3. 20th century - Migratory wave caused by the World Wars and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956

In the 20th century, a high number of Hungarians emigrated to the countries of Latin America due to the First and Second World War on one hand, and to the events of the Hungarian uprising of 1956 on the other. A large number of Hungarian painters, architects, athletes, dancers and other artists arrived to the receiver countries, given that due to the occurrences in Hungary, were not able to use their talents, so they tried their fortunes across the ocean. Most of them settled in Brazil, Chile and Mexico. Among them was the photographer Miklós Muray, who made friend with Frida Kahlo; and the translator Pál Rónay, whose Portuguese translation of the Hungarian novel “The Paul Street Boys” is still a popular reading among Brazilian students. Probably the best known Hungarian in Latin America is László Bíró, inventor of the ball pen that spread quickly all over the world. In his honor, Bíró’s birthday, September 29th is celebrated as Inventor's Day in Argentina.

Ernő Dohnányi (1877-1960) pianist, composer. He descended from a family of chamber musicians, studied piano and music composition at the Academy of Music in Budapest. He won several awards, he was General Director of the Academy of Music in Budapest on several occasions. After the start of World War II, he had to leave Hungary. First he lived in Argentina, and then accepted a position at the Florida State University, so he settled down in the United States. (Argentina)

Géza Maróti (1875-1941) architect, sculptor. He designed the glass dome of the most emblematic building of Mexico City, the Palace of Fine Arts, as well as the glass curtain of the stage, and the sculptural group that is on the roof of the building. A lot of his works were made in the workshop of Miksa Róth in Budapest, and from there they were shipped to the overseas territories. Since the construction of the palace was halted during the Mexican Revolution, Maróti did not return to Mexico, however, his name is preserved in the building on a commemorative plaque. (Mexico)

Miklós Muray (Miklós Mandl or Nicholas Muray, 1892-1965) studied lithography, photography and photographic reproduction in Budapest. He fled to America from the First World War. He lived and worked in New York, he was employed by the Condé Nast editorial. In the editorial he made negatives in color, then opened his own studio where he worked for Vanity Fair, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and The New York Times. He created one of the first color laboratories in America, where he made loads of color carbro prints. He often photographed celebrities, and this is how he met Frida Kahlo with whom he had a close friendship. Muray made portraits of her, which later became his best known and preferred works. Their friendship became a love affair. During their 8 year relationship, Muray also lived in Mexico, wanted to marry Frida but the famous painter only considered him as her lover. In spite of that, they remained very good friends, until the death of Kahlo in 1954. (Mexico)

Pablo Vidor (1892-1991) painter. He obtained his degree in economics in Budapest, and later he studied arts in Vienna and Munich. Both Impressionism and Expressionism influenced his paintings. In 1924 he moved to Chile where he taught at the University of Plastic Arts, and then he was appointed as Director of the Museum of Fine Arts. (Chile)

Árpád Szenes (1897-1985) painter. He studied at the school of the Hungarian painter, József Rippl-Rónai, where his teachers were Béla Iványi Grünwald and Károly Kernstok. He won a study tour in Europe, in which he was inspired by the German, Italian and French visual arts. In 1935 he moved to Portugal, from where he moved to Brazil 5 years later. In Brazil he mainly painted portraits and book illustrations. He lived there for 7 years and then returned to Europe. His works have traveled all over the world and can now be seen in the Museum of Fine Arts of Hungary, in the city of Pécs, and they have also been exhibited in Brazil and Portugal. (Brazil)

Ferenc Plattkó (1898-1983) footballer, coach. He played as a goalkeeper, in the Hungarian MTK Budapest club, where he participated in 17 games and was twice part of the national selection. In the 1930s he became the coach of FC Barcelona. After that he went to South America where he was coach of the Chilean team Colo-Colo, the Argentine team River Plate, and then was technical director of the national team of Chile. At the end of the 1940s he was the coach of the Chilean team Santiago Morning, then of the Argentine team Boca Juniors and later of the Colo-Colo again. He was also an observer of players in Brazil. (Argentina, Brazil, Chile)

László Bíró or Ladislao Biro (1899-1985) inventor and painter who settled in Argentina, and among others, is the inventor of the pen. In Spanish, in English, and in Italian, to express pen, we can use the form derived from his name (biro or birome). László Bíró's birthday is September 29th; the importance and influence of his invention on society can be seen through the fact that September 29th was declared Inventor’s Day in the country. (Argentina)

György Orth (1901-1962) footballer, coach. He was born in a poor family, he could escape his situation with the help of football. Orth proved his talent with excellent play and with hat trick, in the Erzsébetváros Athletic Club (7th district of the Hungarian capital) in Budapest, where he already played as a center forward at the age of 14 years. Alfréd Brüll discovered him on a match. With the MTK Budapest team he won the national championship eight times, and in 1918 he was chosen the footballer of the year. Due to an injury obtained in a friendly match in 1925, he retired, and later he had to emigrate to South America to become a coach. He succeeded as a coach in Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. (Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru)

