The picture below, showing a “székely kapu”, a traditional wooden gate from Transylvania and a symbol of Hungarians, and the adjacent bust of Hungary’s first king St. Stephen (1000-1038 AD), was not taken in Hungary or somewhere in the Carpathian Basin. It’s from the other side of the world, Buenos Aires. -This website aims to document and display visible signs of Hungarian presence around the globe. Churches, Hungarian Houses, social clubs, cemeteries, associations, statues, memorial plaques, businesses, street signs, and gathering places, all attest to the hard work of many Hungarians who for various reasons had to leave their motherland in the past 150 years, and to their desire to create new homes in their adopted countries, in order to practice and maintain their old-world culture. This is the first "globally" comprehensive, independent site on this topic, covering as many different geographic regions as possible and presenting all sites in detail, which indeed makes this collection unique. My 90,000+ pictures, taken since 2005, will be soon gradually uploaded!
Most of the featured objects are the products of the great economic Hungarian emigration wave in the late 19th-early 20th century; emigration due to the 1920 Trianon peace dictate; and the two major waves of exile of refugees escaping Communism in 1944-45 and 1956. The photos are from countries outside of the Carpathian Basin in which larger numbers of Hungarians settled. Some images capture the remnants of entire, previously compact Hungarian neighborhoods (such as New Brunswick, Fairfield, New York, Detroit, Toledo, Lorain, Cleveland, Toronto, or Sao Paolo), others show items that are fairly isolated.
Unfortunately, some of the shown objects or buildings have already vanished, many of them been stripped of the original interior after ownership change, or are simply forgotten or otherwise endangered. Take, for example, the Assumption Church in Buffalo’s Lackawanna district, a formerly thriving industrial area. Due to the closure of the steel mills and factories and the consequent relocation of the area's residents, this church had to finally close its doors in 2006 and the building is now gone. Another example is the former Hungarian House of Toronto on St. Clair Ave., whose directors have recently found a new building. This fieldwork is thus also a race against time, as you cannot be sure if everything you have visited will still be around in another ten, or even two, years.
Depending on my financial possibilities as well as time, I plan to continue documenting parts of the world with sizeable Hungarian communities. Thus, you should always find new locations posted!
At the same time, I ask my visitors to share their own relevant pictures, both vintage ones from your family heritage or other sources, and new ones that you may have taken, in your own neighborhood or elsewhere. You can email these to me with some info (place, name of the object, year), and I will be happy to post them, with reference to the source. The older ones you can either scan and email in .jpg, or send them by regular mail and I will return them to you. If you have additional information (dates, names, details) for picture captioning, let me know. Thank you for all contributions which will also help to better reconstruct the immigration history of the individual locations.
Also, because of the fragility of the objects (buildings and their belongings, markings, written material etc.), the frequent lack or disappearance of local documentation, the "time gap", the dwindling number of informants, often restricted access, and my limited time and resources, assembling a complete story of the objects or communities is practically impossible, even if this is my ultimate goal. But hopefully I can gather, save, and present some of it.
For better quality, the size of the pictures is normally large. Please be patient when opening the individual locations or images.
I am sure you will find plenty of interesting photos on the site. You may also discover childhood memories or find references to late relatives and friends, and see many objects or buildings that no one is really aware of any longer.
Dr. Gergely Tóth