American Hungarian organisations and representatives of the Hungarian embassy in Washington DC placed flowers at the grave of colonel Ferenc Koszorús in Columbia Gardens Cemetery in Arlington. Koszorús, as the commander of Hungary’s first armoured division, thwarted a planned government coup dubbed the gendarmerie coup, which aimed to carry out the deportation of the Jews of Budapest on July 5 and 6 of 1944.
Following the orders of Regent Miklós Horthy, Colonel Koszorús ordered his division into action against pro-Nazi forces on 5th of July 1944, preventing the coup and the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Budapest. The action delayed the Nazi takeover for 3,5 months, allowing tens of thousands to escape or find refuge and also permitted Raoul Wallenberg to coordinate his successful and effective rescue mission. Colonel Koszorús’s unmatched action was the only known case of military action taken by an axis power to prevent the deportation of Jews, Ferenc Koszorús Jr, president of the American Hungarian Federation (AHF) said, citing the late congressman Tom Lantos.
After blocking the coup, Ferenc Koszorús was forced to escape the Gestapo and fled to the United States where he would eventually serve his adopted homeland in the US Topographic Command. After the war President Truman asked him to organize Hungarian veterans in exile and train them for the eventual liberation of Hungary liberated and occupied at once by the Soviet Union in 1945.
via hungarymatters.hu and americanhungarianfederation.org photo: wikimedia CC