|Statue of Col. Ferenc Koszorus, Holocaust Hero, Unveiled in Budapest|
The unveiling of the bust, sculpted by the internationally recognized artist Imre Varga, took place in July 2015 in Budapest. Col. Koszorus and his loyal First Armored Division on July 6, 1944 blocked the deportation of the more than 250,000 Jews of Budapest.
HUNGARIAN WORLD WAR II HERO FERENC KOSZORÚS’ STATUE UNVEILED
The statue is a graceful testimony to the man who, upon the orders of Admiral Horthy, ordered his First Armored Division into action against László Baky and the collaborating pro-Nazi forces on July 5, 1944, temporarily preventing an arrow cross coup and halting the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Budapest. This unparalleled action was the only case known, in which an Axis power used military force for the purpose of preventing deportations. 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. But history was again not on Hungary’s side; the Red Army which drove out the Nazis remained stationed in Hungary until 1991 and a few short years after the Second World War came to a close, the Hungarian nation was subdued by a brutal, Soviet-installed government.
After blocking the coup, Col. 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. President Truman asked him to organize Hungarian veterans in exile and train them for the eventual liberation of Hungary. The late Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA) called Col. Koszorús a “Hero of the Hungarian Holocaust” as entered in the Congressional Record on May 26, 1994.” Col. Koszorús who passed away in 1974, was posthumously promoted to the rank of General by Prime Minister Antall after the fall of Communism.
Col. Koszorús military competence, expertise, and outstanding character enhanced his clear-sighted judgement. The selfless dedication he exhibited also characterized his family. He is descended from Transylvanian nobility, born into a family that voluntarily relinquished its special privileges during the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 in a demonstration of solidarity with the Hungarian nation. In this spirit, Col. Koszorús acted decisively to further the interests of his beloved homeland, motivated solely by a desire to serve the common good, even at great personal risk to himself. Col. Koszorús’s merit was not only that he carried out the Regent’s order at a time when such orders were generally disobeyed, but that he voluntarily offered his services to block Baky’s perfidious act. He specifically requested the Admiral’s order to carry out his mission.
After blocking the Nazi coup, Col. Koszorús was sought by the German Gestapo. To avoid certain arrest and execution, he first fled to western Hungary, and then after becoming ill he took a medevac train to Austria and ultimately to Bavaria. He arrived in the United States with his family in 1951, after which he continued to serve both his former homeland as well as his adopted country, working for the U.S. Topographic Command.
In October of 1951, during the Truman administration, Congress authorized funds to organize and train legions of European immigrant veterans for the eventual liberation of their homelands. Finding Col. Koszorús to be untainted by either Nazism or Communism and judging him to be a reliable military man, the U.S. entrusted him with the task of establishing the Hungarian veteran armed force.
Because of his early passing, he never saw the liberation of Hungary, but his son and his family paid close attention to the events of 1989, the regime change and have been following events as they unfold in the new democracy since. The colonel’s son, Frank Koszorus, Jr. is President of the most esteemed Hungarian emigrants’ association in the United States, The American Hungarian Federation (founded in 1906) and this capacity he represents the interests and views of the majority of Hungarian emigrants in America.
Adam Topolansky, ex-U.S. government civil servant, author and international affairs expert. The article appeared in Hungary Today. Additional photos by Noémi Bruzák – MTI
"I rise today to recognize one of the great heros of the Hungarian holocaust. Ferenc Koszorus, who at great personal sacrifice to his own life, saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from deportation to Nazi death camps... [his action] permitted the famous Raoul Wallenberg, who arrived in Budapest on July 9, 1994, to coordinate his successful and effective rescue mission" - Hon. Congressman Tom Lantos
“Whoever Saves a Life, it is Considered as if He Saved an Entire World” (Jerusalem Talmud)
7/14/2017 - July 7 is now Ferenc Koszorus Memorial Day. As part of the Ferenc Koszorus Memorial Day sponsored by the Hungarian Ministry of Defense on July 7, 2017, newly engraved references on the plinth of the Col. Koszorus bust were unveiled. The references relate to Col. Koszorus’ military intervention that precluded the deportation of the Jewish population in Budapest [read more]
8/23/2017 - AHF issues statement condemning hatred and violence. The American Hungarian Federation (AHF) unequivocally and forcefully condemns any and all manifestations of hatred, xenophobia, discrimination and domestic terrorism. The Hungarian community understands first-hand the impact of these evil manifestations.
