The Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey was published in 1942 by the Chicago Public Library Omnibus Project of the Works Progress Administration of Illinois. The purpose of the project was to translate and classify selected news articles that appeared in the foreign language press from 1855 to 1938. The project consists of 120,000 typewritten pages translated from newspapers of 22 different foreign language communities of Chicago.

Read more about this historic project.

Filter by Date

  • Magyar Tribune -- March 15, 1917
    Hungarians Victims of Hyenas

    The trusting and kind hearted Hungarians were very easy victims of the swindlers and had many hard earned dollars taken away from them.

    When immigration was at its height, the Hungarians thought that they were coming to this country as mere guests of America, therefore they did not think it necessary to learn to read and write the English language. There were, however, a few exceptions and out of these exception rose the swindling hyenas.

    The unfortunate immigrants could not look for work, they could not write English, they could not sell, they could not buy. In other words they could not do anything unless they consulted one of the people who could read and write both Hungarian and English.

    2

    The oldest and most profitable racket was the employment racket. When the poor foreigner came to this country he was very unfamiliar with working conditions. So these labor racketeers would sign them up as strike-breakers, or put them to work clearing forests or put them down in mines making them work under very unhealthy conditions, and the wages for the most of these jobs were nothing but slavery wages. But this kind of a racketeering is a thing of the past, mostly due to the fact that the Hungarian press and the government have gotten after them. But as this racket faded a new one took its place.

    The people gradually became acquainted with their surroundings and being of a thrifty class of people they began to save some money. So then racketeers invented new schemes to relieve the Hungarians of their wealth.

    With the development of fraternal organizations, such great depredations took place that these organizations remain as a sore spot in the hearts of the Hungarians. There was for example an organization that offered twenty-five dollars sick benefit and a 3policy worth five-hundred dollars in case of death. This was purely a fraudulent scheme. When the time came to collect, the policy proved to be nothing but a one dollar railroad ticket. We know of localities where as many as twenty-five families were involved, each family paying twenty-five dollars cash for this supposed protection.

    Now there are other rackets such as stocks and bonds, property that does not exist, and patent medicines. One of the greatest foes of these rackets, the one that has cut this racketeering down a great deal is the Hungarian Miners News.

    This racketeering not only hurt the wealth of the people but it also makes it hard for the legitimate business man to sell reputable product. Now the better class of business people are starting to recognize the value of the business that might be had from the Hungarians in Chicago and other Eastern cities. We think it necessary to mention the Union Pacific Railroad and Fred H. Bartlett Realty Company, who have 4lent a hand in doing away with the racketeering hyenas who preyed on the Hungarian people. These two organizations offered their services and are willing to give advice of any nature.

    We therefore urge the Hungarian people to learn from the experiences of others and do business with firms, organization doctors, that have a well established reputation. This article is meant to be an article to educate the Hungarian people to be on their guard against swindling hyenas.

    The trusting and kind hearted Hungarians were very easy victims of the swindlers and had many hard earned dollars taken away from them. When immigration was at its height, the ...

    Hungarian
    I H, II E 1, II E 2, II E 3
  • Magyar Tribune -- October 31, 1919
    The Fight about Prohibition (Editorial)

    Since July 1, the whiskey glasses, wine bottles, and beer barrels have become dry. This was the result of the 18th Amendment, which went into effect just after the War. Why should we deny the fact that this was prohibition only in name and that the law has not served its purpose? There exists only a slight change brought about by this law. If one wants to drink wine, whiskey or beer, he may do so, but it must be done in secrecy. The liquor sold today is of a lower grade and the cost is much higher than previous to prohibition. To be subjected to such a condition is not exactly desirable, but who is satisfied with his present state today? We must adjust ourselves to the situation, regardless of the price we must pay for it.

    Now, the whole country is to get a terrible jolt. It was believed that the saloons would be opened so that the people might be able to 2stock up for the coming dry era. But what happened? The law which was passed to keep this country dry during the War is now going to be fully enforced at once, because Congress has just released millions of dollars to that department of government necessary for this purpose.

    We all know that after January 16, the United States will be observing prohibition, and for the next four years there will be no chance of modifying the law. There is very little we can do in the matter, so we must remain satisfied. We have only one hope: that the United States Supreme Court rules it out, saying that this law does not agree with one of the principles of the American government, that is, liberty, which is every man's right. We must not talk about this now. The law has been passed by Congress and signed by the President which means that the 18th Amendment 3will be strictly enforced within a week. Personally, we do not indulge in alcoholic beverages, nor do we advertise the sale of them, but the whole affair to us seems a laughing matter, because it ignores man's freedom. We will try to explain our ideas very briefly.

