Contemporary Coverage of Hungarian Refugee Crisis: Looking Back


Hungarian Refugees of 1956 Revolution Find Success in U.S.” New York Times (1923-Current file); Oct 20, 1968; Ethnic Newswatch: The New York Times p. 18

As soon as 12 years after the start of the refugee crisis, the New York Times was already “looking back” at the Hungarian Revolution and the refugees accepted into the U.S., and using our experience with that to inform future action. This article boasts of the success of the United State’s acceptance of refugees, and holds it as a guide for how to act in response to the new refugees from Czechoslovakia. The article emphasizes how well the Hungarian refugees have fit in to American life, who have become an “increasingly far-flung and well-assimilated Hungarian community, nearly all now American citizens.” They describe the refugees as they arrived as “predominantly young, healthy, and well-educated” and “determined and ambitious.” The article highlights the prosperity and success that many refugees have found in the U.S., with many able to fly home to see their families, and suggests that the transition to American life is easy for most. By showing how well past refugees have assimilated and created new lives in the United States, the article tries to persuade America to accept more refugees.


The 50th Anniversary of the Hungarian Uprising.” Refugees Magazine144, no. 3 (October 1, 2006): 1-23.

This article tells the stories of seven refugees who escaped Hungary during the 1956 revolution and briefly chronicles each their experiences over the past fifty years. Each of the profiles focuses on individuals who fled to different countries: the United States, New Zealand, Colombia, Switzerland, Canada, Austria, and Japan. Each story presented its own struggles, triumphs, and varying levels of support in their countries of relocation, but the stories are told primarily through direct quotes of the refugees who were interviewed. The representation of the people profiled is not uniform and presents a variety of experiences.


Fifty Years Later, Bard College Remembers and Celebrates Student Refugees of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution” Italian Voice, Oct 5, 2006; ProQuest: Italian Voice p. A6

This article is about an event at Bard College that commemorates and celebrates the 50th anniversary of the college’s acceptance of around 300 student refugees from Hungary. The event is followed by an international conference aimed at “reconsidering the Hungarian revolution, its impact on the freedom fighters’ future lives, and its legacy.” The article emphasizes many of the Hungarian student’s roles as freedom fighters, and describes the group of students in a positive and optimistic light, saying they were a “magnificent group…eager to lean” and that their presence on campus “forced us to pick up the pace.” The article remembers the college’s efforts with pride, as something that has benefited hundreds of students.


Conference Reunites Hungarian Refugees who were Aided by School” Winn, Amy. Poughkeepsie Journal, Feb 13, 2007; ProQuest: The Poughkeepsie Journal, p. E1.

This article also writes about Bard’s 50th anniversary celebration, but focuses on some of the students who went through the program, and their memories of their experience and impressions of the program. One former student interviewed praises the United States’ response to the crisis, remembering that the U.S. government “‘did everything to take in refugees,’” amidst “‘an outpouring of international assistance.’” Another is excited about the 50th anniversary event, as it will provide a space for others to learn about Hungarian history who are not familiar with it, and for those who went through the program to share their experiences with each other. The article highlights how the students learned the american way of life along with English as they were studying at Bard, and makes a point to describe the educational success of the two program participants they interviewed, one that is currently in graduate school for American Studies and English, and the other that earned his graduate degree at Columbia University, works as a professor, and invented a breakthrough drug for glaucoma.


In Vienna, Bearing Witness” Elliott, Roberta. Jewish News, 5 November 2015; ProQuest: Jewish News, p. 4,8.

The author of this article critiques Vienna’s response to the current refugee crisis through looking at his own family history as refugees from Vienna. His father escaped Vienna when Germany annexed Austria in 1938, lived in a refugee camp in France for two years, and then traveled to and finally settled in the U.S. The author is writing shortly after right-wing powers in Hungary succeeded in closing their borders with Croatia, meaning that refugees had to find alternative routes, and “waves of humanity started pouring into Vienna.” He describes the “war-torn refugees” he saw while volunteering at the border as “spectral” and “wearily marching,” and writes of the “starving, weary, beaten-down young men, who have had their youth stolen from them.” The author takes a humanizing approach, recounting some of the difficult immigration stories he heard while speaking with the refugees, and refutes the fear of terrorists posing as refugees by saying one must only “look into the eyes of those who have lost everything” to see that one would not willingly choose to live like that. The author seems to urge the Viennese to remember their own people who had to flee as refugees, and be more open to accepting refugees who need help now.





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