UPDATE - According to an August 29 report in JTA, a monument to Jewish Holocaust victims was vandalized in the Hungarian town of Balf. [read more]
3/19/2014 - AHF article regarding the occupation of Hungary by Hitler on March 19, 1944 and its horrific consequences, entitled "Reflections on March 19, 1944 and Its Aftermath: A Perfect Storm of Tragedy and Folly." "We are concerned that a political agenda has replaced a debate based on historical facts relating to the Hungarian Holocaust and Nazi Germany's invasion and occupation of Hungary," said Frank Koszorus, Jr., the Federation's president. "We condemn not only whitewashing but the blackening of this historical record as well. Both forms of revisionism do a great disservice to the memory of the victims of evil and those who opposed it at a treacherous time in Hungary's history. These considerations prompted us to issue our statement," he added. [read more]
3/20/2014 - Az Amerikai Magyar Szövetség üdvözölte a holokauszt-emlékév megrendezését: Nyilatkozatban üdvözölte a magyarországi holokauszt-emlékév megrendezését Koszorús Ferenc, az Amerikai Magyar Szövetség (AMSZ) elnöke, rámutatva, hogy az eseménysorozat hozzájárul a korabeli Magyarország jobb megértéséhez. [tovább]
3/15/2015 - Book Signing in Budapest Honoring Holocaust Hero Col. Koszorus. On March 10, 2015, a book signing and reception introducing an excellent volume, "Armored Soldiers for Life: Ferenc Koszorus a Hero of the Holocaust" ("Páncélosokkal az életért: Koszorús Ferenc a Holokauszt hőse"), took place in Budapest. AHF was also a co-sponsor of the book. [read more]
6/8/2012 - Hungarian Review publishes article, "The Soldier Who Saved the Lives of Budapest's Jews: Col. Ferenc Koszorus." The courageous intervention of Col. Ferenc Koszorus and his loyal First Armored Division on July 6, 1944 blocked the deportation of the more than 250,000 Jews of Budapest. In paying tribute to Col. Koszorus, former Congressman Tom Lantos, a survivor of the Holocaust, noted that the Koszorus intervention "permitted... Wallenberg, who arrived in Budapest on July 9, 1944, to coordinate his successful and effective rescue mission."
11/15/2014 - AHF, member organizations, and representatives of the Hungarian embassy in Washington DC placed flowers at the grave of Holocaust Hero, 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. [read more]
6/12/2012 - In a related story, Heti Valasz publishes: "Emlékezzünk a magyar hősökre is! A Wallenberg-év lehetőségei": Mindent el kell követni, hogy Kelet-Európa valós második világháborús szerepe rögzüljön a nyugati és az amerikai köztudatban. [tovább]
5/10/2013 - AHF publishes documents supporting the exoneration of Count János Esterházy (the only member of the Slovak Parliament in 1942 who voted against expelling the Jews, he was convicted on trumped up charges and died in a communist prison). The documents attest to his principled stand and actions to save Jews during World War II and protect the Hungarian minority in Slovakia, and includes letters from Simon Wiesenthal, Yad Veshem, and historians Dr. Magda Ádám and Dr. István Deák, Professor Emeritus from Columbia University.
Hungary in World War II: Caught in the Cauldron by Deborah Cornelius, Fordham University Press, New York, 2011. Csaba Zoltani writes: "Deborah Cornelius’ Hungary in World War II: Caught in the Cauldron (Fordham University Press, New York 2011) gives an excellent overview of the events leading up to and the horrendous events of World War II in Hungary. The effect of the Treaty of Trianon, that without plebiscites, truncated Hungary and deprived it of its natural resources and forced a sizeable portion of its population to live under alien jurisdiction, set the political and sociological climate in Hungary from the 1920's on. [read more] or buy it now on AHF's Amazon Store!
4/16/2012 - Raoul Wallenberg Remembered on Capitol Hill. U.S. Congressman Harris recalls Col. Ferenc Koszorus, Sr., Hero of the Holocaust. AHF honors the millions of lives lost and the untold suffering caused by Nazism and Communism. But even during the horrors of WWII, stories of resistance to Nazi atrocities emerged. When Hitler's patience ran out with the conservative leaders in Budapest and their peace-feelers and contacts with Western allies, Nazi Germany invaded Hungary in March 1944, drastically changing the situation of Hungary and the Jewish community. [read more]
3/23/2011 - AHF honors Col. Ferenc Koszorus, Sr., reflects on Holocaust Memorial Month. AHF honors the millions of lives lost and the untold suffering caused by Nazism and Communism. But even during the horrors of WWII, stories of resistance to Nazi atrocities emerged. [read more]
3/24/2009 - In 2009, as part of the Holocaust Memorial Month, the Embassy of Hungary sponsored the Carl Lutz and the Legendary Glass House in Budapest traveling exhibit in Washington, DC. The Carl Lutz Foundation, Hungarian American Coalition, Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, Mensch International Foundation and the Embassies of Switzerland and Israel are co-sponsors. The Federation believes it would be appropriate that the Embassy of Hungary, as a representative of all Hungarians, expand such exhibits to include Hungarian heroes of the Holocaust. [read more]
9/13/2011 - Slovak President shamefully calls Janos Esterhazy, a hero of the Holocaust, a follower of Hitler. AHF continues call for rehabilitation of Janos Esterhazy, reacts to Slovak falsification of history... Esterhazy was the only member of the Slovak Parliament in 1942 who voted against expelling the Jews, setting an example which few dared to follow in the parts of Europe controlled by Adolf Hitler's Germany. He was detained by the Nazis and died in a communist prison. He is still classified as a war criminal in Slovakia. [read more]
HON. TOM LANTOS
(Tom Lantos, who died in February 2008 of esophageal cancer, was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. He was also recipient of AHF's highest honor, the Col. Commandant Michael Kovats Medal of Freedom [read more])