    There was probably some use for prohibition during the War, because the ingredients of alcoholic beverages were necessary to provide more food for the world. Labor used in the manufacture of liquor was necessary in other industries, and money that was being spent for alcoholic beverages was more valuable as loans to the government during the War.

    We are well aware of the fact that prohibition was originally passed as a war measure but that it became effective seven and a half 4months after the Armistice had been signed. July 1, the saloons were closed as a matter of form only, because the closing did not have any effect on the War situation at that time. Today, it is approximately a year since the War ended and it is a well known fact that due to political entanglements, peace pacts have not been signed, but the lawmakers want to spend millions of dollars on this law as a War measure in order that it might be enforced. To turn a law of this kind into a War measure during the time of peace, does not show any wisdom on the part of congress, nor will it gain the support of the people. On the contrary, the people are certain to show their disrespect for the law and it will increase the number of agitators and crime-bent organizations in this country which are two very undesirable elements to be dealt with now.

    At this time we want to warn our readers to avoid any violation of the prohibition law and as far as possible avoid places where alcoholic 5beverages are sold. This is a timely warning, because the law provides severe punishment for those who sell, buy, or manufacture, alcoholic beverages. We have also heard that some Hungarians are setting up their own stills to make their own brandies and other alcoholic concoctions. People found guilty of doing this can prepare themselves for jail sentences and heavy fines. Many illicit alcohol dealers and manufacturers have been caught already, and the time will come when every one convicted of such crimes will be imprisoned. We advise everyone to give up the unlawful practice of manufacturing alcohol. It is permissible, however to manufacture grape juice for one's own personal use. This, of course, will turn into wine later. We advise people to remain sober in order to avoid entanglements with the law and suffer the consequences.

    6

    What our personal ideas are concerning prohibition is of little concern to the law-makers. It is our duty to obey the law and to constrain others to do the same.

    Since July 1, the whiskey glasses, wine bottles, and beer barrels have become dry. This was the result of the 18th Amendment, which went into effect just after the War. ...

    Hungarian
    I B 1, II E 3, II E 2, I H, I J
  • Magyar Tribune -- October 30, 1925
    About Gangsters (Editorial)

    You must go, you must leave!

    You must gather up your belongings and must leave Chicago and the vicinity.

    This was the order which was given by the chief of detectives to all gangsters and gunmen.

    When the chief of detectives issues such orders, they had better be obeyed or else there will be real trouble.

    But this was not the only order issued by the chief of detectives; he also said that the characters of the underworld must leave within three days, but this time limit expired last Thursday. He told the police not to play around much with these gangsters, but should let them taste the sting of bullets if they ran across any of them before the gangsters beat them 2to the act.

    In this last part of the order there is logic, because it is better for society to be rid of a bandit who is unnecessary, than [to be rid of]the police who are necessary to society.

    The first part of the order, that the gangsters shall leave the city within three days, does not seem to mean anything.

    It is unnecessary to state that every resident of the city of Chicago would be overwhelmingly happy if a pleasant day came along and all the gangsters would leave.

    But will this ever happen?

    We wonder whether those warriors of the underworld will pay any attention to the orders of the chief of detectives?

    Perhaps there are a few people who believe that this order issued by the 3chief will rid the city of all the gunmen and gangsters.

    As far as the gunmen of the city are concerned, this order does not mean so much as a serious thought.

    We can't imagine the leaders of the underworld being scared by this order, after they have had the people of the city half scared out of their wits for such a long time.

    These gangsters are so used to such orders by now, that they don't pay any attention to them any more. These orders are just orders and they do not mean much to them. They do what they want regardless of orders, and they do not pay attention to the police.

    We are fully satisfied that there wasn't a single gangster or bandit who packed and left the city in accordance with the orders issued.

    As a matter of fact, the chief of detectives knows this also. He knows 4that none of the gangsters will leave the city.

    If he thought that the gangsters were going to leave the city, he would never have issued the order--shoot to kill--to the policemen.

    The city can't rid itself of gangsters through orders such as these.

    We must not forget that the present-day gangster is not of the same type as was the one of bygone days--the old-time gangster came from distant cities and worked at night.

    The present-day gangsters are well organized and they have many influential connections.

    The present-day bandit can't be compared with those of long ago whose only protection was the wilderness, and that wasn't very good protection.

    The present-day gangsters are organized on a business-[like]basis, and these 5well-organized gangsters can find protection under the fold of big politicians, and this is also on a business basis.

    That this is so, can be easily seen by looking at the cases of Druggan and Lake, the beer barons, who are outstanding examples of well-organized criminals.

