David Gur – Sources to our Memory

In the 1970s an attempt was made in Israel to gather testimonies and materials connected with the activities of the Underground Zionist Youth Resistance Movement (ZYRM) in Hungary in 1944. Tzvi Goldfarb organized a few meetings, which were held in Tel Aviv. That attempt ended with little more than silent yearning. In 1984, I visited Hungary for the first time since I had left there in 1949. The Communist regime of Kádár János (1956 – 1988) was taking shape. There was open internal opposition, and the state had no choice but to turn to two international capitalist institutions for loans: the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. To promote tourism, the requirement for a visa for visiting foreigners was cancelled. The period toward the end of Kádár’s regime was known as gulyáskommunizmus – Goulash Communism.

In 1985, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev led reforms in the Soviet Union, and in 1989 the Berlin Wall dividing capitalist West Berlin and Communist East Berlin was demolished. That year also witnessed the end of the Kádár regime and the end of Communism in Hungary.

I had left Hungary illegally on 5 May 1949. I was also the commander of the last smuggling trip, of members of the ZYRM, during the Communist regime. I had received my appointment to this secret role at the Israeli embassy in Budapest in February 1949, from Mordechai Ben Ari – at that time the commander of the escape from Eastern Europe, who was living Salzburg, Austria, in the American occupied area of that country – and from Nathan Dror (Schwalb), the Youth Aliya emissary in Europe, who lived in Geneva, Switzerland. In January 1949, the Zionist Movement in Hungary was ordered dismantled via a phone call from the secretary of the Zionist Federation to all the Zionist institutions. All the clubs were sealed, and the property of the training camps was confiscated. The Jewish community newspaper published an article in its 4 March 1949 issue, on the “self-dismantling” of the Zionist Federation. In the first trial of Zionists held already that summer (16-19 June 1949), at the same time as the trial of Rajk László. Those who were caught by the Communist regime were tried and convicted of involvement in smuggling Zionist youth and other Jews from Hungary to Czechoslovakia and Austria in the first few months of 1949. Before I left, following the departure of 99% of the candidates for escape from Hungary, the few remaining operatives who remained after I left agreed that if any of them were caught, they would testify against me and about me. I had done everything. Still, my name is mentioned only once in the documents of the “Zionist trial,” when Joseph Frankfurter, of the Dror Ha’Atid movement testified, that he had given the money for the financing of the smuggling operation to me and not to Aryeh Fleischmann (Palgi). In the wake of that testimony, the judge acquitted Aryeh, but he was kept in administrative detention for another year. He was released on 19 June 1950 and made Aliyah to Kibbutz Givat Oz on 20 August 1950. Joseph Frankfurter was released from prison on 3 January 1952, left Hungary on 1 December 1956 (following the failure of the revolution in Hungary) and made Aliyah.

I felt it appropriate to avoid visiting Hungary during the period when the authorities would know I was coming (from a visa application), and when the Secret Service would be waiting for me. From their point of view there is no statute of limitations.

I was curious as to who had received from us (ZYRM) help in the form of life-saving documents and documents that would enable them to operate in the underground during the German Occupation. We knew the identities of the representatives of the various groups that had organized, but not who had received the life-saving documents or other assistance. What had been the extent of the ZYRM’s impact? In 1944 ties between underground groups had been strong, but who was still alive (in 1984) and who would be open to speaking? I managed to track down three people from my past.

I also wanted to meet with the few survivors of the second Zionist trial, held in 1953. The central figure of that Zionist underground was Shmuel Engländer. He later reestablished the Zionist Federation in 1989 and was its president until his death in 2012.

