Supporting immigrants – a letter from refugees of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution

On February 1, 2017 the Santa Monica Daily Press in California published a letter from Marta and Henry Fuchs, both refugees of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Today we witness the inhuman treatment of migrants in Europe, especially in Hungary; the horrendous separation of children from their parents in the Unites States and now the latest news that the US Supreme Court upholds President Trump’s travel ban from several Muslim-majority countries. We feel that this letter is more timely than ever.

Marta is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in California. Her brother, Henry, is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Federico Gil Professor of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. They were both born in Tokaj, Hungary.


Marta and Henry Fuchs

Supporting immigrants


As children of Holocaust survivors and refugees from the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, we strongly oppose the administration’s ban on immigrants.

We urge our Congressional leaders to come to their senses and oppose this executive order based on unjustified fear. We already have a very strict screening process in place, and there is overwhelming evidence that it is working. Not a single American citizen has been killed in a terrorist incident by a refugee from any of the seven banned countries. On the contrary, evidence is overwhelming that immigrants are hardworking and make positive contributions to our society while filled with gratitude for the safe haven America provided them.

We urge our elected representatives to speak out and act quickly and decisively to reverse this senseless and cruel ban on immigration. We remind them that we and other voters do remember, especially at the ballot box, how our leaders who represent us behave in critical times such as this.

This issue is beyond partisanship. It is about our common humanity.

Do not let unfounded fears destroy all that we Americans stand for. The legacy of this wonderful country for centuries has been to be a haven for oppressed refugees. The few times in our history when we turned our backs and acted with fear –- refusing entrance in the 1930s for Jews fleeing Nazi oppression, and incarcerating innocent Japanese-Americans into detention camps in the early 1940s– we now look back with shame and sorrow.

This is another historic time, a chilling echo of the past. We urge you to act with your humanity and reverse this assault to our morality and national security.

Marta and Henry Fuchs
Santa Monica


  1. I sure did not have to read much of their objection. They are immigrants, who swore to support and protect the US Constitution. Yet, what they clearly express is that they do oppose the US Constitution. The US Constitution is very clear and precise (not like the Hungarian Alaptorveny) that only Congress has the authority to make the laws, and control immigration. They have every right to start their effort to amend the US Constitution. The US has the most liberal and humane immigration laws in the world. The upholding of immigration from those few named countries was stated clearly because today there is NO possible ways to vet any immigrant in those countries. It is a temporary situation,as that was very clearly established at the very beginning.

    Unfortunately their beloved commerades who’s brutal and self-serving interests causes all the blood-sheds and forcing millions to flee. Not the USA ! The USA provides most of the material assistance to help all the refugees around the world.

  2. The internment of the Japanese-americans in 1941 appear to be excessive. But in 1941 it was based on actual danger. As the Japanese military expenssion in the entire Pacific, the Japanese population in many of those island nations have collaborated and assisted the Japanese military invasions. They were interned ONLY in the west cost areas, where similar collaboration seemed potential.

    Just what was done in Europe in similar situations ? Masses were butchered by both sides. How come you are so fast to disregard that ?

  3. Avatar Robert Morrison says:

    The letter obviously not about the Hungarian situation, the only link is that they are immigrants from our homeland. How did this make its way into the HFP with the foreword of “Today we witness the inhuman treatment of migrants in Europe, especially in Hungary” is beyond me.

    However as they state they are the children of ” Holocaust survivors” therefore one would expect from them to have at least as much common sense to oppose the mass importation of the thousand year sworn enemies of the Jewish People into Europe and especially into Hungary.

    Sorry Chris, but this article just doesn’t appear to be genuine.

