Mesmerising Songs – Classical and Jazz

On November 5th, 2016, Melissa-Marie Shriner visited us for the second time, and gave us an almost two hours long concert. Fragments from Gábor Finta’s recordings are here:

Act I Act II

Commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Revolution and Fight for Freedom of 1956

For this special event, the OHCC was filled up in such a great number with participants that we had to turn away the late-comers in order to avoid exceeding the the legally established limit. This phenomenon has generated ambiguous feelings in us, the organisers. On one hand, we regretted the few that had to be turned away, on the other hand, we have rejoiced in the thought that so many cared enough to ensure their participation in a timely fashion.

Our ranks was honoured by the presence of Mr. Péter Szíjjártó, Hungary’s Minister of External Affairs, Mr. Kristóf Altusz, Deputy Secretary of State, Mr. Bálint Ódor, Hungarian Ambassador to Canada, Mr. Lászlo Sinka, First Secretary of the Hungarian Embassy in Canada, Mr. Péter Orosz, Consul of the Hungarian Embassy, and other staff members of the Embassy. Other guests from Ontario include Mr. János Szőke, President of the Niagara Hungarian Community Centre and companion, and from Toronto Mrs. Katalin Szabó, VP of the National Alliance of Hungarians in Canada.

The festive (commemorative) address has been delivered by Mr. Péter Szíjjártó, in which he reiterated each nation’s sovereign right to decide whom it intends to accept in its midst and with whom it is willing to co-habitate (live) in the long run. He also rejected some attempts in the media to equate the 1956 Hungarian immigration with the intruding mass movement overwhelming Europe at the present time. Hungary is and will continue to be grateful to Canada to have given safe haven to 37,400 Hungarian refugees in 1956. But, as the Minister brought it into prominence, those Hungarian refugees did not developed parallel societies, waited patiently for months, sometimes years in refugee camps, were grateful and appreciative for all the help they got, and had later contributed in a substantive manner to the prosperity of Canada. A survey done in 1960, three years after the first arrival, has found only 5 families on welfare payment out the more than thirty-seven thousand.

In 1956, this small nation has shown the world time and again that it is brave enough to oppose tyrany, that no sacrifice is large enough when it has to defend its liberty and existence.
A congratulatory message from Prim-Minister of Canada, Mr. Justin Trudeau, has been read by Mr. Tibor Lapohos, President of the OHCC.

From the part of the Freedom-fighters Mr. László Farkas, Mr. József Polgár, Mr. Ernő Szelepcsényi, Mr. Tibor Véghely and Mrs. Anna Mária Dupont has addressed the audience.

Mr. and Mrs. István Gaál, who recently moved to Calgary, but would so much wanted to be present at the celebration, have expressed their loyalty to their former home and community by subscribing a $5,000 donation to the OHCC. This noble gesture reinforces our commitment to uphold the ideals of 1956, for which so many had suffered and made the ultimate sacrifice.
Sometime, in the course of the evening, Mr. Béla Köntés has recited his versified chronicle of the pre- and post-1956 era.

In honour of the revolution, Ms. Éva András has assembled a collection of contemporary pamflets,newpaper cut-outs about the student’s fight and role in the events, about the evolving statements and involvement of government officials, about the stance of Hungarian intelligentsia, about the ad-hock Worker’s Councils, about the Soviet political and military deployment, about the newly formed political parties. This material was gleaned from the vast archives of the National Széchenyi Library, and it is aimed to illustrate the hopes and tragedy of the revolution, especially to those who had encountered it only in textbooks. The series will remain accessible in the OHCC.

As proof of the viability of this nation, a select cross-generational ensemble, the Csillagszeműek (Those with Starry Eyes), founded and lead by prominent Folk Dance Masters, Mr. Béla Timár and Mrs. Böske Timár, presented a phenomenal engaging performance of folk dance, from all four corners of the homeland. There was no difference in the mastery of the material and the reassurance and panache with which it was performed by the 6 years old boy or the 9 years girl, the late teenager or the young adult member. It took our breath away, and needless to say, we would love to have them back, anytime.

At the end of the evening, after father Daryold’s blessings, during the Last Post, sounded by Jessica Joanis, all those present bowed their head in memory of the fallen (heroes).

