Tibor Baránszki, known for receiving the highest decoration possible for a non-Jewish person in Israel, has died at the age of 96 in his US home according to wire service MTI.
A seminarian at the time, Tibor Baránszki arrived in Budapest from Kassa (Košice) just days after Ferenc Szálasi’s putsch. He then served at the Apostolic Nunciature (Vatican’s embassy) alongside legendary nuncio Angelo Rotta. They handed out letters of protection and organized safe houses, and according to estimates, Baránszki saved 5-7 thousand lives between October and December in 1944. To accomplish this, he often risked his own life by counterfeiting documents.
After World War II, Baránszki worked as a vicar in Drégelypalánk in Northern Hungary. But with the arrival of the Red Army, another oppressive system was born. In one of the communist show trials against “clerical reaction,” he was sentenced to nine years in prison in 1948. He was freed after 57 months due to being granted amnesty by Imre Nagy’s newly-formed government.
After his role in the 1956 Revolution, he fled and immigrated to the US. He settled in Buffalo and worked as a Latin-History teacher at the high school level. He is also well-known for his efforts in the promotion of Christian-Jewish dialogue. In 1979, he received the Righteous Among the Nations honor from the Yad Vashem Institute.
Tibor Baránszki died at the age of 96 in his home in Buffalo.