Wreath laying ceremony held in Manfred, Alta.

(Emily Jaycox/Bashaw Star)
Right, Ambassador of Hungary to Canada, Her Excellency Dr. Maria Vass-Salazar, lays a wreath at St. Michael’s RC Cemetery in Manfred, Ponoka County on Oct. 25. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)Right, Ambassador of Hungary to Canada, Her Excellency Dr. Maria Vass-Salazar, lays a wreath at St. Michael’s RC Cemetery in Manfred, Ponoka County on Oct. 25. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr speaks. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr speaks. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
Rev. Roger Niedzielski from the Edmonton Catholic Diosese gives a prayer and blessing. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)Rev. Roger Niedzielski from the Edmonton Catholic Diosese gives a prayer and blessing. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
(Emily Jaycox/Bashaw Star)
The Hungarian crucifix at St. Michael’s is believed to be the only one of its kind in Alberta. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)The Hungarian crucifix at St. Michael’s is believed to be the only one of its kind in Alberta. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)

A wreath laying ceremony, commemorating the 64th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, took place at the St. Michael’s RC Cemetery in Manfred (located between Ponoka and Bashaw on Range Road 224, south of Hwy. 53) on Sunday, Oct. 25.

Despite the frigid temperature, a group of about 17 people gathered to pay their respects and to acknowledge this important event in Hungarian history, as well as to honour the first Hungarian settlers in Alberta.

Those in attendance included the recently appointed Ambassador of Hungary to Canada, Her Excellency Dr. Maria Vass-Salazar, Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr, Bryce Liddle, deputy reeve, Ponoka County, Barry Stotts, St. Michael’s Heritage Society president, Anna Szenthe, president of the Canadian Hungarian Heritage Inc., Alexander Szenthe, Hon. Consul of Hungary to Alberta, and Dr. Gergely Bodnar, Hungarian Consul from Ottawa.

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was an uprising for freedom from the Soviet Union, beginning Oct. 23 and lasting until Nov. 10.

The event was organized by Julianna Stein, of the Canadian Hungarian Heritage Society.

“Let us remember, of those Hungarians, who came to this country and to this land, and made a home for themselves,” said Szenthe.

“They endured harsh weather. Let their determination and love of God be an example for us who live in Alberta.”

“It’s good to see that even these times of COVID challenges, and various things, we can still find ways to celebrate our cultural heritage and honour those who came before us to this great land,” said Orr.

“We are come together and recognize the lasting impact … Hungarians of all walks of life rose up and stood behind them against oppressive Stalinist-Marxist regime and fought for the ability to think and speak and to live free which is what Alberta is all about especially.”

“It’s very cold, but my heart could not be warmer to see this heritage, to see the memory of the Hungarians settled here,” said Ambassador Vass-Salazar.

“As Ambassador of Hungary to Canada, it is a great honour and privilege for me to visit Bashaw and to remember and pay tribute to the memory of the first Hungarian settlers who came to Alberta,” she said.

“I am truly privileged and touched to see the legacy of these first Hungarian settlers and the importance of their contribution to development of Alberta.”

READ MORE: St. Michael’s Church commemoration held west of Bashaw

Hungarians immigrated to Canada in four major waves, starting with 8,000 prior to 1914. After the revolution in 1956, about 37,000 Hungarian refugees came to Canada (thecanadianencyclopedia.ca).

Dozens of Hungarian immigrants settled in the Manfred area in 1895.

The original St. Michael’s Catholic Church, adjacent to the cemetery, was built in 1910.

The Hungarian crucifix, prominently featured in the St. Michael’s cemetery, which dates back to 1918 or 19, is the only one of its kind in Alberta, says Stotts.

Various Hungarian heritage societies are working with the Catholic church and Ponoka County to have the cemetery be declared an historic site.

Stotts lives five km south of the cemetery, and has been the president of the St. Michael’s Heritage Society for four years. His wife is Hungarian, and is a descendant of Hungarian settlers buried in the cemetery.

Municipalities can now declare sites in their jurisdiction historic sites, but the society is currently working with the Catholic Church to define who is able to be buried in the cemetery, says Stotts.

The property is currently owned by the arch diocese of Edmonton.

“There are some little issues to work out,” said Stotts.

“It’s still an active cemetery.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BashawHeritageHungary

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A damaged unicorn statue is shown in a field outside of Delia, Alta. in this undated handout photo. It’s not often police can report that a unicorn has been found, but it was the truth Saturday when RCMP said a stolen, stainless-steel statue of the mythical beast had been located in a field not far from where he’d been taken. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Mounties get their unicorn; stolen statue of mythical beast found in Alberta field

Police are still looking for suspects, and have called in their forensics experts to help

Stettler resident Jaden Norman is pictured here outside of the Stettler Learning Centre where she lends a helping hand as a volunteer tutor. photo contributed
Stettler’s Jaden Norman has discovered the many joys of giving back

National Volunteer Week runs April 18th to 24th

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
A commercial building, housing two businesses, in Stettler was completed destroyed by a fire Thursday. (Photo courtesy Stettler Regional Fire Department)
Fire destroys commercial building in Stettler

Giant plume of smoke attracts spectators

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole to vote against Conservative MP’s private bill on ‘sex-selective abortion’

Erin O’Toole said he supports a woman’s right to choose and will personally vote against the private member’s bill

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

A vial of some of the first 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

The male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

The funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip laid to rest Saturday as sombre queen sits alone

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of Windsor Castle

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pfizer to increase vaccine deliveries in Canada as Moderna supply slashed

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

A empty classroom is pictured at Eric Hamber Secondary school in Vancouver, B.C. Monday, March 23, 2020. The Alberta government says schools in Calgary will move to at-home learning starting Monday for students in grades 7 to 12.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Calgary schools to shift to at-home learning for grades 7 to 12 due to COVID-19

The change, due to COVID-19, is to last for two weeks

Most Read