Románd is a small village of just 300 people at the foot of the Bakony Mountain. It has a history, a story. 100 years ago, like in other Hungarian villages, many people emigrated to America. Some came back and started a new life here with their hard-earned dollars, others stayed out. Continue reading below to find out about an American soldier returning to Hungary!
Like the ancestors of the Friend family, Mihály Peidl and his wife, Johanna Wellner, stayed abroad. They never forgot Románd, they supported their fellow countrymen. An “American Cross” was built with donations from the emigrants. It is still an ornament of the local cemetery, says Szeretlekmagyarorszag.hu.
Sergeant Dan Friend served for more than three decades in the US Army, including at NATO bases in Europe. Before his discharge, he was a soldier in Brussels, where he was welcomed by a genealogist, who is looking for his relatives and the Hungarian village where his great-grandparents left for overseas. His daughter Emma accompanied him, driven only by curiosity, not expecting to find any real relatives, writes Blikk.
The sergeant had more free time during the pandemic, and that is when he started researching his family. A specialist, Jim Peidl, who also had Hungarian and even Romanian ancestry, was helping him with this and arranged the trip. Gergely Wágenhoffer, the local historian of Románd, welcomed the soldier and his daughter. The hardy American infantryman became emotional at the baptismal font of the church where his ancestors and forebears were immersed in the holy water. They wandered through the old cemetery, searching for the graves of relatives, but the real surprise was yet to come.
The American appears in this Facebook post covering the village’s history:
You may find some additional photos in THIS article
“There is only one church in Románd, since 1738, so anyone who came from here must have had their ancestors come here for mass on Sundays, so I showed it to Dan first,” recalls Jenő Galler, the village mayor. He recalls the soldier’s visit, “Dan’s parents left here about a hundred and twenty years ago, they did not come back like my relatives.
“Klári Tóthné Peidl, the cousin of the mother of a Dan from our village, so they are blood relatives,” the mayor continues. An older son stayed at home with the two younger sisters, and three brothers went to the United States. They kept in touch for a long time, and then the wars broke the connection. Now, with pictures, documents and stories from the period, everyone prepared for the family reunion. The men were relieved to see the moment. Dan’s daughter even welcomed Katika as her Hungarian grandmother.
Source: blikk.hu, napi.hu