A special Maclean's album: THE HUNGARIANS: What they mean to Canada
These newest new Canadians will change the fabric of the country. Beginning here, a look at the kind of people they are: the pictures they paint, the stories they tell, their traditions and character......
PETER C. NEWMAN
The tragic events in Hungary will make Canada host to an eventual twenty-five thousand Hungarians. Ten thousand are already here and by spring we will be adopting at least 250 more Hungarian refugees a day.
This influx of freedom-loving newcomers has prompted many Canadians to wonder what kind of citizens they will become.
It's an urgent question.
Canada's postwar Hungarian population is being doubled and, in spite of their modest number, these lively immigrants will have an extraordinary impact on Canada’s future. More than half the incoming Hungarians plan to live in Toronto, where already one out of five citizens is a new Canadian. Others arc settling in Montreal. Winnipeg, Hamilton, Welland, Windsor, Brantford, Regina, Lethbridge, Calgary, Regina, Vancouver and in a dozen smaller communities.
Nearly everyone wants to help the Hungarians, but few human migrations have been handicapped by so much misunderstanding. A prime reason for the mixup is that Hungary has been under Russian control for almost a decade. While the cruel memories of Red tyranny will only help to emphasize the immigrants’ appreciation of Canada's freedoms, some Canadians seem uncertain about how to treat the Hungarians. Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers. for instance, have been asked by wives of defense-industry employees whether their husbands’ security clearance will be endangered if they contribute to Hungarian relief funds or adopt a refugee.
The Hungarians are different.
The Hungarian refugees cannot be compared with any of the other European immigrant groups that have arrived here since the war. By origin, they are not Europeans at all, but the descendant of a wild Asiatic tribe that invaded the Danube River basin in the ninth century.
The knowledge that he is capable of every sacrifice in the cause of his ideals has given the Hungarian a conscious dignity of character—tin unobtrusive pride in his own strength. He believes, above everything else, that the vigorous independence of hts country is inseparable from individual freedom. Sociologists who have studied Hungary say that the Hungarian’s fantastic courage
The warmth, grace and glamour of Hungarian women and richness of Hungarian talent are glowingly evident in this photo of Montreal beauties in setting of native art and crafts. From left: schoolgirl Irene Boliska (seated) and typist Rosalie Szata (standing), both born in Canada of Hungarian parents; Mrs. Lillian Hoffmann, beautiful young matron who came from Budapest five
years ago; Eva von Gencsy, famous as a ballerina in Winnipeg and Montreal; Mrs. Rose Rothman, a designer from Budapest who hopes to bring her brother and his family from there too; Mrs. Suzanne Gayne, a former actress who translated our story on page 24. In this setting, tulip motif, tapestry, rich Herend pottery and the girls' costumes are all distinctively Hungarian. in the face of impossible odds is not due to any love of fighting, but simply an instinctive hatred of oppression in all its forms.
fs tracj ie Kistory its cirt glows witlr yciiety, grace and color
“We love freedom so much,” says George Nagy, general secretary of the Canadian Hungarian Federation, which represents most of the Hungarians in Canada, “because we have had so little of it.” The dominating strain in the formation of the Hungarian national character is the result of a tragic, gory history.
During the fifteenth century, Hungary and the British Isles had equal populations of four million. In spite of heavy emigration Britain now has more than fifty million citizens, but there are only nine million Hungarians. The difference is due to the human butchery of Hungary’s nearly continuous invasions and revolutions. Hungarian history books are filled with scenes of flesh-eating vultures, hopping around the country’s many battlefields, too fat to fly away.
Hungarian historians quarrel about the exact number of times foreign troops have marched into their country, but so
far they haven’t named any eastern European nation except Poland or any west Asian tribe that didn’t have at least one crack at Hungary. When there were no raiders to beat off, the Hungarians stayed in fighting trim by invading their neighbors—including Poland. During the last half of the fourteenth century, under Louis the Great, Hungary ruled most of Europe between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black seas. Now the country is not quite twice the size of Nova Scotia.
