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Wed, 14 Oct 2015 18:59:32 EDT by webmaster, 21609 views
Cultural Studies paper by Lázár, George (all papers)
The “Forgotten Generation” - Hungarian refugees in the US 1960-1989
Following the 1956 Revolution forty thousand Hungarian refugees were admitted to the United States in a relatively short period of time. This immigration wave was well organized and supported by the US authorities.
After the brutal suppression of the revolution, Hungary was ruled by the Communist Kádár-regime for several decades. Travel to West was severely limited and only a couple of hundred refugees arrived to the US in this time period, spanning from the 1960s thru 1989, the collapse of Hungary’s Socialist system.
As one of those who left Hungary illegally in this period, I explore why this generation of immigrants is different. How do they see Hungary differently than the 56-ers? I call them the “Forgotten Generation” of Hungarian-American immigrants.
Although refugees of this period were generally better educated than previous immigrant groups, they received less or no US support for resettlement. Many of them felt neglected or sometimes misunderstood by the Hungarian-American community and they harbored conflicted feelings about the Kádár-regime. They had to fight various additional obstacles, among them, Socialist Hungary’s ongoing legal and political maneuvers to convince (or force) them to return to Hungary.
Little research has been done about the Hungarian immigration of this period, and although the number of refugees in this period is much smaller than after 1956, their story and struggles deserve attention.
Brief Professional Bio:
After receiving degrees in Engineering and Economy, György Lázár came to the US in 1980 on a UNESCO fellowship to complete his Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina. He later moved to California’s Silicon Valley and spent the next decades in high-tech consulting. After his retirement he became a contributor to several Hungarian and English language publications. His pieces appear in Élet és Irodalom in Hungarian and at the Hungarian Free Press in English. In the past, he also contributed to galamus.hu and New York based Amerikai Magyar Népszava. He and his wife enjoy spending time in Hungary.