LA Times Coverage of The Hungarian Refugee Crisis

Hungarian Refugees Enter a New Life

Hungarian Refugees Enter a New Life Dec 26 1956

Holmes, Alexander

Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Dec 26, 1956; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times pg. B4
This article focuses on the arrival of a group of Hungarian refugees to an air base in New Jersey. It comments on the individual Hungarians descending from the plane–people in rumpled suits; a giddy couple; a beautiful girl; and a “dangerous” looking man. The journalist makes a point to mention that, “no other passenger had the air of violence and rebellion” like this one man. The author goes on to note that refugees are simply ordinary people (they identify as “communist” but are really only “loosely…’Socialist’”). His final comment is that we should not judge them.

The article seems to simultaneously recognize the individuality of each refugee, but in it’s relation to how it makes them relatable to an American audience.

 

Hungarian Refugees Have Message for Us

Hungarian Refugees Have Message for Us Jan 20, 1957

Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Jan 20, 1957; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times pg. B4
This journalist sees the Hungarian crisis as a possible opportunity for the, “free world to unmask Communism and permanently expose the wanton brutality for which it stands.” He then argues they should be encouraged to tell their stories of deprivation. The author mentions that communists preach the evils of capitalism–it would only be fair and just for us to do the same–we should convert refugees into, “first-class salesmen of democracy by being encouraged and financed on speaking missions in their new homelands.” This would correct American college students reading the wrong books; American laborers who don’t understand that enslavement/exploitation don’t come from Capitalism but Communism.

The author is interested in using refugees as tools for defeating Communism at home–seems to disregard whether or not refugees would be interested in this type of employment.

 

Refugees Guests of The Times

Refugees Guests of The Times Jan 24 1957

Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Jan 24, 1957; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times pg. B4
“The refugees who faced death in Hungary a month ago are today facing life beyond their fondest dreams as they tour Los Angeles as guests of The Times–” the couple was selected by the newspaper to be guests at President Eisenhower’s inauguration, and get a tour of the country. “They have been given this opportunity not merely as individuals but more as symbols of the brave Hungarian peoples who chose to risk death in revolution rather than continue to submit meekly to Communist excesses.” One of their goals is to be good Americans.

There seems to be this reinforced idea of what a Hungarian refugee should be–a person just waiting to become all things ‘American.’ The Times seems to push the Cold War narrative of ‘good’ people being freedom loving Americans.

 

Hungarian Refugees Find Home in Solvang 

Hungarian Refugees Find Home in Solvang April 15, 1957

Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Apr 15, 1957; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times pg. C10
this article documents the experience of a Hungarian family moving to Santa Barbara, and their cross country trip from New Jersey to California. The family experienced, “a panoramic view of America, the youngsters tasted their first ice cream, drank their first bottled soft drink, and saw for the first time real Indians and cowboys in the great Southwest.”

The journalist emphasizes the family’s first experiences of things assumed to be ‘American (unsure of what the author means by “real Indians” and the implications of this).’ The quick assimilation of refugees seems to be a common theme.

 

Hungarian Refugee Couple Too Busy for Inaugural This Year 

Hungarian Refugee Couple Too Busy for Inaugural This Year Jan 20 1961

Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Jan 20, 1961; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times pg. 4
The Hungarian couple the Times brought to Eisenhower’s inauguration in 1957 are revisited during the next presidential ceremony in 1961. They are unable to go to the inauguration because they are both cramming for their, “examination to become United States citizens.” At this point, the husband prefers being called Frank instead of Ferenc. He owns a garage business and Eszter, his wife, works as a film laboratory technician. Eszter mentions how she hopefully will get the chance to see her mother in Switzerland, however, the Times reports her and her husband’s, “greatest dream will become a reality when they stand before a federal judge next January, raise their hands and become citizens of the country of their choice.”

The Los Angeles Times’ Editorial Board seems to endorse the idea that ideal refugees must quickly assimilate into American culture and become a preconceived notion of model citizens.

 

U.S. Aid to Refugees, Minorities Contrasted: Congressman Says Blacks, Latins Should Get Same Attention as Cubans, Hungarians 

US Aid to Refugees, Minorities Contrasted April 10 1970

Jones, Jack

Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Apr 10, 1970; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times pg. B2
A Missouri congressman argued that services provided to Latinx and Black communities should equate to the aid given to Cuban and Hungarian refugees. Specifically, the perception that language differences impeded the employment of the Latinx community, however, Hungarian refugees were provided services to learn English. He also mentioned the $112 million spent that year to help Cuban refugees enter the US, but there being little political will to assist minorities in the country (like the lack of equal employment and the weak enforcement of the 1964 Civil Rights Act).

 

Hungary Refugees Adjust Well in U.S.

Hungary Refugees Adjust Well in US Dec 16 1976

Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Dec 16, 1976; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times pg. C7
The article begins by focusing on a Hungarian-American refugee who became a doctor. It mentions he could, “easily pass for a native-born American..his speech bears no trace of an accent.” It then discusses how majority of Hungarian refugees did not settle into ethnic neighborhoods, but dispersed into American suburbs because they could, “blend comfortably with the American mainstream.” It also references the inability of Hungary related events to occur because the refugee diaspora was busy going to American events instead.  The doctor is quoted stating he is proud be Hungarian and takes any opportunity to tell his story.

The Times makes a distinct between immigrant groups from earlier periods that stayed close to their communities in urban centers, and the Hungarian refugees from the 1950s. It seems to create a hierarchy of immigrant groups based on how assimilated they have become.

 

Hungarian Refugee Going Home in Style

Hungarian Refugee Going Home In Style July 11 1989

Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Jul 11, 1989; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times pg. 10
A Hungarian refugee flew back to his native country for the first time in 38 years. He went with the Bush Administration as the media representative for the Associated Press. It also mentions how he and his wife crawled their way to freedom, his eventual employment as a news photographer, and current mission in Budapest.

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