I received a warm welcome from my old acquaintances, each of them individually, and with the same words, “Where are you? Where did you all disappear to? Are you all with the Ministry of Defense? Are you all running the country behind the scenes?” I was pleasantly surprised by their forgiving attitude, the credit they gave me, their expectations of our abilities. They all also constantly referred to us in the plural, as a group, a collective. In their eyes, we were capable of anything. And this was after a separation of 40 years and from a perspective of 40 years. One was a university professor of applied mathematics (computers), another was an admired labor union leader, who had sat in a Communist prison from 1945, for his well-known and successful activities among workers’ organizations from 1920 through 1944.

At our meetings (I returned two years later), they readily answered my questions about who had received the documents, who had been helped, who had been rescued, and what happened to them after their release – in what public, literary, political, economic, academic, and social roles they had been actively involved and what they had achieved for Hungary in the 40 years that had passed. My former comrades gave me a handwritten list of names and then sent more by mail (we did not have computers yet). The lists provided by Prof. Iván Kádár also appeared in print, in the book by András Mezei: Kilenc Kedd, Magvető (1989 p: 16-20, 38). The entire list of names was published in Hebrew in Eliahu Ronen’s book, Hakrav al Hachaim: Hashomer Hatzair Behungaria, 1944 (1994, Appendix C, pp. 351-362.) In 2016 I prepared a description of the cooperation between the anti-Nazi groups in 1944, at the request of Yael Nidam-Orvieto, director of Yad Vashem’s International Institute for Holocaust Research. Other contributions of names were: Iván Kádár and the auxiliary units to the armed forces (Kiska), four pages. Pál Demény and the Demény group, ten pages. Sólyom László and the military committee, five pages.

I was both surprised and thrilled by the picture that emerged of the ZYRM, of the successful rescue missions, of the abilities and personalities of the ZYRM operatives, as perceived by our collaborators.

The meetings and conversations that I held in Hungary prompted a decision. Upon returning home, I invited a broad forum of ZYRM operatives and survivors, emissaries of the movement that operated in Hungary. We finally agreed to “take our fate in our hands” and founded a “society” that would collect all the testimonies, publish books and bring the memory of the period of the ZYRM to the public. We decided that the society would represent all the movements and groups that worked together in Hungary in 1944. I was tasked with contacting the representatives of the various youth movements. Yeshayahu Rosenblum and Yehuda Talmi, the representatives of Hanoar Hatzioni, immediately gave me their consent to the establishment of the organization and offered their assistance. I spoke with Eliezer Blau (Bar Yehuda), one of the last leaders of Bnei Akiva in Hungary. After a while he informed me that Bnei Akiva was considering setting up their own memorial organization. That was apparently when Bnei Akiva decided to establish Testimony House in Moshav Nir Galim. Then the representatives of Hanoar Hatzioni withdrew their cooperation. We did not give up. We began with only former members of Hashomer Hatzair. We kept the inclusive name: The Society for the Research of the History of the Zionist Youth Movement (A Magyarországi Cionista Ifjúsági Mozgalmak Történetét Kutató Társulat) and left the door open for others to join us in the future. We thought there was room for only one organization whose duty it would be to preserve the memory of the ZYRM that had operated in Hungary. Just as in 1944 when all the movements worked together in rescue operations in Hungary, guided by a collective leadership. The society’s activists, during that period were, as far as I recall, Arie Ya’ari, Joseph Ben Porat (of Kibbutz Ga’aton), Rafi Benshalom, Moshe Alpan and Efra Nadav. Later, Efra Agmon joined them. Efra Nadav volunteered to be the society’s treasurer and took care of registering us at the Registrar of Associations (1988). The members decided that I would be the society’s chairman, and I have held that position ever since.

The society’s meetings convened at my office (David Gur. Consulting Engineer. Engineering project planning and management) at 94 Jerusalem Blvd., Ramat Gan, until the closure of my firm in 2005. Since then, the society’s address is my house at 15 Kiryati St., Ramat Gan. One room is dedicated to all the society’s treasures, including the unique archive that was accumulated over the course of three decades.

