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Register of the First Aid For Hungary, 1956-1958
57014  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Correspondence, reports, contribution lists, clippings, and printed matter, relating to relief and resettlement of Hungarian refugees.
Background
I was again called into service at the time of the Hungarian uprisings in the last months of 1956. I accepted the honorary chairmanship of an organization called "First Aid for Hungary, Inc.," which had been formed as the result of a meeting of several prominent Americans of Hungarian descent called by Dr. Tibor Eckhardt on October 29, 1956; it was organized to render vital services in a sudden emergency. Our immediate objective was to bring aid to the hundreds of Hungarian Freedom Fighters who had been forced to seek refuge in neighboring Austria and had thus cast an enormous burden upon that country. We were one of only two foreign charities actually operating at the Hungarian border during those first frenzied weeks. Immediate aid was rendered through seventeen first-aid stations, four field kitchens,and three mobile pharmacies set up in the border zone to distribute clothing and medical supplies. We were also able to send food and medical supplies into Hungary itself -at first by direct shipment, then through the International Red Cross, and finally by direct shipment again. During the latter part of this organization's life, as Russian tanks halted the flow of Hungarians across the border, we turned our attention to aiding the refugees in camps in Austria and for several months provided a number of them with supplies, especially for children, and also with care for the sick, wounded, and maternity cases. In February 1957, we determined upon a specific program to deal with the emergency created by the interruptions of studies, particulary of high-school age children. We supported programs in Austria, Belgium, Germany, and United States by providing funds and textbooks. Later, our efforts were extended to the problem of higher education for refugee students. Aid to the education of these young people took some of our work out of the temporary and gave it an added significance of future and permanent value. My personal feelings on the matter were conveyed in a message of mine which was read at the Protest Meeting for the Hungarians in Madison Square Garden on November 8, 1956:
Every people striving for freedom has over our whole national life appealed to the American heart. But seldom in these hundred and sixty years has any people shown such magnificent courage and sacrifice as we have seen in these past few weeks in Hungary. Whatever we can do to alleviate their suffering and to protest this wickedness must lie on the American conscience.
Every people striving for freedom has over our whole national life appealed to the American heart. But seldom in these hundred and sixty years has any people shown such magnificent courage and sacrifice as we have seen in these past few weeks in Hungary. Whatever we can do to alleviate their suffering and to protest this wickedness must lie on the American conscience.
Extent
3 manuscript boxes (1.3 linear feet)
Restrictions
For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives
Availability
Collection is open for research.