First Person Immigrant Stories

Karl Dyer

Karl Dyer, Hungarian, American

Karl: Karl Zoltan Dyer.

Interviewer: Can you tell me when your family first came to America?

Karl: My family first came to America in 1960.

Interviewer: Where did they come here from?

Karl:  My mother and father are Hungarian. They escaped Hungary in 1956 when the Russians invaded Hungary. I was born in Austria and then I came to United States when I was 2 years old.

Interviewer: Where did you first come to in the US?

Karl: My family first came here to the States we came to New Jersey. Red Cross had a program for refugees from Hungary and they were picked up and they choice of a number of different countries and they chose the United States. And then a church helped out the family, us, to get established here in New Jersey and we were in East Orange, New Jersey.

Interviewer: Why did your family choose America?

Karl:  They chose America because of opportunity and they could felt that if they came here that they could be successful and there's a lot of opportunity here.

Interviewer: How would you define the word America?

Karl:  America I would define as basically and as a cliche the American dream. There's people that come here or determined they want to do good it want to be successful and you have the opportunity to do that here. They believe it and they do it

Interviewer: Do you believe that?

Karl: Absolutely.

Interviewer: What is that one thing that your family brought with them to America, like tradition and value that you have taught people here?

Karl: The value in traditions that they brought here it's a great question, very interesting. When my family came here I spoken Hungarian. I no longer speak Hungarian, we got away from the culture in our particular family because they wanted to be American, they wanted to enhance it. They left the country and they wanted to take it with open arms. So, our culture little children's stories as we grew up and carried it on and just stories of the family back in Hungary. And I eventually went back there like five years ago I hadn't been back in like 45 years. So, we chose to Americanize more so than carry on with the culture. And as I got older as now I wish I spoke in Hungarian, I wish I latched on to it and yeah so that's what we did with that.

Interviewer: Do you feel like you are living your American Dream?

Karl: I am. I came out here - I was self-employed did a business and I got into work for the city and then raised a beautiful family, beautiful wife and a beautiful life. I'm living the American dream.

Interviewer: Can you tell me how you define immigrant?

Karl: Immigrant - Iā€™d define as one word: determination. I find that people that come here -determined to be successful, determined to enhance their lives and it goes back to the American dream - and it's a possibility - and it's a reality.