When not invading or being invaded, the Hungarians have frequently bled under the envenomed oppression of their own rulers. After the landlords caught Gyorgy Dozsa, who had led an unsuccessful peasant revolt in 1514, they chained him to a red-hot iron throne, then made his followers eat his fried remains. In 1906 a group of Hungarian aristocrats suggested replacing the unruly peasants with a hundred thousand Chinese coolies, but the plan was dropped because traveling costs were too high.
Hungary’s harsh history has caused some Canadians to wonder whether the influx of so many Hungarians could instill a lawless clement into Canadian politics. The facts belie such ideas. Since World War 11 more than twelve thousand Hungarians have arrived in Canada. Crime statistics of every province show they have been among the best behaved of Canada's immigrant groups. In 1954. the last year for which complete national records are available. Hungarian-Canadians committed only .32 percent of Canada's 30.848 indictable offenses, although they made up .40 percent of the population.
Hungarian painting shows many influences but retains its own haunting quality
The Hungarians act glad to be alive and glad to be themselves. They enjoy a lot of good food and that, of course, means a lot of good wine. But they seldom get drunk, because food always accompanies drinking. Hungarian women don't make a secret of their femininity. They don't like the confinement of brassieres and rarely wear them.
The Hungarian's natural gravity is softened by an amazingly adaptable sense of.humor. While they were being beaten and tortured by the AVO (Hungary's Communist secret police) some prisoners said that the difference between the green and blue uniforms worn by their guards was that the green AVO beat you till you turned green, while the bluecoated AVO beat you until you were blue.
Hungarians have a double communications problem. Hungarian is a Finno-Ugric language distantly‘related to Mongolian. It's so dissimilar to all the other central European tongues, that the Hungarians aren't even understood by most of their fellow' new Canadians. Gesturing hands and patient smile are often their only means of expression. The resultant isolation has tended to herd the Hungarian refugees into tight ethnic islands around their countrymen already settled here. Most of the newcomers have relatives in Canada and under Hungary’s traditionally strong family system it's the duty of a relative, no matter how far removed, to look after his kin. Before the 1956 revolt Hungarians here were shipping forty thousand food parcels a month to Hungary.
The full Canadianization of the newcomers will take time. “At the time of their arrival,’’ says John Rosa, a Hungariarlborn professor w'ho has studied the histories of I 12 Hungarian immigrants to Canada, “the Hungarians are prone to disapprove of everything that differs from the old-country pattern. With success accompanying their efforts, however, they begin to approve of and adopt many Canadian traits. Canada ceases to be the country of strange customs; she becomes a home for life—the country which can give them a fair chance for success."
In the 1951 census sixty thousand Canadians cited Hungary as their country of origin, but only forty-two thousand said their mother tongue was Hungarian—one third had been completely assimilated. "We can." explained a grinning young ex-revolutionary when he arrived in Canada, “accustom ourselves to good things easily.” Right now, Canada’s unrestricted freedom is baffling many of the refugees. Some still cross the street when they see a policeman; it's a habit they cant break.
After Hungary’s five-hour leave to get married, Canada’s five-day week is a worker’s heaven
The most valuable economic contribution of the Hungarian flight to Canada will probably be made by the nearly three hundred students and thirty professors of Sopron University forestry faculty. The group’s move to Powell River, B.C.—sponsored by the newsprint-manufacturing Powell River Company with the academic co-operation of the University of British Columbia—will provide a badly needed source of professional manpower for Canada’s ptilp-and-paper industry. In 1958 and 1959 Canadian universities will be graduating only seventy new foresters. In British Columbia alone lumber operators estimate they’ll require 110 new graduates a year for the next tw’o decades.
Other Hungarian engineering students have found jobs with Polymer Corporation in Sarnia, with Abitibi Power and Paper Co., and in Toronto with International Business Machines Co. Ltd., Honeywell Controls Ltd. and Dow Chemical of Canada. Scholarships worth $120.000 are being provided for sixty Hungarian students by seventeen Canadian universities.
