Braving Freezing Cold, Hungarians Inaugurate 1956 Revolution Memorial in NYC

After 10 years of preparation, the city that welcomed more Hungarian 1956 refugees than any other in America, finally has a memorial to the heroes of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. HIF proudly supported the project.

Thanks to the Hungarian American Memorial Committee‘s relentless efforts to make a dream a reality, New York’s Riverside Park in the Upper West side, where the Hungarian hero Lajos Kossuth and the heroes of the 1848 revolution already have a statue, there is now a commemorative bench, a memorial wall and a cylindrical block of granite, depicting the star constellation visible above Budapest on the night of October 23rd, 1956.

“Those stars express with moving symbolism an oppressed people’s hope in the advent of a future society, free and just, rising from the ashes of a corrupt dictatorship.” – says the Committee.

Below the image the memorial text reads:

CONSTELLATION OF STARS, AS SYMBOLS OF HOPE, VISIBLE IN THE NIGHT SKY ABOVE BUDAPEST ON OCTOBER 23, 1956, WHEN THE FIRST SHOTS OF THE REVOLUTION WERE FIRED.

The inscription on the Memorial wall reads:

DEDICATED IN GRATEFUL REMEMBRANCE OF THE FALLEN HEROES OF THE HUNGARIAN REVOLUTION

About one hundred Hungarians and Americans joined the celebration with speeches delivered by Former Governor of New York George Pataki, Deputy State Secretary for Hungarian Communities Abroad Dr. Peter Szilagyi, Consul General of Hungary Ferenc Kumin, László Papp, president of the Hungarian American Memorial Committee among others. Fr. László Vas and Reverend Anita Fogarasi blessed the memorial at the end of the ceremony.

Hungarian Ambassador Réka Szemerkényi and former US Ambassador to Hungary Colleen Bell were also there to witness this remarkable event along with at least a dozen 1956ers who live in and around the New York City area.

HIF Executive Director Anna Smith Lacey represented the Hungary Initiatives Foundation which contributed $10,000 to the building of the memorial.

News coverage of the event is available HERE.