Arnold Szelecz (1900-1972) pastor, missionary, organizer of the reformed church. In Pannonhalma he was named as the first pastor of the Hungarians in Brazil, in 1931 he arrived to São Paulo. Later he travelled around Brazil, and arrived to Árpádfalva (located in the state of São Paulo, part of the city of Caiuá) as well, where he ordered to build a church. (Brazil)

Lajos Jánosa (1902-1983) painter, graphic designer. He studied at the Academy of Plastic Arts in Budapest, where his teachers were Oszkár Glatz and István Réti. He was awarded an honorable recognition at the Spring Salon of the Szinyei Society and at the exhibition of religious arts organized by the Benczúr Society. In 1928, at the Academy of Plastic Arts he won the Rothermere Prize, and in 1929 the prize of the capital. He painted landscapes and genre paintings, as well as dedicated himself to the arts of the church and made altar paintings. He painted the frescos of the confession chapel of the parish church of Esztergom, and the altarpieces of the church of Gyulavarsánd. He emigrated to Chile in 1950, where he became the director of the School of Fine Arts of Valparaíso. There he won prizes with his landscapes and self-portraits of European influence. (Chile)

János Apostol (1903-1991) reformed pastor, founder of the Brazilian Hungarian Reformed Church in São Paulo. In 1932 the Synod of the Reformed Church in Hungary sent him to Brazil for 3 years, with the mission of promoting the development of the community and the organization of the church. He led the reformed community there until his death. (Brazil)

Ákos Hamza (1903-1993) painter. He studied drawing pedagogy at the Royal Academy of Plastic Arts in Hungary. After graduation, he worked at a film factory in Paris, as a scholarship holder. When he returned to Hungary he founded a film company together with some of his friends. His first directing, the film “The Gyurkovics Boys”, was released in theaters in 1940. He left the country in 1944. He shot films in France and Italy, and from 1953 in Brazil. With his wife, Mária Lehel, whom he met in Paris, they settled in São Paulo. (Brazil)

Yolanda Mohalyi Lederer (1906-1978), painter, pioneer of abstract arts in Brazil. The artist was born in Transylvania, studied painting in Nagybánya and at the Royal Academy of Plastic Arts in Hungary. In 1931 she arrived to São Paulo, where she taught painting. He met Lasar Segall, a painter of Lithuanian origin, who had a great influence on her works and introduced her into the circles of contemporary Brazilian artists. Later, the architect Rino Levi commissioned her to paint frescos on the walls of the Capela do Cristo Operário, designed by him. Her first solo exhibition opened in 1945, and in 1958 she won the Leirner Prize. Her works focus on the human being, and through them the most important social problems are presented, such as Unemployment (1931). In 1963, in the Seventh International Biennial of São Paulo, she was awarded the prize for best painter. (Brazil)

Tibor Weiner (1906-1965) architect. He graduated from the Technical University of Budapest, and then he studied in Germany, from where he was expelled. He settled in the Soviet Union and played an important role in the design of the metro of Moscow, just as in urban development. From there he emigrated to Chile in 1939, worked as an architect and taught at the University of Architecture of Chile. In 1953 he was awarded the Ybl Prize. (Chile)

Pál Rónai (1907-1992) literary historian and translator. At the age of 19 he was already doing translations of Latin poems for magazines. He obtained a PhD and then started working as a critic. He published a book of Brazilian poems that was translated by him. In 1941 he was deported to a forced labor camp, but with the help of his Brazilian friends he managed to escape and emigrated to Brazil. There he started working as a journalist, and taught Latin and French. He translated into Portuguese the work of Ferenc Molnár, The Paul Street Boys, which is also read in primary schools in Brazil up to this day. (Brazil)

József Vándor Salesian father (1909-1979) was born as József Wech. He studied theology in Turin, he was ordained a priest. He was sent to Cuba by his superiors in 1936. His character, spirituality and creativity as a pastor made a profound impression on the diocese of Santa Clara, where he arrived with the purpose of building the Rosa Pérez Velasco Institute of Arts and Crafts, and to take over the pastoral care of the believers of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. Father Vándor was a popular, kind and friendly spiritual leader, his heart was always open to young people and to adults as well. His beatification is in progress. (Cuba)

Lola Botka (1910-2006) dancer. She began her studies at the dance academy of Olga Szentpál-Stricker. At the age of 18 she made her first appearance as a professional ballet-dancer at the Munich Festival. There Kurt Jooss discovered her. Love also found her in Jooss’s company. She arrived to Chile in 1940 with Jooss’s Ballet Company, however, it was disbanded in Venezuela. She was invited, along with Ernst Uthoff, to form the first professional dance and ballet school at the University of Chile. She was also a member of the Chilean National Ballet. (Chile)

Sándor Lénárd (1910-1972) was born into a wealthy bourgeois family, spoke 13 languages, and before the Anschluss, he studied medicine in Vienna. He was a doctor at the Collegium Hungaricum Roma. He published his first book of poems in German. With his Italian wife he emigrated to Brazil where he won a television contest, and with the money earned he built a house in Dona Emma. He practiced medicine at Dona Emma, as a doctor, and in his spare time he translated books from the 20th century into Latin, including Winnie de Pooh. He was invited to teach in the United States, but after a year he returned to Dona Emma. On one occasion he was mistaken for Doctor Mengele which almost cost him his life, but he finally managed to clear up the accusations. (Brazil)