National Employment Service officials not only predict that all the incoming Hungarians will get jobs, but say they will help alleviate this summer’s certain labor shortages.
A new multi-million market
Three quarters of the immigrating Hungarians are skilled draftsmen, mechanics, factory workers, electricians and metal workers—occupation categories in priority demand by expanding Canadian industry. Canadians wffio have employed the refugees report that Hungarians have fitted well into Canadian shops. They don’t approach labor with the tireless, methodical ambition of the Germans, nor the dull persistency of the Slavs, but seem to enjoy hard work without making it an obsession. They consider Canadian working hours marvelously short. Hungary’s Communist-factory shifts were nine or ten hours, six days a week. Payless leave of absence was authorized only for the death of a relative (twenty-four hours) or to get married (five hours).
Because seventy percent of the estimated twenty-five thousand Hungarian refugees who may eventually come to Canada arc single men under thirty, their influx will mean the eventual formation of at least eighteen thousand extra new Canadian households. By the time the Hungarians reach the living standard of the average Canadian family they will have bought, among other things, ten thousand new electric stoves, fourteen thousand refrigerators, a thousand home freezers, ten thousand radios and eight thousand television sets. They will be spending twenty-eight million dollars a year for food.
Canadian retailers are already preparing to satisfy the great Hungarian demands. Eaton’s in Toronto, where most of the newcomers are settling, has hired ten full-time Hungarian interpreters and has fifty others on its city staff who understand some Hungarian.
The first major purchase of many of
the newcomers is a television set, because they’re finding the association of pictures and dialogue an aid in learning English. Even the programs they don’t understand are a refreshing change from the propaganda-loaded fare of Hungarian
TV. Hungarian television started on June 1, 1954. with a half-hour description of the girls at a high school in Szekesfehervar writing “peace letters” to Paul Robeson.
Canada’s buy-now-pay-later merchan-
dising philosophy delights the new arrivals. Hungarians generally regard money as something to be spent quickly, preferably for entertainment. In prewar Hungary, titles, ranks and reputations meant more to' a family’s social status than its wealth. After toasts had been drunk on special occasions, the host of even the poorest peasant home couldn't resist leading his guests in the good-luck gesture of hurling the glasses into the fireplace.
This was one of the few customs common to most of Hungary's households. Before the 1944 Communist invasion made everyone equally miserable, the daily life of the Hungarian citizen depended almost entirely on his rank within the country’s rigid class system. A man's status influenced his speech, clothing and
behavior. The housewife of a middleclass family considered it unnatural and degrading to do manual work, such as carrying shopping bags. Workers and peasants had few privileges. They had to take their hats off and bow when talking to anyone with a title and to kiss the hand of the parliamentary representative when he made his annual visit to canvass their votes.
In prewar Hungary one out of fifteen citizens had some kind of title. The small shopowner employing a dozen clerks had to be called “Mr. Director” and disk
jockeys insisted they be addressed as “Mr. Editor.” Every university graduate could refer to himself as a “Doctor” and there was even a special designation for the headwaiters of Hungarian railway dining cars. The aristocracy had carefully graded titles ranging from “Your Excellency” and “Your Greatness” down to “Your Authority.” The government published an annual directory of ranks and everything— including the order in which guests helped themselves to the goulash —was done according to this precedence. Before upper-class youngsters were al-
lowed to play together, their parents often studied each others’ genealogical tables.
Because every member of the upper classes was unavoidably a “gentleman. " elaborate codes operated for revenging insults against personal honor. Gambling debts had to be paid within forty-eight hours, but obligations such as tailors’ bills were far less urgent.
To call a fellow aristocrat a jackass or something worse, or to be exposed after an unsuccessful assault on a lady’s honor, usually meant a duel. Up to 1939 the penalty for killing a dueling partner was five days in jail, but few fights ended in death. To settle the debt of honor, an opponent only had to be pinked with a knife or sword. In 1937 one Budapest count invited all his living opponents to a party celebrating his hundredth duel.
