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Statue of Col. Ferenc Koszorus, Holocaust Hero, Unveiled in Budapest

The American Hungarian Federation is especially proud to have sponsored a statue honoring Hungarian Holocaust Hero Col. Ferenc Koszorus7/15/2015 - The American Hungarian Federation is especially proud to have sponsored a statue honoring Hungarian Holocaust Hero Col. Ferenc Koszorus.

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.

President of the Parliament László Kövér and defense minister Csaba Hende were on hand to honor the memory of Koszorús. Koszorús’ son, Frank Koszorus (Ferenc Koszorús, Jr.) was also present who gave and eloquent speech at the Military History Museum’s Marble room at the reception following the eventHUNGARIAN WORLD WAR II HERO FERENC KOSZORÚS’ STATUE UNVEILED
An extraordinary man, a soldier and a hero, Col. Ferenc Koszorús had his statue unveiled on July 7, 2015 in the Castle Hill district at the Tóth Árpád promenade. A distinguished and select group of government officials, friends and admirers joined the somber but dignified memorial event. President of the Parliament László Kövér and defense minister Csaba Hende were on hand to honor the memory of Koszorús. Koszorús’ son, Frank Koszorus, Jr.(Ifj. Koszorús Ferenc) was also present who gave an eloquent speech at the Military History Museum’s Marble room at the reception following the event. It was a hot and steamy day, but the birch and/or oak trees of the promenade provided some comfort to those in attendance.

[Download] Frank Koszorus Jr.'s Speech at the Unveiling (in Hungarian)

[Download] Frank Koszorus Jr.'s Speech at the Unveiling
(in Hungarian)

"Tisztelt Elnök úr.  Tisztelt Miniszter úr. Tisztelt Művész úr. Tisztelt Koszorús Emlékbizottsági tagok és Elnök Asszony.  Tisztelt  Hölgyeim és Uraim, akik  ma eljöttek, hogy emlékezzenek  egy  becsületes katonára és katonai akciójára. Nagy megtiszteltetés nekem es családomnak, hogy részt vehetünk (Koszorús Ferenc ezredes) édesapám szoboravatásán. De sokkal nagyobb a tett mint egy családi esemény. Mire gondolok?

Arra, hogy 71 év után egy magyar katonára méltóan  emlékezzünk akinek akciója következményeként  (több száz ezer)  zsidó honfitársa megmenekült a náci haláltáborokba történő deportálástól, amit a német megszállók es (a Magyar hatóságok) – Baky Lászlóék -- végre akartak hajtani 1944 július 6-án." [tovább]

[Download] Minister of Defense Csaba Hende's Speech at the Unveiling (in Hungarian)

[Download] Minister of Defense Csaba Hende's Speech at the Unveiling (in Hungarian)

"Koszorús Ferenc ezredes a ludovikás honvédtiszt mintaképe volt. Kitűnő a maga hivatásában – amit nem csak elméleti írásaiból tudhatunk, de a Donnál és az Alföldért az oroszok ellen megvívott harcokban is fényesen bizonyította katonai tehetségét. Parancsnok volt a javából: felkészítette és vezette a rábízott honvédeket, gondoskodott a katonáiról. Ugyanakkor soha egyetlen percre sem feledte, hogy mi küldetése igazi célja és értelme: a hazáért mindhalálig!" [tovább]

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.

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. 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.

Left to Right: AHF Patron Member Dr. Katalin Kadar-Lynn and AHF President Frank Koszorus, Jr., son of Hungarian Holocaust Hero Col. KoszorusBecause 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

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[Watch the video of the unveiling]

“Whoever Saves a Life, it is Considered as if He Saved an Entire World” (Jerusalem Talmud)"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)


Related Articles

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[read more]

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Ivan Gasparovic, President of Slovakia and a former prosecutor under the communist regime, resorted to this shameful practice when he labeled Janos Esterhazy a follower of Hitler and fascism and opposed the unveiling of a sculpture in Esterhazy’s memory in Kassa (Kosice)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]

