In 1913, a group of 13 Hungarian men, who won a competitive baseball game, decided to organize a club. A century later, the Hungarian American Athletic Club (HAAC) of New Brunswick continues to preserve its rich heritage, while remaining an integral part of the community. The Club is celebrating its 100th anniversary today.
The Hungarian American Athletic Club continues to be one of the leading social organizations serving the greater New Brunswick area. With annual donations, the Club actively supports the area Hungarian churches, organizations, scouts and the Szechenyi Magyar School to directly contribute to the growth and enrichment of the Hungarian American youth.
Immigrants from Hungary have been coming to Central! New Jersey since the 1880’s The majority of them arrived during three time periods; around the turn of the century, after World War Two, and following the Revolution of 1956.
The first Hungarian association in New Brunswick was the Szent Imre Herceg Egylet This burial and sick benefit society was founded in 1899 other mutual aid societies followed such as the Magyar Building and Loan Association and the newspaper Magyar Hirnok. Between 1904 and 1914 six churches, a synagogue, and the St Ladislaus School were built they served 4,500 first and second generation Hungarian-Americans.
Sports were a popular form of recreation. By 1911, a thirteen member baseball team, the New Brunswick Young Hungarians, was playing in a Central New Jersey weekend league The Young Hungarians won their first major victory on July 4, 1913, outscoring Middlesex County’s best team by a score of 16:2 in front of a large crowd of fans. Following the game, the enthusiastic young men decided to organize a club so that a variety of sports could be played throughout the year. On October 23, 1913 they called a meeting and formed the Hungarian American Athletic Club of New Brunswick.
Today the club will host a 100th anniversary celebration. The event, which will include music, food, song and dance. Almost 300 people are expected to attend the gala event.
Hungarian American Athletic Club Dancers, June 2, 2012: