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”

After Israel, Hungary has largest proportion of citizens with Jewish origins

A far larger proportion of Hungarian citizens have partial Jewish origins than the residents of any other country in the world, with the exception of Israel — this, according to a study conducted by statistician Daniel Sztacki, the Jewish People Policy Institute and the MyHeritage website. Based on DNA test results submitted by 4,981 residents of Hungary, fully … Continue reading “After Israel, Hungary has largest proportion of citizens with Jewish origins”

Clare Humphreys’ recent commencement address at Corvinus University, Budapest

Ms. Clare Humphreys is a recent graduate of Corvinus University, Budapest and she gave a remarkable graduation speech on July 23, 2019. We decided to publish the full text of her speech with a brief bio and the link to the video of her address. Clare Humphreys Good evening, friends, family, colleagues, professors! Presidium, your … Continue reading “Clare Humphreys’ recent commencement address at Corvinus University, Budapest”

Bizarre US Embassy Independence Day extravaganza with 800 guests in Budapest

Every year on July 4 the US Embassy in Budapest has a garden party with a couple of dozen invited Hungarian guests to celebrate Independence Day. This has become a decade-long tradition. It seems that Ambassador Cornstein likes to give big parties, I mean giant parties. On July 9 he invited 800 guests (yes, eight … Continue reading “Bizarre US Embassy Independence Day extravaganza with 800 guests in Budapest”

Republicans discover that Orbán is an unreliable US ally

According to Nancy Goodman Brinker, the former US Ambassador to Budapest, Hungary is now a “former ally.” In a recent opinion piece at the über-conservative media site Newsmax.com, Brinker, a 72-year-old Republican concludes that Hungary’s alliance with the US has turned “unsavory.” (Read Brinker’s opinion piece here.) Ex-US Ambassadors Nancy Brinker (far right) and April … Continue reading “Republicans discover that Orbán is an unreliable US ally”

New World Record in 200m butterfly from “Milák from Hungria”

The reporter was so excited that when he announced the new World Record in 200m butterfly, he said that the winner was “Milák from Hungria.” This is an almost unbelievable achievement. Hungary’s 19-year-old Kristóf Milák broke Michael Phelps’ iconic 10 year old World Record at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. Kristóf … Continue reading “New World Record in 200m butterfly from “Milák from Hungria””

Whitewash — Assessing Robert Mueller’s Testimony Before the House Committees

On Wednesday. July 24, 2019, tens of millions of Americans and others around the world were given an opportunity to hear directly from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the man in charge of the investigation into the relationship between the Trump Campaign and Russia. Thanks to his 5 hour testimony, we now know that crime pays … Continue reading “Whitewash — Assessing Robert Mueller’s Testimony Before the House Committees”

Fidesz columnist Tamás Pilhál declares hunting season on the Hungarian opposition

A small group of Hungarian democratic activists in Toronto, Canada, are trying their best to share the true nature of the Orbán regime with English speakers. Recently, they translated a truly horrendous article from Fidesz news site Pesti Srácok, written by Tamás Pilhál. Mr. Pilhál advocates that members of the Hungarian opposition are, in fact, … Continue reading “Fidesz columnist Tamás Pilhál declares hunting season on the Hungarian opposition”

Ágnes Heller, Hungarian philosopher and patriot is dead at 90

I met Heller about five years ago in Budapest. This tiny woman was probably the most effective international campaigner against Orbanism. In conversation she was sharp and domineering and to my surprise she said that she knew who I was because she had read some of my pieces at Galamus, a now defunct portal edited … Continue reading “Ágnes Heller, Hungarian philosopher and patriot is dead at 90”

Letter to the Editor on Fascist Souls and Father András Kun

I am grateful for having received a fascinating newspaper clipping from Tomas Korper, in response to a piece appearing in HFP entitled The Genocidal Priest — The Last Interview with András Kun. The letter writer’s father, trying to survive the Holocaust by posing as a military officer, was captured by Kun in Budapest and was … Continue reading “Letter to the Editor on Fascist Souls and Father András Kun”

The Kodály Center at Holy Names University

In 1868 six women of the religious order Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary arrived to California from Montreal, Canada and founded a teachers college called Holy Names University. The campus today is located high above the San Francisco Bay and has stunning views. The Catholic university provides a program for music … Continue reading “The Kodály Center at Holy Names University”

