by Ilona Trommler
Guest columnist of The Liberty Voice
Throughout the forty years since immigrating from Communist Hungary I watched many changes take place, political climates shift, as slowly I was beginning to recognize signs of what I knew growing up. Whenever I tried to talk to people about the changes I was noticing, they simply told me it could never happen in America!
As I am getting more politically interested and involved, realizing how we all slept through the decades while politicians took more and more liberties limiting our freedoms, I realized my story was becoming important for people to hear. It tells what is to come unless we take a stand, and force those we send to Washington to lead by that wisely written document, that allowed our country to be the best the world has ever offered. That incredible document that made this land the sanctuary to all people who ran from tyranny, and they found safety and freedom on our shores…… under the protection of the Constitution.
I often wondered why my search for freedom took me so far from my homeland, and not long ago it dawned on me, maybe the history of my country is important knowledge for America’s freedom. Maybe my story needs to be told to open eyes, and make what is happening today feel real, and more believable. Maybe I am here so I can tell what happens when a people sleep, and take their eyes off what their government is doing! I came from where we are heading, and this road was paved by tyrants!
There is nowhere else to go in the world, all the other countries are either Communist, Socialist, or some substandard country… where even the food and clean water is a luxury. God gave us an incredible land, and America must remain the beacon of light, the symbol of freedom in the world!
In hopes my story may play a small part in the restoration of our Republic, of the freedoms we lost through the decades because of ignorance, indifference, denial, maybe the feeling of… I am just one…what difference can I possibly make?
My story is meant as an eye opener about Socialism/Communism, and an encouragement to all Americans to look for clarity. To know you are not only part of history, but these days America is making history, and your actions are most important for they will determine the future of not only the United States of America, but perhaps the entire world.
On this day, the struggle to maintain freedom in our country continues! From the moment the Declaration of Independence was signed, our independence, the precious freedoms in it instantly became vulnerable to erosion to the ambitions of the self-centered, and the power-hungry.
You are all a very lucky people to have been born in the land of the free! But I must question on this day, especially in these times when this all important freedom is so severely threatened, does your passion still resonate in every cell of your being as it did inside your ancestors, who over two hundred years ago secured this incredible thing called freedom? Are you still so in love with your country, that you feel your blood boil when someone questions its dignity? And does it humble you to your knees, when you pledge allegiance to your flag?
I would like to believe my birth-land of Hungary endured what it did, so our America may not have to. It gives me a bit of comfort to think it was not for nothing, that a once large and strong kingdom was reduced to shambles… at the whim of people we though were smart! To stand here and think that I might have something of importance to offer makes me wonder, perhaps my journey was necessary not only for my freedom, but maybe for yours as well! My question to you today is: I know your eyes are open,……. but do you truly see?
At the end of World War II Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin, with pen in hand changed the destinies of eight sovereign nation, and took the God given right of men to freedom from millions. Nations suddenly fell under total Soviet rule, and their only guilt was their geography. We were given to slavery by important men who didn’t know us, didn’t understand our history….and frankly didn’t care what Stalin will do with us. The Red army marched trough without opposition. They intimidated and plundered, they took the food from the mouths of starving children, they ripped earrings out of women’s ears, slammed their babies against walls if they cried. Fathers, brothers, sons, and husbands were shot on the spot, if they tried to protest as their women were raped in front of them.
In one of the ancient Hungarian cities is a marble plaque that reads:
They came believing in the revolution,
They asked for a hopeful future
Cannons, tanks, and machine guns answered them.
On October 26, 1956, it is in this place they received their fatal wounds.
They were regular citizens who loved their country, and they did not set out to become heroes. Most of them were barely adults, and they were killed, because they dreamed of freedom. The Hungarian revolution was not an organized event, it happened spontaneously, it contiguously swept through the entire country within hours. The gathering and actions of the students was looked at as a threat to the regime, the Soviet army rolled in with tanks, and the revolution became bloody.
At age three I didn’t understand the significance, nor the impact on the country and its people when the Red army tanks snaked through the city streets, but I saw the fear on my parent’s faces, and I heard them ask what will become of my brothers who fought against the invaders. I saw the helplessness as the world around me became uncertain.
The revolution failed, and the aftermath was unimaginable terror. The Iron Curtain tightly shut down the borders to keep people, and information from moving in either direction. Those who fought for the country’s freedom became enemies of the state. The police used photographs taken during the revolt to identify everyone involved. There were many who waited for the arrival of the falsely announced American troops. Inside Hungary desperation and fear was so great, that mothers drugged their babies to keep them quiet while crossing the border, and young children suffocated as parents tried to keep them from crying, while the guards walked only a few feet from their faces, as entire groups laid in the mud holding their breath. In a country of only about 10 million people, 200.000 citizens of Hungary in danger of persecution walked across the border into Austria, and over the next five years, scattered throughout the world looking to make a life for themselves.
