Dedication of a Commemorative Plaque on Carl Lutz’s Residence in Washington, DC

Washington, DC – On June 24, Dr. János Martonyi, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Hungary, unveiled a memorial plaque on Carl Lutz’s residence in Washington, DC. The event was sponsored by the Carl Lutz Foundation, Budapest, the Government of the Republic of Hungary, the Hungarian American Coalition and the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice.

The Swiss Vice-Consul Carl Lutz, who also represented the U.S. government in Hungary during the War years, rescued thousands of Jews in Budapest from deportation to Nazi death camps during World War II.

Dr. János Martonyi giving a speech as Max Teleki looks on

A reception at the residence of Ambassador of Hungary Béla Szombati followed the ceremony.

At the unveiling ceremony, Maximilian Teleki, President of the Hungarian American Coalition, recognized some of the attending guests, and the cooperation and generosity of the current owners and residents of 1828 Corcoran Street NW, Mr. and Mrs. is Manson Kalfus. Mr. Teleki made a reference to the heroic actions of Carl Lutz and introduced Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi.

Foreign Minister Martonyi recalled the bravery and nobility of Carl Lutz during the war in Budapest, and stressed the importance of remembering the past. Martonyi declared that Hungary will never allow anti-Semitism, racism or prejudice to prevail, nor any intolerance based on ethnicity, religion or political conviction.

After the unveiling ceremony, Ambassador Béla Szombati welcomed guests at a reception at the Ambassador’s residence. Among the distinguished guests were Ambassador Mark Palmer, Mr. Guillaume Scheurer, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Switzerland, Mr. Pontus Jarborg, Consul General of the Embassy of Sweden, Mrs. Andrea Christ, Deputy Head of Cultural Affairs, Embassy of Germany, Mrs. Annette Lantos, Mr. and Mrs. Ferenc Katona, Holocaust Museum, Prof. Charles Gati, Mr. Mason Kalfus and Mrs. Susan Burgess, who currently live in the former residence of Carl Lutz, Mr. Stephen Varga, President of the William Penn Association and Chairman of the Board of the Hungarian American Coalition, and Mr. and Mrs. Les Megyeri, President of the Hungarian Reformed Federation.

Speaking at the reception, Tomicah Tilleman, grandson of former Congressman Tom Lantos, said that during the Hungarian Holocaust we witnessed the worst and the best of human nature. He reminded the audience that were it not for the actions of diplomats such as Raoul Wallenberg and Carl Lutz, members of his family would not be here. He also quoted an old Jewish saying that he who saves a life saves the world; and Lutz saved many thousands of life, thus saving the world many times over.

Professor Charles Gati shared his personal and family experiences of the Holocaust and recalled the pivotal German occupation of Hungary that allowed the Hungarian Holocaust to take place. Professor Gati placed great emphasis on the bravery and resourcefulness of Carl Lutz, particularly his ability to issue multiple identity documents that saved thousands of lives, including his.

In closing remarks, Mr. Teleki mentioned that Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi and his delegation had made a stop that morning at the Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington, DC in honor of those who suffered under Communism, the other great evil of the 20th century. He added that we must not forget the legacy inflicted by Nazism and Communism, and that we must honor and remember heroic figures such as Lutz, as well as those unsung Hungarian heroes who helped Carl Lutz’s efforts.

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