The Communists confiscated all upperclass assets during the 1949 purges. The few nobles still remaining in Hungary have trouble getting even inferior jobs. They have become the dishonored buffoons of Communist humor. In a typical story, an absent-minded, threadbare aristocrat steps on a woman’s toes in a Budapest streetcar. “You clumsy peasant you!" she shouts angrily. “My dear lady,” he begs. "I would be infinitely grateful if you would let me have that in writing. I am on my way to try and get my son admitted to the university.”
Few of the Hungarians now coming to Canada belong to former nobility, but the symbols of class distinction have been retained here by many of the earlier immigrants. An upper-class Hungarian in Canada almost always marries into the same level of a German or Baltic family. A Hungarian newspaper in Toronto once reported a speech by a former Hungarian aristocrat, who was introduced as "FIis Dignity, Noble. Valiant. Doctor, Hungarian Royal Colonel,” but who had to leave the meeting early—in Canada he was a night watchman.
that pleased a pope
Hungary’s lollipop-sweet wines were first internationally recognized in 1562, when the Hungarian delegate to the Council of Trent placed a sample jug on the pope’s table. Pope Pius IV immediately ordered Hungarian peasants to pay part of the tithes to their priests in stipidated quantities of wine.
To most Hungarians wine is an essential part of every meal and social occasion. A good host offers a glass of wine to all visitors. “Even the worst wine.” runs a country proverb, “is better than water."
Hungary's best vineyards arc in the Tokay district—some thirty villages in the northeastern highlands. Natural grape-sugar richness is pre served through the shriveling of the berries on the vine. Tokay grapes look like dried raisins when they’re picked, late in November. The orange-colored, nippy wines have a high natural alcoholic content.
Class distinction in prewar Hungary was not limited to the ruling classes. There w’ere separate social orders even among rural herdsmen. The esikos, w’ho looked after the wild herds of horses on the great plains of Hungary, ranked much higher than guardians of oxen who in turn looked down on shepherds. Although serfdom had been officially abolshed in 1848, Hungarian peasants were among the poorest in Europe. The census of 1928—the best year before the Depression— showed the Hungarian peasant’s per-capita wealth was the equivalent of two cows. (The comparable figure lor Canadians today is fifteen cattle.)
Before the enforced industrialization of the Communist regime. Hungary had six million peasants living in almost identical villages built around a castle or the bulbous towers of a church. 1 he onestory cottages were inevitably whitewashed. with their gable ends to the street. The liveliest meeting place was the esarda (country inn) and most villages had an adjoining settlement of gypsies. Hungarians tolerated the nomadic gypsies who lived by fortune-telling and horse-trading, but never wholly trusted them. In 1782 a colony of forty-five gypsies was beheaded on charges of cannibalism — later disproved.
Harvest festivals and weddings were the main diversions in the peasant's hard and monotonous life. A country wedding was preceded by a carefully contrived piece of play-acting in which the groom stole his bride from her parents. A toast to eternal friendship was served right at the altar and the groom had to clear a path from the church to his carriage by tossing out handfuls of coins. After an all-night dance, the couple was escorted home by gypsy fiddlers.
No bonnets for single girls
The head of the peasant family in prewar Hungary was its uncompromising dictator. His golden rule frequently was the country adage: “Money is good when it is counted and woman when she is beaten.”
Peasant dress incorporated a curious social code. Villagers knew that when a girl’s parents gave her permission to remove the ribbons from her hair, she was officially inviting courtship, and there were automatically no sanctions against her for being caught kissing the boys. To attract dates and show off their domestic skills, peasant girls wore up to a dozen colorful petticoats heaped on top of each other, covered with an embroidered apron. Only married women could wear sunbonnets and headshawls. When a housewife began dressing in black she openly professed that she was getting old.
