I was a refugee from Hungary embraced by Americans


About the editor: Like columnist Steven Foldes, Russia’s attack on Ukraine brings back memories of my childhood in Hungary. I was 8 years old when Soviet tanks rolled through the streets in front of my house in Budapest to quell the 1956 anti-communist uprising.

My family also fled, spending time in refugee camps and eventually arriving in Los Angeles. From then on, my story diverged significantly from Foldes’.

Instead of feeling completely alone, I was warmly welcomed at Clover Avenue Elementary School in West Los Angeles. On my first day, the teacher talked to the other children about the Hungarian revolution and the brave Hungarian boys who hurled Molotov cocktails at enemy tanks. My classmates wanted to get to know me, and some went out of their way to introduce me to the American way of life.

I don’t remember my rudimentary English being ridiculed. Instead, my classmates helped me by explaining the meaning of words I didn’t know.

With gratitude to them and the many others who were kind when I first arrived in this country, I think the welcoming attitude of many Americans toward refugees deserves to be known.

Andrew Kadar, Beverly Hills


About the editor: I, too, witnessed the brutal forces of the Soviet Union when I was 7 years old, standing at the train station in our small town in Hungary.

The Russian soldiers screamed and hit and shoved us with their bayonet rifles on a train to an unknown location. In an instant we lost everything that generations of our family had built. The future was empty.

The hopelessness and confusion on the faces of Ukrainian children bring back those memories daily now. At 82, I am still haunted by despair.

Josef Wida, Laguna Woods I was a refugee from Hungary embraced by Americans

Caroline Bleakley

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