Between the World Wars: Articles from the Syracuse Union, available through the New York State Newspaper Project

March 23, 1928 page 4

Louis Kossuth : The Indirect Cause for the Founding of the Syracuse Union.


A Monument placed in New York City by his Hungarian Compatriots.


The tribute of a country whose hero was made welcome in America was held last Wednesday in New York City. 15,000 men and women of Hungarian descent paid tribute to the '48er Hungarian freedom fighter Louis Kossuth at the dedication of a monument to him.

Delegations from Chicago, Milwaukee, Buffalo, Syracuse and many other cities came to join 500 official representatives of Kossuth's homeland, who had arrived in New York Harbor the day before along with opponents of the current Hungarian regency of Nikolaus Horthy who had clashed with police. Two hostile rallies occurred during the parade which accompanied the dedication. 15,000 people took part in the rallies. They were subdued by the police and order was restored.

Mayor Walker unveiled the monument, which was placed on Riverside Drive in memory of Kossuth. Upon the arrival of the monument the City of New York commemorated the magnificent reception which had been prepared for Ludwig Kossuth 77 years ago. Kossuth landed in a U.S. frigate which brought him from Turkey, where he had been retained for a time and from which he had fled. Austria wanted him returned because of alleged treason, about which Turkish officials were not worried. First he was taken to England, where he received an enthusiastic reception by masses of people. He then came to America where the welcome was repeated.

Kossuth was not always fortunate during his stay in America. He was hailed as a patriot by the populace however his goals drove him to activities deemed displeasing by the government, which feared that America might be placed in an inadvisable situation with Austria. He eventually went back to Europe but did not return to the place of his birth. Despite being elected at a later time to an office in Parliament, he refused to go back home. He died in Turin, Italy on May 20, 1894. His body was buried in the soil of his homeland.

These events may have had little interest for our readers were it not for the fact that Kossuth's stay in America and Syracuse led indirectly to the founding of a German newspaper in Syracuse. The year 1852 marked an important event in the history of the local German community.

Ludwig Kossuth came to Syracuse on May 31, 1852. He was enthusiastically received. The English newspapers had announced Kossuth would give an address to the German citizens in City Hall. Great excitement reigned among the German populace. Precautionary measures were taken in order the greet the famous Hungarian patriot properly. The Germans rifled through their coffers and came up with $320 to defray expenses. Preparations rested in the hands of a committee, whose chairman was the late Georg Saul. At the appointed hour the hall was filled with ecstatic Germans, but who didn't come? — the great hero Kossuth. The assembled crowd was restless. A committee was sent to the Globe Hotel to escort him to the hall. He had delivered a speech the morning before in Auburn and another one in the afternoon in Syracuse. Afterwards a reception was held in the home of E.W. Leavenworth at the corner of James and McBride Streets. By then Kossuth was very tired and worn out. When the committee came up to him he said that if the Germans wanted to see and hear him they should come to the hotel, where he "would say a few words to them." The committee returned with this message and when the crowd heard of it there was great outrage. Georg Saul drastically expressed his feelings, saying in a loud voice to the committee: "Go back and tell Kossuth he can go to ****!" The crowd dispersed after it was decided to hand the entire sum over to Georg Saul for the establishment of a German newspaper.

On August 23, 1852 Georg Saul issued a notice stating that a publisher of a German newspaper would be announced. There were two main political parties at this time, the Whigs (later the Republicans) and the Democrats. The greater portion of the money collected was from the Whigs and there was more than a little amazement when the notice read: Onondaga Democrat — this will be the name of the German newspaper which most likely will be published for the first time on September 4, 1852. We chose the name "Democrat" to indicate which political course of this country we will follow. We will attempt by all honorable means at our disposal to advance the interests of the Democatic Party and the election of Franklin Pierce and William R. King. This will undoubtedly surprise some people who expected us to be independent in political matters. A few words in clarification are needed here. It was always our goal to unite the Germans of this city rather than separate them and at first sight it may seem an independent newspaper would fulfill this goal. However as we noticed the bitterness and jealousy which existed between the parties we saw that we would be forced to place ourselves with one side or the other. Furthermore we heard that certain German Whigs have openly stated they would turn an independent newspaper into a Whig paper, dispose of us and smuggle a young Whig into our place. Also the Whigs wanted us to not only publish an independent paper but also keep us from from covering Democratic Party news. This was impossible, so we were forced to publish a Democratic paper. We promised the Whigs that we only wanted to devote small doses of coverage to their corrupt condition and then only when the decay threatened to become chronic, in which case we would be forced to use stronger measures. May the Onondaga Democrat prosper and with the help of a large subscription list sow the seeds of goodness among the Germans.

The newspaper received splendid support, made an abrupt change by supporting the principles of the "Free Soil Party", and endorsed Fremont and Dayton's candidacy. From then on the paper remained Republican.

The newspaper's name, Democrat was rechristened with the outbreak of the Civil War by its new pubisher, George Röhmer, to Union in order to acknowledge and endorse the issues of the North and the Union.

Any of our readers who may see the bronze monument on Riverside Drive in New York City will remember that Kossuth's relationship to Syracuse's German community led to the founding of Syracuse's German newspaper, which is now 76 years old and has done more for its countrymen than the great hero Kossuth did for his.

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Translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks

January 12, 2023 /body>