News | Press Releases 2007

Hungarian American Coalition Thanks Austria for Accepting Hungarian Refugees in 1956

Washington, D.C. – On April 2, the Hungarian American Coalition hosted a round table discussion and luncheon in honor of Austrian Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Eva Nowotny, to recognize Austria’s role in accepting Hungarian refugees in the aftermath of the 1956 Revolution.

The discussion and award presentation held at the University Club was attended by Coalition Board Members Mrs. Edith K. Lauer, Chairman Emerita, Mr. Julius Várallyay, Mr. Maximilian Teleki, President, and Coalition friends, Austrian born Mrs. Ina Ginsburg, Mr. Laszlo “Les” Megyeri, CFO of the Hungarian Reformed Federation of America, and Mrs. Kathy Megyeri.

Mrs. Lauer, herself a Hungarian refugee after the revolution, welcomed Ambassador Nowotny and described the profound impact of her experience in Austria. Mr. Julius Várallyay and Mr. Laszlo Megyeri also recalled this difficult period in their own lives and the lives of the approximately 180,000 refugees who were welcomed by Austria. Mr. Megyeri also read from “56 Stories”, a book published by Lauer Learning and the Coalition last year. His reading reflected his personal account of arriving in Austria on the morning of November 23, 1956, after crossing a canal by rowboat.

The Coalition’s Award Certificate, presented by Edith Lauer and Maximilian Teleki, reads: “In recognition of the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, the Hungarian American Coalition wishes to express its sincere appreciation to the Government and People of Austria for opening their hearts and homes to some 180,000 Hungarians escaping their homeland in 1956-57, among them the 35,000 refugees who eventually settled in the United States.”

Ambassador Nowotny accepted the award and a copy of the book “56 Stories” and stated, that “as a teenager, this experience had an impact on me also. I am grateful and moved by this gathering and official appreciation. On behalf of the Austrian Government I thank this organization and the Hungarian people for their inspiration and example.”

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