The nieces of Moshe Krausz, who saved 40,000 Jews during the Holocaust, next to the new street sign in honor of their uncle. Photo: Hillel Maeir, Tazpit Press Service.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat inaugurated a new street in the Israeli capital in an official ceremony on Tuesday, Aug. 24. Named after Moshe (Miklós) Krausz, the little known Hungarian Jew who saved about 40,000 Jews during the Holocaust, the street naming publicly honors Krausz’s work in a rare instance of recognition.
“This commemoration only begins to correct a historic injustice,” said Nachi Eyal, CEO of The Legal Forum for Israel and one of the people behind this initiative.
“Krausz was a man of the World Zionist movement and the Mizrachi movement who saved tens of thousands of Jews and yet his name has been left out of the public knowledge. Krausz died alone and almost forgotten in Jerusalem after having immigrated here with the end of World War II,” Eyal told Tazpit.
Krausz, who served as the director of the Palestine Office for the World Zionist Movement in Budapest, was responsible for obtaining emigration permits for Jews to the British Mandate Palestine.
Following the Nazi invasion of Hungary in 1944, Krausz, aided by his connections with Swiss Vice-Consul Carl Lutz, began producing diplomatic patronage certificates to thousands of Hungarian Jews and their entire families, effectively granting them diplomatic immunity from the Nazis.
Additionally, through his Swiss connection, Krausz obtained extraterritorial status under the auspices of the Swiss government to many private buildings where Jews would hide from Nazi extermination.
Most prominent among these “safe houses” was a disused glass factory in Budapest. Dubbed “The Glass House” by survivors, over 3,000 Jews used the building as a hiding place and survived the Holocaust.
“Jews from all walks of life and different backgrounds huddled together in the crowded cellars,” Mordechai Newmann, a Glass House survivor who attended the ceremony told TPS. “Orthodox rabbis, socialist youth activists, Zionist Organization workers, and their families all had their place in the Glass House.”
“At night, members of Zionist Youth organizations would dress up in Nazi uniform and sneak out of the cellars to find more Jews and smuggle them into the glass house,” recounts Newmann, who was 14 at the time.
Yet this elaborate scheme that saved such a staggering number of lives from the Nazi extermination machine had gone unnoticed and did not receive much public attention in Israel until now.
According to Dr. Ayala Nadivi, a historian of Hungarian Jewry, the reasons for Krausz’s hitherto anonymity might have been political.
“There was quite a lot of infighting and political ego struggles between the various Jewish and Zionist bodies of the time,” Dr. Nadivi told Tazpit. “Krausz was a member of the Mizrachi movement while the Jewish leadership in British Mandate Palestine was predominantly of the Mapai movement (Worker’s Party of The Land of Israel). Independently of Krausz and Lutz’s rescue efforts, Mapai established the Budapest Rescue Committee and appointed Israel Kasztner to head it.”
Source:: The Algemeiner