Commemoration of 2010
20. June 2010.
Photographed by: Gábor Dékány
In remembrance of the Holocaust
20. June 2010.
Excerpt of the article of Angela Nagy, from the webpage of Circle of Friends of Balassagyarmat.
The town has remembered those jewish citizens, who were dragged away and sent to deathcamps from Balassagyarmat and its surroundings in 1944. In the art-relic jewish cemetery among the commemorators, we could find Mr. Gusztáv Zoltai , Executive Director of MAZSIHISZ (Alliance of Hungarian Jewish Faith Communes); Mr. György Sessler, President of The National Association of Former Labour Battalion Conscripts and also board member of the MAZSIHISZ; Mr. Gábor Csach , Deputy Mayor of the City of Balassagyarmat and Dr. László Csekey, member of the city council. The Jewish Community of Vác, the Church of Faith and deputies of Érsekvadkert were also represented.
Mr. József Bauer leader of the Jewish Community of Balassagyarmat greeted everyone, the people with good intentions, who thinks that it is important to remember the victims of the killing machine year after year.
Rabbi István Darvas in his memorial speech said, that the people, who had been slayed, cannot be named as a martyr, because they didn’t have a choice, they became the victims of the insanity of the power, which was driven by the hatred. He said, to be a martyr, it takes free will to choose one's own fate. He also warned to the Golden Rule: "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow." He thanked the survivors, that they were able to remain humans in a living hell. Cantor Immánuel Zucker also participated in the ceremony.
The commemoration was finished with the kadish, the praise of mourning, and after that they inaugurated the gravestone of Tibor Szirtes z'l , who was a member of the community and passed away in 2009.
GUSZTÁV ZOLTAI , GYÖRGY SESZLER , JÓZSEF BAUER
RABBI ISTVÁN DARVAS, CANTOR IMMÁNUEL ZUCKER
Fragments from the speech of József Bauer :
This year in Budapest there was an event called March of the Living. It served the goal to remember the victims of the fascism. It turned out to be an event with so far unseen measures. Ten thousands of people participated in organizing it. And also there were a lot of young people at the annual commemoration at our biggest national cemetery, at Auschwitz-Birkenau. They remembered, and made others remember to the 6 million jewish people -among them to the 600 thousand hungarian jews, and to the nearly 3000 jewish citizens of Balassagyarmat and its sorroundings-, how they were slayed mercilessly.
We have a responsibility to remember and to make others remember too, forever. We need to tell our children what happened to the Jewish People in the middle of the 20th Century, in 1944. We need to tell, what sadness and tragedy the hatred, which grew for centuries, had caused. We need to tell why we do not have grandparents, relatives. We need to tell what happenes to mankind, to what depths it falls when it lets its mind to be poisoned with evil ideas.
66 years ago in Balassagyarmat, like everywhere in the country, our ancestors were forced into ghettos, then they were taken away into deathcamps. First the laws which discriminated jews, then they stripped us out of our rights, we were separeted, alienated, forced to wear a yellow star, and our whole wealth was taken away also.
We were brutally separeted from the nation, that gave us birth, which nations language we spoke, in which friendships and loves were born, which we felt our own, which we helped to expand with our work throughout generation, for which we bleeded in the freedom fights of 1848/49 and in World War I. The jewish community helped the nation's economy for centuries, it gave the country a lots of famous scientists, artists, sportsmen, but it seems it wasn't enough... They were patriots, "good magyars", but even so, there were no mercy.
After the ghetto was filled, the jews of this area were taken into sheds in Nyírjes, and to Illéspuszta. They needed to live in terrible conditions. And the brutality of the henchmen of the authority began to show. Tortures became a part of the everyday life, when they were searching for hidden assets. Some were beaten to death, and a lot of man and even woman were roughed up by the „brave” gendarmes of Miskolc. A few days passed and the deathmarch started from Nyírjes to the railway station where our beloved were forced into cattle wagons, and taken to Mengele and his fellow executioners. In the death factory most of them had his/her fate sealed in the very first day, on 13 th June. Gas chamber, crematorium, burning alive in flames. These were awaited to the elderly, the sick, the pregnant mothers, the infants, and the innocent children, who tried to clinge into their mothers arms. Those, who were chosen, and found fit enough for work, havent had any better fate. More humiliation, suffering and labor work was their share, before they were also executed.
Not many of the healthy men, who were taken before to forced labor to the front, lived to see the day of the liberation. Those, who survived the willful genocide performed by the hungarian gendarmes, the minefields where they were driven, the attacks of the enemy, the starvation, the hard russian winter, the sicknesses, mostly felt into captivity together with their torturers . The few, who returned as human wrecks, trying to seek their relatives, could hardly work up, what has happened with them. Most of them needed to start their lives all over again, as their former life’s work was destroyed by their „worthy” fellow citizens. These wounds had a terrible impact not only on them, but on the generations to come.
This tragedy will remain a day of mourning for all the Jews, like the destruction of the First and Second Temple.
This happened not so long ago, in the 20th century, in the so-called civilized Europe.
This is why we have to remember and make others remember, beside all personal mourning, to raise the generation, which is growing up right now in a different way, because we cant allow this kind of horror to happen ever again. This is why we need to protect the memory of our martyrs and this is why we need to commemorate every year!
This is why we work, and we keep on working. Our Jewish Museum was born 10 years ago, and we want to expand it in the near future. Our art-relic cemetery, and its 3400 stones are almost completely documented too...
...We are currently working on a web page. If it will be ready everyone will have the opportunity to learn about the history, the heritage and the present of this town’s jewish community. It will be easier to contact our brothers and sisters in faith both nationally and internationally..."
The commemoration was finished with the kadish, the praise of mourning.