Fragments from the progam held at OHCC
(by Gábor Finta)

Part 1: Festive Program Part 2: Hungarian Folk Music and Dance by the „Csillagszeműek” Ensemble

Shirley Valentine in Canada

On September 24th this year, our community enjoyed the second play of the theatrical series whose Ontarian tour was organized by NAHC. There were 74 spectators filling up the hall with laughter while watching the lyric comedy entitled „Shirley Valentine” written by Willy Russel and translated to Hungarian by Ria Julián. The piece was directed by Zsuzsa Cserje, with Éva Vándor in the principal role. Given the nature of its subject, the theatrical play is received with much interest throughout the world. Our community was no exception, and the audience enjoyed it tremendously.

Excerpts from the play presented at the OHCC
(photographed and edited by Gábor Finta)

Day of National Unity, of Belonging – 2016

It is not a celebration, as some might think, but a day of reflection and commemoration. Prior to the 3rd of June 2010, we have referred to it using simpler, more bitter words, as The Peace “Treaty” of Trianon (Versailles)of 1920 June 4. That was one of the most shameful and unjust peace treaties ratified by the victorious powers ever, following WW I. One can glean plenty of information regarding this decision from endless and varied sources. In a nutshell, it proved to be the most devastating event in the history of the Hungarian nation, bar none. Every Hungarian and the whole world should know about it, as we have already been made aware of victims of different wars and of regimes the world over. If interested, a good starting point is offered by Wikipedia.

The new designation of the day of the Trianon tragedy has been voted upon and accepted by the Hungarian Parliament on May 31, 2010, the President of Hungary putting his seal of approval on the proposal on June 3, 2010, to be in force for June 4, 2010. The law has stipulated that

“each member of the Hungarian communities abroad, subjected to the rule of surrounding states, is part of the homogeneous Hungarian Nation, of which cohesion is a reality, state borders notwithstanding, and (this) represents a defining element in each Hungarian’s individual and collective identity.”

Today, June 5,2016, we were given ample opportunities to harmonise our heartbeats while listening to the Kormorán Ensemble’s interpretation of „I had a father once”, later reflecting on writings by Károly Kós and Sándor Márai. A commemorative poem by Gyula Juhász has been performed by László Csurka on images of a slideshow prepared for the 90th anniversary of the event.

Known in Hungarian circles in the interpretation of Ibolya Oláh, the song „Magyarország” by René Dupéré, text by Péter Geszti, has been performed by Tünde Lapohos. One of the pillars of our community, Moldován Gizella, has recited „Trianon, be gone!” by an anonymous author.

In the end, we have witnessed a production of the OHCC, „We belong together” in which Gábor Finta took us across most of the lands Hungarians inhabit in the surrounding seven states now, assuring with his piano playing the musical background, as well. The role of the narrator fell on Károly Dombi, the esteemed and beloved former producer of the Hungarian programming at Chin Radio Ottawa. The compilation, given the constraints of time, is not yet complete. We intend to make it whole next year with material from Voivodina, Szabadka, and Bácska, as well as, reports from Australia, North- and South-America, and Westen Europe, even Austria, that despite being the originator of the whole mess in 1914, was awarded Hungarian territory ! with Hungarian population at the end of the „Great War”.

We can conclude only by repeating the final words of our video here:

„ … and what does this all mean to us? Well, most of us owe to the Trianon peace treaty, be it directly or indirectly, the fact that we live in diaspora, erecting all over the world last stands, Hungarian community centres, that is. Hungarian communities proceeded this route, made this journey, in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Cambridge, Toronto, Windsor, Montréal, and Ottawa.

They got us dispersed, but we still belong together!”

Lapohos Tibor – Translation by Béla Köntés, Ottawa

Poems, Writings

Károly Kós: In loud voice

Excerpt – Translation by Béla Köntés, Ottawa

Somewhere some paper has been signed, somewhere some people settled on something, somewhere they divvied up something, somewhere they slammed a(n open) door shut for it to stay close forever.

From the height to which our own strength and one thousand years worth of labour brought us, carving out on the way up that gigantic rock each stair step with our own wit, sweat and blood; that is the place from which they hurled us down into abyss.
We know: why.


Our old flag is in tatters, our sword is chipped – our souls shackled.
But I know: we will have to rise again.
I know: we will have to start the arduous work anew.
I know: we will carve our way, yet again, into a savage rock-face, on which an old and hardened nation will follow us to new heights!


We are hearing it, we are seeing it, and we know it, because it is reality: our Hungary is no more. She did not die when Paris took care of her funeral arrangements, no! She died when she publicly admitted: I am not what I used to be. And that is the truth!