Even before last year’s revolution, the Russians had found Hungarians the most difficult satellite peasants to subjugate into their communal farm system. I he country’s agricultural output declined so badly after the Communist occupation that wheat had to be imported, though Hungary was one of prewar Europe’s grain-surplus areas.
To try to ease the communization ot agriculture the Russians put farmers who professed communism in charge of many areas, instead of importing Red professionals. But this ignored the Hungarian peasant’s instinctive hatred for oppression. One Hungarian refugee recalls story told in his native village about a farm official visiting a local peasant to demand two thousand forints (about $240) for a compulsory state loan. The peasant wanted to know who would guarantee the return of his money.
“Our great leaders, of course,” was the vague reply.
“Yes, but what if they die?” the farmer demanded, still not satisfied.
With the glamorous Gabors, film-maker Korda and an H-bomb genius, talent is Hungary’s big export
“Then the Party will guarantee your money.”
“Yes, but what if the Party is dissolved?” the peasant insisted.
“You stupid lout!" the exasperated collector shouted. “Wouldn’t it be worth two thousand forints for that?”
Communist attempts to industrialize Hungary’s economy have been more successful. Most of Hungary’s factories were included among the Hungarian-based German and Austrian assets that the Allies assigned to Russia at the 1945 Potsdam Conference. Two Communist five-year plans have since transformed the once agrarian country into a minor industrial power. Coal, oil, bauxite, iron ore, uranium and manganese are Hungary’s chief resources, though little was shipped abroad, even before the Russians came.
Hungary’s most valuable export has always been talent. H-bomb co-inventor Dr. Edward Teller, novelist-philosopher Arthur Koestier, U. S. newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer, violinist Joseph Szigeti, conductor Eugene Ormandy, film maker Alexander Korda and Hollywood’s glamorous Gabor sisters represent the many Hungarians who have had to work in exile because of the country’s incessant political troubles.
Probably Hungarian culture’s bestknown contributions are the lively airs of the country’s frequently performed composers: Franz Liszt, the piano virtuoso whose Dante and Faust symphonies displayed a still-unequaled mastery of instrumental effects; Franz Fehar, the author of thirty gay operettas including The Merry Widow; and the moody pianist-composer Bela Bartok, who began composing at the age of nine and eventually wrote every kind of score from chamber music to folksong adaptions.
Hungarian literature was badly held back by recurring waves of government censorship. Probably the most important
classic in the language is Imre Madach’s The Tragedy of Man, published in 1861. It’s a dramatic epic about the rise and fall of mankind which ranks with Goethe’s Faust.
Hungary’s most prolific writer was Maurus Jokai. Some of his 1,154 novels have been published in twenty-five languages. Hungarian writers were always emotional, sometimes eccentric. George Bessenyei, an officer with the Hungarian Horse Guards, professed love so ardently in his plays and poems that he fainted from passion when he was introduced to his fiancée. When the Austrians arrested Francis Kazinczy and took away his writing materials, he spent a seven-year prison sentence scribbling in his own blood and with the rust of his chains dissolved in water. The best-known Hungarian dramatist is Ferenc Molnar, whose The .Swan was recently filmed with Grace Kelly. The Broadway success Carousel was based on his play Liliom.
Self-taught Michael Munkacsy, who spent his early life as a poor carpenter, was Hungary’s most famous painter. His greatest work is the religious canvas, Christ before Pilate, now displayed in Philadelphia. Hungarian artists were actively assisted by government commissions, not only for monumental pictures and sculpture, but with such practical assignments as designing the country’s bank notes. Collectors consider prewar Hungarian paper currency Europe’s most beautiful money, especially the rural scenes by the fresco painter Charles Lot/, and the landscape artist Geza Meszoly.
Budapest was one of Europe's greatest art centres. The city’s nineteen major art galleries housed an immense collection of Hungarian paintings, as well as two thousand invaluable old masters. Among the other art forms in which Hungary excelled were glass painting, tapestry, goldsmith work and ceramics. The rich, hand-painted Herend porcelain was seldom produced in duplicate patterns and it often took six months for an artisan to complete an order for half a dozen plates. Nearly all the meals of European royalty were served on Herend porcelain.
