On Friday, February 24, Ambassador Dr. Réka Szemerkényi and the Embassy of Hungary held a commemorative candle lighting ceremony with members of the Hungarian-American community on the eve of the Hungarian Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Communism.
Speaking in front of the statue in memorium of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution titled the ‘Budapest Lad,’ Ambassador Szemerkényi said, “Throughout Eastern and Central Europe it is estimated nearly one million perished under Communist dictatorships. On this day we remember all those who became victims of a system of violence – abducted and persecuted by the communist regime – and their families and loved ones.” The Reverend Judit Mayer of the Hungarian Reformed Church of Washington, DC also led a prayer in memory of the victims. Prominent members of the Hungarian-American community, including Ferenc Koszorús, Chairman of the Board of the American Hungarian Federation, and István Fedor, President of the American Hungarian Heritage House, were also present to pay their respects.
Similar commemorative events were held across all of Hungary. In Budapest, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán proclaimed, “Today in Hungary we live in freedom and safety; we have a bright future that we have chosen ourselves – unlike communism, in which we had only stifled energies and boarded-over skies”, Mr. Orbán said, adding that “Hungarians have understood that they can only be free if they never again surrender their sovereignty.”