During the second world war, many brave heroes and heroines served the nation. Their legacy is remembered as we walk along the wharf sections that run through the Buda side. In this article, we will present you with their incredible humanitarian work during the war times. All of them are considered to be Righteous Among the Nations by the Yad Vashem Institute. We will go through the wharf section from north to south.
Born in 1884 at Kassa in a Polish family, she became the first female member of the Hungarian Parliament. She was often referred to as “the only man in the national assembly” because she stood up bravely for her principles. Other than her extensive political and social carrier she is also remembered as a heroine. She campaigned against the propaganda of Hitler and as she was a nun, she helped shelter the prosecuted in monasteries.
Born in 1895, he was an Italian Catholic priest and diplomat. From the start of the war, he helped Polish refugees and Jews. Later, he took more drastic measures when diplomatic ventures seemed to fail. Instead of issuing 2,500 protective passes from the Vatican, he gave 19,000. Just in his own house, he had sheltered more than 200 people.
He was a Hungarian Evangelic priest who helped save children during the war. Until the Christmas of 1944, he organised the setup of 32 safehouses. He saved about 1,600 children from certain death, while he also arranged protection and accommodation for about 400 workers.
He was a Swiss businessman, who became the delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross between May 1944 and June 1945. He operated orphanages, children’s homes and public kitchens during the war. By issuing Red Cross protective passes he saved about 15,000 Jewish civilians from deportation.
The Swedish diplomat and businessman came to Budapest in July 1944. By August he issued 4,500 passports to Jewish people. Every passport counted as a family document, therefore, these assured the protection of more than one person. It was a usual trope that these heroes became the enemies of the Soviet regimes, but unlike many others, Wallenberg did not have the chance to defect. He was taken to the Soviet Union whence and he never returned.
The Swedish couple helped to save more than 20,000 people from deportation. Valdemar was the chief commissioner of the Swedish Red Cross in Budapest. He and his wife, Nina, worked tirelessly to save lives. Originally, he agreed with the authorities about issuing 400 protective passes, but in reality, he issued about ten times this amount. After the Soviets took over, they decided to stay and continue their humanitarian activity, until Valdemar’s health did not allow them to stay any longer.
The Polish journalist and diplomat helped to save about 30,000 Polish refugees, among them 5,000 Polish Jews. He issued fake passports and certificates that claimed that these people were in fact Catholics. Despite his valiant efforts and hard work, his life ended in a tragic way. After the situation deteriorated he urged the protected to leave the country. He himself was arrested and tortured, but he did not give up his partners, including Senior József Antall. Later, he was executed in a concentration camp.