The recognition may be decades overdue, but the appreciation and honor will be no less significant when the B'nai B'rith World Center confers the Jewish Rescuers Citation on Berta Davidovitz Rubinsztejn and Gyorgy (Yitzhak) Gyuri, Holocaust heroes who operated in Nazi-occupied Hungary.
The announcement was covered in an article in the Jerusalem Post.
Read highlights from the story, below:
Rubinsztejn, 92, was born in Poland and fled with her family across the Carpathian Mountains into still-unoccupied Hungary. In 1942, Rubinsztejn made her way to Budapest, where she joined the Zionist youth movement Habonim Dror, volunteering to participate in its underground rescue activities.
She and other Habonim Dror members assumed a Gentile identity, and met in a park to plan operations and weapons smuggling.
As Rudolf Kastner – a leader of the Jewish Aid and Rescue Committee – negotiated the departure of a train-load of Jews from German-occupied Hungary to neutral Switzerland in 1944 with SS officer Adolf Eichmann, the goal of the organization became to put as many orphaned children onto the train after identifying them in the streets of Budapest.
Gyuri, 90, was born in Budapest and grew up in northeast Hungary. He joined the Hashomer Hatza’ir movement while living in Nyíregyháza, and eventually moved back to Budapest in 1942 to publish short stories and articles in Hashomer Hatza’ir’s newspaper.
He took part in underground activities and in the summer of 1944 was sent by the movement with three comrades to South Transylvania in order to open a new route for the “tiyul,” the Zionist underground’s clandestine operation to smuggle Jews from Poland and Slovakia into Hungary and then on to Romania.
However, they were soon discovered, caught and deported to Auschwitz. Gyuri survived and returned to Budapest after the liberation.