  4. Avatar Chuck Kovacs says:

    I think it was Joseph Stalin who was quoted (roughly) that if a million people lost their life, that would be a statistic. But if you knew one person, that would be a tragedy. So it is with the arrivals by the border. We have faces of those wanting Maslow’s primary hierarchy of needs, namely, security.
    The question is – how do we establish a processes of helping those in need. By all the vitriolic comments, Congress and leadership could do a lot better. We need to advocate for adults in the room!
    While we’re protesting, let’s keep in mind that resources are not infinite. Providing help is extremely expensive. Beyond the loud noise, those willing to take action personally, by adopting/supporting a family or two – are scarce. That’s a cold statistic!
    The bottom line we can all agree is… we cannot have thousands of people just walk in without some administrative oversite. That would be chaos in today’s environment! This is not the squalid 30’s, nor the fortunate in 1956, who were warmed with open arms. We have moved on to an interconnected world where the Chinese have dominant economic parity with the US. Healthcare costs are beyond the reach of over 30% conservatively. Japanese internments of WWII are often mentioned. We forget to factor in the sneak attack of Perl Harbor. Let’s stop playing Monday morning quarter back. Government reacted to protect the nation. It wasn’t home sweet home, but it wasn’t a gulag either. The best history can says, is, it was understandable.
    Compassion cannot flower if stakeholders and elected officials don’t sit down together. Trump’s self- absorbed infallibility complex, and making pronouncement ex-cathedra is not likely to ameliorate the situation in the near term. Pray and trust the leadership will prevail. In the meantime, do express yourself. Write Letters to the Editor and your representatives. Reach out to everyone to make your voice heard.
    Chuck Kovacs
    Towanda, Pa.

  5. I’m a child of survivors of the Holocaust – America under Teddy the mean Roosevelt turned back the ships with Jews for sure death. They would have brought business know how, culture and minds of inventions and intellect and hard workers . The Sharia believers intent on burning Europe to a crisp, murdering and raping is not what an outstanding citizen to be admitted to the US sounds to be.
    Sorry, liberals, Trump again and again.

  6. Immigration back in ’56 is just completely not the same like today! How dare you? Don’t forget amongst the bunch of overwhelming facts that refugees in EU dubled the number of crimes and they are not willing to work!

    • Avatar Reality Check says:

      That’s a lie about crime. For instance, crime rates in Germany are at a 30 year low. They are among the top countries recieving immigrants from Africa and the Middle East. Crime got lower, it didn’t double.

      • The above article is ambiguous. For anyone who bothers to click on the link, it talks about a 30 year low and goes into detail about left-wing, right-wing political crime.

        Yet, there are other articles that delve into much more detail about the German crime rates if one really wants to understand them. Some of them even seem to contradict each other. Certainly to paint this as a simple black-and-white response with a link saying crime got lower is at best failing to consider all the aspects, and at worst misrepresentation. Here are several articles published by the same German website:

        (04/24/2017) German crime statistics reveal steep rise in violent and political crimes
        “Germany has recorded a significant rise in politically motivated crimes by foreigners, including jihadis. The report revealed that rise of migrant criminal suspects in Germany has soared by more than 50 percent.”

        (04/22/2018) Crime in Germany drops 10 percent in 2017, report shows
        “Crimes of almost every nature dropped across Germany in 2017, according to police statistics. But there were a few categories in which rates increased.”

        (04/18/2018) German states look to reintegration to reduce migrant crime
        “The number of migrants in German prisons has steadily risen since 2015, according to data obtained by DW from five state justice ministries. German states are putting more resources into reintegrating them into society.”

        And the most recent:

        (06/10/2018) German girl’s murder highlights asylum system flaws
        “The murder of a 14-year-old girl, allegedly by a rejected asylum-seeker, raises explosive questions about Germany’s refugee system. The crime reveals serious shortcomings in how those seeking asylum are dealt with.”

        I could go on with article links, but suffice it to say that the answer is not simple and clear cut. And if we are going to present points, let us at least be honest in presenting it all and not just the half-truths that might suit us.

  7. Hungarian Free Press – I am honestly wondering about why you call yourself free press. What makes you say this? How are you managing to fund your work as an online media? I would truly appreciate if you clarified this for all of us readers. Thank you.

