Hungarian Brazilians

Hungarian Brazilians
Húngaro-brasileiros  · Magyar Brazíliai
Total population
80,000 Hungarian Brazilians[1] ~ 100,000
Regions with significant populations


Mainly Southern and Southeastern Brazil
Predominantly Portuguese followed by Hungarian
Predominantly Catholic, some Jewish
Related ethnic groups
Other White Brazilians, Hungarian people

Hungarian Brazilians (Portuguese: húngaro-brasileiros or magiar-brasileiros) are Brazilian citizens of full, partial, or predominantly Hungarian ancestry, or Hungarian-born people who emigrated to Brazil.

Although ethnic Hungarians live in all the countries of South America, active community life and organizations exist only in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, and Uruguay. Even though official census data are not available, according to greatly varying local estimates, 850,000 to 1,000,000 Brazilians are of Hungarian descent. In the case of Argentina and Brazil, the discrepancy between estimates may originate from the fact that the Hungarian diasporas in those two countries can look back to one-and-half century of history, and the fact that the ethnic identity of the non-first generation population of Hungarian origin is already vague in many cases. In terms of organization and social cohesion, the strongest Hungarian communities are those in Brazil and Argentina.


According to the data received from the local Hungarian communities, the number of grandparents and parents who immigrated from Hungary to Brazil is between 33,000 and 65,000. Their descendants already born in the country and who still record their Hungarian origin may number some 145,000 to 310,000.[2]

The data provider mentions as a point of interest the estimate of several researchers that 150,000 persons immigrated from the 1890s until 1957 while, according to the publication of the Geographic Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the source of the World Federation of Hungarians, this number is between 70,000 and 90,000. It notes in this regard that it does not know the date of the preparation of the data and have no way to prove their authenticity. The majority of the Hungarians in Brazil reside in São Paulo and the surrounding areas. 500 to 1,000 persons visit Hungarian events, and 100 to 200 participate in Hungarian festive programs.

Life in Brazil

Relations between the Hungarian community and the host Brazilian people, society, and state, like those of the other émigré and immigrant ethnic groups, are above reproach. It has no party or political representation of its own. On the other hand, Hungarians in Brazil have two institutions with legal personality, the Brazilian Hungarian Aid Association (Associacao Beneficente 30 de Setembro) established 76 years ago, which maintains a home for the aged (with 25 residents at present, and the Brazilian–Hungarian Cultural Association (Sociedade Cultural Brasileira–Húngara).

The organizations own the Hungarian House (Casa Húngara) with an auditorium for 100 persons, a 1,000-volume library, a conference room, youth community room, an office, a parlor, kitchen and dining room. In addition to the two above-named organizations, the other Hungarian associations – the Kálmán Könyves Free University, the Circle of Friends of Boy-Scouts, the Literary Circle, the Bible Circle, the Hungarian Women’s Association of São Paulo, the Tennis Club, folk dance groups, and so on – hold their meetings in the Hungarian House. The boy-scout troops active in the framework of the South American District of the Hungarian Boy-Scout Federation Abroad maintain two boy-scout parks in addition to the troops town premises.

The Hungarian government claims there are between 80,000 and 100,000 Brazilians of Hungarian descendent , most of them living in São Paulo and 8-10% living in Rio de Janeiro.

The Hungria Family

The Hungarian brothers João Carlos and Francisco Hofbauer(Portuguese written) came to Brazil from the city of Raab(today Győr) in 1826, escaping from political persecution. By the time they arrived in Brazil, they changed their surnames from Hofbauer to Hungria(Hungary, in Portuguese), founding the Hungria family in Brazil.


Traditionally, the boy-scout troops take care of the instruction of the Hungarian language. Thanks to a competition won from the Apáczai Public Foundation a teacher sent from Hungary was active in São Paulo in 2001, instructing 80 students to everyone’s satisfaction. In addition, the Lutheran Church maintains a Hungarian-language nursery school. At the beginning of 2003, the ninth candidate applied for a scholarship from the Hungarian Ministry of Education and the Hungarian Boy-Scout Federation Abroad. Interest for applications recently declines because the three candidates who joined the Bálint Balassa Institute in Budapest during the summer period were left without scholarship and lodgings and had to return home. The event was met with dismay by the Hungarians in Brazil.

In 1996, a monument was erected on this square to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the arrival of Hungarian tribes into the Carpathian basin. The assembly of São Paulo has established a permanent exhibition hall where every immigrant ethnic group can display an art object. The Hungarians have displayed a painting with a Hungarian motif by a local contemporary artist. There are few Hungarian language press publications in Brazil today.[3] The bilingual Híradó (News – about 20 pages) is published every three months and has an independent page in Dél-Amerikai Hírlap (Hungarian Newsletter) published in Buenos-Aires. Recently, the bilingual Havi Értesítő (Monthly Bulletin) is mailed electronically every two months to the members of the community.

Today, there are 18 Hungarians cultural societies in Brazil.[4]


In Brazil, church activities in the Hungarian language are ensured only at a satisfactory level. Since the beginning of the 1930s Catholic Church services are provided by Benedictine monks sent from Hungary for pastoral work here. During their activities of close to seven decades, besides their monastery and church, they founded and built one of São Paulo's most high-standard private schools (from nursery school to high school diploma), with a residency hall, library, cultural and sports facilities. (During his visit to Brazil, Pope John Paul II stayed in the institute's St. Imre College). Only four of the original founding fathers, over 75 years old and able to work, are alive today. As their replacement by the Provincial order in Hungary cannot be ensured, this Hungarian patrimony of emigrants will come under the administration of the Brazilian Catholic Church and the municipal authority responsible for education. The Transylvanian-style temple of the Hungarian Reformed Church was built in 1932, it has no ministers for years and services are celebrated by elders. The Lutheran Church functions in a villa (temple and parsonage) rented by the Lutheran World Federation with European guest ministers sent for a given period of time. There is also the former Hungarian Baptist Church, that recently changed its name to Igreja Batista Metropolitana, in the Lapa neighborhood of São Paulo, on Pio XI street. A large Hungarian community erected this church in the mid 20th century, and held services in Hungarian until 1998. Today all services are in Portuguese, but a few descendants of the Hungarian community still can be seen in this church.

The Hungarian organizations maintain extensive relations with the Municipal Magistracy of São Paulo, which provides one site each to every ethnic group with foreign roots. Thus the Hungarian community also has its independent website which will be expanded after February 2003. In addition, the town leadership named a square in the Vila Mariana city district the Square of the Hungarian People to honor the 1956 Revolution.

Notable Hungarian Brazilians

See also


  1. Hungarians in BrazilArchived September 22, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. "Um atalho para a Europa". Revista Época. Editora Globo S.A. 24 June 2002. Archived from the original on July 3, 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  3. The Situation of Hungarians Living outside the Carpathian Basin, by Cheflaszlo
  4. "Embaixada da Hungria no Brasil sobre as estatísticas de descendentes de húngaros".
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