Kalóz Family

ALL MATERIAL: COPYRIGHT CALIFORNIA EUROPEAN CULTURAL INSTITUTE / MEMORY PROJECT

Attila, Magda and Steve Kallóz, 1956ers

Attila, Magda and Steve Kalloz grew up together in Tiszaföldvár, Hungary in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Their childhood memories of the brutality of the communist regime in Hungary are still vivid. They lived in a small town where their father was a successful local businessman - until after WWII, when the regime confiscated all the family's holdings and their business. Their father was taken and tortured by the secret police between 1950 and 1952 and they had Soviet soldiers quartered at their house. Attila says in the Kalóz siblings' compelling interview: "We hated the regime that we had to live under, but we didn't have a choice." In 1956, thanks to the Hungarian Revolution, the family finally had a choice, and they decided to flee to the West. The entire family left on December 9th through a harrowing escape into Austria. The story of their escape is perhaps the most poignant memory that Attila, Magda and Steve share, and this is why they wanted to be interviewed together.

Once in Austria, the Kalóz family had to wait three years before they were accepted as refugees to the U.S., and during that time, Attila, Magda and Steve attended a school for Hungarian refugee children in Iselsberg sponsored by the Queen of Holland. They arrived to the U.S. in late 1959, when they were 18, 16 and 14. They were sponsored by the Catholic Relief Agency in New York. After roughly six months, the family was able to live on their own. Although they were always proud of their Hungarian background, they chose instead to assimilate and build up their American roots. All three children have had successful careers and families, and they still live very close to one another in New Paltz, New York. The revolution of 1956 is one of the most important events in all of their lives and something that changed them forever.

Interview conducted by Andrea Lauer Rice and Reka Pigniczky in New Paltz, NY in March 2017.

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