AHF History

AHF 100 YEARS DISPLAY: AHF, Tibor Eckhardt, and the 'Free Hungary Movement' AHF 100 YEARS DISPLAY: AHF relief efforts during WWII
The "Free Hungary Movement" seeking to extract Hungary from the Axis sphere [read more] AHF relief efforts during WWII [click for large image]

Congressional Record

Seen here at the AHF 2005 Congressional Reception, where he was a recipient of AHF's highest award, the Col. Commandant Michael Kovats Medal of Freedom.FERENC KOSZORUS: A HERO OF THE HUNGARIAN HOLOCAUST
HON. TOM LANTOS
(Extension of Remarks - May 26, 1994)
[Page: E1109]

HON. TOM LANTOS
in the House of Representatives
THURSDAY, MAY 26, 1994

(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])

  • Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian holocaust. 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.
  • During the turbulent time in the summer of 1944, advancing Allied forces were closing in on Berlin while Hitler was racing to implement the final solution, the destruction of the Jewish race. There were many acts of heroic compassion and humanitarianism during this period. I would like to recount the story of Col. Ferenc Koszorus, one of the most remarkable examples of bravery and courage of the time.
  • By June 1944, the Nazis had incarcerated and liquidated most of the Jewish population of Europe. In the capital of Hungary, Budapest, there remained approximately 250,000 Jews still alive. Budapest was still under control of the Hungarian police force. The Nazis believed that this force was not ruthless and brutal enough to deal adequately with the complete destruction of the large remaining Jewish population of Budapest.
  • Ferenc Koszorus was a colonel in the Hungarian Army in charge of the First Magyar Armored Division stationed in and around Budapest. He learned that Laszlo Baky, Secretary of State and director of all security forces, with the exception of the army, had planned a coup d'etat to install a police force completely subservient to the Nazis. They would see to it that Hungary was purged of all remaining Jews.
  • With the help of the Gestapo, Baky formed several battalions of `gendarmerie' forces loyal to him. Orders from the Regent to disband the gendarmerie went unheeded. Colonel Koszorus controlled the last remaining active army unit in Hungary. At a time when few others would stand up to the Nazi occupation, Colonel Koszorus took the initiative to resist.
  • Realizing the severity of the situation, Colonel Koszorus consulted with the Regent and began preparations on his own to stop Baky and the gendarmerie battalions. On July 5, 1944 at 11:30 p.m., Colonel Koszorus ordered the units of the 1st Armored Division to take up positions at strategic points in Budapest, sealing off all road leading into the city. By 7:00 a.m. on July 6, 1944 all the units were in place and Colonel Koszorus informed Baky that if his gendarmerie did not leave and disband they would be destroyed. On July 7, 1944 Baky capitulated and evacuated his forces.
  • Colonel Koszorus' unparalleled action was the only case known in which an Axis power used military force for the purpose of preventing the deportation of the Jews. As a result of his extraordinarily brave efforts, taken at great risk in an extremely volatile situation, the eventual takeover of Budapest by the Nazis was delayed by 3 1/2 months. This hiatus allowed thousands of Jews to seek safety in Budapest, thus sparing them from certain execution. It also permitted the famous Raoul Wallenberg, who arrived in Budapest on July 9, 1994, to coordinate his successful and effective rescue mission
  • In October 1944, after the Germans had taken Budapest, Colonel Koszorus was forced into hiding to avoid certain execution by the Gestapo. While alive, Colonel Koszorus never received recognition of his actions. In 1991, Ferenc Koszorus was posthumously promoted to the rank of general by the Hungarian Government. His memory is honored with a plaque placed in the famous Dohany Street Synagogue in Budapest.
  • Therefore it is with great honor and pride that I rise today in recognition valiant, patriotic efforts of Ferenc Koszorus. Many thousands of families are alive today as a result of the heroic actions of one man who stood up for his beliefs in a very uncertain and dangerous time. His loyalty to his country and love of humanity are an inspiration to all who struggle against oppression and the vile bigotry of racism.
  • Too often the efforts of those who struggle against the Nazi oppression go unrecognized. This year, the 50th anniversary of Hungarian holocaust, the world reflects on the lessons learned. I am proud to honor Colonel Koszorus, a patriot, a humanitarian, and a hero.

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