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Pal Ablonczy papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: IHRC90


Autobiography (1963) of Pal Ablonczy, a Hungarian immigrant active in labor organizatons during the 1920s and 1930s. 317 handwritten pages. Collection available also on microfilm.


  • 1920-1950


Language of Materials



Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.


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The following questions and responses come from the autobiographies obtained through the American Immigrant Autobiographies Project. Each immigrant was asked to provide answers to the listed questions. Most biographies are in English; some are in the immigrant's native language. Pal Ablonczy. [Autobiography in Hungarian. English responses provided by Paul Rupprecht.] 317pp.

1. Country of origin? Pal Ablonczy was born on July 26, 1891 in Sajokazinc, Borsod County, Hungary.

2. Occupation in native country? Ablonczy started with odd jobs in agriculture at age ten. At thirteen he became a blacksmith apprentice. In four years, on completion of his apprenticeship he worked as a master blacksmith and machinist at different factories and farms.

3. Reason for immigration? In 1913, unemployment gave him the idea to immigrate to the United States for three to four years to earn enough money for a threshing machine he planned to buy on his return to Hungary. He was also concerned about the possibility of war and about his age group being drafted first in case of war.

4. Date of immigration? Ablonczy immigrated to the U.S. in 1913

5. Did the author repatriate or remain in the U.S.? Ablonczy remained in the United States and never returned to Hungary.

6. State(s) and city(s) of settlement in the U.S.? First he settled in New York City. In the 1920’s he built a home in Avenil, New Jersey and moved there, where he still lived at the time of his writing his autobiography. He worked locally and also worked in (Port) Elizabeth, Plainfield, Newark, Morristown and Perth Amboy, all in New Jersey.

7. Occupation(s) in the U.S.? In the U.S. he worked as a machinist at many different factories and shops. Later, he opened his own auto body repair shop. On July 26, 1956 he retired from work at age 65.

8. Political affiliations in the U.S.? (also ethnic affiliations?) There is no mention of any political party affiliation in the United States. In 1914, he subscribed to, supported and disseminated the Hungarian language newspaper. Elore (Forward), a Socialist publication. During World War I, he declined to work for the better paying war industry. He also refused to serve in the military in that war even when U.S. citizenship was offered in exchange. In the 1920’s and 1930’s, when Elore was changed to UJ Elore (New Forward), he continued to promote and support the paper, the only Hungarian-language Communist daily in the world. During World war II, he once posted bail for a young black person who had been arrested at and Anti-war demonstration in Perth Amboy.

9. Labor or occupational affiliations in the U.S.? In the U.S. he participated in labor demonstrations, strikes and the promotion of workers’ literature during World War I. IN the 1920’s he worked with a union organizer and with other Hungarian workers to join a new machinist union. Other non-Hungarian workers refused to follow suit and reported him. He was fired. He also collected donations for the International Labor Defense, and attended meetings of the International Workers’ Order. He was critical of the American Labor Movement. He saw its leaders and corrupt, uncaring and the workers lazy and politically backward.

10. Information on family life?--nuclear and/or extended family? There is no information on family life in the U.S., beyond mention of the birth of his children.

11. Information on courtship or gender roles? At age twenty four (1925), he wanted to get married and with the help of two Hungarian married women acquaintances, set out to look for a ‘moral girl’, He found her in the person of Juliska (Julie); his mother wanted to send him someone from home, but he persisted in staying with his chosen in the U.S. They were engaged in January 1916 and married on May 20 of the same year.

12. Information on the wider ethnic communityu? Only a small circle of Hungarian Socialist friends is mention initially. In the 1930’s he got acquainted with more Hungarian workers and joined the Workers’ Health Insurance Fraternal Organization. A workers’ home was established near Woodbridge, where progressive workers met on Sundays for lectures, cultural programs and fun. With the arrival of the 1956,’ counter-revolutionary gang’ of Hungarian refugees, the membership dwindled and the workers’ home was sold in 1961.

13. Experiences with discrimination or political persecution? Risking arrest, he participated in demonstrations which were dispersed by the police.

14. Any other outstanding features worthy of notice? In 1904, his father immigrated to the U.S (Pennsylvania) and returned to Hungary in 1908, having lost a leg.

15. Any account of the immigration process, voyage, Ellis Island inspection? On his way to the U.S., on a train from Budapest to Vienna, he was questioned by detectives about immigrating to the U.S. He denied it but was still forced to get off the train. He tried again through other routes and reached Hamburg Germany, where he went to the Hamburg-American Line and bought a ticket for the S.S Patricia to the US. They sailed in two weeks for New York City. AT Ellis Island, (“The Island of Sighs”), it took a week to reach a friend of his father’s who then came to get him and settle him. These autbiographical notes are from the published Guide to "American Immigrant Autobiographies, Part I: Manuscript Autobiographies from the Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota", project coordinator Mary Moscato, guide compiled by Nanette Dobrosky, general editor Rudolph Vecoli, collections microfilmed and guide published by the University Publications of America, Bethesda, Maryland, 1988, Library of Congress Call No. E184.A1, ISBN: 1556550529 (microfilm) : LCCN: 90-12990


2 linear inches

Inventory of the Pal Ablonczy papers.
IHRC Archives
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Finding Aid in English

Collecting Area Details

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