The society’s first big project was the publication of Avihu Ronen’s book, The Battle for Life, in 1994. At the same time, the society produced its first hour-long documentary film, Kav HaChaim (Lifeline). The documentary was filmed in Hungary and Israel, and featured former operatives from all the movements, who re-enacted their roles in the ZYRM. The film was produced in Hebrew, with subtitles in English and Hungarian, and was the society’s contribution to the jubilee, marking 50 years since the 1944 events. The production of the film and all that it entailed – the discussions of the idea, the preparation of the script, the experiences and togetherness during the filming, somewhat cut off from the outside world, brought back the underground atmosphere and rebounded the team members from all the movements, who had worked together in 1944 in brotherhood, harmony and mutual understanding.

After the production of Kav HaChaim, it was natural to work together again, within the framework of and under the name of the society. The appeal to representatives of the Hungarian administration for recognition and the awarding of decorations; the gathering of testimonies for inclusion in an album on members of the ZYRM; the organization of a conference in Shefayim for all Hungarian youth movement veterans; the publication of books on the ZYRM operatives from the various movements, at the society’s initiative; the submission of candidates for the Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremonies held by B’nai B’rith’s and JRJ (the Committee for the Recognition and Appreciation of the Heroism of Jews who Rescued Jews during the Holocaust) in the Jerusalem Hills – were undertaken on behalf of and by the consensus of all the movements that had acted shoulder-to-shoulder in rescuing thousands in 1944. The society’s actions and the spirit of its activities are today continuing the legacy of the spirit of solidarity of the ZYRM in Hungary in 1944.

The society issued a special edition (No. 57, May 1994) of Yalkut Moreshet (Heritage Anthology) to mark 50 years since the holocaust of Hungarian Jewry. The 410 pages of articles were written and edited by society members: Editor Arie Ya’ari and staffers Avihu Ronen, Tzvi Erez, Eli Netzer and David Gur.

On 22 June 1994, a conference organized by the society, was held in Kibbutz Shefayim, for members of the Zionist youth movements in Hungary. Around 2,000 youth movement veterans attended – quite an impressive number. The entertainment included a performance by the choir from Kibbutz Beit Alpha. The opening address was delivered by Ari Mendel, and the keynote speaker was Haim Gouri, who had operated in Hungary as an emissary of the Palmach (the paramilitary strike force of the Haganah, the precursor of the Israel Defense Forces). Hungarian President Árpád Göncz sent his greetings to the conference participants via special envoy Dr. Róbert Pick, who addressed the audience in Hungarian. Dr. Avihu Ronen lectured on the significance of the ZYRM from today’s perspective. Yosef Lustig presented the achievements of the Memorial Museum of Hungarian Speaking Jewry, founded in 1986 in Safed and opened to the public in 1990; David Gur spoke about and on behalf of the ZYRM. Avigdor Ben-Ze’ev was one of the main organizers of the conference.

The decade between 1994 and 2004, until the 60th jubilee since the events of 1944, was very productive for the society, which promoted the publication of several books:

The Hungarian translation of Avihu Ronen’s book: Ávihu Ronén: Harc az életért. Belvárosi Könyvtár. Budapest 1998.

Yehuda Sholdosh: Netiya B’Admat Trashim (Planting in Rock-Strewn Soil). 2000

Moshe Alpan: B’Ein Ha’Se’arah (In the Eye of the Storm). 2001. Historical novel on the ZYRM period in Hungary.

Rafi Benshalom: We Struggled for Life. Israel, 2001. The Hebrew edition of this book sold out and the society reprinted it in 2001, based on the second edition published by Sifriyat Hapoalim in 1978. An English translation of Rafi’s book included the articles appended to the original Hebrew edition. (Rafi passed away in 1996).

Yehudit Rotem: Ish Asher Ruah Bo, Tzvi Goldfarb – Hayav (A Man in Whom is the Spirit. Tzvi Goldfarb – His Life). 2002

Asher Arányi: Ayin Ahat Boha – Ayin Ahat Tzoheket (One Eye Cries While The Other Laughs), 2002. An autobiography of one of the ZYRM operatives. Edited by Eli Netzer.

