As COVID-19 ravages Europe, Hungary’s government focuses on stripping trans people of rights

As of Thursday, there were 585 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Hungary and 21 deaths, so the Orbán government is preparing to have parliament pass legislation attacking the recognition of transgender people and their rights. Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén, the leader of the Christian Democratic People’s Party, a phantom party which survives … Continue reading “As COVID-19 ravages Europe, Hungary’s government focuses on stripping trans people of rights”

Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger’s statement on the situation in Hungary.

The Hungarian Parliament recently passed the Enabling Act to extend the Prime Minister’s power.  Viktor Orbán is using the coronavirus crisis to grab nearly unlimited power for an indefinite period. The Enabling Act brings up painful memories in Germany.  In 1933 the German Reichstag (Diet) passed a similar Enabling Act (Ermächtigungsgesetz) which enabled Hitler’s government to … Continue reading “Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger’s statement on the situation in Hungary.”

Viktor Orbán uses coronavirus pandemic to complete his dictatorship

The party state’s two-thirds majority in parliament meant that with 138 voting for and just 53 against, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has secured the right to rule by decree for an unlimited period of time, and to unilaterally suspend existing laws, ostensibly in an effort to better address the COVID-19 pandemic in Hungary. On Monday, … Continue reading “Viktor Orbán uses coronavirus pandemic to complete his dictatorship”

A letter from the Embassy of the Slovak Republic

We published a piece about Hungarian-language announcements in California that „Slovakia” was organizing a March 25 non-stop charter flight from Washington DC to Bratislava.  Stranded Hungarian citizens could also buy one-way tickets for 1,100–2,500 EUR depending on travel class and “Slovakia” would also consider charter flights from Florida and California. (Read here) The announcement also appeared … Continue reading “A letter from the Embassy of the Slovak Republic”

Stranded Hungarians may fly to Slovakia from the US

There are hundreds (possibly thousands) of stranded Hungarian citizens in the US, desperately trying to return to Budapest.  US airlines has suspended most transatlantic service and there is little hope that flights will be restored soon. In the last couple of days Hungarian-language ads have appeared saying that „Slovakia” is organizing a non-stop charter flight … Continue reading “Stranded Hungarians may fly to Slovakia from the US”

Coronavirus and irresponsible Hungarian National Holiday celebrations in New York and Los Angeles

On March 7th Hungary cancelled celebrations of the March 15 National Holiday due to the Covid-19 coronavirus.  Opposition parties, the Momentum Movement, Democratic Coalition, The Socialist Party, Párbeszéd and green party LMP – all agreed to cancel the events.  They did this “in the interest of protecting the health of attendees”.  Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony … Continue reading “Coronavirus and irresponsible Hungarian National Holiday celebrations in New York and Los Angeles”

Coronavirus, Iranian students and the Orbán regime’s friendship with the Islamic Republic

According to the Hungarian media currently there are 19 individuals infected with the coronavirus in Hungary. Nine of them are Iranians.  (Read more here in Hungarian.) How did the Iranian coronavirus arrive to Hungary?  The answer will lie in Hungary’s foreign policy and its blossoming friendship with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iranian students protest … Continue reading “Coronavirus, Iranian students and the Orbán regime’s friendship with the Islamic Republic”

Hungary declares state of emergency over coronavirus — Tourism may decline by 60 percent

There are currently 12 cases of coronavirus in Hungary. As a containment measure, the Hungarian government has cancelled all public commemorative events planned for March 15th, a national holiday marking the 1848 Revolution and War of Independence. Additionally, on Wednesday, the Orbán government declared a state of emergency — an unprecedented move since Hungary’s transition … Continue reading “Hungary declares state of emergency over coronavirus — Tourism may decline by 60 percent”

New US documentary features Orbán’s institutionalized antisemitism in Hungary

Viral: Antisemitism in Four Mutations is a new documentary film just released in theatres in the US.  The film includes segments focusing on the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, anti-Semitism in the UK Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn, anti-Semitic attacks in France and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s institutionalized anti-Semitic propaganda. The film director Andrew Goldberg says … Continue reading “New US documentary features Orbán’s institutionalized antisemitism in Hungary”

Slovakia’s election sees rise of anti-corruption party and demise of ethnic Hungarian parties