After beating the Turks, Mongols and Tartars Hungary lost freedom in a two-hour slaughter
One of Hungary's heroes is Count Stephen Szechenyi, a culture-loving engineer-statesman who founded the Hungarian Academy of Science in 1825 to encourage the development of a Hungarian national literature. He also established Hungary’s first steamship company on the Danube, formed Hungary’s national horse-breeding association and supervised construction of the first great suspension bridge across the Danube River at Budapest. His insistence that aristocrats had to pay the toll nearly started a revolution. The versatile Count’s efforts prompted the ancient Buda and the newer city of Rest to merge into Budapest in 1872. Pest, on the left bank of the Danube, was originally established as Buda’s market town and grew to become the centre of Hungarian commerce. The combined cities increased their population by five hundred percent during the fifty years before World War II.
Hungary’s capital was one of prewar Europe’s gayest cities. Plays were staged nightly at twenty theatres. The Royal Opera Company, with a permanent company of twelve hundred, performed the best of Wagner, Verdi and Mozart.
The doleful refrains of gypsy violinists set the mood of Budapest’s many coffee houses—where the most popular beverages were wine, and tea liberally laced with rum. Hungarian scholars gathered in these cafés for wit festivals, trying to outdo each other by naming all the popes in their reverse order of succession, or by reciting obscure poetry.
More than half of Budapest’s land-
marks were destroyed during the fourteen-week Russian siege in 1944-5 and many other national buildings were devastated by Russian tankfire in last year’s revolution. The Russian invasions were the last in a long history of assaults on Hungary.
The Illyrians, original settlers of the Danube Basin, were conquered by the Romans in 9 BC. In 896 AD. following invasions by Huns, Ostrogoths and Avars, the wild Magyar tribes—descendants of the Black Sea Scythians and the forefathers of the Hungarians—marched into the country out of Turkey. During the next three hundred years the Magyars successfully repulsed attacks by Ottoman Turks, Mongols, Tartars, Cumans and Petchenegs. But in a two-hour massacre at Mohacs in 1526 Hungary lost hei’ independence for the next 160 years to the invading Turks. The defeat enabled the Austrians to claim part of western Hungary and in 1739 the Peace of Belgrade confirmed the right of the Austrian Hapsburg monarchy to ascend the Hungarian throne.
The Austrians treated Hungary like a rebellious, subordinate province. Louis Kossuth, an ardently nationalistic lawyer, had been urging Hungarians to break away from the Hapsburgs, when on March 15, 1848. Alexander Petofi. a sort of Hungarian Robert Burns, read his “national song” to a crowd of Budapest students:
Magyars, rise, your country calls you! Meet this hour, whate’er befalls you! Shall we freemen be, or slaves?
Choose the lot your spirit craves!— By Hungary's holy God Do we swear,
Do we swear, that servile chains We’ll no more bear!
The students captured a printing office, drove out the Austrian censors, and drew up a manifesto (containing the poem) which was distributed all over Hungary, precipitating a revolt for independence. (Petofi's poem was chanted again by students at the beginning of last year’s uprising against the Communists.)
Kossuth intensified his campaign and, when an Austrian invasion was threatened, became president of a free Hungarian Republic. His army turned back several Austrian attacks, but Czar Nicholas 1, an ally of the Hapsburgs, invaded Hungary from the north, forcing Kossuth into exile.
The Czar’s army slaughtered Hungarian rebels at a rate that frightened even the Austrians. The Russians eventually
withdrew and Hungary returned under Austrian rule, although she was granted freedom to govern her internal affairs in 1867. After the defeat of the AustroHungarian monarchy in World War I one third of Hungary’s territory was divided up among Czechoslovakia. Rumania and Yugoslavia. The Hungarian economy was crippled through the loss of half its factories, much of the essential railroad trackage and Fiume, the only seaport.