Yehudit Rotem: Yona RozenNikreiti V’ailech (Yona Rozen – I Was Called and I Will Go). 2002. The biography of an Israeli paratrooper.

Dan Livni: HaOsher, Ha’Yagon Ve’Ha’Gil (Happiness, Grief and Joy). Selected original poems and translations by the poet. 2003.

Mert élni akartunk. The Hungarian translation of Rafi Benshalom’s book, published by Holocaust Dokumentációs Központ. Budapest. 2003.

Asher Arányi: One Eye Cries while the other Laughs. Israel, 2004.

A viharban. Makkabi Kiadó. The Hungarian translation of Moshe Alpan’s book. Budapest, 2004.

The initiation and financing of the printing of learning materials on the activities of the ZYRM in 1944, for grades 11 and 12. B’Ein Hase’ara Hamahteret shel Tnuot Hanoar Hatzioniot beHungaria be’et Ha’Kibush Ha’Germani, 1944 (In the Eye of the Storm – The Underground Zionist Youth Movement in Hungary during the German Occupation, 1944), Study Program by Yad Vashem and Massuah Institute for Holocaust Studies, 2004. The program appears on the Yad Vashem’s website. These materials were translated into Hungarian and were published in Hungary: A vihar Közepén. A cionista ifjúsági mozgalmak földalatti ellenállása Magyarországon a német megszállás idején.

David Gur: Brothers for Resistance and Rescue – The Underground Zionist Youth Movement in Hungary during the Second World War, edited by Eli Netzer (originally published in Hebrew. The English translation was published in 2006). Published by the society, this book includes biographical notes on 400 ZYRM members and is unprecedented and innovative. The Hebrew edition sold out very quickly. Yeshayahu Rosenblum, Judit Ellenbogen (Makai), Asher Arányi, Baruch Tzahor, Joseph Ben Porat and Prof. Menahem Tzvi Kadari assisted in the preparation of the book and the collection and documentation of the testimonies.

During preparation of the book Brothers for Resistance and Rescue, when I read the pages of testimony, I found numerous references of missions to cities in Hungary’s various provinces, starting a few months prior to the German conquest and throughout the duration of the German occupation. I decided to collect these testimonies and compiled them into an article that was initially published in Yalkut Moreshet, No. 77, April 2004, and later translated to English as Missions of the Zionist Youth Movements in Hungary to the Provincial Cities in 1944. Yalkut Moreshet, Winter 2004. No. 2, pp. 77 – 85. The data from the article were published again in Yalkut Moreshet, No. 90 (7), December 2011 under the title 50 Years of Heritage (in Hebrew), pp. 371-381 (the data in the article were updated several times, and research continues to this day).

Shmuel Engländer, president of the Zionist Federation, at his own initiative, contacted the new leaders of Hungary (during the term of the first prime minister elected after the change of the regime, Antall József 1990 – 1993). Shmuel sent the information from the testimonies, with a request for state recognition of the members of the ZYRM who had operated in 1944. Eventually, at an event held on 24 February 1998, six former ZYRM operatives were awarded the Bátorság (Citation for Courage) by Hungarian Ambassador to Israel István Csejtei, at the embassy on Pinkas St. in Tel Aviv. The citations were signed by Hungarian Minister of the Interior Gábor Kuncze.

From that date onward, efforts continued in Israel, and David Gur campaigned on behalf of the society, for the Hungarian government’s recognition of additional ZYRM veterans. These efforts bore fruit, and on 31 May 2005, during the term of Hungarian Ambassador to Israel Dr. János Hóvári, 42 ZYRM veterans were awarded the Citation for Courage at Beit Einav, 71 Ibn Gvirol St., Tel Aviv. The citations were signed by Hungarian Minister of the Interior Dr. Sándor Pintér. Peretz Révész, Menahem Tzvi Kadari, Yeshayahu Rosenblum, Nashka Goldfarb and Meir Friedmann assisted in the collection of the testimonies from the ZYRM members.