“Hungarian speakers only” summer camp in Wisconsin paid by the Orbán government

A couple of weeks ago a children’s summer camp was held at Phantom Lake, Wisconsin. The organizers invited children between 8-14 years of age with one precondition: they had to speak the Hungarian language. The Hungarian Government generously supported the week-long fun-filled event. It was advertised only in Hungarian in the US and was called … Continue reading ““Hungarian speakers only” summer camp in Wisconsin paid by the Orbán government”

Joe Eszterhas has found God and Viktor Orbán

Joe Eszterhas does not mince words. At the 2016 National Republican Convention in Cleveland, his hometown, he called Hillary Clinton a “criminal” and Trump an “a**hole.” Now he has found a new political hero – authoritarian Viktor Orbán. The 74-year-old writer poses in an Orbán T-shirt giving an enthusiastic thumbs up to the Hungarian Prime … Continue reading “Joe Eszterhas has found God and Viktor Orbán”

The use and abuse of participatory governance by populist governments

Ágnes Bátory and Sara Svensson both from the Central European University Budapest co-authored a remarkable paper about public consultations. They analyzed Viktor Orbán’s national consultations in Hungary, these are probably the most wide-scale consultative exercises in contemporary Europe. Some of our readers might not know that the Orbán government repeatedly sent questionnaires to every household … Continue reading “The use and abuse of participatory governance by populist governments”

Gloria Vanderbilt and the Széchenyi family

Gloria Vanderbilt, the American fashion icon died on June 17th in New York. She was 95. She was born wealthy; her father Reginald was an heir to the Vanderbilt railroad fortune. Gloria, a talented painter, writer and fashion designer, was related (by her aunt’s marriage) to the Széchenyi family, and also to “the greatest Hungarian,” … Continue reading “Gloria Vanderbilt and the Széchenyi family”

University students victims of violent hate crime in southern Hungary

The Pécs District Prosecutor’s Office has charged two young Hungarians with assault causing bodily harm motivated by hate. The young men physically assaulted two citizens of Yemen, one of whom was enrolled as a university student in Pécs, while the other studied in Szeged. The attack occurred in front of a commercial establishment in Pécs … Continue reading “University students victims of violent hate crime in southern Hungary”

Actions not words needed to stop Hungary’s efforts to subvert Canadian democracy

It is time that Canadian Hungarian Academic organizations, such as the Hungarian Studies Association of Canada (HSAC), and Canadian-Hungarians of good conscience, follow the example set by the Canadian Hungarian Democratic Charter (CHDC) and portals such as this one, by not only speaking up publicly, but acting with resolve to unmask and stop the affinity … Continue reading “Actions not words needed to stop Hungary’s efforts to subvert Canadian democracy”

Ervin Kulcsár of the Vitézi Rend delivered a xenophobic speech at HungaroFest in Toronto

I recently wrote about the visit of Mr. Levente Magyar, Hungary’s Deputy Minister and Parliamentary State Secretary to Toronto to attend HungaroFest where Canadian officials inaugurated a plaque to commemorate the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. The event took place on June 1 at Budapest Park in Toronto, and on the podium the Hungarian politician was sitting … Continue reading “Ervin Kulcsár of the Vitézi Rend delivered a xenophobic speech at HungaroFest in Toronto”

The launch of a new online photo collection of the Holocaust in Hungary

We were asked to share this new and innovative project with the readers of the Hungarian Free Press, and we are happy to do so. A website called HolokausztFoto.hu is being launched on June 21, 2019 at 4:30 p.m. in Budapest’s Nappali Kávéház (Vasvári Pál utca 3) with the participation of historian András Lenárt, journalist … Continue reading “The launch of a new online photo collection of the Holocaust in Hungary”

Orbán government politician is lobbying against Trudeau in Toronto

According its official description HungaroFest, a two-day festival recently held in Toronto, was meant “to recognize and celebrate the history, existence and integration of the Hungarian people within Canada.” The festival included Hungarian music, folklore and dance. Local artists were invited along with performers from Hungary such as Republic, Budapest Bár and Tom White & … Continue reading “Orbán government politician is lobbying against Trudeau in Toronto”

Hungarian Academics’ Open Letter to Manfred Weber, the Group Chair of the European People’s Party

Dear Mr. Weber, This open letter is a cry for help. We, Hungarian scientists, scholars and university professors turn to you for help in a most serious matter: The Hungarian Government has proposed legislation that would change the Hungarian research landscape dramatically, which tramples on the rule of constitutional law and on basic democratic principles. … Continue reading “Hungarian Academics’ Open Letter to Manfred Weber, the Group Chair of the European People’s Party”

