Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageHolocaust hero finally gets his due in Hungary

By Christopher Szabo     Jul 7, 2014 in World
Budapest - A soldier whose actions saved some 200,000 Hungarian Jews has finally been recognised in Hungary, 70 years after the event.
That year, 1944, the Normandy landings weakened the position of the occupying Germans in the country and the temporary Hungarian government took the chance to take a step that Germany would not like.
Colonel Ferenc Kozorús, interim commander of the Royal Hungarian 1st Armoured Division, based in Esztergom, west of Budapest, using the units under his command, blocked a putsch by Hungarian Arrow Cross members supported by units of the Gendarmerie, who had already deported Hungary’s rural Jewish population.
The action, ordered by Regent Miklós Horthy, took place from July 5, 1944 until the 8th, when the Gendarmes were withdrawn. The 1st Armoured Division, his son, Frank Koszorus Jr said, was being held in reserve to support Hungary’s withdrawal from the war. This eventually took place in October, but the action failed.
Koszorus, who was forced to flee Hungary from his country’s Axis “ally”, Nazi Germany, for fear of being executed by the Gestapo, also could not return after WWII, because the Communists hated him every bit as much as the Nazis. The feeling was mutual. After emigrating to the US, he was approached to help form a nucleus of Hungarian officers in the event of the US liberating Hungary from Communism.
For the first time ever, a modern Hungarian government has recognised Koszorus’ action at a ceremony at the weekend. Defence Minister Csaba Hende gave Frank Koszorus Jr., the Hazáért Érdemjel (For the Homeland Merit Medal) in honour of his father’s action.
According to the the online Magyar Nemzet newspaper, the memorial, held first at the wall plaque at Dohány Street, site of the former Jewish Ghetto and still seen as a key place for Hungary’s Jews, and then at a gala dinner at the Magyar Honvédség (Hungarian Defence Force)’s Stefánia Palace, gave credit for Colonel Koszorus’ action.
The plaque remembering Colonel Koszorus  heroic action in the former Jewish Ghetto in Dohany Street.
The plaque remembering Colonel Koszorus' heroic action in the former Jewish Ghetto in Dohany Street.
The event was attended by the Israeli Ambassador, Ilan Mor, the US Charge d’Affairs André Goodfriend and various Hungarian dignitaries.
In a radio interview on Lánchíd Rádió (Chain Bridge Radio) Ferenc (Frank) Koszorús Jr. expressed surprise that it had taken so long to recognise his father’s actions in Hungary, whereas in the US the rescue was placed on the Congressional Record by the late Congressman Tom Lantos, himself a survivor of the Holocaust in Hungary.
During the Communist period, no one was allowed to speak of any people rescuing Jews as the idea was to paint the pre-Communist period entirely black. However, in the last 20 years, despite efforts by some historians, the old Communist views still hold sway. In that sense, despite having to wait 70 years for recognition, Koszorus’ brave action is finally being referred to on (certain) television stations, radio stations and the Internet.
More about Holocaust, Hungary, Hero
More news from
Latest News
Top News