    • Avatar Reality Check says:

      Read the bottom section of the about page:

      • Especially love the “non-partisan” claim. That comes across not only in the articles published here, but also in the way that comments are moderated, based on whether editor finds certain arguments inconvenient and a rebuff to the ideological agenda being pursued. Inconvenient comment? No Problem! Censor it and problem gone!

  8. Avatar Robert Morrison says:

    Reality Check on June 28, 2018 at 8:26 am

    Thank you for your enlightening reply to my comment. I highly appreciate it especially the “Robert Morrison is small-minded” part coming from a mindless liberal troll masquerading as “reality check” 🙂

  9. Avatar Máté Pál says:

    Hungary is totaly right in what they are doing in regard to migrants. 1956 brought brought a depravation to Hungarian lives. For Hungarians to get away from the torture and killings by the Communists was a life line for them. Either get away or be shot. Marta and Henry Fuchs are two examples. Problem with their letter statement is that they regard migrants, illegal and refugees as the same. This is not true. Refugees are fleeing from war and death, whereas, illegal migrants are on the move to gain a good living from the countries they are heading for. I would trust that Mata and Henry, after they had been accepted into their new found land, found work, paid for their food and clothes, found a place to live and paid for it. Well done you two. These illegal migrants do not look for work, and they certainly do not pay their way. They are scroungers and live from the taxes that normal people pay into the government. Hungary does not want this, as they have a country of people to look after, not to take in lazy good for nothings that could take away from the Hungarian people what they have worked for for many years. Unfortunately, the EU have different ideas, and look on migrants as being all refugees. Now the people of the EU are starting to put 2 and 2 together and stating to turn the tables. Well done.

    • Mate Pal, you make some excellent points. I’m proud of my fellow Hungarians for their responses here and would honestly have been surprised to find many who support the letter written by Marta & Henry Fuchs.

      America always has and continues to do a great deal for immigrants, although what the country does that is good is often downplayed and rarely shared. Sadly, criticism is much easier and so much more fun for some, and solutions are hardly ever offered alongside.

      Mate Pal brought up an important topic. Refugees and asylees or illegal immigrants are different, as are the benefits they receive.

      “Refugees are broadly similar to those seeking asylum, but they are subject to different rules.

      Both asylees and refugees have to make the case they face persecution for the same kinds of reasons. Asylees, however, have their status determined after they arrive in the U.S. while refugees have to gain clearance to enter the nation before they arrive.
      * * *
      To be eligible for entrance as a refugee, someone has to be otherwise legally permitted to come to the U.S.

      The U.S. admitted about 70,000 people per year as refugees five years ago. That number rose to 110,000 per year by the end of the Obama administration. President Donald Trump has reduced it to 45,000 this year, and the number of people admitted is well behind the historical pace.

      Refugees can legally work and can apply for a green card after a year. They can stay indefinitely depending on whether conditions in their homeland have changed. Refugees can also apply for U.S. citizenship eventually.
      * * *
      A person who is granted asylum is protected from being returned to his or her home country, is authorized to work in the U.S., may be eligible to apply for a Social Security card, may request permission to travel overseas, and can petition to bring family members to the U.S.

      Those granted asylum may also be eligible for certain benefits, such as Medicaid or Refugee Medical Assistance.

      After one year, a person with asylum may apply for lawful permanent resident status, also known as a green card. Once the person becomes a permanent resident, he or she must wait four years to apply for citizenship.”

      Here’s the rest of the short-course on immigration:

      Asylum 101: Here are the basics of what it is and who gets it

      And something to think about there is that it seems a little backwards, doesn’t it? The legal refugees receive less than the illegal asylees. At any rate, all countries need rules and limits, and the right to enforce them. America is blessed and has always taken more than her fair share of immigrants, and will continue to do so. But a little recognition of that wouldn’t hurt, and being realistic about the capacity of single countries to absorb whole other nations would help also. Hungary has every right to set limitations, and so does the U.S.