Slovakia held parliamentary elections on Saturday, February 29th and the vote was significant for two reasons. First, it brought the victory of the curiously named “Ordinary People” party (OĽaNO), which swept to power on a populist anti-corruption platform, garnering 25% of the vote. Second, for Hungarians, the election was an unhappy turning point, in that … Continue reading “Slovakia’s election sees rise of anti-corruption party and demise of ethnic Hungarian parties”

Balaton — Definitely not a cookie-cutter restaurant in Cleveland

A Menorah stood on the ornate hutch, alongside Kalocsai embroideries, Hungarian country style jugs called Miska kancsó, hurricane lamps and a framed photograph of Balaton Restaurant’s late founder, Terezia Nevery — quite an eclectic mix, but a welcome change from the dime-a-dozen family restaurant chains around my hotel on the periphery of Cleveland. I spent … Continue reading “Balaton — Definitely not a cookie-cutter restaurant in Cleveland”

American-Hungarian filmmaker Steven Bognar wins Oscar for American Factory

American Factory is a highly praised American documentary directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert. It deservedly won an Academy Award this year in the documentary film category.  The film is about a Chinese company’s takeover of an old General Motors plant near Dayton, Ohio and the struggle of the American workers trying to adjust … Continue reading “American-Hungarian filmmaker Steven Bognar wins Oscar for American Factory”

Gábor Kaleta – Hungary’s ex-consul in Los Angeles and his child porn case cover-up

Almost a year ago Ambassador Gábor Kaleta, Hungary’s top diplomat to Peru was caught in a child porn case in Lima.  19,000 (!) images of violent child porn was located on the Embassy’s computers.  Hungarian security officials quietly escorted the Ambassador back to Budapest, and the cover-up almost succeeded. A couple of days ago journalist … Continue reading “Gábor Kaleta – Hungary’s ex-consul in Los Angeles and his child porn case cover-up”

Animator of The Simpsons attacks Hungarian actor – reported by Origo

Gábor Csupó is a 67-year old Hungarian-born fellow Californian.  As an animator he made his fame and fortune after coming to the US about 40 years ago in the creation of The Simpsons. Ervin Nagy is a 43-year old Hungarian film and stage actor. He had a memorable performance in the Hungarian cult-film Kincsem. Mr. … Continue reading “Animator of The Simpsons attacks Hungarian actor – reported by Origo”

Fonyo Beach, a 56-er story

The failed 1956 Revolution was a traumatic event in Hungary’s history.  Today the “Hungarian Diaspora” tends to paint a rosy picture about the fate of the 56-er immigrant families, those who were allowed to settle in Canada and the US after 1956.  They are often portrayed as “heroes” and “freedom fighters” and many of the … Continue reading “Fonyo Beach, a 56-er story”

Hungary mourns victims of the Holocaust and countersues Jewish survivors in the US

Hungary’s young and photogenic Justice Minister Judit Varga recently visited Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp and declared her “zero tolerance for antisemitism.”   Hungary has “taken several steps to prevent our country’s Jews from being exposed to any kind of antisemitism that has become more and more widespread in the world.” What Varga did not mention is her … Continue reading “Hungary mourns victims of the Holocaust and countersues Jewish survivors in the US”

U.S. scholarships and grants in Hungarian Studies for 2020

The American Hungarian Educators Association (AHEA) has three scholarships and grants available this year and we are pleased to share information on these with readers of the Hungarian Free Press. The deadline for each grant is February 15, 2020 and we recommend that you contact AHEA directly with any questions on these funding opportunities. Please … Continue reading “U.S. scholarships and grants in Hungarian Studies for 2020”

The sad story of Martin Luther King’s bust in Debrecen, Hungary

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a US federal holiday marking the birthday of MLK. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, this year on January 20th.  King’s actual birthday is January 15th. In order to understand Hungary’s deep-rooted and institutionalized racism here is the story of MLK’s bust in my … Continue reading “The sad story of Martin Luther King’s bust in Debrecen, Hungary”

Israeli success of Hungarian-born skier

Israel is not exactly an Alpine country with hundreds of ski slopes or thousands of world class skiers.  Hungary has had some good competitive skiers in the past but has never produced a world class skier.  It seems that all this has changed now; Hungary has a new ski star – in Israeli colors. Here … Continue reading “Israeli success of Hungarian-born skier”

Hungarian Reformed Church in America calls for the purchase of Zacarpathia from Ukraine

On November 14, 2019 leaders of the Hungarian Reformed Church in America, among them Bishop Zoltán Lizik, attended the Diaspora Council Conference in Budapest where Prime Minister Viktor Orbán delivered the keynote.  Attendees of the meeting expressed their loyalty to the Orbán Government, they were ready to defend “Hungary’s reputation” and signed a declaration to … Continue reading “Hungarian Reformed Church in America calls for the purchase of Zacarpathia from Ukraine”

Happy New Year with Rigó Jansci !

