icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle


From Refugee to Consul: An American Adventure

Imagine leaving everything behind… Follow along as Helen Szablya tells the tale of life after her harrowing escape to freedom from Communist Hungary with her young family in 1956 to establish a new life as a refugee in Canada, then the US. As she builds her family and her business acumen, she eventually helps establish the Hungarian Honorary Consulate in the Northwest US and becomes the first woman Honorary Consul General of Hungary to the USA and the first on the West Coast supporting the new Hungary as it emerges from communism. A deeply personal memoir and a true American adventure with global reach, this book continues where her book My Only Choice: Hungary 1946 - 1956 leaves off and takes the reader on an epic journey to the end of 2020.

My Only Choice

”Helen Szablya’s new book, My Only Choice, Story of the Bartha-Kovacs and Szablya Families, Hungary 1942-1956, is part of her autobiography, covering Hungary’s tragic years between 1942 and 1956. As a seven-year-old girl, she survives the traumas of World War II that many of her fellow Hungarians tried to avoid entering, only to witness her mother’s arrest by the communist secret police in 1949. Her cast of characters is taken from life; her descriptions of the psychological and physical landscapes are as truthful as they are memorable. She is a congenital democrat who dislikes with equal fervor the extremes of the political right and left.”

Charles Fenyvesi
Staff writer(retired) Washington Post
Columnist, US News and World Report
Author of several books in English and Hungarian, including When the World Was Whole: Three Centuries of Memories and When Angels Fooled the World: Rescuers of Jews in Wartime Hungary

Haramiák és emberek (Brigands and People)

This book describes the true stories of people who were deported. Edited and researched by Dr. Zsuzsa Hantó, launched February 3, 2013 in Hungary. Available only in Hungary, in Hungarian.

Chapter submission, The story of our marriage - a way to avoid internal exile (deportation by the Communists), page 240.
Helen interviewed by author Balázs Bokor (20.5 KB)

Interview in Hungarian from published book, 2011.

Helen receives Spirit of Liberty Award, July 2011 (1.72 MB)

Ethnic Heritage Council awarded Helen this award for her outstanding contributions as a naturalized citizen to the United States while maintaining her heritage.

Helen receives Spirit of Liberty Award, July 2011 (45 KB)

American Hungarian Federation website, July 2011

Helen receives Spirit of Liberty Award, July 2011 (3.3 MB)

American Hungarian Journal, July 2011

Helen receives Spirit of Liberty Award, July 2011 (328 KB)

Catholic Northwest Progress, July 14, 2011

One family's escape to freedom, written by Helen M. Szablya

Published in Lady's Circle magazine 1979, Helen writes a gripping account of her family's escape from Hungary during the 1956 revolution.

Mind Twisters

Mind Twisters, literary translator and editor from Hungarian into English of an autobiography of eight months, spent under the influence of a truth serum in a Communist prison, written by an international lawyer, Dr. Ernest Töttösy. The amazing book describes exactly the symptoms of the truth serum. Normally, patients do not remember any of it. Yet, the memories are totally accurate. A page-turner.

A vörös csillag lehull (The Fall of the Red Star - Hungarian Edition)

The Fall of the Red Star, told through fourteen-year-old Stephen Kõváry and his family’s story, is based partly on the true-life accounts of Helen’s own family's dramatic struggle for freedom. The 1956 Hungarian Uprising against the Soviets is shown while presenting an illegal Boy Scout troop’s work. Scouting was illegal under the Communist regime in Hungary 1948-1990. The stories in the book are all true, only the characters have been changed in order to protect the innocent. Translated by Helen and published by Holnap Kiadó in Hungary.

Both the English and the Hungarian versions were exhibited at the Frankfurt International Book Fair in 1999, when Hungary was the Honored Guest. Helen also participated in a panel discussion about the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 at the Fair.

The Fall of the Red Star

The Fall of the Red Star, with Peggy King Anderson. Book for young adults for the 40th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution (1996). Won first prize from the Washington Press Association for Juvenile books. As well as from the National Federation of Press Women.

The Fall of the Red Star, is told through fourteen-year-old Stephen Kõváry and his family’s story about an illegal Boy Scout troop during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Scouting was illegal under the Communist regime in Hungary 1948-1990. The stories in the book are all true, only the characters have been changed in order to protect the innocent. Some parts are based on the true-life accounts of Helen’s own family's dramatic struggle for freedom.
“A ‘must’ read for anyone who cares about hope, courage, and love of freedom.”

Edith Lauer --Hungarian American Coalition

56 Stories

Publication compiled by the Hungarian American Coalition for the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian Uprishing. Includes personal story of escape by Helen M Szablya (mother) and Helen A Szablya (daughter). Book also translated into Hungarian.

Hungary Remembered

1985 - Co-author of the play "Hungary Remembered", which won national and
1987 international awards, including the George Washington Honor Medal from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge and the gold Árpád Medal from the Árpád Academy in Cleveland.
Project director for the entire project that was awarded a major grant by the Washington Commission for the Humanities, co-author, interviewer (100 interviews), researcher, and co-producer of the only oral history drama written and produced for the 30th anniversary of the 1956 Revolution in Hungary. Role in the entire project included writing the grant and persuading the Hungarian American Association of Washington to take part with a major grant. Though there is an old saying that three Hungarians represent four political parties, everyone only praised the program. The entire project involved four universities and 24 lectures given in the course of three months. Delivered 12 of the lectures personally, in several cities. Gave many interviews and wrote all the press releases. Wrote articles about the project in particular and Hungary in general. Organized extremely successful local, national and world-wide media coverage. Interviews included one with the Voice of America, transmitted over all the world's wire services in 42 languages. Also in charge of the budget and the final report (450 pages). The budget consisted of $10,000 in cash and $179,000 worth of donations and volunteer work. Solicited and coordinated volunteers.

1986 Translated "Hungary Remembered", the above mentioned oral history drama, into Hungarian from English “Emlékezünk”. The Hungarian version was performed for the 39th anniversary of the Revolution by the Vancouver B.C. Canada Hungarian Theater in Vancouver BC and in Seattle,WA.

1986 Translated interviews for "Hungary Remembered" into English from Hungarian. Play published in English and Hungarian; amateur video of the performance was made available.

1987 As a result of the "Hungary Remembered" project (1985-1987),
held one-day and half-day workshops on how to write this genre of oral history drama and manage the entire project, including fundraising and publicity at: Pacific Northwest Writers Conference, Christian Writers Conference at Seattle Pacific University, Washington Press Association at The Seattle Times, National Conference of the American Translators' Association in Washington D.C.

Energy and Culture

Articles with husband, Dr. John F. Szablya about the interactivity of energy and culture. Multi-media talk with Dr. Szablya “Energy and Culture” at the IEEE and FEANI joint Conference in Amsterdam, 1974.

1981 - 1991 (Trinidadian) Catholic News

Weekly column in the Trinidad and Tobago Catholic News including politics, encyclicals, parenting, psychological and management advice. 520 columns available at the Washington State University Archives.