On Wednesday, Yad Vashem hosted a march of remembrance with dozens of Holocaust survivors marking 70 years since the beginning of the mass murder of Hungarian Jewry during the Holocaust. After the march a memorial ceremony took place in the Hall of Remembrance followed by lectures in the Yad Vashem Auditorium.
Speaking at the event were be Chairman of the Association of Hungarian Jews in Israel Meir Gal, Chairwoman of the Organization of Hungarian Jews Esther Miron, Director General of the Memorial Museum of Hungarian Speaking Jewry Roni Lustig and the Hungarian Ambassador to Israel, Andor Nagy. In addition, Dr. Na’ama Shik, Director of the Educational Technology Department at the International School for Holocaust Studies of Yad Vashem, delivered a lecture about Esther Goldstein and her experience as a Jewish Hungarian woman in Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Also on Wednesday a symposium (in Hebrew) commemorated 70 years of the Nazi occupation of Hungary. The event included discussions of the activities of the Zionist youth underground, the Hungarian Jewish forced laborers, and teaching the Holocaust. It was held at Tel Aviv University in the Zimbalista Center. The event was held in cooperation with other Israeli memorial institutions, and will begin with opening remarks by Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev as well as lectures by a wide range of researchers of Hungarian Jewry and the Holocaust including: Prof. Dina Porat, Chief Historian of Yad Vashem, Dr. Robert Rozett, Director of the Yad Vashem Libraries and author of the newly released book Conscripted Slaves: Hungarian Jewish Forced Laborers on the Eastern Front during the Second World War and Dr. Hava Baruch, Head of the Central European Desk at the International School for Holocaust Studies of Yad Vashem.
On Thursday, 18 Adar II at 09:00, Yad Vashem’s International Institute for Holocaust Research will hold a special symposium focusing on Jewish Hungarians during the Holocaust. The symposium will consist of two sessions: the first one launching the new publication, Conscripted Slaves: Hungarian Jewish Forced Laborers on the Eastern Front during the Second World War, and the second focusing on special aspects of the Holocaust concerning Hungarian Jewry.
The vast majority of the Hungarian Jewry was deported during the last year of the war following the German occupation of Hungary on March 19, 1944 and continuing until the end of the war in Europe. The Jews of Hungary were deported under German command mostly by Hungarian police and officials. In addition, beginning in 1942, tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews died after being conscripted by the Hungarian military as forced laborers, and thousands of others were handed over to the Germans where they were murdered in the first major shooting action in 1941. Overall, some 568,000 Hungarian Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)