Helen M. Szablya

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The Author with Peggy King Anderson in front of the Consulate of Hungary’s Coat of Arms

Cover of The Fall of the Red Star

The Szablya Family after their escape from Hungary in 1956



(Pronounced: SABYA)

It is nearly impossible to separate the life of Helen Szablya from her work. Dedicated to promoting freedom from institutions that repress, this award-winning journalist has passionately written and lectured on the subject of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Such dedication has led to her listing in publications such as Marquis Who's Who, Who's Who of Women, Foremost Women of the Twentieth Century, and The International Book of Honor, and, ultimately, to becoming the first Hungarian Honorary Consul of the Pacific Northwest in 1993.

Born and raised in Budapest, Hungary, Helen (Ilona) is an award-winning author, columnist, translator, lecturer, and former publisher of Hungary International, a newsletter for Americans about business in Hungary. She has two university degrees, speaks six languages, and lived in five countries under seven different political systems. The number of her English language publications exceeds 700, many of which won awards. She and her husband have a translation and consulting agency: Szablya Consultants, Inc.

Helen was President of the Washington Press Association and received its highest award, that of the "Communicator of Achievement". The National Federation of Press Women awarded her with a National First Prize for Editorials and the First Affiliate Presidents Award in 1988. Helen was project director and co-author, with her daughter-in-law, Marcey Painter Szablya, of Hungary Remembered, an oral history drama/lecture series; a project commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 (major grant from Washington Commission for the Humanities). It was featured on worldwide wire services in 42 languages and received rave reviews. It won two international awards and the George Washington Honor Medal from the Freedoms Foundation. Helen was an "Inquiring Mind" lecturer for the Washington Commission for the Humanities.

Helen translated Hungary Remembered into Hungarian “Emlékezünk” and it was performed in Hungarian also.

Two years later she translated and collaborated on the English language edition of Mind Twisters by Ernest Tottosy, a nonfiction account of brainwashing in the Communist Hungary of the 1950s.

Her book The Fall of the Red Star is about an illegal Boy Scout troop during the 1956 uprising. The book was published in Hungarian, translated by Helen, by Holnap Kiadó under the title A vörös csillag lehull, and was exhibited at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 1999 when Hungary was the honored guest.


Washington Press Association Communicator of Excellence Award - 1988
Bank Street College Book of The Year - 1996
Washingon Press Association Juvenile Book Fiction Award - 1995
National Federation of Press Women Juvenile Book Fiction Award - 1996
NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People - 1997

Helen is listed with Marquis Who's Who in America and several other biographies. She has been awarded the Jozsef Antall Memorial Medal for Outstanding Service to Hungary, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs awarded her with a “Pro Auxilio Civium Hungarorum” medal.

Helen Szablya and her husband John, who is Professor Emeritus of Washington State University, and an outside member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences live in Kirkland WA (a suburb of Seattle). The couple has presented many hundreds of lectures on Hungary. They coauthored papers in the areas of energy affecting human culture and on translating/interpreting. The Szablya’s have seven children and 16 grandchildren. They raised their children with great care to maintain a balance between guidance and freedom. The family was named HUNGARIAN FAMILY OF THE YEAR by the Hungarian Congress in Cleveland, in 1981.

Helen M. (Ilona) Szablya is the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Hungary for the States of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho based in Seattle. She and her husband were instrumental in establishing the Honorary Consulate after Hungary became free in 1990.

Please visit Helen's Web site at www.szablya.com


Selected Works

Historical fiction
The Fall of the Red Star
“A gripping account of the Hungarian uprising of 1956. A page-turner.”
--Kirkus Reviews

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

Available: Boyds Mills Press, or any bookstore can order it. In Hungary from Holnap Kiadó.
Oral history drama
Hungary Remembered
Every word spoken on stage was said by persons who actually lived the experience.