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SZABADSAG

SZABADSAG (Liberty) became in time the largest as well as oldest Hungarian-language newspaper published in the U.S. It was founded in Cleveland by TIHAMER KOHANYI with the financial backing of local Hungarian citizens in 1891. Kohanyi ran the weekly pretty much as a 1-man operation before seeing his way clear to the commencement of daily publication in 1906. Following Kohanyi's death in 1913, Szabadsag continued with the aid of such contributors as caricaturist Louis Linek and novelist JOSEPH REMENYI. Upon purchase of its Huron Rd. plant by the Ohio Bell Telephone Co. in 1928, Szabadsag effected an arrangement with the German daily WAECHTER UND ANZEIGER, whereby the two papers would both be printed by a new Consolidated Publishing Co. in the latter's plant on E. 12th St. Szabadsag regained its independence in 1939, when a group of local HUNGARIANS purchased it following the bankruptcy of Consolidated Publishing. Managing editor ZOLTAN GOMBOS gained control of the paper, which reached its peak circulation of 40,612 in 1942. Under Gombos, Szabadsag leaned toward the Democrats politically and remained generally opposed to the Communist regime established in Hungary after World War II. Gombos organized the Liberty Publishing Co. to publish Szabadsag and several other papers he acquired, including the New York daily Amerikai Magyar Nepszeva (American Hungarian People's Voice). In a diminishing market, Gombos maintained Szabadsag on profits from the war years as one of the city's last foreign-language dailies. By the end of the 1960s, however, even Szabadsag had returned to its original weekly status. It was sold by Gombos shortly before his death in 1984 and was reorganized as Liberty Media, Inc. A weekly English-language supplement was introduced in 1986. Szabadsag now (1995) circulates through much of the U.S. and, with Nepszava, has a combined circulation of 38,000.