The selection of photographs published here is part of the records of the US Department of State on 1956 Hungarian refugees, available in the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The collection contains more than 900 original black and white photos from the Joyce Kilmer Reception Center (Camp Kilmer), New Jersey, set up in the military base by The President’s Committee for Hungarian Refugee Relief to host Hungarian citizens fleeing their country after the crushed revolution. With a few exceptions, the photographs were taken by professional US Army photographers in November 1956-April 1957.
These lesser known images highlight the various stages of how Hungarian refugees were treated – by dedicated volunteers and army personnel – from their arrival in the camp to their eventual resettlement in various places across the US. The photos are presented in chronological order in a single gallery covering a variety of topics, such as preparations for the reception, and arrival and registration of refugees, aid and donations provided for them, as well as everyday life in the reception center. In this latter category, one will find visuals on camp facilities serving the education, professional training, cultural and religious needs, and general welfare (health and beauty or weddings) of the refugees.