From Refugee to Consul: An American Adventure

New Book Published by Long-time Coalition Member Helen M. Szablya

Washington, DC – The second volume of the autobiographical story of the Szablya Family entitled ‘From Refugee to Consul: An American Adventure’ was published on October 23, 2021, in the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and Freedom Fight.

Coalition member Helen M. Szablya tells the story of her life after her harrowing escape to freedom from Communist Hungary with her young family in 1956 to establish a new life as a refugee in Canada, then the US. As she builds her family and her business acumen she eventually helps establish the Hungarian Consulate in the Northwest US and becomes the first woman Honorary Consul General, supporting the new Hungary as it emerges from communism. A deeply personal memoir and a true American adventure with global reach, this book continues where her book My Only Choice: Hungary 1946 – 1956 leaves off and takes the reader on an epic journey to the end of 2020.

“Freedom! We stepped across the border, with three tiny children, the youngest only three weeks old. Our worldly possessions were six diapers and the clothes on our backs. This is how the first volume of my autobiography „My Only Choice: Hungary 1942 – 1956” ended. Immediately we heard the questions: “And then what happened?” This question is answered in this new second volume. It describes the exciting, hair-pin turned road that led us to the shores of the Pacific Ocean, where I became the first Honorary Consul of Hungary on the West Coast for WA, OR and ID and the first woman! During those years we raised our seven children with my dear husband, the late Dr. János Szablya professor, external member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA), Fellow of IEEE and for our joint work we received the Hungarian Presidential order of Merit five days before his death in 2005.” – said Ms. Szablya on her new volume.

From Refugee to Consul: An American Adventure can be purchased on at this link. The Hungarian version of the book entitled ‘Szökevényből konzul – Óceánon innen, vasfüggönyön túl’ is available in Hungarian bookstores, and can be ordered here.

Helen M. Szablya, Honorary Consul General of Hungary, is an award-winning author, columnist, translator, and lecturer, and has been a member of the Hungarian American Coalition for 30 years. To learn more about her life and publications, go to:

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