Sep 7, 2009

King of the Gypsies

According to my mother, a Gypsy king was buried in Allentown in around 1960, she knew about such things. She was born in Galgo, Hungary, an area of Transylvania, now part of Romania, near present day Gilgau. In Galgo, the Jews and Gypsies lived on the edge of town. In the early 20's, my grandparents, along with their Gypsy neighbors, came to Bethlehem to work at the Steel. On weekends, to make extra money, my grandparents would open their house and show Hungarian movies. None of their relatives, Jew or Gypsy, save one cousin, survived the nazi's; even the cemeteries were desecrated. As you can see from the document above, my grandfather earned his citizenship the hard way.



ironpigpen said...

I played tons of ball with LOTS of Hungarians from Bethlehem growing up back in the day.

Some older guys had grown up with the Magic Magyars and had stories of Ferenc Puskas and the Magic Magyars.

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 put an end to that powerhouse, however.

Most members of the Hungarian national team at that time played for SE Honved Budapest (Army club run by Ministry of Interior), who were away in space to face Athletic Bilbao in the European Cup when the uprising broke out. Several players, including stars Puskas, Zoltan Czibor and Sandor Kocsis stayed in Western Europe.

Olympic champions in 1952, World Cup runners-up in 1956 (some say West Germany were very fortunate to win on that day - Puskas was not fully fit and had a late equalizer disallowed) - Hungary surely would have been a strong favorite in 1958 (the year Pele appeared on the world scene).

I was born in America in 1969 so the Hungarian old heads left me alone, but it is not easy being German ALL the time. And I am not referencing the 1956 Finals, of course, but, rather another historical event.

The Hungarians used to be a DOMINANT force on the local scene here in the Lehigh Valley. (Perhaps they still are, I would not know)

KALMAN CSAPO, a Hungarian immigrant, played for the United States national team and was a pro in the old North American Soccer League (the same one in which Pele played for New York Cosmos).

He was later a successful coach of the old Allentown Stoners (who originally played at J. Birney Crum) of the-then American Soccer League.

Csapo put countless time into youth coaching in this area and was with Moravian College for a spell, as well.

BOBBY EHRLICH is an American-born Hungarian speaker who was a star at Liberty HS and Penn State University before playing in the ASL with the old Pennyslvania Stoners.

Bobby also founded the "new" Pennsylvania Stoners, who won the NPSL in 2008.

His father, WILLIE, is an absolute local legend for his work with Shimano youth club. Willie Ehrlich was the founder and two-time ASL Coach of Year with the original Stoners.

ED CSONGRADI was a long-time local referee and also a very skilled player into his old age. I can STILL remember that guy. Sixty some years old or whatever he was and he could make twenty-year-olds look stupid effortlessly on the pitch.

Among many achievements, which included coaching youth teams since 1969, Ed Csongradi re-established the soccer program at Northampton Community College in 1999 before retiring in 2006.

He was a two-time coach of the year for NCC and won the PCAA state championship his final season.

Ed's son, TOM CSONGRADI, was a star at Liberty HS and Temple University in the 1980s.

KALMAN SARKOZY was the long time and successful coach at Liberty High School.

FRANK SARKOZY was a state champion with Freedom High School in 1983.

Man, we could be here all day with the Hungarians in the Lehigh Valley and the way things used to be...

Prolifick said...

THIS is some interesting info with your family tree....


ironpigpen said...

These guys are NOT relatives of mine, Mr. Alfonso.

I am German, not Hungarian.

Bethlehem used to be the big hotbed of soccer in the Lehigh Valley - Hungarians were a large part of that movement.

Freedom used to be a monster power in the state.

Allen once stopped a Freedom 55-game unbeaten streak at their place in overtime, but that was a long time ago.

(When I think of local soccer powers now I think of Parkland and Emmaus)

Today, Molovinsky speaks of some Hungarians from Bethlehem from back in the day.

This is some of what I know of Hungarians in Bethlehem back in the day.

Hooray for Molovinsky for bringing his retro cultural stuff up. His numbers for this article will not shoot throught the roof for this piece, I would hazard to guess.

Nobody else wants to look back anywhere else, ever.

Unless they want to bash something and bitch how unfair and unjust America was / is.