Tuesday, 24 September 2013

ANDRÁS PETŐ: A CLOSE BRUSH WITH DESTINY – I

Rescued by Miklos Kun

Róbert Szörényi wrote, in 1991 –
No records of Pető’s whereabouts and activities during the Second World War have yet to come to light, but Kun was in regular contact with him during that time in Budapest and so far is the only person to have shed light on this period of Pető’s life. During the War, Kun had coordinated the distribution of funds and other resources from international relief agencies, such as the International Red Cross and the International Zionist Movement of America. Their support maintained and protected a network of children’s homes under Kun’s responsibility, under the shield of Section B of the Red Cross. Kun had had the foresight to arm himself with diplomatic protection issued to him by a former classmate, then serving in the rabidly Fascist Arrow Cross government. Kun installed Pető in the Red Cross Children’s Home at 27 Orsó utca, near Pasaréti tér in Buda’s second district. Pető worked as the house physician and shared a room with Kun’s mother, in the nurses’ quarters. On his way to the building one day, Kun saw that the Arrow Cross had surrounded it. He told them that the building contained Hungarian soldiers recovering from former Soviet captivity, and warned of the penalties that any interference in their care might incur.
His quick thinking, diplomatic papers and not a little nerve convinced the second district’s Arrow Cross commandant to withdraw his men. Kun was honoured by Israel in 1989 for his actions that saved many Jewish lives during the Nazi occupation.
(pp. 213-214)
Reference

Szörényi, R. (2012) Even his friends did not know him, in G. Maguire and A Sutton (eds.) András Pető, Birmingham, Conductive Education Press, pp. 207-219




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