In Memoriam Alex “Sándor” Kremer 1941-2015

Washington, DC – Members of the Hungarian American Coalition (Coalition) are deeply saddened to learn that Alex “Sándor” Kremer, former Chairman of the Coalition, passed away peacefully on Monday, August 3, 2015, surrounded by his family.  He was 73 years old. Alex Kremer was a respected leader of Chicago’s Hungarian community and a longtime supporter of human rights for Hungarians in Vojvodina (Délvidék), Serbia.

Sándor Krémer, Pál Schmitt, György Szapáry

President of Hungary Pál Schmitt awards the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit to Mr. Kremer at the Cleveland Hungarian Heritage Society’s Gala Luncheon in Cleveland, OH in 2011

Alex “Sándor” Kremer was born in Čurug (Csúrog), the Vojvodina area of what is now Serbia, on September 22, 1941, the son of István and Margit (Rohacsek) Kremer. Through the years, he was deeply affected by losing many family members to anti-Hungarian atrocities. In the fall of 1944 his mother took him and fled to Austrian refugee camps from the approaching partisan units.  Shortly after their escape, these troops, encouraged by Tito, attacked his hometown; his maternal grandfather was among the first to be executed. During the attack, Kremer lost seven of his adult relatives.

After returning to Yugoslavia 1947, they moved to Kanjiža (Magyarkanizsa), as they were banished from Csúrog for life as “enemies of the people”. After finishing his elementary school and polytechnic studies, eventually becoming a carpenter in Magyarkanizsa, Kremer studied Interior Architecture-Design at Subotica (Szabadka), Serbia and was also an amateur actor until his military service in 1968.

He married Klara Szollosi-Vago in 1965, immigrated to the United States with his wife and daughter in 1971, and initially settled in Lakeland, Florida. In 1973 they moved to Chicago where the couple would raise three daughters. Alex worked for 35 years at the Herner-Gissler Woodworking Corp., while continuing his activity in theater. At the time of his retirement in 2008, he was Vice President of Sales.

In Chicago, Sándor joined the Hungarian (Magyar) Club and became its Vice President, then its President within a few years. He also served as spokesman and leader of the Hungarian-Americans for Human Rights in Délvidék (HAHRD), an organization formed in 1991 to protect the human rights and cultural heritage of Hungarians living in the former Yugoslavia, and supporting Hungarian democratic institutions and economic development in those regions. He also served on the Finance Committee of St. Stephen Catholic Church of Chicago, and as Chairman of the 1956 Chicago Commemoration Committee.

In 2011 Alex received the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary in recognition of his service to the Hungarian community of Chicago, the preservation of cultural values, and for his support of Hungarian students.

He is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Klara Kremer; 3 daughters: Margit (Steve) Ramsey, Agi (Mark) Sullivan, and Clara Kremer; 5 cherished grandchildren: Carynne Sullivan, Nolan Sullivan, Teresa Ramsey, Gabrielle Ramsey and Abigail Sullivan.

The Hungarian American community mourns the loss of this true Hungarian patriot, deeply committed to the Délvidék, a long-time leader of the Hungarian community of Chicago, and a genuinely good man.

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