  À Côté is a small restaurant in Oakland, California in the charming Rockridge district. There are individual and communal tables, a sunny patio, delicious Mediterranean cuisine, friendly and knowledgeable staff and a great selection of wines. The restaurant is a “neighborhood gem.”  Even The New York Times reviewed them. This week À Côté celebrated … Continue reading “Happy New Year with Rigó Jansci !”

Trump sanctions Orbán’s TurkStream gas pipeline dream

Zsolt Németh, Fidesz chairman of the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs claims that there is a “spectacular breakthrough” in US-Hungary relations.  The State Department does not back his statements, in fact, relations seem to have hit another low.   For the first time in fifty years Hungarian companies might be sanctioned by the US law.  One … Continue reading “Trump sanctions Orbán’s TurkStream gas pipeline dream”

Attack on Pastor Debreczeni in Phoenix, AZ is orchestrated from Budapest

On September 1, 2019 Zsolt Demeter, Presbiter of the Hungarian Reformed Church in America  published a three-page letter attacking Pastor András Debreczeni of the First Hungarian Reformed Church in Phoenix, AZ.  Demeter called Debreczeni a liar and cheater who illegally taped conversations and demanded  his removal.  Demeter has threatened with lawsuits and made it clear … Continue reading “Attack on Pastor Debreczeni in Phoenix, AZ is orchestrated from Budapest”

Sunset Grill on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles with a Hungarian twist

I’m old enough to remember Don Henley’s popular song, The Sunset Grill about his favorite hamburger joint on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.   The song is about a small restaurant where Henley could mix with everyday people; apparently that is not always easy for California celebrities. The song was part of his 1985 album entitled … Continue reading “Sunset Grill on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles with a Hungarian twist”

Trump basher, racist Sir Roger Scruton is awarded by Viktor Orbán

Sir Roger Scruton does not mince words. In a 2017 Hungary Today interview Scruton attacked President Trump’s intelligence: “He doesn’t have any thoughts that are longer than 140 characters.” (Read here) In another interview he talked disparagingly about the Chinese people and declared that they were “robots” and “each Chinese person is a replica of … Continue reading “Trump basher, racist Sir Roger Scruton is awarded by Viktor Orbán”

Evelyn Farkas – Hungarian speaking Russian expert is running for Congress

On November 3, 2020 presidential and congressional elections will be held in the United States.  82-year-old New York Congresswoman Nita Lowey has recently announced that she will not run for re-election.  Among others, Evelyn Farkas has thrown her hat into that race.   If elected she will be the only Hungarian-speaking member of Congress.  The 17th … Continue reading “Evelyn Farkas – Hungarian speaking Russian expert is running for Congress”

Hungary — Where a 22 year old Fidesz operative is appointed Deputy Minister of State

In most countries, it would be difficult to imagine a 22 year old who has yet to complete a university education and having no relevant professional experience being appointed Deputy Minister of State. Hungary, it would appear, is the land of such possibilities, provided one is a demonstrably faithful to Fidesz, the ruling party. This … Continue reading “Hungary — Where a 22 year old Fidesz operative is appointed Deputy Minister of State”

Questions of Colonialism and Victimhood in Hungarian History and Society

The Hungarian Studies Association of Canada invites proposals for individual papers, posters, roundtable discussions, workshops, complete panels, and other innovative presentations and sessions for our annual conference to be held in conjunction with the Congress of Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Western Ontario, May 31-June 2, 2020. As in years past we … Continue reading “Questions of Colonialism and Victimhood in Hungarian History and Society”

Claire Szabó, New Zealand Labour Party’s newly elected leader is also a Hungarian citizen

A truly surprising story from New Zealand. The ruling Labour Party has elected Claire Szabó as its new president. New Zealand-born Szabó is also a Hungarian citizen, her father served as Hungary’s Honorary Consul in the past. The 41-year-old politician has an unusual life story. Her father arrived to New Zealand as a refugee after … Continue reading “Claire Szabó, New Zealand Labour Party’s newly elected leader is also a Hungarian citizen”

Ukraine declares eight Hungarian activists “persona non grata”

