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Looking Back: AHF History Since 1906

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"In the Beginning" - Unity Between the Nations
by Bryan Dawson

In 1906, led by its first President Kohanyi Tihamer, AHF raised the George Washington Statue in Budapest's City Park (Város Liget) as a symbol of unityIn 1902 a movement started to build a Kossuth statue in Cleveland spearheaded by the "Szabadság" Hungarian language newspaper and its editor Kohányi Tihamér. The needed funds were raised within few short weeks. Some 60,000 people attended the As seen today - In 1906, led by its first President Kohanyi Tihamer, AHF raised the George Washington Statue in Budapest's City Park (Város Liget) as a symbol of unityunveiling, but there were no representatives from Hungary.

As a sign of unity between the nations, Hungarian-American leaders conceived an idea to place a statue of George Washington in Budapest.

The newly established AHF and its "Statue Committee" was organized and construction began on a site in Budapest's beautiful City Park (Város Liget). In 1906, several hundred Hungarian-Americans traveled to Hungary for the unveiling led by AHF's first President, Kohányi Tihamér. [read more]


In 1906, several hundred Hungarian-Americans and over 30,000 Hungarians attended the unveiling on September 16th led by AHF's first President, Kohányi Tihamér.Tihamér Kohányi - (1863 - 1913)
AHF's First President -
edited by Bryan Dawson

Tihamér Kohányi was born in 1863 in Saros, Hungary. He became an outstanding figure in the establishment of several major Hungarian-American institutions, among them the Szabadság, which became the largest Hungarian daily in the United States and the American Hungarian Federation. After a try in the legal profession, Kohányi departed for the United States in 1890 at the age of twenty-seven. At the time of his departure, he wrote:

I left [for America with light heart and baggage, with the strong conviction--on the basis of what I had heard from many-that no one has ever died of hunger in America. [read more]


"Justice for Hungary" - an Historic Transatlantic Flight
by Bryan Dawson

July, 1931, newspapers all over the world reported on the front page that two Hungarian pilots, Alexander Magyar and George Endresz, had crossed the Atlantic Ocean from the United States to Hungary in a Lockheed-Sirius airplane named "Justice for Hungary."July, 1931, newspapers all over the world reported on the front page that two Hungarian pilots, Alexander Magyar and George Endresz (Endres), had crossed the Atlantic Ocean from the United States to Hungary in a Lockheed-Sirius airplane named "Justice for Hungary." The flight was intended to call attention to the dismemberment of Hungary after World War I. It was a spectacular success. the first time that an airplane crossing the ocean had radio contact both with the starting and landing aerodromes.On July 15, 1931, the trans-Oceanic flight left Harbor-Grace for Budapest on a non-stop flight of twenty-six hours. The historic flight took 26 hours and 20 minutes (Charles Lindbergh's flight in 1927 took six hours longer) and marked the first time that an airplane crossing the ocean had radio contact both with the starting and landing aerodromes. It was also the first time such a flight was used for political purposes. The pilots were received as heroes in Budapest.

Where did this idea come from? [read more]


Dr. Tibor Eckhardt, the head of the Independent Smallholders Party of Hungary was selected by the Hungarian leadership to travel to the United States where he was highly regarded to head the effort. His stated purpose was “to bring over, at the earliest opportunity, Hungary and her armed forces to the Allied side and…to continue the fight against Nazism which had become impossible in Hungary.”AHF, Tibor Eckhardt, and the "Movement for Independent Hungary," 1941 - 1942: Seeking to extract Hungary from the Axis sphere - by Bryan Dawson and Katalin Kádár Lynn, Ph.D.

On the 31st of December 1940, the Amerikai Magyar Népszava, the most influential Hungarian language daily at the time, published a front-page editorial headlined “The Hour has Struck.” The editorial proclaimed that it was the “the historic mission of Americans of Hungarian origin to give voice to the cries of the silenced people of Hungary and to give their whole hearted effort to the liberation of their mother country which is clubbed into submission by the Nazi terror.”

