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Day Of Polish-Hungarian Friendship: President Inaugurates Joint Memorial To WWII Heroes In Katowice

Ferenc Sullivan 2015.03.21.

“In this part of Europe, we know well that only nations being able to see beyond their momentary interests have a future”, Hungarian President János Áder said in Katowice, at an event held to mark the day of Polish-Hungarian friendship. The Hungarian head of state inaugurated a joint memorial commemorating Henryk Sławik and József Antall Sr., father of Hungary’s first Prime Minister following the fall of communism, in the Silesian capital. In turn, a stretch of the road along the Danube embankment in Budapest is to be named after Sławik, a Polish politician and diplomat who helped save over 30, 000 Polish refugees, including 5, 000 Polish Jews, in Hungary during World War Two.

He created the Citizens’ Committee for Help to Polish Refugees in Hungary and became a delegate of the Polish Government-in-exile. He worked closely with József Antall Sr., father of the future Hungarian Prime Minister.

After Polish refugees of Jewish descent were separated from their colleagues pending racial decrees issued by the Hungarian government, Sławik provided them with false documents confirming their Polish roots and Roman Catholic faith.

Following the Nazi take-over of Hungary, he went underground and arranged for Polish Jews to leave Hungary and survive the Holocaust. He was arrested by the Germans in March 1944. Although brutally tortured he did not betray Antall and his Hungarian friends. He was hanged in the Mauthausen concentration camp. Both Sławik and Antall were posthumously given the title of the Righteous Among the Nations by Israel for saving Jews.

President Komorowski expressed hope during the unveiling ceremony that the monument to the heroes of Poland and Hungary will help further consolidate friendship between the two countries.

The ceremony was the highlight of the celebrations of the annual Day of Polish-Hungarian Friendship.

After Friday’s meeting with Janos Ader, Mr Komorowski said that despite the differences in political stands between Warsaw and Budapest on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, ”we can count on the full implementation by Hungary of EU commitments relating to the sanctions imposed on Russia.”

via thenews.pl and mandiner.hu
photo: EFE/EPA/Andrzej Grygiel