Spirit of Hungary Memorial Chapel Activities Directions Kossuth 1956 HAN: Events HAL: UNICUM
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   Alba Regia Chapel

Whenever a people forgets it worthy past, the day will come when it will no have a past worth remembering

Enter our threshold with calm and tranquil spirit ...
(From a Székely Kapu)

2017 November 22 (Szerda) - Cecília névnapja Search for:

REVIEW OF ACTIVITIES

The founder and first chairman of our federation, General Lajos Dalnoki Veress, was not only an outstanding and unforgettable soldier but inspite of his age a tireless organizer and a humble leader, displaying exemplary manners as well. All of our compatriots who rallied around him took their task most seriously and in the spirit of 1956 did their best for their suppressed nation and their follow refugees.

The members of the board and its volunteers have been working without financial compensation since the establishment of the organization. The first step was to publish a monthly, bulletin, "Szabadságharcos" (Freedom Fighter), the issues of which disseminated information on events of common interest and on matters vitally important for immigrants without an membership or subscription commitments. We have studied the opportunities offered by our now homeland, have established a wide range of contacts so that the needy would have access to jobs, living quarters, equipment, registration, and work permits, education to enable them to pass special exams, deepen their knowledge of the language, receive medical assistance and hospital care, and be-reunited with their families. Thus it is practically impossible to enumerate all of the ways in which we offered to assist them as effectively as possible. Moreover, we have taken care of their cultural needs as well. Several times each year we have arranged for Hungarian actors to make appearances, organized theater performances, scientific lectures, literary presentations, concerts, art and folklore exhibitions, Hungarian food shows, community dinners, and 28 Hungarian Balls. We have established and conducted a kindergarten and a school; we have arranged particular children's performances; we have broad- cast special Christmas programs in Hungarian on Channels 7 and 20 for many years; and for more than 16 years we have regularly invited our compatriots, mostly those living alone, to monthly Hungarian lunches and teas and other programs - in winter time in Washington. and in the summer at Berkeley Springs.

Each year over the past two and a half decades we have laid a wreath at the Tomb of the 'Unknown in Arlington National Cemetery to commemorate those many unknown Hungarians who have sacrificed their lives for their new homeland. On the anniversary of the 1956 Revolution we have expressed our gratitude and presented awards to our supporters who had rendered an unselfish service to our Hungarian homeland and to our people. We were among the first to introduce to American public forums the courageous political representatives of Hungary's opposition movements.

Within governmental circles we have expressed our protests on those occasions when our homeland was portrayed in an unfair or unjust way. We have raised our voices for those imprisoned and prosecuted by the communist dictatorship. We had focused public attention on the glaring policies of the Kadar regime, the anticipated serious material consequences of the so-called "gulyas" communism. We have made available to governmental archives substantial written documentation for the next generations to study.

Finally, we have raised funds through the proceeds from our programs to build the first Hungarian Memorial Chapel in the world -Alba Regia - wherein eleven centuries. of Hungarian history are reflected from the walls. On the 25th anniversary of our fight for freedom, we carved into stone the names of prominent Hungarians who were prosecuted for their political convictions, race or religion, along with those who had served in the military during World War II. In our family cemetery, many compatriots from Europe and from distant countries have found peace and rest. As an American journalist once described them, they are the "unbelievable faithful." It is here that we greet our visitors, the pilgrims, from spring to autumn.

During the past thirty years the world and life in America, as well as we ourselves, have undergone substantial changes. Congregating together in one place - so typical for immigrants - has become less characteristic, in fact, even families have been dispersed. The Newsletter of the Freedom Fighters Federation has also undergone change to being a "Calendar of Events." Nowadays our compatriots turn to lawyers to obtain assistance with residence permits, citizenships, and family unification cases. Insurance companies and county social workers handle hospital treatment, medical assistance and homes for the elderly. The latest arrival of political immigrants from Europe has been overseen by the federal authorities and aided by state grants. The exchange of professional experiences between universities, research institutions and businesses is now proceeding freely and unhindered. Hungarians seeking employment here have found. it more difficult to obtain entry permits, and they have signed contracts compelling them to eventually leave the country upon completion of their work. We have found it more appropriate to limit our activities to that of assisting with interpreting and offering advice. Our activities have always and will continue to reflect the aims of our federation, which the authorities have not only recognized but have also requested and anticipated our cooperation. Our workload has not diminished ever since, and our office is called upon by elderly and young people alike.

We were very pleased to see the changes in our original homeland under the new political atmosphere. We were among the very first to send thousands of books on scientific and general subjects to Hungary. In the interest of improving medical care, we arranged to have technical equipment which was used by a NATO hospital in Germany to be shipped for installation in Hungary. We were instrumental in offering to many Hungarian hospitals and scientific research centers useful advice about potential sources of American aid and about key medical personnel to contact., We have urged our compatriots to contribute to the reconstruction of kindergartens, schools, and churches in Hungary. In our Newsletter we have also published the addresses to which such contributions could be directed.

Our cultural presentations, exhibitions, concerts, etc. have now become less visible. On the one hand, this situation is caused by the increasing age of the members of our community, by the longer distances members have to travel, by the lack of interest and Hungarian language skills within the new generation, but more basically it is due to the fact that the organizational expenses of our programs are not sufficiently covered by the contributions .from the diminishing participants. Only the future will show whether the new generations will be able to preserve and cherish the feeling of Hungarian pride in the community of our new homeland. To the extent to which the members of our federation work toward our goals, we will continue to give assistance, both here and in the land of our. birth, hoping that our nation, still tottering after four decades of planned moral and material destruction will be able to recover.

We plan to continue conducting religious services and to hold outdoor feasts at our Mt. Tabor setting near Berkeley Springs, W. Va.. on the second Sunday of each month from May through October; also offering our Hungarian specialty luncheons in Washington on the second Sundays from November to April. Our Chapel and surrounding facilities are still available to visiting groups and auto bus tours as a point of unique interest, arranged through advance scheduling.

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