Historical Documentation and Research Foundation in Hungary - a source for thousands of photographs from the period
  • The National Security Archive at The George Washington University provides a wealth of information on the 1956 Revolution available for download in PDF.
  • The 1956 Hungarian Revolution - a short chronology of events with pictures
  • Pal Maleter on Wikipedia - the military leader of the Hungarian Revolution
  • www.sulinet.hu has as site that transcribed many of the various speeches given before, during, and after the revolution - a fascinating chronology from Nagy to Mindszenty. (Hungarian)
  • Az 1956-os Magyar Forradalom igaz története - in Hungarian. "What the history books left out." Published by the 1956 World Federation.
  • Az 1956-os forradalom története Esztergomban - The Revolution in Esztergom (in Hungarian)
  • Arcok és sorsok - a great site with photos and biographies of some 1956 Freedom Fighters
  • Nagy Imre október 23-án: Nagy Imre október 23-án eleinte hallani sem akart arról, hogy a Parlamentbe menjen és szóljon a tömeghez. Ám mégis megtette. Döbbenetet érezhetett, amikor lenézett a Parlament ablakából, s akkor is, amikor kifütyülték az „elvtárs” megszólítást. Beszéde az alant álló ismeretlen erovel szembeni aggodalmát és szorongását mutatja.

  • The Hungarian Revolution - Uprising, Budapest 1956: A synoptic treatise of a major political event of the 20th Century, a historically tragic period in the life of a nation commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Revolution and the fallen brave By: Attila J. Ürményházi (Hobart, Tasmania) and edited by
    Bryan Dawson-Szilágyi [download]
  • US Postal Service 1956 Petition

Memorials Dedicated to 1956

"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."- President John F. Kennedy,
on the first anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution.

  • Denver, Colorado - statue and "Hungarian Freedom Park"
  • Toronto, Ont - statue and park
  • Erie, PA - Memorial and square (Thanks to v. Juhasz Ferenc, AHF, VP)
  • Bridgeport - Statue
  • Fairfield, CT - Memorial plaque in Town Hall (2003)
  • Berkeley Springs, WV - plaque, cemetery, and church (TX to Mrs. 'Sally' Gyorik, Ft Vitez Baan OFP)
  • Boston, Mass - Liberty Square statue and square by George Hollosy
  • Los Angeles, CA - statue by Arpad Domjan (1966)
    (TX to Czene Ferenc and LA Hungarians)
  • New York - Plaque at East River/92d Str
  • Passaic, NJ - statue
  • Lorantffy House, Akron, Ohio 1956 - Plaque
  • North Olmstead , Ohio - Plaque and cemetery (Thanks to Dobolyi Arpad & Juhasz Ferenc AHF VP)
  • New Orleans, LA - plaque
  • Loraine, Ohio - Statue under construction
  • Miami, Fl - First Hungarian Church Stained Glass Windows
  • Camp Kilmer - plaque now in New Brunswick, New Jersey
  • Cleveland, Ohio - Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty statue and square
  • New Brunswick, NJ - Mindszenty statue and square
  • Miami - Mindszenty Str. (27th Str) NW (TX to Tarr Sandor, Honorary Consul)
  • Budapest - statue/plaque at the Chain bridge in Buda by Ocsay Karoly
  • Korvin koz - statue of the young freedom fighter
  • Eger - Memorial to 1956
  • Budapest, Prime Minister Imre Nagy Gravsite and Memorial
  • Budapest, Szena Ter
  • Budapest, II kerulet; Manheimer Statue
  • Budapest, XIII kerulet: Park of Statues: granite obelisk
  • Budapest, XIII kerulet: Park of Statues: Plaque of the martyrs (2000 Oct. 23)

Hungarian Freedom Park in Denver Colorado and its memorial to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution

The 1956 memorial in Toronto, Canada

Gyuri Hollosi's memorial to 1956 in Boston's Liberty Square






AHF's Lajos Bartucz at the Passaic NJ Memorial to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution

Stained Glass memorial to 1956 at Miami's First Hungarian Church of Christ

1956 Memorial in Eger, Hungary

The 1956 Hungarian Revolution Memorial at Szena Ter in Budapest


Albert CamusAlbert Camus' Stirring Letter to the World:

"The Blood of the Hungarians"

I am not one of those who wish to see the people of Hungary take up arms again in a rising certain to be crushed, under the eyes of the nations of the world, who would spare them neither applause nor pious tears, but who would go back at one to their slippers by the fireside like a football crowd on a Sunday evening after a cup final.

There are already too many dead on the field, and we cannot be generous with any but our own blood. The blood of Hungary has re-emerged too precious to Europe and to freedom for us not to be jealous of it to the last drop.

But I am not one of those who think that there can be a compromise, even one made with resignation, even provisional, with a regime of terror which has as much right to call itself socialist as the executioners of the Inquisition had to call themselves Christians.

And on this anniversary of liberty, I hope with all my heart that the silent resistance of the people of Hungary will endure, will grow stronger, and, reinforced by all the voices which we can raise on their behalf, will induce unanimous international opinion to boycott their oppressors.

And if world opinion is too feeble or egoistical to do justice to a martyred people, and if our voices also are too weak, I hope that Hungary’s resistance will endure until the counter-revolutionary State collapses everywhere in the East under the weight of its lies and contradictions.

Hungary conquered and in chains has done more for freedom and justice than any people for twenty years. But for this lesson to get through and convince those in the West who shut their eyes and ears, it was necessary, and it can be no comfort to us, for the people of Hungary to shed so much blood which is already drying in our memories.

In Europe’s isolation today, we have only one way of being true to Hungary, and that is never to betray, among ourselves and everywhere, what the Hungarian heroes died for, never to condone, among ourselves and everywhere, even indirectly, those who killed them.

It would indeed be difficult for us to be worthy of such sacrifices. But we can try to be so, in uniting Europe at last, in forgetting our quarrels, in correcting our own errors, in increasing our creativeness, and our solidarity. We have faith that there is on the march in the world, parallel with the forces of oppression and death which are darkening our history, a force of conviction and life, an immense movement of emancipation which is culture and which is born of freedom to create and of freedom to work.

Those Hungarian workers and intellectuals, beside whom we stand today with such impotent sorrow, understood this and have made us the better understand it. That is why, if their distress is ours, their hope is ours also. In spite of their misery, their chains, their exile, they have left us a glorious heritage which we must deserve: freedom, which they did not win, but which in one single day they gave back to us. (October 23, 1957)

AHF dedicates this work
to the memory of all our comrades who passed during those faithful days of October, 1956.

- Read this in German, Hungarian, French, and Spanish on this AHF member site, the [American Hungarian Museum]

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