Polish and Hungarian presidents honour 'righteous gentiles'
PR dla Zagranicy
Polish and Hungarian presidents, Bronisław Komorowski and Janos Ader, have unveiled a monument to two WWII heroes who joined forces to aid Christian and Jewish refugees.
Central group from left: First Lady of Hungary Anita Herczegh, President of Hungary Janos Ader, President of Poland Bronisław Komorowski and First Lady Anna Komorowska, Katowice. Photo: PAP/Andrzej Grygiel
The monument to Henryk Sławik and Jozsef Antall is located in the Silesian capital of Katowice, close to the International Congress Centre.
Sławik was a Polish politician and diplomat who helped save over 30, 000 Polish refugees, including 5, 000 Polish Jews, in Hungary during World War Two.
He created the Citizens’ Committee for Help to Polish Refugees in Hungary and became a delegate of the Polish Government-in-exile. He worked closely with Jozsef Antall, senior (the father of the future Hungarian Prime Minister).
After Polish refugees of Jewish descent were separated from their colleagues pending racial decrees issued by the Hungarian government, Sławik provided them with false documents confirming their Polish roots and Roman Catholic faith.
Following the Nazi take-over of Hungary, he went underground and arranged for Polish Jews to leave Hungary and survive the Holocaust. He was arrested by the Germans in March 1944. Although brutally tortured he did not betray Antall and his Hungarian friends. He was hanged in the Mauthausen concentration camp. Both Sławik and Antall were posthumously given the title of the Righteous Among the Nations by Israel for saving Jews.
President Komorowski expressed hope during the unveiling ceremony that the monument to the heroes of Poland and Hungary will help further consolidate friendship between the two countries.
The ceremony was the highlight of the celebrations of the annual Day of Polish-Hungarian Friendship.
After Friday’s meeting with Janos Ader, Mr Komorowski said that despite the differences in political stands between Warsaw and Budapest on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, ''we can count on the full implementation by Hungary of EU commitments relating to the sanctions imposed on Russia.'' (mk/nh)