Eight Orbán-paid activists have been abruptly recalled from Ukraine. They are part of the so called Petőfi Sándor Program. The Hungarian Government did not release their names. As part of an über-nationalist lobbying program, Hungary sends paid activists to western Ukraine to improve the national identity of the Hungarian minority by teaching Hungarian language, folk … Continue reading “Ukraine declares eight Hungarian activists “persona non grata””

Hungarian-American team wins $1 million in the DARPA Spectrum Collaboration Challenge

The MarmotE Team, a group of young Hungarian-American scientists placed second and won $1 million in the DARPA Spectrum Collaboration Challenge in Los Angeles, California. It is worth to mention that the MarmotE team already won $1.5 million earlier by taking the top prize in 2017 and the second place in 2018. That brings their … Continue reading “Hungarian-American team wins $1 million in the DARPA Spectrum Collaboration Challenge”

Audi Hungaria – layoff rumours

It seems that Audi Hungaria is “downsizing” and based on employee data thousands of positions will be eliminated. According to press reports Audi is not renewing the contracts of 1,200 fixed-term employees at the Győr plant. The Trade Union said: “So far, it has been about not renewing the contracts of employees…. When someone signs … Continue reading “Audi Hungaria – layoff rumours”

Budapest at a standstill, thousands march against Erdogan, Orbán, Putin

The waitress in our favorite restaurant was livid. “I had to take a cab to get to work today because public transportation was shut down” – she complained. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was visiting Budapest on November 7 with massive closures throughout the city all day. Budapest came to a standstill. Thousands marched against … Continue reading “Budapest at a standstill, thousands march against Erdogan, Orbán, Putin”

Hungary’s democratic opposition scores major election victory

After nine years in the wilderness, Hungary’s opposition parties scored major electoral victories across the country and especially in Budapest in local elections, where a centre-left alliance of parties won the mayoral race, achieved a solid majority on the municipal council and won back nine districts from Fidesz. Moreover, support for Fidesz in the traditionally … Continue reading “Hungary’s democratic opposition scores major election victory”

A Statement from Scarlett Johansson

On September 24 the Hungarian Free Press reported that Hungary’s government-controlled press widely distributed photos of Budapest Mayor István Tarlós with American filmstar Scarlett Johansson. From the misleading caption Hungarian readers might have concluded that the popular filmstar endorsed Tarlós. (Read the article here.) Now Johansson issued a statement–and it’s particularly relevant as Hungarians across … Continue reading “A Statement from Scarlett Johansson”

Kurt Volker’s McCain Institute received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Orbán Government

As the Hungarian Free Press reported earlier Ambassador Kurt Volker, US State Department’s special envoy to Ukraine, abruptly resigned after the release of the declassified version of the whistleblower complaint. It is suspected that Volker worked with Rudy Giuliani and met with Ukrainian leaders to help “navigate” Trump’s demands for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. As … Continue reading “Kurt Volker’s McCain Institute received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Orbán Government”

Kurt Volker’s departure a blow to Hungarian autocracy

Hungary’s party state has lost a key American ally and an enthusiastic promoter of Hungarian autocracy with the departure of Kurt Volker, President Donald Trump’s special envoy to Ukraine. Mr. Volker is at the centre of the current impeachment turmoil in Washington DC, after telephone call transcripts released by the White House suggest that the … Continue reading “Kurt Volker’s departure a blow to Hungarian autocracy”

Eight U.S. Senators are concerned by pro-Putin Hungary

Eight U.S. senators, all democrats, have sent a letter to US Ambassador David Cornstein, calling on him to uphold American democratic values and security interests when dealing with the autocratic regime of Viktor Orbán. Among the prominent signatories is Bernie Sanders, currently running for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president. We are sharing this strongly … Continue reading “Eight U.S. Senators are concerned by pro-Putin Hungary”

Scarlett Johansson is shamelessly exploited by right-wing Budapest mayor, István Tarlós

Scarlett Johansson is a 34 year old popular American filmstar, one of the highest paid in the business and now she is part of the Budapest municipal election campaign. She is shooting a film in Hungary and a clever political operative asked her to meet with right-wing Mayor István Tarlós. Why not?  The American filmstar, … Continue reading “Scarlett Johansson is shamelessly exploited by right-wing Budapest mayor, István Tarlós”