On 23 July 2004, at Tel Aviv University’s Miriam and Adolfo Smolarz Auditorium, ninety-two additional ZYRM members were awarded the Citation for Courage, and were honored with the presence of Prof. Dina Porat, head of The Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Racism and Anti-Semitism, Tel-Aviv University, representatives of the Hungarian government, and Hungarian Ambassador to Israel Dr. János Hóvári. The citations were signed by Hungarian Minister of the Interior Dr. Mónika Lamperth.

The invitation to the public ceremony, issued by the Hungarian embassy, stated, “…awards the Citation for Courage to those who, during World War II, fought as members of the Zionist Youth Resistance Movement in Hungary, and by standing strong, with courage and self-sacrifice also struggled for the freedom of Germany and all humanity”. A total of 140 ZYRM members were decorated by the Hungarian government. In keeping with the Hungarian administrative procedures, the personal details of the candidates for recognition as heroes had to include their mother’s maiden name. 60 years after the events, the descendants of most the ZYRM members had no way of retrieving that detail.

The society is a volunteer organization, whose activities are funded by donations from its members and friends. Former ZYRM members Ze’ev Eisikovic and Tuli Rosenberg (Anton Roland) generously sponsored most of the costs of the society’s activities, during that period and until their passing in 2008.

The following are the noteworthy events held in the decade from 2004 to 2014:

In early 2005, in preparation for the opening of the new museum at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, the society provided data and exhibit materials for the display in the museum’s room dedicated to the underground resistance. Sadly, only one wall is dedicated to the operations of the ZYRM in Hungary. In 2005 Yad Vashem also opened its Visual Center, and the society gave the center copies of the documentary film Kav HaChaim in three versions (languages). Over the years, copies of all the documentary films produced by the society, pertaining to the ZYRM’s operations, have been given to the Visual Center.

As noted above, the Be’Ein Hasa’ara learning materials for high school students were uploaded to Yad Vashem’s website in Hebrew and Hungarian.

On 2 May 2005, the official opening was held for the memorial room in the Glass House in Budapest. Photos of ZYRM members-operatives have a place of honor in the exhibit there.

We uploaded biographical notes and photos of ZYRM operatives, in English, excerpted from David Gur’s book to the Partisans Organization website,

Former ZYRM operatives were invited to light a torch at the ceremonies commemorating Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day) at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem:

1994: Moshe Alpan, Nashka Goldfarb, Peretz Révész, Tzvi Prizant and Menahem Tzvi Kadari.

2003: Efra Agmon

2007: David Gur

2015: Dov Shimoni

Organizations and institutions in Hungary awarded commemorative medals to David Gur:

2004: The Pál Demény Board of Trustees (Demény Pál Kuratórium)

2006 – The Speaker of the House in the Hungarian parliament gave the Radnóti Miklós Antiracism Award.

2013 – The Scheiber Sándor prize, awarded by the Minister of Human Resources Balog Zoltán (the late Scheiber was president of the University of Jewish Studies – Jewish Theological Seminary in Budapest and was a respected Judaic studies researcher).

The bestowing of these awards, in memory of various people, and by various institutions, on David Gur, as the living representative of the ZYRM, can be viewed as an expression of the contemporary Hungarian establishment’s recognition of the existence and operations of the Zionist resistance in Hungary during the German occupation.

In August 2008, Efra Agmon’s autobiography, Shomer Achi (On Guard) was released. The first edition sold out and further editions were published in 2009, at the initiative of and financed by Ariel Publishing House.