Bruno Mars – a superstar with (some) Hungarian ancestry

Bruno Mars has Hungarian ancestry? Hard to believe, but the fact is that the pop-superstar has a bit of Hungarian in him, a Hungarian Jewish grandmother on his father’s side. Here is the story. At the Grammies Peter Gene Hernandez aka. Bruno Mars was born in 1985 in Honolulu, Hawaii into a family of musicians … Continue reading “Bruno Mars – a superstar with (some) Hungarian ancestry”

Conflict in rescue operation of sunken sightseeing boat in Budapest

There is disagreement between the Korean and Hungarian authorities on how to conduct the rescue operation of a sunken sightseeing boat. According to the Korea Times, Song Shun-keun, the leader of the Korean response team in Budapest said that “while he respected the Hungarian government’s decision to raise the ship rather than conducting diving operations, … Continue reading “Conflict in rescue operation of sunken sightseeing boat in Budapest”

Sándor Kerekes’ exchange with Lord Peter Lilley on the deception of Brexit

In January this year Lord Peter Lilley, member of the Upper House, came to Budapest to the invitation of the Danube Institute to give a lecture about the Brexit and its prospects. (The video of the lecture can be seen here.) It was early days to form any judgement about it, but there were questions … Continue reading “Sándor Kerekes’ exchange with Lord Peter Lilley on the deception of Brexit”

Memorial Day and the Hungarian Americans

This year we observed Memorial Day, a Federal Holiday, on May 27. On this day the United States honors the military personnel who perished while serving in the Armed Forces. Many people visit cemeteries and volunteers place an American flag on each grave in cemeteries. Memorial Day in the U.S. It is not widely known … Continue reading “Memorial Day and the Hungarian Americans”

Exploring the problems of the Catholic Church

Fr. Joel Sember serves as pastor of three churches in the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin. When he shared the audio recording of his most recent homily, entitled “The Problem with the Catholic Church is…,” I found it hard to suppress my curiosity. The homily’s theme was prompted by the cancellation of Saturday evening Mass … Continue reading “Exploring the problems of the Catholic Church”

Ferenc Gyurcsány’s Democratic Coalition becomes largest opposition party in Hungary

The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) and Jobbik both had their respective rendez-vous with destiny on Sunday night. At the same time, former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány’s Democratic Coalition (DK) and the fledgling Momentum party, both underestimated in opinion polls, caused much surprise by their strong showing in European Parliament elections in Hungary. The results were … Continue reading “Ferenc Gyurcsány’s Democratic Coalition becomes largest opposition party in Hungary”

US Embassy in Berlin chides László Kövér, Hungary’s homophobe Parliament Speaker

László Kövér is an Orbán loyalist and Hungary’s Parliament Speaker. The 59-year-old politician was born in the city of Pápa where he hails from a privileged Communist family. Mr. Kövér started out as a staunch Communist himself; he even worked for the Politburo. In 1987 as a young liberal leader he received a Soros-fellowship and … Continue reading “US Embassy in Berlin chides László Kövér, Hungary’s homophobe Parliament Speaker”

Ignác Semmelweis, Hungary’s “savior of mothers” gets statue in Albany, NY

On April 24, 2019 the New York State Department of Health in Albany, NY held a ceremony at the Wadsworth Center Biggs Laboratory to unveil a statue of Ignác Semmelweis to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the physician’s birth. Semmelweis was one of the most influential (and unusual) physicians of the 19th century; his pioneer … Continue reading “Ignác Semmelweis, Hungary’s “savior of mothers” gets statue in Albany, NY”

Rest in Peace, Nirvana — A Refugee Hearing in Utopia

It was the year of the Lord 2019 when the hordes of illegal migrants flooded the shores of Nirvana. The threat to this huge and peaceful nation was overwhelming. Crowds of vigilantes marched on the streets all over the country demanding the newly elected president, who using tweeters, came to power by promising newly minted … Continue reading “Rest in Peace, Nirvana — A Refugee Hearing in Utopia”

The National Catholic Reporter on the Papal visit to Csíksomlyó, Translyvania

The National Catholic Reporter’s Joshua J. McElwee wrote an exhaustive piece on the upcoming visit of Pope Francis to Romania, emphasizing the trip’s significance from the perspective of outreach to the Romanian Greek Catholic Church, which counts 500,000 adherents. Pope Francis will beatify seven Greek Catholic bishops, recognizing as well the persecution that Greek Catholic … Continue reading “The National Catholic Reporter on the Papal visit to Csíksomlyó, Translyvania”

