|Honoring Gen. Ferenc Koszorus, Hero of the Hungarian Holocaust
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.
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. Despite strong election rhetoric of "roll back communism," the veterans in exile group was disbanded by the Eisenhower administration. Koszorus was posthumously elevated to the rank of general... read more about him below:
3/23/2011 - AHF honors Holocaust Hero 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.
Hungary, heavily influenced by her fear of the barbarism of Russian Bolshevism and her desire to regain lost territories and reunite Hungarians in the Carpathian Basin, had found support in Italy and Germany and joined the Axis, a tragic mistake. As Nazi barbarism spread, thousands of Jews from surrounding states had found refuge in Hungary whose Jewish population exceeded 800,000 in March 1944. While the Jewish community in Hungary had reason to hope that it would be spared the fate of other Jewish communities in the countries surrounding Hungary and elsewhere, March 1944 changed everything as Nazi German troops occupied Hungary. In doing so they brought the Final Solution to the largest remaining Jewish population in Europe. Within months over 400,000 people were deported and killed by a now almost perfect mass killing machine. Hundreds of thousands Jews remained, most in the capital of Budapest. Nazi forces and their Hungarian collaborators needed to take the capital to complete their work. They were in for a surprise.
Until 1944, Hungary had enacted a series of laws that increasingly restricted the civil liberties of Jews. But with the exception of the massacres of partisans and Jews in Novi Sad in 1942 (whose perpetrators fled to avoid prosecution by Hungarian authorities only to return to Hungary with the German occupying army in 1944) and the 16,000 “alien” Jews who were expelled to German-held Ruthenia in 1941,1 Hungary refused Nazi Germany's demands that it deport Hungarian Jews or participate in the “Final Solution.”
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 Jews. Hitler installed a pro-German government which collaborated with the Nazis occupiers and helped to destroy Hungary's Jewry, which had survived under the conservative government. Adolf Eichmann arrived to direct the deportation of Hungary's Jews so that by the end of June, virtually the entire Jewish population of the provinces had been deported.
Until July 1944, the more than 200,000 Jews of Budapest were protected from deportation. Consequently, and at the instigation of the Nazi occupiers, Laszlo Baky, a secretary of state in the Ministry of Interior for "Jewish Affairs," planned to begin and quickly complete the deportation of Jews from the capital. Hungarians foiled that plan, however.
Following the orders of Regent Horthy, Col. Koszorus ordered his First Armored Division into action against Laszlo Baky and pro-Nazi forces in July 5, 1944, preventing the coup and the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Budapest.2 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. A few short years later, she was under a brutal, Soviet-installed government.
After blocking the coup, he 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. President Eisenhower, despite the election rhetoric of "rolling back" Commnism, disbanded the unit before the 1956 Hungarian Revolution which surprised his administration.
The late Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA) called Col. Koszorus a "Hero of the Hungarian Holocaust" as entered in the Congressional Record on May 26, 1994. In his introduction, Mr. Lantos said, "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." Congressman Lantos, recipient of AHF's highest award, the Col. Commandant Michael Kovats Medal of Freedom passed away in 2008. General Koszorus
Koszorus, who passed away in 1974, was posthumously promoted to the rank of General by Prime Minister Antall after the fall of Communism. His wife, the late artist Gabriella Koszorus-Varsa researched and edited his memoirs and summarized his memoirs like this:
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. [download the statement]
In the statement, AHF honored additional Hungarian heroes:
AHF REMEMBERS THE HEROES OF THE HUNGARIAN HOLOCAUST
The Federation believes that the extraordinary courage, moral strength and fortitude of these and
other individuals who despite overwhelming odds were willing to confront evil and act on behalf
of humanity serve as examples for all of humankind; they must never be forgotten.
"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, Congressional record [Read Full Speech]
“Whoever Saves a Life, it is Considered as if He Saved an Entire World” (Jerusalem Talmud)
Buy books related to the Holocaust and Col. Koszorus on AHF's Amazon Store
Megemlékezést tartottak Koszorús Ferenc sírjánál: „Koszorús páratlan fellépése az egyetlen olyan ismert eset, amikor egy tengelyhatalom katonai erőt alkalmazott azért, hogy zsidók deportálását akadályozza meg” – idézte a fia az amerikai kongresszusba beválasztott egyetlen holokauszt-túlélőnek, Tom Lantosnak a képviselőházban elmondott szavait. [tovább]
Holokauszt-emlékév - Megemlékezést tartottak Koszorús Ferenc ezredes sírjánál: A megemlékezés virágait helyezték el szombaton Koszorús Ferenc ezredes sírjánál amerikai magyar szervezetek és a washingtoni magyar nagykövetség képviselői az arlingtoni Columbia Gardens Temetőben [tovább]
Koszorús Ferenc zsidók százezreit mentette meg: „A soá is elfoglalta méltó helyét történelmünkben legnagyobb nemzeti tragédiáink között, miénk a szégyene, a vesztesége és a gyásza is” – mondta Hende Csaba honvédelmi miniszter pénteken Koszorús Ferenc posztumusz vezérezredes emléktáblájának koszorúzási ünnepségén Budapesten, a Dohány utcában. [tovább]
3/23/2011 - AHF honors Col. Ferenc Koszorus, Sr., and Hungarian Heroes of the Holocaust, 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. 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 Jews. [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."
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]
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]
11/8/2011 - The Anti-Defamation League presented the Jan Karski Courage to Care Award to Count Janos Esterhazy. This comes just two months after the Slovak President shamefully calls this hero of the Holocaust a follower of Hitler. AHF continues to express concern over Slovakia's anti-Hungarian measures."Those who defended and aided Jews and other victims of the Nazislaughter merit our recognition and our eternal thanks. They were individuals who followed the call to conscience, which is surely no simple matter... Count János Esterházy was such a person of conscience, one who had more than enough reason to remain silent." [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])