It has been seventy years since our fathers uttered the word in one voice and a thousand years old dream had come alive; this is the Hungary that has been sentenced to death in Paris. Only fifty years have been allowed to the one and only Hungarian land to be a large, youth- and forceful workshop among nations. This is the work they have cut short. The Hungarian people of Transylvania, the Bánság region, the Kőrös basin, the Hungarians of Máramaros have been torn out, eliminated from that workshop, that has once been created through their hard work. They were not even asked: would you like to be outcasts from now on?

We , on the other hand, cannot believe to this day that it happened, that it could happen at all. For two years we have lived in suspense, waiting. We hoped and we prayed that the Sun will rise and shine upon us from the West. We have dreamt away for two years, refusing to acknowledge the life around us that has kept forging ahead. We did not want to see, to hear, to feel or to live. We have clung to our faith, hopes and dreams, waiting for the miracle to lift us out of the slumber.

Because we have grown accustomed to the old way, we liked what we have created. We believed that we have created those things to last and to our enjoyment. Now, things came to head. After two bitter years of waiting, and frozen dreams, we have been told that all what we have believed, hoped and trusted in was a mirage.
We have found out that the sun does not rise in the west.
Let us admit it: our faith has been demolished.
Let us admit it: the disillusionment hurt the most. It hurt that we had to throw away our innermost beliefs, because they proved to be mistaken.

Listen up, Hungarians of Transylvania, of Bánság, of the Kőrös basin and Máramaros,all the two million of you, it is not me but the dismembered homeland that has concluded: I have no other way out, I have to accept the decision in question that has been imposed on me against my will and better judgement, and that has been declared and executed already: I am giving up on you, those who were torn away by a dictate wrapped in a peace treaty. (force)

And this is the truth!

Whoever says something different, is a liar; who believes in something else, is a dreamer; who put his hopes high in something else is chasing a mirage.

We have to draw our conclusions; we have to face the implacable, stern reality, and we should not delude ourselves any more. In order to survive we have to work, and we do want to live, therefore we will start working.

This time on our own, and only for our own good.

We shall not lay eyes upon the West any more! It would weigh heavy on our hearts and hurt our eyes. There, the Sun has already succumbed, leaving behind its red aura barely piercing the thick clouds of fallen destinies. Why would we want flowing tears again?

Let us be mindful! Tears are precious, and no stranger should see that we are hurting. Instead, let us face east with our thousand-years-old pride, and watch the crest of our mountains where the sun will rise. For us, the Hungary of yesteryears is no more, but Erdély, Ardeal, Siebenbürgen, Transylvania or what the world may call it, has risen again and it exists, as it always did, even when we reneged on it for the sake of Greater Hungary. It has been there all along, and we have it, yet again, and it will be with us forever, in spite of meddling minds.

Kolozsvár, Cluj, Klausenburg, 1921

Sándor Márai: Botanicals – About homeland and state

Translation by Béla Köntés, Ottawa

Could the love of one’s country be drilled into anyone? As if we would demand by flogging the individual to love him- or herself. The homeland does not consist only of dust and mountains, dead heroes, mother tongue, the bones of our ancestors in the cemetery, bread and landscape, oh, no. The homeland is you, it is within you, willy-nilly, in all your corporeal and spiritual manifestations; the homeland gave you life and will be your eternal resting place, you are living it and expressing it in all your miserable, uplifting, flamboyant and deadly boring moments that sum up your life. Your life is a tiny moment in your homeland’s existence.

I cannot bring you to love your own country: only fools disavow themselves. On the scales of history, one’s country is magnified beyond mondane proportions and it is timeless. Homeland is destiny, your personal one, too. Whether you like it or not is irrelevant. You are one, joined at the hip. But as I reckon, you seem, at least in writing and on solemn occasions on podiums, to speak to your love of state and its institutions. Indeed, what can one expect from a country? Countries do not dispense medals, mete out jobs and positions, feed you. Countries just exist. It is the state that offers you higher rank, glossy pendants to adorn you tunic, first-grade spoils, if you serve it well, if you sanitize it with incense, if you proudly proclaim your love of state even while it crushes you on the wheel. Truth to be told, it rarely crushes you only for that. And that is why, all forms of love towards the state are questionable. He who loves a state, loves a personal interest. He who loves a country, loves a destiny. Think of it next time when you howler and pound your chest in public.