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Wednesday, 01 July 2015
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News from the Henry Jones Lodge in Brussels Print E-mail
One of the outstanding events of this year of Lodge Henry Jones took place on 11th June in the European Parliament in Brussels under the patronage of Mr Andras Gyurk, the Hungarian MEP. The occasion was a tribute to Captain Laszlo Ocskay who almost single-handed rescued some 2000 Jews in the critical summer months of 1944 when the Germans had occupied Hungary and were collaborating with the notorious Arrow Cross party to destroy Hungarian Jewry; in those few months 600,000 Hungarian Jews perished.

Most of the preparatory work for the occasion and the main presentation was carried out by Leslie Paldon, Vice-President of the Lodge, with the assistance of BBI’s Adam Mouchtar. In fact Leslie, who at the age of 19 had been commandeered to a Labour Battalion and was about to be deported to Auschwitz, owed his life to Captain Ocskay.

This 50 year-old invalided officer of the 1914-18 War, by way of a combination of authority, good connections, inventiveness and bluff, was able to reserve the premises of a former Jewish school for the production of garments, whilst hiding whole families there. In so doing he risked his own life, but felt it to be his duty to do what he could.

The 2,000 souls he single-handedly rescued should be seen in relation to the 90,000 Hungarian Jews who survived. Captain Ocskay, who lived in poverty, was not recognised as a Righteous Gentile by Yad Vashem until recently, many years after his death. His granddaughter Elisabeth, now living in New York, was invited by our Lodge and stayed with the Paldons during her visit.

A large Jewish audience, among them the Israeli Ambassador to the EU, many MEPs and officials, attended the presentation of a very moving film recording the events of 1944, in the main through the memories of survivors.
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