      In the U.S.:
      “[Asylees] Often they come from Central America or China. More recently, there has been an uptick from Syria and Egypt.
      In 2015, nearly 6,200 Chinese nationals were formally granted asylum, according to the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute. About 5,700 asylees came from Honduras, Guatemala or El Salvador.
      Other countries for recent asylees include Iran and Iraq.
      There were about 26,000 people granted asylum in 2015.”

      ***Just to put it that into current perspective, a separate article mentioned that in March 2018 alone – 5,000 people applied for asylum and only 43 were denied.***

      “The U.S. admitted about 70,000 people per year as refugees five years ago. That number rose to 110,000 per year by the end of the Obama administration. President Donald Trump has reduced it to 45,000 this year, and the number of people admitted is well behind the historical pace.”

      The above numbers are also from:

      Finally, as Mate Pal also said, Hungary has a country of its own people to look after. So does the U.S., as recognized by John Robson, a Canadian newsman, documentary film-maker, columnist with the National Post, commentator-at-large for News Talk Radio 580 CFRA in Ottawa and an Invited Professor at the University of Ottawa. He holds a Ph.D in American history from the University of Texas at Austin.

      “The point is, deploring Trump is no substitute for addressing real problems. As Monday’s Post front page noted, the EU is on the verge of disintegration over uncontrolled immigration. And even Canada, which essentially only has to worry about people who find American immigration policy insufficiently welcoming or lax, is feeling serious strains over refugees filling homeless shelters, forcing us to build tent cities, and otherwise intruding reality on our feel-good pretence.

      One important conservative truth here is that there is so much misery in the world, we cannot offer refuge to everyone who legitimately needs it. We would simply overwhelm our own societies.
      * * *
      In contrast, the basket of deplorables known as the general public wants the borders secured, in Europe, in the U.S. and here. These people are not against immigration; many are the children of immigrants. They do not regard newcomers as rapists or cockroaches. But they are concerned about a society’s capacity to assimilate them economically and culturally. And they are right.”

  10. Hey Edward, it was FDR who refused to let the M.S.St.Luis dock it the US nor in Cuba.
    Several hundred German Jews boarded that ship at Brehmanhaffen.
    According to records (check it on Wikipedia) all survived Hitler’s madness.

    Teddy was president more than 100m years ago.

  11. Hungary has problems with the refugees since 2015.
    In 2015 there were articles here about the Hungarian camerawoman. Hungarianfreepress wrote also many bad things about her without investigating the case before. Now, there is an answer on Youtube:
    “Hungarian Camerawoman hits back at BBC for the Fake News!”

  12. Márta és Henrik! Ti is kővel dobáltátok az osztrák határőröket anno 1956-ban? Szó nélkül tovább mentetek ahova akartatok, vagy megvártátok a sorotokat? Tüntettetek és követelőztetek hogy jogaitok vannak? Hány kiskorút erőszakoltatok meg a befogadó országban? Soroljam ti sötét barmok???? Ti ugyanolyannak tartjátok az 1956-os menekülést mint a mobiltelefonnal, menő ruhákban, mindennel ellátott “menekülteket” , akiket a libsi elvbarátaitok szállítanak Európába jó pénzért?!?!

  13. Avatar Don Kichote says:

    I find your intelligent and sober posts are very good. Unfortunately, few understand what you have written and less, your attitude.

  14. For those whose command of the Hungarian language is lacking, Henrik brought up some good points. Including the very important question of whether the 1956 generation of Hungarian migrants roamed across borders around the Western world like herds of Caribou in search of the best asylum deal out there, or whether they patiently waited in the first safe country they reached to be offered asylum by countries that chose to give it to them.

    Aside from that, I continue to find this 1956 argument to be extremely absurd. If there would have been 4x more Hungarians than all Europeans combined and there would have been a threat of ethno-cultural overwhelming, and if Hungarians would have belonged to a culture that would have been far-removed from Western culture in a number of ways, I am sure that the Western nations would have seen the flow of millions of Hungarians per year into their lands as a threat, colonization, rather than taking in some limited numbers of migrants, which were more of a complement and a net benefit that can be easily absorbed and integrated, rather than a threat.

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