Information was dangerous in those days, and the truth was difficult to find. Parents feared telling their children anything, to speak the truth in front of them, a slip of the tongue could make any person disappear. We acquiesced when they forced on us their ideology. As a people we were spiritually numb when they prohibited church attendance, and we watched in silence while they removed the crosses from all buildings and replaced them with their red stars. Our flag became bare in its stripes of red, white, and green, without the crest of the kingdom…….as it fluttered in shame…….. under the soviet flag.
Everything was nationalized! They said: it all belongs to the people now! First the banks, followed by industry, energy, health-care, agriculture, restaurants, hotels, the corner store, were no longer in private hands. We were forced to give up our guns, then they took all our freedoms, and they took our country!
It was illegal not to work! The people worked hard for their meager existence, and the government took the profit to feed the Swiss bank accounts of those at the top, and the mighty Soviet machine so it can become a world superpower. Nearly in an instant millions were made dirt poor, displaced, living in complete insecurity, fearing the government…. and each other,… as 40.000 neighbors turned paid informants. We called them the “whisperers” because under the cover of night they went to the government to whisper their deadly information!
It became unlawful to speak against the government, or to tell a political joke. If you showed dismay, you became the enemy of the state, and were picked up in the middle of the night. Most people ended up in Budapest in a place we all knew simply by its address, as Andrassy Ut 60, which today is a museum called The House of Terror.
Most of them were never seen again.
My family set out to make the desperate crossing ourselves, but my uncle in fear for my life put his foot down and told my parents they would have to leave me behind. Returning to our home we found it empty, furniture, dishes, clothes, everything was gone, we had nothing left but the clothes on our backs.
The government assigned us a room in an army barrack, where we shared the shower and toilets with 50 work-men. We were marked, and our future was dismal. Under those conditions my parents would forever work for the bare minimum, and the government would control where we live, how often we move, how much education I would be allowed. By the time I was 15, we were moved 11 times, and I attended 6 schools in 8 years.
In 1963 the government feeling the possibility of unrest, gave amnesty to all the freedom fighters. To show how open we suddenly became, they gave passports to a handful of people to visit relatives in the west. My mother received a passport to visit my brothers who made their way to America. After her return, the following year my father had permission to visit my brothers also……. He never set foot on Hungarian soil again.
When he was late returning to Hungary, we were threatened with jail and work-camp, if we didn’t convince my father to come home. On his return, at best he would have been jailed for life. With my father in the West, my Mother and I were harassed and questioned by the police regularly. Realizing the limitations that will be placed on me because of the sins of my brothers and now my father,…I wanted to leave the country. After we applied for passports we were followed by agents, and the police came to get us frequently to parade us through the city to the police station for questioning. This continued for four years.
Between Christmas and New Year’s in 1968 the police came for me. The chief wanted me alone for questioning! He put a paper in front of me and demanded I sign it without allowing me time to read. I refused! While the chief was screaming at me for my defiance, I read the paper in which I was going to give up my Hungarian citizenship. I took the pen and wrote on the bottom margin that under no circumstance am I willing to give up my Hungarian citizenship. . . and then I signed the paper.
Red in the face he was covered in sweat as he continued to scream at me…. when my mother, who was a tiny woman came busting through the door. Looking confused, almost disoriented, he told us we were both leaving, stating the country will be better off without us, and to our astonishment he gave us a month to leave the country. On my way out he grabbed my arm and spun me around to face him, his last words to me stuck with me to this day. He stuttered: “We do not need your kind, you are the type who can cause revolutions”. . . based on that comment, perhaps the chief was a wise man!
I AM AN IMMIGRANT. In recent years most Americans think of immigrants as poor people, undereducated, in search of a financially better life, coming to the United States for the opportunity of work. Today that is mostly correct, but going back a few decades, immigrants came to America for entirely different reasons. We were seeking liberty! Poor we could deal with, that was the smallest of our problems. We came with broken wings and broken spirits from lands controlled by tyrants where we had no hope for a brighter future, and we, the lucky ones who did get out, came here to take refuge under the protective comfort of the Constitution. We did not come to change America, we came with respect for its laws, language, and we are proud to Pledge Allegiance to the flag!
We loved our homeland, yet, we fully dedicated our allegiance to a foreign land we did not know, we came deeply thankful for the sanctuary of its freedom, and the graciousness of its people for allowing us the privilege to live here. Most immigrants struggle for years to enter this country legally, struggle to learn English, but in time we adopt this country as our own. We learn its ways, we honor the blood that is shed for this soil, and we jealously guard over, and protect the freedoms of this country.
My three children were born here in freedom with the birthright to speak their minds, form opinions, and dare to dream of limitless possibilities knowing that if they are willing to focus and work hard enough, anything is within their reach. It is all up to them and not the government to determine their futures.
Through the decades I watched the very freedoms I would have swam an ocean for slowly recede. Little- by-little, taken from us through more government control, programs, and regulations, with the promise “the government will take care of you”. All governments that tried to take care of their citizens have failed. The Socialist/Communist system cannot afford itself…..eventually even the rich run out of money. These systems did not fail because they didn’t do it right, it cannot be done because money can only be made in a free society! When we clearly understand the history of Socialism/ Communism, it should make us scream in protest, and it should cause us to act!
