Sándor Pintér, Hungary’s interior minister, and Israeli ambassador to Hungary Ilan Mor handed over Israel’s Righteous Among the Nations honours to Hungarians helping Jews during the Second World War, at a ceremony in the Hungarian capital Budapest.
In his address at the ceremony, Mr. Pintér voiced the Hungarian state’s commitment to protecting each of its citizens from “murderous intent, external enemy or internal treason”. “Seventy years after those events we commemorate the courageous who risked or even sacrificed their lives to save Jews and others in peril”, he explained . “We cannot and will not tolerate that anyone should be stigmatised, humiliated or assaulted because of their ethnicity or religious denomination… it is our task and mission to prevent developments at the time of the Holocaust from happening again,” the minister said.
Hungarian Modernist religious sister Sára Salkaházi (1899-1944) saved the lives of approximately 100 Hungarian Jews during WWII. Executed by the pro-Nazi Arrow Cross regime in December 1944, she was awarded the Righteous Among the Nations honours in 1969 and beatified in 2006. (photo: Wikipedia)
Insisting that the Hungarian state “must never again let go of the hand of any one of its citizens”, Mr. Pintér said that the “inaction” of Hungary under Nazi occupation in 1944, and later the country’s behaviour under the fascist Arrow Cross regime is “unacceptable”.
The ambassador paid tribute to those that had “stood by their Jewish countrymen” and said that “survivors in Israel will not forget about their saviours”. Europe has “gone a long way” since the Holocaust, Mr. Mor said, but warned that “freedom, again, is in danger”. He said that tolerance for anti-Semitism or arguing for that ideology was unacceptable. Anti-Semitism again gaining ground is dangerous not only for Jewish communities but for democracy, freedom, equality or pluralism globally.
It has been a tradition in Hungary to hand the Badge of Honour for Bravery to Hungarians decorated with Israel’s Righteous Among the Nations honours since 1995, Mr. Pintér said.
via hungarymatters.hu and nepszava.hu
photo: Zoltán Máthé/MTI