On October 23rd of 2016, the World remembers the 60th anniversary of Hungary´s 1956 revolt against the Soviet Communist dictatorial regime, which cast its decadelong dark shadow over Hungary and so many other countries in Eastern Europe and elsewhere. On that date through their heroic fight the oppressed people of Hungary rose to defeat the Soviet occupiers and chased the soviet forces out of the country. Victory was not lasting, however, the jubilation was brutally crushed by the returning hordes and two thousand tanks of the Soviet Army, resulting in the destruction of the country´s capital Budapest, the killing of thousands of freedom fighters and the reoccupation of the country. As a result, about two hundred thousand of Hungary´s citizens were forced to flee and risk the dangerous crossing of the barbed wire border fences and mines to free Austria and Yugoslavia. Vice President Richard M. Nixon visited the border and welcomed these refugees with open arms and promised a better life in the United States of America. He delivered. Now it is our turn.
Most refugees were processed through Austrian, US and World aid organizations, sending them to many countries who accepted them in various numbers. The United States Congress approved to settle about thirty five thousand. Transportation from Vienna to New York to Camp Kilmer and other destinations commenced immediately. Settlement of the new arrivals was highly successful, many refugees found sponsors in established Hungarian communities, such as New York, Bridgeport Connecticut, Cleveland Ohio, Detroit Michigan, Los Angeles California, on and on, the list is too long to show.
Even after the passing of sixty years, a decade over a half a century, the wounds are too deep to forget. All the hard work and success in the United States does not erase the memories of lost ones, imprisonment and torture, loss of all property and opportunity and freedom to choose an alternate way. Many of the 56ers have gone to a better place, while the survivors continue to remember. They and their offsprings promise to never forget and keep reminding the World of Hungary 1956, a decisive victory over an evil empire.
The 56ers were eager to adapt to their new life in the New Country. Their first task was to enroll in English education classes, find a home and find employment. Soon they conversed in their broken English, which to many Americans sounded just like that of Bela Lugossy, the favorite Dracula character of many films. Those with skills, scientists, doctors, engineers and skilled machinists and technicians found employment at universities and hospitals, even in the military, and began to contribute to the economy of their adopted country.
This website would like to demonstrate that immigrant Hungarians who have received the warm welcome of the United States of America, returned the favor through their talent, hard work and inventiveness.
We anticipate that many of you will find the desire to add to the hopefully long list of those who left their far distant homeland to find happiness and contentment in another.
Some outstanding 56ers and their achievements:
Hungarian americans and native americans share equally in the admiration they have for the numerous Nobel Laurates who reached the pinnacle of success in their fields of endeavor. The value of their contribution to science and industry is beyond measure.
Among these people who, by the definition made popular by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a highly recognized modern day psychologist , spent their entire life in the Flow, and created unique advancements in the fields of science, technology, the arts, we all benefited from.
The short list of leading contributors in this website shown in the introduction will give you some idea of who we are talking about:
Professor George K. Olah, a Nobel Laurate in 1994, widely known for his discoveries in carbocation Chemistry. (ex. unleaded fuel).
Dr. Antal K. Bejczy, Pioneer in Robotics Technology, founder of the field of TeleRobotics
Vilmos Zsigmond, Oscar winner among top ten most influential cinematographers in the world
Eva Szorenyi actress, highly acclaimed on stage and in cinema in both Hungary and Hollywood, a leader in the Southern California society of 56ers.
Prof. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Researcher in Psychology, creator of the Flow Theory
Edith Lauer, Leading figure in Hungarian – American relations
We 56ers, along with Hungarians and native Americans of all origins, are proud to acknowledge and present these best performers and the countless others who have significantly enriched the United States of America since their entry on US soil.
We hope that all of you are also enriched by getting to know and respect them.
If you consider yourself a 56er in deed or in spirit, please sign up and let us know who you are and what you have accomplished.
The creators of 56erhungariansinamerica.org