When Hitler attacked Poland, Hungary refused to allow German troops across her territory, but the country was eventually forced into the Nazi camp and late in 1941 declared war on Britain. During most of World War II Hungary was Hitler’s least reliable ally and in March 1944 German troops occupied the country. They were driven out by the invading Russian army. In the 1945 elections the Communists received only seventeen percent of the votes, but by insisting on the formation of a coalition government, they managed to take over the Ministry of the Interior, which controlled Hungary’s police forces. Leaders of the opposing Social Democrat and Smallholder parties were arrested. Soviet troops disobeyed the Allied Control Commission's withdrawal order and in 1949, following a typical Communist one-slate election, crushed Hungary's remaining freedoms.
i he Communists’ greatest problem was Hungary’s large and powerful Catholic community—some sixty-eight percent of Hungarians are Catholic and twenty percent are Calvinists. During the Communist-sponsored “agrarian reform” of March 1946 most of the church lands in the country were confiscated, eliminating most of the church’s source of income. By 1952 the Communists’ anti-religious campaign had taken such a powerful hold that a decree was passed making the enrolling of children for religious instruction official grounds for divorce of their parents.
Hungarians don’t hitchhike
Most of the 12,680 Hungarians who emigrated to Canada between 1945 and the 1956 revolt arrived from other parts of Europe where they had been sent by the Germans. Twenty-six thousand Hungarians came to Canada after World War I. Large Hungarian settlements developed around Beverley Street in Toronto and along St. Lawrence Boulevard in Montreal. During the Depression one Hungarian farmer walked from Winnipeg to Toronto searching for a job. He found one and trotted back to Winnipeg. Then he walked to Toronto again with his wife and two small children. “Hitchhiking,” he explained, “is for Canadians only.”
Canada’s first Hungarian visitor was Stephen Parmenius de Buda, a scholarly adventurer who accompanied Sir Humphrey Gilbert in 1583 during his initial exploration of Newfoundland. His Latin diary of the voyage was published by the famous English geographer Richard Hakluyt.
Three hundred years later a group of Hungarians who had emigrated to Pennsylvania's coal fields but didn’t like their working conditions formed Canada's first
Hungarian settlement. The scheme was organized by “Count Paul d’Esterhazy,” a mysterious character who was never quite able to prove his aristocratic background. The “Count” is now believed to have been a Canadian land agent called John Papp who tried to drum up business by taking on the name of Hungary’s richest landowners. His most successful colony was in southeast Saskatchewan a few miles north of the Qu’Appelle River, just west of the Manitoba border. It took on Esterhazy's name and today remains the only place name of Hungarian origin in Canada.
The Canadian government later dispatched six hundred land agents into Austria-Hungary to recruit more settlers and the CPR operated a licet of luxurious parlor cars on European tracks to bring them out to tidewater.
These early immigrants had time to plan their voyage to the new world, to study Canada’s language, employment prospects and living habits. The refugees now arriving here are not just looking for jobs, but for a new way of life.
The Hungarian newcomers are determined to succeed in the country that has adopted them. Their potential contribution is disproportionately valuable to their number, because they will inject their belief that freedom is life's highest value into the taken-for-granted attitude toward personal liberty of most Canadians.
“As compared with Canadians who live comfortably in North American isolation, the Hungarians are animated by a mystique of freedom,” says Dr. Watson Kirkconnell, president of Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S., who taught himself Hungarian when he was a young professor at Winnipeg and is now recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on Hungarian literature. “The Hungarians have lived dangerously for over a thousand years on the eastern doorstep of Europe, fighting again and again for liberty, and hence have developed a sense of nationality compared with which that of our similarly mixed population is still relatively faint and divided.”
Kirkconnell sums up the feelings of many Canadians who have thought about the influx of Hungarians. “Their spontaneous struggle for freedom." he says, shames our preoccupation with economiccomfort and parochial triviality.” if