Éva Todor (1919-2017) actress. Her parents, escaping the economic crisis after the First World War, fled to Brazil. As a child she studied ballet at the Teatro Grande in Rio de Janeiro. At the age of 17 she married a theater director, and from that time on she got constant roles in comedies. She also acted in soap operas, and thus became well-known and popular. Her last series was also screened in Hungary, she played the role of Dona Cidinha in the soap opera “Caminho das Indias”. She died at 98, of pneumonia. (Brazil)

Vilmos Szőts (1917-1993) painter. He completed his artistic studies in Bucharest and Budapest. His art represents the landscapes of Transylvania and the personalities of Hungarian history which he continued in Mexico. He designed several church interiors and pulpits in the United States and Mexico. His legacy - for not having an heir - was stored for a long time in warehouses. (Mexico)

Árpád Fekete (1921-2012) footballer and coach. As a player he achieved international fame in Europe, and then, finishing his career as an active player, he settled in Mexico and began his career as a coach. Between 1957 and 1990 he was coach of several Mexican teams, in 1963 he worked, for a short period, as technical director of the Mexican national team. The Guadalajara team won two championships under his direction, while the Club Deportivo Oro won one. In addition, he directed half a dozen teams in the Mexican first division. He is considered an emblematic figure of modern Mexican football. (Mexico)

Tamás György Farkas (1924-2011) photographer. He was born in Budapest, he was the master of photography and cinematography in Brazil, and he is considered one of the most important figures of the cultural heritage of Brazil. He arrived to Brazil as a child, between the two World Wars. At the beginning he photographed ballet companies and sporting events, and recorded the daily life of São Paulo and Rio. He recorded the construction and inauguration of Brasilia. He was also fond of moving pictures, he was producer of 30 documentaries and 8 films. (Brazil)

Tibor Cseh (1925-2004) chemical engineer, writer. He emigrated after the Second World War, for political reasons. He arrived to Brazil in 1960, then worked as an engineer for a long time for a US company in Mexico, Argentina and Canada. He taught and was Vice Chancellor at the Könyves Kálmán Free University of São Paulo. (Argentina, Brazil and Mexico).

Pál Kepenyes (1926- ) sculptor. In 1950 he was imprisoned for fabricated accusations. After his release, he lived in Paris and Los Angeles, and finally he settled in Acapulco, Mexico. In the golden age of the resort city his works became very popular among the stars of American cinema, his clients came from the highest circles. He is still active today, he has numerous exhibitions, and his valuable plastics, sculptures and jewels are frequently found at auctions. He has made two monuments for the Hungarian Embassy, which can be visited up until today in Mexico City. He was awarded a Hungarian decoration for his achievements, and he participated in the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Revolution of 1956 in Budapest. (Mexico)

Lajos Bíró (1929-1993) paleontologist, geologist. He was born in a poor family, during his studies he was supported by his geography teacher. He studied to be a teacher, as a scout he got fond of nature, so he enrolled in the Pázmány Péter University, to study biology and geography. He was not able to finance his studies, he tried to escape abroad, however, he was caught and imprisoned. In 1957 he escaped to Yugoslavia, and from there - thanks to his relatives - he emigrated to Chile. He continued his studies at the University of Santiago, where he obtained a doctorate and taught. Later he was invited to the university of the city of Concepción. Over the years he created an important paleontological collection. His investigations were concentrated in the Quiriquina Island in the Pacific Ocean. (Chile)

Marika Gidali (1937- ) ballet dancer, choreographer, leader of the Grupo Staggium. She was born in Budapest, and after the War she moved to Brazil with her parents. Her aunt lived in São Paulo. There she started dancing, and at the age of 16 she was already dancing in the company of Aurél M. Milloss. In the late 1950s she founded her own company, she was the choreographer of several television programs and musical films. She played an important role in the creation of modern ballet, she tended to fuse totally different worlds of music and rhythm, and dance techniques. In 1971 he founded the famous association, the Staggium Group, along with his husband. She created a foundation to support children and women. Her ballet shows and choreographies are well known and popular throughout Brazil. For her work she was awarded by UNICEF, as well as by the Brazilian State. (Brazil)

István Jancsó (1938-2010) historian. In 1944 he left Hungary with his family, they lived in refugee camps for 4 years. They arrived to Rio de Janeiro, where at first they lived in difficult conditions. Later he graduated in humanities and began to research and teach in the History Department of the University of São Paulo. In Brazilian circles István Jancsó is a prestigious historian, a book was published about his work and life. (Brazil)

József Ambrus (1944- ) geologist. After World War II he moved to Chile with his family. He studied at the Faculty of Geology of the University of Chile, and then he found employment in the Anaconda Copper company's mines. Later he founded a mining research and advisory office, in the framework of which he discovered several ore deposits. On one of the deposits discovered by him, the Canadian company, TVX Gold, opened a mine that was directed by him. After that, he worked together with his older son, they founded another company, the GeoVectra, where nowadays he is president and advisor. (Chile)


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