The editorial called upon the American Hungarian Federation to unfurl the banner of a Free Hungary Movement without hesitation or delay. In January 1941 AHF 's Executive Committee sent a letter to President Roosevelt expressing the loyalty of the Hungarian-American populace and proclaiming,“The Executive Committee of the [AHF] as representative of the American citizens of Hungarian origin…consider it our sacred duty to lead a movement for the preservation of an independent Hungary for the freedom of it’s people.” [read more]


In 1945, Hungarian-Americans organized large-scale relief programs to help alleviate the sufferings of their countrymen in war-ravaged Hungary. The American Hungarian Relief Program, under the auspices of the American Hungarian Federation, collected and sent $1,216,167.00 in clothing, medicine, foodstuffs and money. In all, 200,000 care packages were sent by countless local and national groups. The greatest benefactors of the movement were: Mrs. László Széchényi (née Gladys Vanderbilt), Lajos Szánthó, president of the Virginia Kentucky Tobacco Company and Daniel Szantay, president of the Santay Corporation. Total estimated costs of the relief program exceeded three million dollars.WWII and the American Hungarian Relief Program... According to estimates, 50,000 Hungarian-Americans served in the U.S. military during the Second World War. The newspapaper Szabadság (Liberty) commemorated the Hungarian-American dead by printing their name, rank and state of origin in a separate column on the front page of each issue. On the basis of this documentation alone, an average of 150 Hungarians died each month in 1945 alone. By all calculations, this is a conservative estimate.The American Hungarian Relief Program, under the auspices of the American Hungarian Federation, collected and sent $1,216,167.00 (over $10.7 million in today's dollars) in clothing, medicine, foodstuffs and money. In all, 200,000 care packages were sent by countless local and national groups. Total estimated costs of the relief program exceeded three million dollars. [read more]


Time Magazine's Man of the Year: The Hungarian Freedom FighterAHF and the 1956 Hungarian Revolution by Bryan Dawson...

Hungary's 1956 Revolution marked the first tear in the Iron Curtain. Hungarians from all walks of life rose up against the mighty Soviet Union in a desperate fight for freedom. Thousands died, many othes tortured and jailed, 200,000 would flee, bringing untold talents to the shores of many nations, some 38,000 coming to the U.S.

AHF, member organizations and the entire community sprung into action. Building on its experience during WWII, AHF activated its second Hungarian Relief Program, raising over $525,000 and,working closely with the International Relief Committee, found beds and supplies to aid in the resettlement effort. At Madison Square Garden 10,000 people gathered to raise one million dollars for Hungarian relief. [read more]


The American Hungarian Federation commisioned a bronze bust of Lajos Kossuth and presented it to U.S. Congress.The Kossuth Bust in the United States Capitol by Bryan Dawson...

"The spirit of our age is Democracy. All for the  people and all by the people. Nothing about the people, without the people. That is Democracy, and that is the ruling tendency of the spirit of our age." - Louis Kossuth, spoken before the Ohio State Legislature, February 16, 1852, more than a decade before Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

The American Hungarian Federation commisioned a bronze bust of Lajos Kossuth and presented it to U.S. Congress. The dedication ceremony took place on March 15, 1990, Hungarian National Day, under the magnificent dome of the Capitol Rotunda. The bust is one of only two honoring non-Americans in the Capitol. The base reads, "Louis Kossuth, Father of Hungarian Democracy." The American Hungarian Federation commisioned a bronze bust of Lajos Kossuth and presented it to U.S. Congress. The dedication ceremony took place on  March 15, 1990, Hungarian National Day, under the magnificent dome of the Capitol Rotunda. The bust is one of only two honoring non-Americans in the  Capitol.  The base reads, "Louis Kossuth, Father of Hungarian Democracy." [read more]


A Most Painful Division... Although brother and sister have lived in the same village all their lives, Maria Ivan and her brother, Arpad, have been able to hug each other only twice in the past 53 years. As a result of a post-World War II treaty, a barbed wire fence marking borders has divided them.AHF and the Divided Village of Szelmenc: "A kettévágott falu" by Bryan Dawson...

