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 scene from last year’s Light the Night fundraising event at the Stettler Town and Country Museum. This year’s rendition is on a drive-through basis only, but it still promises to be a not-to-be-missed seasonal event.
Independent file photo
Stettler Town and Country Museum hosts ‘Light the Night’

This year’s rendition is drive-through only, but will still prove to be a dazzling display

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, confirmed eight additional virus-deaths Monday afternoon including one in central zone. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
New record: Red Deer at 236 active COVID cases

One more death in central zone reported

Janelle Robinson owns and operates Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler. The Ranch, just north of Stettler, is an animal therapy ranch that helps those with special needs and conditions ranging from PTSD to anxiety. Mark Weber/Stettler Independent
Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler provides support through animal interaction

‘I also come from a family of doers - if something that is needed isn’t there, you just figure it out’

A long-time Castor Resident is on the move. Luella Kowalsky, who has lived in the Town of Castor since 1977, is moving to an assisted living facility in Innisfail to be closer to family. Kevin J. Sabo photo
Long-time Castory resident Luella Kowalsky is leaving the community

Kowalsky will be closer to two of her kids, who live in the Sundre area

birds
It’s almost time for the 121st Audubon Christmas Bird Count!

This year’s counts will take place between Monday, Dec. 14th through Tuesday, Jan. 5th, 2021

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Wetaskiwin Composite High School. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools prepare for transition back to online learning

Grades 7-12 will are mandated to transfer to online learning starting Nov. 30, 2020.

Lawyer Devon Page, Ecojustice Canada’s executive director, pauses during a news conference in Vancouver on Wed., Sept. 26, 2012. The environmental law group has lost its bid to pause Alberta’s inquiry into where critics of its oil and gas industry get their funding. Ecojustice sought an injunction this summer to suspend the inquiry, headed by forensic accountant Steve Allan, until there is a decision on whether it’s legal. nbsp;THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Judge tosses application to pause Alberta inquiry into funding of oil and gas foes

Ecojustice sought an injunction in the summer to suspend the inquiry

Janelle Robinson owns and operates Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler. The Ranch, just north of Stettler, is an animal therapy ranch that helps those with special needs and conditions ranging from PTSD to anxiety. Mark Weber/Stettler Independent
Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler provides support through animal interaction

‘I also come from a family of doers - if something that is needed isn’t there, you just figure it out’

A pedestrian makes their way through the snow in downtown Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Wild winter, drastic swings in store for Canada this year: Weather Network

In British Columbia and the Prairies, forecasters are calling for above-average snowfall levels

NDP Leader John Horgan, left, speaks as local candidate Ravi Kahlon listens during a campaign stop at Kahlon’s home in North Delta, B.C., on April 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

Most Read