Hungarian Refugee Photography

REFUGEES’ SMILES SHOW JOY, RELIEF Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Feb 5, 1956; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times pg. H2

LATimes_RefugeesSmiles

This early photo of the refugees as assimilating to U.S. culture and the idea of the nuclear family. They look like any “typical” family depicted in mainstream 1950s culture. The media is trying to show that these refugees could be your neighbors.

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Hurley, Frank. 11/21/1956. New York Daily News.

http://www.nydailynewspix.com/sales/largeview.php?name=N1985646.jpg&id=19470&lbx=-1&return_page=searchResults.php&searchDisplay=S&searchAction=simpleSearch&numFields=1&searchVal=Hungarian%20refugee&Button=1&start=-2713888800&end=1456959114&dayFrom=1&monthFrom=1&yearFrom=1884&dayTo=2&monthTo=3&yearTo=2016&location_0=allmeta&bool_0=AND&Button=1&page=0

This photo from the New York Daily News archives shows Hungarian refugees at Camp Kilmer, in New Jersey, where they were temporarily housed before being resettled throughout the U.S. The caption reads: “At Camp Kilmer, where Hungarian refugees were temporarily housed, Bill Vestesy asks a MP if he has seen his mother and brother among the refugees.” This photo shows the order that the U.S. government wanted to convey while bringing thousands of refugees to the states. 

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Camp Kilmer Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35dcdm2gyls

This video narrates the first refugees to arrive on U.S. soil. This video is especially interesting because of the narration and music. Peppy march music plays while the narrator discusses the “blood bath” of Russia and refers to the “Free World” opening its arms to the refugees. It also references that the refugees are arriving near Thanksgiving, making them “Modern Pilgrims.”

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First of Refugee Arrivals Given Heroes’ Welcome: Refugees Set Foot on … Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Nov 22, 1956; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times pg. 3

LATimes_RefugeesGivenHeroesWelcome

This photo is very faded, but it is interesting to show these crowds of people along with the caption that they are receiving a “Heroes’ Welcome.” This implies that the refugees are heroes for escaping the communist regime and making it to the United States.

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Out of Hungary– The Defiant Exiles: Young heroes of the ‘revolt of a … By ELIE ABEL New York Times (1923-Current file); Nov 25, 1956; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times pg. 245

NYT_DefiantExiles

This photo series is interesting because it depicts those leaving Hungary, and it is a less happy depiction compared to other photo spreads. Many of the photos are partly in the shadows, with discontent faces looking desperate to escape.

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Hungarian Refugees Cross Border Canal to Freedom. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Nov 28, 1956; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times pg. 3

LATimes_HungarianRefugeesCrossBorderCanal

This is the first photo we found that showed refugees on the journey out of Hungary, and the possible dangers in escaping as they cross the canal.

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First Refugees of Hungarian Revolt Arrive: REVOLT REFUGEES Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Nov 30, 1956; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times pg. 1

LATimes_FirstRefugeesArrive

This photo continues to depict families assimilating to the U.S. ideal of a nuclear family, with one cousin learning English from an American cousin. It shows the refugees as willing to learn English, and already having familial ties to the states.Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 5.07.36 PM.png

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Out of Hungary: Into American Homes Refugees from oppression begin a … By GERTRUDE SAMUELS New York Times (1923-Current file); Dec 9, 1956; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times pg. 257

NYT_IntoAmericanHomes

This photo, only a month or so after refugees began arriving in the U.S., shows Hungarian families already engaging in their communities through work and family meals.

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HUNGARIAN FAMILY WELCOMED HERE: Manufacturer Guarantees Job and 500 Workers Aid With Money and Fu… Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Dec 17, 1956; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times pg. B6

LATimes_HungarianFamilyWelcomedHere

This photo shows a hungarian family in Los Angeles both working and assimilating into the U.S., and also works as advertising for an East Los Angeles Manufacturing Firm who would be sponsoring them.

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Hungarian Pair Tell of Russ Deportations: Senate Committee Hears New … Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Dec 19, 1956; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times pg. 13

LATimes_HungarianPairTellofRUssDeportations

It is interesting that this photos is way back on page 13 of the Los Angeles times. Showing the masked refugee along with the caption shows readers that these refugees were not safe in their homes, that they needed to come to the United States to escape.

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Hungarian Says 30,000 Were Deported by Reds: Refugee Gives Figure to … Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Dec 20, 1956; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times pg. 1

LATimes_HungarianSays30000DeportedByReds

This photo from the front page of the Los Angeles times depicts a senator examining a young refugee who had teeth knocked and then was deported by the Russian “Reds.” According to the caption, this was a hearing about the mass deportation of Hungarians. It also promotes a grizzly, beaten look at the Hungarians, creating sympathy for the refugees from U.S. readers.

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Grim Memories of the Past Fade as Refugee Boy Nears New Home. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Dec 23, 1956; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times pg.B

LATimes_GrimMemoriesofthePastFade

This set of images is striking because it conveys both sympathy-inducing and political messages. The little boy is eating and clearly looks happy, while Nixon helps a refugee with a meat grinder in Vienna. The newspaper chose to say that the boy was adjusting well to being out of the states. Nixon is depicted to show that the government is invested in the refugees and will work with them to make a better life.

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 Times Refugee Pair Adjusting to Life in U.S. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Feb 3, 1957; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times pg. B1

LATimes_RefugeePair

This shows a happy couple, sponsored by the Times, “adjusting” to life in the U.S. and acting like any other couple.

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Hungarian Refugee Hopes to Sing Here. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Mar 10, 1957; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times pg. SF4

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This photo shows what the refugees will bring to the United States: determination and artistic talent.

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Vienna Shelters Hungarian Refugee Children: Austrian School Unit … By JOHN MacCORMAC Special to The New York Times.The New York Times New York Times (1923-Current file); Nov 30, 1957; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times pg. 3

NYT_VIennaSheltersHungarianRefugeeChildren

This shows a school in Austria educating Hungarian refugees. It is on Page 3, which seems to be the norm later in 1957 when the hype of the revolution died down a bit. It shows the refugees wanting an education and listening to their teacher.

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What was interesting about the photos depicting refugees was that there were almost none before November 1957 when the U.S. got involved and thousands of refugees began moving to the United States. Most of the pictures show calm, ordered movement from Hungary to the United States, where the refugees were often depicted as couples and families who happily assimilated. When they were depicted in distress it was either because they were not yet in the U.S. or because they were being questioned by the senate about Russia. Without the captions these photos rarely indicate that there is a refugee in the photo, the refugees are depicted as respectable new Americans and even “Pilgrims” who deserve to live and prosper in the states after what they have been through. This was a response to the Cold War. The U.S. seemed to see the Hungarian refugees as aligning with U.S. nationalism, and as an anti-communist group. Bringing refugees to the U.S. was a way to promote the anti-communist Cold War agenda.

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