Some thoughts on Justin Trudeau’s brownface controversy and saying sorry

By Hungary’s exceedingly low standards when it comes to accountability and political civility, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should be commended for what did seem like a heartfelt and unequivocal apology for having appeared in brownface in 2001, when he was a teacher at Westpoint Point Grey Academy in Vancouver. It is nearly inconceivable to … Continue reading “Some thoughts on Justin Trudeau’s brownface controversy and saying sorry”

Budapest Mayor István Tarlós shamed America with the removal of Roosevelt’s name

In 2011 the Budapest City Council led by Mayor István Tarlós renamed one of the most beautiful squares in Budapest. After 64 years Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s name was stripped from the oblong square in front of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Removal of the signs This decision was a slap in the face of the … Continue reading “Budapest Mayor István Tarlós shamed America with the removal of Roosevelt’s name”

Rest in Peace, László Rajk Jr. (1949-2019)

Hungarian democratic activist, architect and designer László Rajk Jr. died on September 11, 2019 at 71 years of age. Mr. Rajk, whose father served as Interior Minister until 1949 when he was sentenced to death in a Stalinist show trial, was one of the key figures of opposition to communist rule in Hungary during the … Continue reading “Rest in Peace, László Rajk Jr. (1949-2019)”

Rep. Andy Harris takes discreet trip to Budapest to attend far-right Demographic Summit

On September 5 as Hurricane Dorian was approaching the US East Coast, Congressman Harris’s office sent out a message: “Update on the planned flood insurance workshop scheduled in Crisfield this evening: due to pending weather, the event is postponed to a later date. My office will gladly provide updates on rescheduling when they become available.” … Continue reading “Rep. Andy Harris takes discreet trip to Budapest to attend far-right Demographic Summit”

The Hungarian United Church of Montreal bids farewell to its minister

After sixteen years of pastoral service, Reverend Attila György has left his position at the helm of the Hungarian United Church of Montreal at 50 Graham Boulevard, in the Town of Mount Royal. The community bid farewell to its outgoing minister during a celebration known in Hungarian as Új Kenyér (or New Bread), which is … Continue reading “The Hungarian United Church of Montreal bids farewell to its minister”

Gábor Demszky, iconic anti-Communist leader of the democratic opposition receives award

A couple of days ago 67-year-old Gábor Demszky received the prestigious award of the European Solidarity Centre in Gdansk, Poland. Ms. Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, Mayor of Gdańsk and Mr. Basil Kerski, director of the European Solidarity Centre introduced and honored three prominent European thinkers and politicians in a televised ceremony. The honorees were: · Mr. Myroslav … Continue reading “Gábor Demszky, iconic anti-Communist leader of the democratic opposition receives award”

Eighty-two year old Hungarian-born Ernie Konnyu is considering a run for Congress

Eighty-two year-old Hungarian-born Ernie Konnyu (Könnyű) is contemplating a run for Congress in the 45th Congressional District, Orange County, California.  He is asking for help from the Hungarian American community. We wrote about Mr. Konnyu in the past. As a Republican, he represented California’s 12th congressional district from 1987 to 1988 but was not re-nominated by his … Continue reading “Eighty-two year old Hungarian-born Ernie Konnyu is considering a run for Congress”

Orbán’s new pals – Stephen Harper, Lord Ashcroft and Robert Lantos

The International Democrat Union (IDU) is an alliance of right wing political parties, headquartered in Munich, Germany and currently chaired by Stephen Harper, the former Prime Minister of Canada. Mr. Harper and his friend, Hungarian-born Canadian film producer, Robert Lantos travelled to Hungary to spend the August 20th National Holiday with far-right authoritarian Prime Minister … Continue reading “Orbán’s new pals – Stephen Harper, Lord Ashcroft and Robert Lantos”

Antal Csicsátka – developer of FM stereo standard

As part of our series on lesser known Hungarian Americans we introduce Antal Csicsátka, the General Electric Company engineer who developed the “stereophonic FM broadcasting system.” FM radio broadcast would not exist in its current form without Csicsátka. On February 25, 1964, the United States Patent Office granted General Electric a patent covering the stereophonic … Continue reading “Antal Csicsátka – developer of FM stereo standard”

Orbán’s anti-Semitism is prime-time TV news in the US

On August 15th the PBS NewsHour interviewed Danny Ayalon, former Israeli ambassador to the US, during a piece on Israel barring two U.S. congresswomen, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, both Muslims. Israel claims that Reps. Omar and Tlaib are anti-Semitic. The reporter pointed out that Israel has welcomed politicians in the … Continue reading “Orbán’s anti-Semitism is prime-time TV news in the US”