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

File photo
Alberta’s central zone has 670 active cases

301 new cases identified Sunday

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

Alberta Health reported two new COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer Friday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two more deaths linked to Olymel outbreak in Red Deer

Province reported 356 additional COVID-19 cases Friday

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

Annual spending on debt interest is closing in on $3 billion

Alberta reported an additional 399 cases of COVID-19 Thursday, on 9,217 tests, for a test positivity rate of 4.3 per cent. (Image courtesy CDC)
Red Deer down to 562 active COVID-19 cases

8 new COVID-19 deaths, 399 additional COVID-19 cases

Bookings for COVID-19 vaccines for people age 75 or older start Wednesday. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Updated: Delays for seniors booking for vaccine appointments

By 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, 4,500 seniors had booked their appointments

People line up outside a vaccine clinic as seniors wait to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton Alta, on Friday February 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Health Services head sorry for glitches in vaccine booking system for seniors

AHS president said technical issues have been fixed and a virtual waiting room is in place

Vandalism is shown on Alberta NDP MLA Janis Irwin’s constituency office in Edmonton in this handout photo on Saturday, February 27, 2021. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney quickly condemned vandalism at an Opposition legislature member Janis Irwin’s Edmonton office after the MLA posted pictures showing her front window spray-painted with the words “Antifa Liar.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Janis Irwin *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Alberta Premier slams vandalism after slur painted on MLA’s office window

Edmonton MLA Janis Irwin posted pictures showing the front window spray-painted with the words ‘Antifa Liar’

A helicopter flies past a mountain near McBride, B.C., on Saturday January 30, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Avalanche warning for backcountry users in North and South Rockies

Avalanche Canada is urging backcountry users to always check their regional avalanche forecasts

Supporters pray outside court in Stony Plain, Alta., on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, as a trial date was set for Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church. He is charged with holding Sunday services in violation of Alberta’s COVID-19 rules and with breaking conditions of his bail release. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Trial date for jailed Alberta pastor charged with breaking COVID-19 health orders

The court says it will reconvene with lawyers on March 5 for a case management plan by teleconference

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

Emily Keeping of Wetaskiwin, Alta., was last seen at 4:20 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin. Supplied/ Wetaskiwin RCMP.
UPDATE: Wetaskiwin RCMP seek assistance in locating missing 11-year-old

Emily Keeping was last seen on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin.

Sylvan Lake's Winter Village lured many visitors to the town this winter. The town has launched a new contest to attract a new business.
(Black Press file photo)
Sylvan Lake offering rent-free storefront space to lure new businesses

Winning business proposal will get a storefront space rent-free for a year

Most Read