    If we want to rid the city of criminals, the first thing we must do is to clean up our politics. The criminal will only work hard when he knows that he is fully protected, regardless of what his crime may be.

    If the protection of the criminal is stopped, then crime will cease to exist.

    When the criminal finds that he can't escape the hand of the law, then he will give up his criminal practices voluntarily.

    If the criminal does not [receive]protection, then he will find out that crime does not pay. His criminal attempts may be successful once or twice, 6but sooner or later he will be caught, and the penalty he will pay will be greater than his profits.

    This is what will stop crime in Chicago, and not ordinary orders as issued by the chief of detectives.

    Stop crime in politics--that is what we want.

    You must go, you must leave! You must gather up your belongings and must leave Chicago and the vicinity. This was the order which was given by the chief of ...

    Hungarian
    II E 1, II E 3, I F 6
  • Magyar Tribune -- October 15, 1926
    Crime in Chicago (Editorial)

    The efforts of police officials in Chicago have been useless in eradicating crime. The underworld is working without hindrance, reaping great harvests in the field of crime.

    That these underworld characters have protection is unquestionable because they murder and work in broad daylight.

    Rackets are abounding in Chicago. It seems that whatever business one wants to go into, there is some strong-armed racketeer connected with gangland ready to step in and demand a certain percentage of the profits.

    This racketeering and other underworld activities cannot be stopped by mere 2orders, but it can be stopped if we, the people, see to it that their political protection is taken away from them. So you see, my dear readers, it is really up to us.

    The efforts of police officials in Chicago have been useless in eradicating crime. The underworld is working without hindrance, reaping great harvests in the field of crime. That these underworld ...

    Hungarian
    II E 3, I F 6
  • Magyar Tribune -- June 10, 1927
    The Absconding Treasurer

    The Hungarian Culture and Glee Club of Chicago suffered a serious loss when its treasurer, John Klein, vanished from the city, taking six hundred and forty eight dollars of the Club's money with him.

    John Klein was an insurance agent and [it has been proved that] there were irregularities in his handling of the money for his company. He borrowed heavily from his friends also. He is a family man, so the Hungarians were surprised at his defalcations.

    It is expected that the bonding company will reimburse the Club, but this should be a lesson to other organizations as to the wisdom of bonding officers who handle large sums. Often opportunity makes theives of weaklings and the responsibility rests with those who entrust money to such persons.

    2

    We hope that the cultural endeavors of the Club won't suffer a setback due to this loss.

    The Hungarian Culture and Glee Club of Chicago suffered a serious loss when its treasurer, John Klein, vanished from the city, taking six hundred and forty eight dollars of the ...

    Hungarian
    II E 2, II B 1 a, II E 3, I C
  • Magyar Tribune -- April 27, 1928
    Approved Lawbreaking by Dezso Tomor

    We should be celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Volstead Act, which was to improve mankind and to save them from sin. The law prohibits the manufacture, sale, transportation, ownership and use [sic] of intoxicating liquors. That this law did not become popular is only natural, because it prohibits but does not protect. By this time everyone has realized that the opposite result was achieved from that originally intended.....

    A conference was arranged between a prohibition administrator and bootleggers in another state. The purpose of this conference was to determine the amount of income tax that bootleggers should pay.

    The sale of liquor is prohibited. Anyone found guilty of breaking the prohibition law is punished. Therefore, the penalty has been paid, probably the bootlegger was even jailed. Why should he pay an income tax also?

    2

    The administrator's idea is novel. By the same right bank robbers and hired assassins should pay income tax also.....

    If a law is enacted it should be enforced. If the law is not satisfactory and cannot be enforced, it should be repealed instead of compromising with the lawbreakers. This way it seems as if lawbreaking is approved.

    We should be celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Volstead Act, which was to improve mankind and to save them from sin. The law prohibits the manufacture, sale, transportation, ownership ...

    Hungarian
    I B 2, II E 1, II E 3
  • Magyar Tribune -- July 06, 1928
    Nine Hundred and Ninety-Two New Laws (Editorial)

    The record of the last session of Congress shows that the lawmakers of the United States have passed nine hundred and ninety-two new laws. Inasmuch as five laws were passed governing pensions and these include three thousand and ninety-three pension laws, these were grouped. If taken individually, the total of new laws would be four thousand and eighty.

    This was the Seventieth Congress. We will understand the lawmaking craze of this Congress if we compare it with previous Congresses.

    The Sixty-fifth Congress passed one hundred and nine laws; the Sixty-sixth, one hundred and twenty-one; the Sixty-seventh, one hundred and fifty-two; and the Sixty-eighth, three hundred and ninety-three.