A Most Painful Division... Although brother and sister have lived in the same village all their lives, Maria Ivan and her brother, Arpad, have been able to hug each other only twice in the past 53 years. As a result of a post-World War II treaty, a barbed wire fence marking borders has divided them.

Szelmenc (called Solontsi in Ukrainian and Velke Slemence in Slovak) is found near where the Ukrainian, Slovakian and Hungarian borders meet. After WWII, the Soviets took this part along with half of the village for themselves. The other half was given to Czechslovakia. With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the Soviet part became part of Ukraine. [read more]


The Szabadka Initiative (MÁÉRT) by Bryan Dawson

Vojvodina was part of Hungary since 896 AD and was awarded to the newly formed Yugoslavia by the French in the "Treaty" of Trianon in 1920 when Hungary lost 2/3 of her territory and 1/3 of her Hungarian population.AHF attended this historic meeting and signed a joint declaration by ethnic Hungarian political parties and human rights organizations from successor atates in an appeal to the Hungarian Government for more coherent support, coordinated planning, and dual citizenship. AHF was among fifteen organizations from Europe, North America, and Latin America that met January 5-6, 2005 in Szabadka (Subotica) in the Vajdaság (Vojvodina), a formerly autonomous region in Serbia-Montenegro, and joined forces to persuade the Hungarian Government to coordinate with them efforts aimed at assisting ethnic Hungarians living as national minorities in Rumania, Slovakia, Serbia- Montenegro, Ukraine, Croatia, and Slovenia. The meeting marked the first time ethnic Hungarian political organizations met independently of the Hungarian government. [read more]


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The 1907 Kohányi Szózat (Appeal)

“Amerika egy millió magyarja, nemcsak hogy követeljük, de keresztül is visszük azt, hogy Magyarország népének ugyanabban a szabadságban, ugyanabban az igazságban, ugyanabban a jólétben legyen resze, mint amely szabadság, igazság, es jólét abban az Amerikában van amelynek lakósai, polgárai vagyunk.”

“We, America’s 1 million Hungarians, do not just demand, but will work to ensure that the people of Hungary may partake in the same freedom, the same justice, the same prosperity as we, citizens of America, partake.”
- Kohanyi Tihamer, AHF President, 1907

AHF's 100 YEARS
CONGRESSIONAL DISPLAY

(by Bryan Dawson: click on each
image for a larger version)

AHF 100 YEARS DISPLAY: AHF in the Beginning
AHF in the Beginning:
1906 and Budapest's
George Washington Memorial
[read more]

AHF 100 YEARS DISPLAY: AHF and the 'Justice for Hungary' movement
AHF and the "Justice for
Hungary" movement calling
attention to the tragedy of Trianon
[read more]

AHF 100 YEARS DISPLAY: AHF, Tibor Eckhardt, and the 'Free Hungary Movement'
AHF, Tibor Eckhardt, and
the "Free Hungary Movement"
seeking to extract Hungary
from the Axis sphere
[read more]

AHF 100 YEARS DISPLAY: AHF Honoring our Heroes at the Arlington National Cemetery
AHF Honoring our
Heroes at the Arlington
National Cemetery
[read more]

AHF 100 YEARS DISPLAY: AHF and the Kossuth Bust in the US Capitol
AHF and the Kossuth
Bust in the US Capitol
[read more]

AHF 100 YEARS DISPLAY: AHF as a watchdog for human rights in Rumania
AHF as a watchdog for
human rights in Rumania
[read more]

AHF 100 YEARS DISPLAY: AHF as a watchdog for human rights in Vojvodina and the MAERT movement
AHF as a watchdog for
human rights in Vojvodina
and the MÁÉRT movement
[read more]

AHF 100 YEARS DISPLAY: AHF as a watchdog for human rights in Carpatho-Ukraine: The Divided Village of Szelmenc
AHF as a watchdog for
human rights in Carpatho-Ukraine:
The Divided Village of Szelmenc
[read more]

AHF 100 YEARS DISPLAY: AHF relief efforts during WWII
AHF relief efforts during WWII
[Read More]

AHF 100 YEARS DISPLAY: AHF relief efforts during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution
AHF relief efforts during
the 1956 Hungarian Revolution
[read more]


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