2013 Days of Remembrance: The Heroic Rescue of Hungarian Jews

21 March 2013   Tracey Horn
The Heroic Rescue of Hungarian Jews by Raoul Wallenberg

A full house is expected at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center on Sunday, April 7, 2013 at 4:00 P.M. for the Greater Prescott Days of Remembrance Event – a commemorative ceremony sponsored by the Jewish Community Foundation to remember those who perished during the Nazi reign of terror from 1933 until 1945. This year's program recounts the story of how, in the waning months of World War II, one courageous man named Raoul Wallenberg saved the remaining Jews in Budapest, Hungary from Nazi extermination.

With the successful landing of Allied troops on the beaches of Normandy in June of 1944, the tide had finally turned against the Nazi war machine in Europe, but not before Hitler's 'final solution' had slaughtered millions of Jews across Europe. By the summer of 1944 the only remaining stronghold of Jews in all of Europe was in Budapest, Hungary and Hitler was determined to deport and kill the 200,000 Jews who lived in the ghettos of the Hungarian capital. To supervise the deportation and murder of the Hungarian Jews Hitler sent SS Colonel Eichmann, a ruthless and sadistic Nazi officer, to Budapest.

One man stood between Hitler and the annihilation of the Jews of Budapest – that courageous man was Raoul Wallenberg. Sent to Budapest in the summer of 1944 as a Swedish diplomatic envoy, Wallenberg implemented a brilliant plan to protect the remaining Jews living in Budapest. By issuing 'protective passports' and housing the newly Swedish protected Jews in buildings designated as Swedish territory, Wallenberg is estimated to have saved tens of thousands of Jews from deportation and death.

This year the audience will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear a first hand account of the heroic efforts of Wallenberg in his quest to save the Jews of Budapest. Abe Meth, a Hungarian Jew saved by Wallenberg, will describe the dire and dangerous conditions that existed for the Jews of Budapest and how he and his family survived. Mr. Meth recorded his remarkable story in a book entitled From Servitude to Freedom, which was published in 2011 and is available from lulu.com.

The annual Days of Remembrance event, a "living memorial" to commemorate and honor Jews and other victims who perished in Nazi labor and death camps, takes place during the national Days of Remembrance week established by the United States Congress in 1980. The event is free to the public and tickets for reserved seating are available at the Yavapai College Performance Hall Box Office on the Prescott campus beginning March 21st.

Sponsors of the event are Yavapai College and FoundationHelken & Horn Advertising AgencyCable OneArizona Hometown Radio GroupTemple B'rith Shalom, and the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Prescott. For further information contact the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Prescott at (928) 717-0016 or the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center Box Office at (928) 776-2000.