    2

    Probably the lawmakers do not even know why we have so many laws. The fact is that there is no need for at least three-fourths of them. But, aside from this, the annual increase of laws brings disastrous results.

    Wholehearted respect for laws ceases. How can anyone be expected to respect and abide by laws when there are so many of them that no one can be sure he is not violating one daily? It is impossible for any human being to know all the laws.

    Is it any wonder then if we abide only by such laws as are the most convenient to us?

    If the purpose of these laws is to curb crime, the method is wrong. First, crime cannot be stopped by laws. The improvement of economic conditions, assuring the workers their daily bread and an opportunity to work, is the means to stop criminal activity.....

    3

    The best example to prove this is that ninety per cent of crimes are committed in cities where most of the population work in factories and where their well-being depends on working conditions. The crime wave is always on the increase in winter and during unemployment.

    We need practical laws, not more laws. The ever-changing conditions in America, the country's progress, do not necessarily require the enactment of thousands of new laws annually. Old and impractical laws should be modified or invalidated, and only necessary new laws should be enacted by Congress.

    The record of the last session of Congress shows that the lawmakers of the United States have passed nine hundred and ninety-two new laws. Inasmuch as five laws were passed ...

    Hungarian
    II E 3, I H
  • Magyar Tribune -- December 21, 1928
    Problems (Written for the Magyar Tribune by Lajos Steiner)

    Today is the era of machinery. Technics are developing rapidly. Machines are becoming perfect, and their products are getting better and cheaper. Year after year more people can afford to buy cars, homes, musical instruments, and jewelry, all of which make life more pleasant. The things that were considered luxuries ten years ago have become necessities today. The greater the number of buyers, the better the general prosperity and the wealthier the country.

    But into this harmonic symphony creeps a discordant note--the fact that there are four million unemployed and needy persons in the United States.

    The perfected machines are crowding skilled tradesmen out of work. Their 2places are filled by untrained, unorganized, cheap laborers. Often the new machine, handled by a youngster, does the work of fifty men. Railroads and coal mines employ hundreds of thousands less men now than eight or ten years ago. The chain store takes the place of the small, independent stores, and the factories do away with the smaller industries..... The time of profit-making small farms went out with the candles and homemade soap. The ordinary American farmer's annual income is six hundred and forty-eight dollars. Many farmers try to find work in industrial centers, but opportunities are diminishing daily. The result is corruption and the growing number of gunmen.

    Can an improvement be expected while production, transportation, and sales are the sources of private profiteering? This is the question that remains unanswered and which awaits a solution.

    The capitalists are trying to solve this problem by reducing wages and 3introducing the five-day-work week. The white-collar wage slaves are also dissatisfied with their lot. They are trying to organize, too. As can be seen, the oft mentioned prosperity is not apparent at this time.

    The experimentation in Soviet Russia is still in the experimental stage. They are developing their industry, educating their people generally. Possibly, when Bolshevism will be mature, it will be the ideal pattern for other countries to follow. Private ownership won't be replaced by state ownership in the United States, and socialism is not accepted here, as proved by the last presidential election. In 1920, Debs, the Socialist [party] presidential candidate, received 554,200 votes. Thomas, the most recent Socialist candidate, received less than 300,000 votes. The two dominating political parties--the Democratic and Republican--differ very slightly in their aims.....Probably they will unite sometime in the future. In this case an opposition party will be formed by the workers. At present 4there is no workers party in the United States.

    Of the forty million workers in the United States, less than ten per cent are organized into unions--about three million. On the other hand, the capitalists are very well organized. They have political parties, trusts, chambers of commerce, industrial combines, federal reserve banks, etc.

    Progress won't be halted. The example of the postal service is worth following. Mail is handled by the state. The only aim is to give the public cheap, fast, and good service.....If the aim of the postal service were to make profits, the cost of stamps would be several dollars instead of a few cents. If production, transportation, and sales were managed, not for the benefit of private profiteers, but for the benefit of mankind, most probably the cost of commodities could be paid in pennies instead of dollars. Then there would be enough time for self-cultivation. The gunman 5wouldn't be forced to murder. There would be no need for misrepresentation, misstatements in advertisements, or competition with inferior products. Swindling, stealing, and sin would be unnecessary and therefore would cease to exist.

    Humanity is still in its infancy and has only five senses. In time it will grow mature and acquire more senses. Our descendants will be as far above us in intelligence as we are above the five-fingered fish that was the forefather of the monkey who was our sire. It is a promising thought that our descendants will be angelic beings.....