And act we must! To fail to realize the government’s misuse of its powers and not to act is a crime against our nation! If we do not act the destiny of Eastern Europe will be ours…and we will be forced to stand in shame in front of our children and grandchildren, who’s freedoms we so easily betrayed!!!
Too many in our country are becoming comfortable with the word SOCIALISM! It seams a perfect, equal system for all, a Shangri-La if you will, if not realizing it is nothing but a bridge to Communism, which is total government control over even of your most intimate private life! Socialism at its best is corrupt, rotten to the core, a government without overseers! The idea of Socialism is not new in the United States, but it is not openly identified as such in the places it exists. If you live near by, drove through, or perhaps live in the projects, you have seen and experienced Socialism in America! Government housing, government healthcare, government schools, government food stamps, and what you see there is as good as it gets, when the government decides what is good for the people, takes the power out of the hands of the people, and they spread the wealth. Our government imposed full blown Socialism on our inner cities, and in over fifty years hasn’t been able to raise the living standard of those who live there! And look how happy and motivated are those, living in the projects with all that the government is providing for them.
Is that the best we can dream for our children and grandchildren? Is that the America we want to see? I certainly hope not, but that is exactly what the government means when they tell you they want to spread the wealth. They will make us all equally poor by breaking down our economy, inflating our currency, forcing on us taxation on a level never seen before, and if we cause too much difficulty for them, they will impose some sort of emergency under which the government takes all the power into their hands. That is full blown Communism! Not in America you might say! Think again, look around and see how much we lost just in the last year!
We are citizens of this country first, and private citizens second! This citizenship comes with responsibilities! Keeping the Constitution in tact, the freedoms in it, is our foremost responsibility. Citizenship is our birthright, but freedom is not, we have to be diligent in making sure it is not snatched from us in the midst of indifference, ignorance, or under the assumption that it is being properly looked after by our representatives in Washington.
Our greatest enemies are not always those on the outside of our borders, sometimes, as today, they walk among us, pretend to serve, and represent us. Both parties have betrayed us, they both not only strayed from the Constitution, but trying to destroy it. We the people have sat in indifference too long, allowed our children to be indoctrinated in our schools, making them believe their ancestors were terrible people committing terrible acts, placing doubt into young minds…questioning their parents’ intent, rather than the government’s!
This was the practice in Communist countries also, the focus was on the young, through the government’s promises of building a perfect, idealistic society, the promise of social justice, they turned children against their own parents. Many became informants, turning in their parents, grandparents and other relatives! The uniformed children marched in their parades like little solders, singing the Soviet songs of hope and change! We were disarmed by disbelief and turned a blind eye to the actions and corruption of government, our courts, and schools. Through political correctness they shamed us into shutting up, so no one ever questioned… or dared to oppose. Feeling alone we stood quietly watching the government enslave the people! In America’s political climate today… I find each day stronger the feeling of Déjà vu……. and I say enough! Enough is ENOUGH! We need to take back our Republic, and we need to demand Constitutional correctness from all our representatives!
We are the mothers and fathers of this great land! As we would with our children in danger, we viciously, with our blood if needs to be, have to protect this soil we stand on from those who are limiting our rights and carelessly selling our country to foreigners. To those countries who are not our friends, nor supporters, they are in many cases our enemies, who are only worried about how they will get the return on their investment. The fall of this great country would cause them no emotional hardship at all, perhaps a gleeful grin of satisfaction over the idea that it was a job well done. The arrogant Americans got what they deserve. But we are not the arrogant Americans! Our corrupt politicians are!
The most precious thing we have is our country, without it we have no home! Our founders swore to protect it from enemies outside our borders, and from the enemies within! Times may have changed, but human nature has not, money and power is still a lure for men of weak convictions. We need to recruit those who through the political evolution from George Washington to today managed to keep their spines in tact, and are still able to stand upright with dignity, and willing to preserve the last bastion of freedom in the world. We need to judge all politicians guilty, until they prove to us they are PATRIOTS!
These days we may be softer in our comforts then the early Americans were, but I can say with certainty, we do not love our country any less today, and I feel confident if we are called, now that we are called, we will not be less of a patriot than those who fought back then. Our commitment cannot be less than to offer our life if necessary. We have to have commitment on that level, even though we may not want to. Freedom is that important, ask anyone who knows what it’s like not to have it! Most recently, look at the people of Iran!
This is the most dangerous time in our country’s history, since the founding fathers fought for freedom, and laid the cornerstone for what is today the greatest country on earth! Our liberties have never been more on the brink of extinction than today. It is time for all eyes to be wide open, and believe what used to be unbelievable! The changes we see today have been coming for decades, but today they are meant to change our country’s DNA, and cannot be allowed to continue.
As a nation of diversity we have faced great challenges in our history, and we always overcame, remained strong, but today, NOW our country is in grave danger! It is time we take the loss of our freedoms, and the corruption in our government and courts seriously, and finally stand together as the Americans we are, all citizens, all the races, all nationalities united, under the one flag of the United States of America, for the most important single cause of our lives…..OUR FREEDOM!