In Memoriam: George (György) K. Haydu
11/15/2005 - 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.
With the Soviet crackdown on the ill-fated Hungarian Revolution, George Haydu was commissioned by the Governor of New Jersey in October 1956 as the civilian Commander of the Hungarian Refugee installation at Camp Kilmer, NJ. George Haydu and Ambassador Bang Jensen, a diplomat accredited to the United Nations from Belgium, received death treats from the Hungarian Secret Police if they went ahead with testimonies about the atrocities of the Soviets and Hungarian Stalinist Communists in Hungary. Both refused to comply. Ambassador Jensen was shot to death in New York's Central Park, but Haydu continued to lead anti-Kadar demonstrations in New York City in response to the execution of Prime Minister Imre Nagy, General Paul Maleter and others. Haydu was eventually shot in the leg at the October 1957 "Loyalty Parade" in New York City. An affidavit reads:
1957 Loyalty Parade in October was led by Mr. Haydu as the "Marshal"
down Fifth Avenue, NY City. FBI insisted that he must wear bullet proof
clothing. My husband an I helped him dress. Approximately 1/2 million
people lined the parade. Shot was fired from the crowd at Mr. Haydu. -
the bullet hit right above the knee - special clothing helped - and prevented
serious injury. Someone threw a bottle with gasoline and hit him on the
right hand and it did give him a nasty burn. He never stopped and keep
leading the parade" - witness and Haydu's secretary, Ms. Ann Hegedus.
George Haydu's leadership and humanitarian spirit helped to establish several Institutions in Hungary. Among them were: The Samuel Tessedik Birth Center in Godollo, for abandoned Wives and other women; The Learning Disabled Children's School in Budapest; The Children's Leukemia Research Institute in the University of Debrecen; the Pazmany Peter Catholic University; and the Gaspar Karoly University of the Reformed Church. He worked with the Federation and community leaders to send tractors to Transylvania to support small Hungarian farms losing land to Rumanian conglomerates.
In 1960 Haydu's mother was seriously ill in Hungary. Because he exposed himself with his anti-Kadar activities, his friends warned him not to return to see his mother. In spite of the warning, he entered into Hungary. After seeing his mother he went to the US Embassy, to meet with Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty, who received refuge in the American Embassy, in Budapest. Mindszenty in this occasion gave to George his cherished Cross. His last will passed the cross to his close friend Alfonz Lengyel who plans send it to the Museum in Hungary after his death.
His memoirs entitled "The Humanitarian: The George K. Haydu Story," were recently published. His humanitarianism brought the Dalai Lama to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize. May God give blessing and comfort for his soul! Special thanks for the contribution of his "brother" Dr. Alfonz Lengyel, RPA.
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