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) is not supporting Orbán anymore

On January 24, 2017, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) was awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit by Hungary. The award was presented in Washington D.C. with great fanfare by Orbán loyalist Ambassador Réka Szemerkényi and Kaptur expressed her support for the Budapest government. Ambassador Réka Szemerkényi (left) and Rep. Kaptur at the award … Continue reading “Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) is not supporting Orbán anymore”

A bishop in the pews

István Gégény, the editor of a Hungarian-language Catholic blog entitled SZEMlélek, explores why it’s worth remembering that religious leaders–be they parish priests or bishops–are people too. Just like members of their congregation, they struggle to live their faith in the everyday. HFP offers this English-language translation of Mr. Gégény’s piece, entitled “Püspök a padban“, or … Continue reading “A bishop in the pews”

The National Legion — Far-right launches new paramilitary group in Hungary

The Mi Hazánk, or in English the Our Homeland far-right party announced the formation of a paramilitary group called the National Legion on 14 May 2019. This new group follows in the footsteps of the banned Magyar Gárda, once the paramilitary wing of the Jobbik party–back when it represented the hard right in Hungary. The … Continue reading “The National Legion — Far-right launches new paramilitary group in Hungary”

Viktor Orbán gets his day in Washington and displays his skill as a communicator

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán last sat next to an American president in the Oval Office 21 years ago, in 1998. At the time, the 35 year old Mr. Orbán, serving his first four year term at the helm of the Hungarian government, sat in the company of President Bill Clinton. Mr. Orbán had then just … Continue reading “Viktor Orbán gets his day in Washington and displays his skill as a communicator”

American concern about Hungary’s downward democratic trajectory

The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations is concerned about “Hungary’s downward democratic trajectory” and issued the following letter about Viktor Orbán’s upcoming visit to the White House. Four US Senators, among them ranking member Robert Menendez signed the letter. Not too long ago, in 2012 Senator Menendez actually praised Hungary’s democracy and politicians … Continue reading “American concern about Hungary’s downward democratic trajectory”

What Ben Shapiro’s frenzied reaction to a BBC interview tells us about political tribalism

Historians will credit Prime Minister Viktor Orbán with being ahead of his time on the nature of political discourse and on the populist transformation of what was once called conservatism. Mr. Orbán has avoided all debates with his political opponents since 2006 and finessed the tribal approach to politics that was only adopted by others … Continue reading “What Ben Shapiro’s frenzied reaction to a BBC interview tells us about political tribalism”

Pro-Iranian Viktor Orbán will visit President Trump in the White House

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s voice is the only heard in Hungary today and his rhetoric is firmly anti–Islamist. At the same time, Mr. Orbán maintains close and friendly relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. All smiles – Orbán with Eshaq Jahangiri, Iran’s First Vice President. Iran is a theocracy. Islam is an inseparable part … Continue reading “Pro-Iranian Viktor Orbán will visit President Trump in the White House”

Two examples of contemporary Polish antisemitism

Ever since I read Jerzy Kosiński’s 1965 novel The Painted Bird, I was freed from any misconception that antisemitism in Hungary is unique or somehow more odious than that appearing elsewhere in Central Europe. In fact, in some ways, Poland’s religiosity may have contributed to a particularly fervid form of hatred. In The Painted Bird, we … Continue reading “Two examples of contemporary Polish antisemitism”

Hungary’s Jesuits and Orbán’s attempt to exploit Pope Francis’s visit to Romania

Hungary’s Catholic leadership is firmly behind Orbán, in fact, church events often serve as political tools to spread Orbán’s nationalist message in the Carpathian basin. Pope Francis plans to visit Romania and is expected to celebrate an outdoor Mass on June 1, 2019 at the shrine of Our Lady of Csíksomlyó, a pilgrimage site near … Continue reading “Hungary’s Jesuits and Orbán’s attempt to exploit Pope Francis’s visit to Romania”

Charles Korvin (Kárpáthy Korvin Géza) – the blacklisted Hungarian American film star

As part of our series on lesser known Hungarian Americans we introduce Hollywood star Charles Korvin. The very good looking Hungarian was a popular star of the screen in the 1940s. Charles Korvin Géza Kárpáthy Korvin was born in 1907 in Pöstyén, Hungarian Kingdom (today Piešťany, Slovakia) in a Hungarian speaking family with a noble … Continue reading “Charles Korvin (Kárpáthy Korvin Géza) – the blacklisted Hungarian American film star”