|Looking Back: AHF since 1906
for Hungary" - a historic flight, 1931
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. 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?
On New Year's Day, 1929, the American Hungarian Federation issued a proclamation to the "people of Magyar America" to send representatives to a grand assembly at Buffalo, New York, to establish unity, express everlasting loyalty to America, and lay down the lines along which a just revision of the Treaty of Trianon could be rendered possible. Mark Imre Major wrote: "The grand assembly met on May 29, 1929, in an optimistic but solemn mood. Fraternal organizations, the churches, and the press were well represented."1
The American Hungarian Federation obtained full support and was recognized by the United States government as the official spokesman of Hungarian-Americans.2 One of the American Hungarian Federation's first purposes was to coordinate efforts for the revision of the Treaty of Trianon and bring to the attention of politicians and lawmakers the importance of such a revision. The re-invogorated Federation would represent all Hungarians in America and fought with a united will for Hungary's sake. Hungarian Americans across the country supported the effort. Future AHF President, Dr. Arpad Barothy delivered the opening address at the 1929 Chicago Convention and diplomatically outlined the plan for the revision of the peace treaty of Trianon. He had also been appointed by the United States government to the committee for organization of the Eastern division of the Hungarian American Loyalty League.
With its new mandate, a few months later in Budapest, AHF became a founding member of the Hungarian World Alliance at the first International Congress of Hungarians whose members included representatives of Hungarian communities from many parts of the world and friends of Hungary from foreign countries. Mark Imre Major continues: "The first congress met in Budapest from August 22 to August 24, 1929 with a membership of 746 representatives of which 477 were Hungarians living abroad, and 269 were foreign friends of Hungary. Eighty-eight Hungarian associations located in foreign countries were represented.
Count Albert Apponyi, Hungary's grand old man, was elected chairman of the Congress. The Congress opened in the entrance hall of the National Museum with a welcoming speech by Baron Sigismond Perenyi, President of the Hungarian Revisionist League. Jozsika Herczeg, President of the American Hungarian Federation, in reply spoke for the foreign citizens of Hungarian origin, declaring that they had come to the mother country with a unity of feeling as regards the work of Hungarian revisionism.
The delegates of the Congress were received by the Regent. He pointed out that the mission of the Hungarians abroad was to develop their talents and abilities. While Hungarians living abroad consider themselves offshoots of the old tree, thriving on foreign soil, they should not forget that they derived their culture from the mother country which expects their support now, more than at any other time in her history. "Be," the Regent declared, "what you must be: good citizens of your new country, and good diplomats of your old fatherland".3
One of its first aims of both organizations was to unify and coordinate worldwide efforts to revise the Treaty of Trianon. They decided to call attention to the Hungarian boundary problem in the a spectacular way. Thus the "Justice for Hungary" idea was born.
Time Magazine on May 30, 1932 wrote a follow up article to their coverage of Endres and Magyar. They wrote: "From Budapest to Rome for the first congress of transocean flyers, flew Capt. George ("Yurga") Endres in the Lockheed "Justice for Hungary" which he flew from the U.S. last year. Just before the take-off, Capt. Alexander Magyar, his transatlantic flying companion with whom Capt. Endres later quarreled, withdrew from the Rome jaunt. In his place went Capt. Julius Bittay. Arrived over Littorio Airport the plane went into a sideslip, unaccountably crashed. Before the eyes of other famed airmen gathered to greet them, Flyers Endres and Bittay died in flames."4There is a memorial to the pilots in Rome.
The Endres Memorial Foundation
One of the supporters of the flight was Britain's Harold Harmsworth, Lord then 1st Viscount and Baron Rothermere, was President of the British Air Council (to manage British Air Forces in WWI) under Lloyd George. Lord Rothermere strongly supported revision of the Treaty of Trianon in favor of Hungary, to the extent that he was offered the Hungarian Crown in 1927. He declined, but purchased estates in Hungary in case Britain should fall to a Soviet invasion.5 Lord Rothermere was a newspaper tycoon and used his position to support Hungary. Time Magazine wrote in 1928: 'Viscount Rothermere,* 60, who for years has trumpeted with his Daily Mail and other blatant new organs: Restore to Hungary at least a part of her dismembered lands, which now belong to Czechoslovakia, Jugoslavia and Rumania!"6 There is a memorial to Rothermere in Budapest. Lord Rothermere offered $10,000.00 to the first pilots to successfully cross from the Americas to Hungary. His great nephew now heads the Endres Memorial Trust set up to commemorate the memory of the Hungarian aviation pioneer, György Endresz, and to further the cause of co-operation between Hungary and England. Endresz's widow moved to England, where she actively helped the Hungarian community. She died in 1990 and, in her will, offered part of her estate to a charity to be set up to foster British-Hungarian co-operation. In 1993 this charity was formed. Each year the Foundation runs a competition to select talented Hungarian English language teachers, and invite them to a brief postgraduate course in the UK. The Foundation is also involved in rebuilding schools in the Ukraine.7 AHF thanks the Endres Memorial Foundation and Cleveland Memory for some of the historic pictures seen here.
1,3 - Mark
Imre Major : American Hungarian Relations 1918-1944
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.”
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