    Today is the era of machinery. Technics are developing rapidly. Machines are becoming perfect, and their products are getting better and cheaper. Year after year more people can afford to ...

    Hungarian
    I E, I D 2 a 2, I D 2 a 3, I D 1 a, I D 1 b, I D 2 c, II E 3, I L, I M, I H
  • Magyar Tribune -- April 03, 1931
    About the Mayoralty Election (Editorial by Dr. Erno Lowinger)

    The day of the election battle is nearing. Every conscientious voter must decide for whom he will cast his vote. He has to decide who is the man best qualified to manage the affairs of our city during the next four years....

    Naturally, prepossessing campaign speakers endeavor to make up our minds, but the intelligent voters, the politically ripe citizens like the thousands of Chicago Hungarians, will not be sidetracked.....

    The fact is that the good reputation of our city is ruined. This is regrettable but true. It is also a fact that the murders of two hundred eighty-six gangsters are still unsolved. Not a day passes without a mysterious gang killing. Chicago today is known the world over as the home of gangsters.

    2

    Nobody can deny that this reputation is detrimental to Chicago and its population. It is damaging, both materially and spiritually. The damage is material because of the number of visitors lost to our city, since thousands of people are afraid to visit Chicago because of the possibility of falling victims to stray bullets. As a result, we lose millions of dollars annually and, although the loss is felt most directly by hotels, restaurants, and department stores, in the end we all feel it, too.

    New factories shun Chicago and build their plants elsewhere because the Saturday pay roll robberies have become so common here that the personal safety and financial security of the industrialists are at stake.

    This causes thousands of people to lose work opportunities. At a time when unemployment is so great, this adds to misery.

    We are on the threshold of the World's Fair. In two years there will be a 3monumental exposition in Chicago. Not only the visitors, but the exhibitors as well, are terrified by the thought that they will have to come to Chicago.

    Please do not jump to the conclusion that the writer is prejudiced against Mayor Thompson or that he holds him solely responsible for the bad reputation of Chicago and for the unsolved gangster murders....

    The writer is convinced that, if it were up to Thompson, he would have all the gangsters behind bars and the reputation of Chicago would be the best.

    However, the consensus of opinion, regardless of political partisanship, is that the Thompson regime is at fault and must end if conditions are to improve....

    To these material losses, resulting from the bad reputation of Chicago, we must add the moral and spiritual losses. Our children read nothing in the newspapers 4but accounts of banditry, murder, and the heroic deeds of the gangsters. And, while these gangsters violate the laws flagrantly, our children fill the prisons for minor offenses.

    The continuous crime wave created such a noxious atmosphere in Chicago that even small children play "hold-up" and "give-them-a-ride" games.

    This must be stopped on April 7, by electing a different man to the office of mayor, thus breaking away from the past and all its troubles and sins....

    The mayor is responsible for the police because he appoints the police chief. If the police are corrupt, the mayor is held morally responsible....

    [Anton] Cermak's strong and energetic personality will bring order in the ranks of the police. He declared in one of his speeches that he will be personally responsible for the efficiency of the police.....

    5

    We taxpayers know that city taxes have grown year after year and the we have to pay these taxes out of our earnings.

    To curb the thoughtless extravagance of city officials and to reduce our taxes, we must elect a man whose record in the County proves that he is thrifty and that he saved the taxpayers' money.....

    As noted in the beginning of this article, there is no question now about party affiliation. The only consideration now is the future of Chicago, the personal safety of its citizens, and the good reputation of the city.

    The writer does not wish to convince any ardent Republican at this time that he is wrong. Let him ponder over the fruit of the Hoover Republican administration, the misery of the ever-increasing army of the unemployed. If he approves of it, let him be happy.

    Lo and behold the Republican prosperity they promised for 1928!

    6

    We Hungarian-born American citizens must not allow cheap politicans to mislead us by mixing into this purely Chicago election any reference to our mother country's grievances.

    If the writer would think, even for a moment, that the situation of the Hungarians in Chicago or anywhere else would be worse if Cermak is elected mayor, he would drop his pen and his mouth would be silent. But this is not so.

    That Thompson was born in Boston and Cermak was six months old when his parents brought him to America from Bohemia, can't be the deciding factor in the election of mayor.....

    We are all sincere American citizens here who have rights and duties, and we must practice these rights and duties on April 7.

    Every sane-thinking Hungarian-born American citizen should vote for Cermak and the Democratic condidates.

    The day of the election battle is nearing. Every conscientious voter must decide for whom he will cast his vote. He has to decide who is the man best qualified ...

    Hungarian
    I F 6, II E 3, I D 2 c, I C, IV