Ambassador Szapáry was invited to the State Department to participate at a Holocaust Remembrance Day with introductory remarks by Secretary Clinton. At the Embassy a screening of the film "There Was Once" in the presence of director Gabor Kalman and main character Gyöngyi Magó as well as a presentation by Ferenc Katona about the work of the USHMM Archives were organized during the last week of the Holocaust Memorial month.
Ambassador Szapáry was invited to the State Department to participate at a Holocaust Remembrance Day with special introductory remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The guest speaker of the event was Annette Lantos a Holocaust survivor herself who was saved by Raoul Wallenberg. The Secretary recognized Ambassador Szapáry and the members of the Lantos family. She quoted the great Hungarian novelist, Imre Madách who said that history portrayed “good and evil in such vast proportion that both appear…miraculous.”
She remembered diplomats and guests that when the United States War Refugee Board approached him about traveling to Budapest to try and save the largest remaining concentration of Jews in Europe, Wallenberg answered the call. “In almost every action he took, Wallenberg vastly exceeded his diplomatic orders. He subverted bureaucracy. And he shredded protocol. Thank God he did.” She talked about other rescuers and their legacy. The secretary praised President Obama who outlined new efforts to prevent mass atrocities in the future. Annette Lantos talked about the personal side of the story and reminded the audience about the need of continuing the work of Wallenberg as she and her husband the late Congressman Tom Lantos did by establishing the Congressional Human Rights Caucus and later the Tom Lantos Foundation.
During the last week of the Holocaust Memorial Month of the Embassy in Washington, DC a closed screening of the film "There Was Once" in the presence of Director Gabor Kalman and main character Gyöngyi Magó as well as a presentation by Mr. Ferenc Katona about the work of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Archives were also organized.
The screening was also special while H.E. Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Ambassador of the United States to Hungary organized a screening at the very same day in Budapest and connected to Washington by videoconference. The guests at the Embassy had the chance to meet Gabor and Gyöngyi and hear from them how this great film has been realized. The film is about Gyöngyi Magó a Catholic high school teacher in Kalocsa, Hungary who while doing research in local history discovers the lost Jewish community that once thrived there. She shares her research with her students, teaching tolerance, fighting prejudice. She organized a memorial for this lost community, which was attended by the Mayor, the Archbishop, several survivors and second and third generations in the newly restored Jewish cemetery. Annette Lantos Tillemann-Dick on behalf of the co-organizer Lantos Foundation praised the work of Gyöngyi and emphasized the importance of education and remembrance.
Ferenc Katona archivist of the USHMM gave a presentation about the work of the Archives and the cooperation between the Hungarian institutions, authorities and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. His presentation focused on the Hungarian artifacts and personal stories that showcased the historic as well as social circumstances of the Holocaust. He emphasized how diverse intolerance is and how widely the Holocaust-research should be interpreted. His presentation gave the guests a special experience of immerging deeply in the personal histories of the Holocaust.