In 2008 various documents and photos of ZYRM operatives were given to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

In 2010 a revised and expanded edition of the translation of David Gur’s Book, Brothers for Resistance and Rescue was reprinted. A digital version of this book was later uploaded to the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation at: https://www.raoulwallenberg.net/wp-content/files_mf/6775.pdf

The society’s participation in international conferences:

At the 19th international conference of second and third generation children of the Holocaust, their spouses and families, was held on 5 November 2017, at the Ramada Renaissance Hotel in Jerusalem. Ephraim Agmon told the hundreds of participants from all over the world about the ZYRM’s operations in Hungary.

At the initiative of Eric Shaul, a Visas for Life international congress was held in New York City from 28 March to 3 April 2008. Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent David Gur to attend the congress, as a representative of the society and of Jews Who Rescued Jews during the Holocaust.

Every year since 2006, David Gur has presented a lecture at Yad Vashem, in Hungarian, to delegations of teachers sent to Israel by the Hungarian Ministry of Education to learn about teaching the Holocaust. Yad Vashem has also invited David to present his lecture on the ZYRM’s operations in Hungary during the German occupation in 1944 to other groups that have come to Yad Vashem: two groups of students from the University of Jewish Studies – the Jewish Theological Seminary and two groups of Hungarian journalists who came to Israel at Yad Vashem’s invitation.

Every year since 1971, a Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day ceremony is held in Scroll of Fire plaza in Martyr’s Forest in the hills to the west of Jerusalem. The Jewish National Fund and B’nai B’rith World Center jointly hold the ceremony. These events focus on recognizing the heroism of Jews who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. Between 2011 and 2017, 118 ZYRM veterans who were recommended by the society received certificates of appreciation and the Jewish Rescuer’s Citation for their operations in Hungary in 1944. The World Center of B’nai B’rith and the Committee awarded these citations to Recognize the Heroism of Jewish Rescuers During the Holocaust (JRJ). There are many other ZYRM veterans who were worthy of this honor. The committee’s main idea was that a citation recipient, or someone from his family would receive the citation on his behalf, on the stage, as part of the ceremony in Scroll of Fire Plaza. We did not manage to locate more surviving ZYRM veterans or their descendants. Meir Friedmann and Leah Rosenblum assisted in locating ZYRM veterans or their descendants.

The Hungarian translation of the book Brothers for Resistance and Rescue, published as Együtt az ár ellen (Together against the Storm) was printed in runs of 1,000 copies in each of 2015, 2016 and 2017, for a total of 3,000 copies. This book made waves among the Jewish and non-Jewish publics alike. The Hungarian edition is an updated and expanded edition, with biographical notes on 434 ZYRM operatives. Various appendices were added, that were not part of previous editions, including a glossary of terms, descriptions of institutions that no longer exists, etc. There is also an introduction with an exhaustive survey of the history of the ZYRM and the names of the operatives in the different fields of operation.

In 2013, groundbreaking research by Prof. Neima Barzel on the Zionist youth movements and the question of Jewish leadership in the Holocaust was published in Yalkut Moreshet, No. 94 (11), December 2013, pp. 90-113. The leadership of the ZYRM received a very positive review.

In December 2014, an anthology was published in Hungary, in Hungarian. The collected articles marked the 70th jubilee since the Holocaust of Hungarian Jewry and were published by Hetek.hu Kft, under the title Kiálts rám! S fölkelek! (I was Called and Arose). This phrase is taken from a poem by Miklós Radnóti. The anthology included the article by David Gur on the resistance/rescue efforts of the ZYRM in Hungary in 1944.

The society produced the following documentary biographical films, edited by Benny Barzilai: Ephraim Agmon, 2012; Moshe Alpan, 2013; Dror Habonim 2014; Hanoar Hatzioni, 2014; Memories, 2014; Tamar and Rafi Benshalom, 2015; David Gur, 2017. All the films have versions with English or Hungarian subtitles.

On 15 March 2015, David Gur lectured: “A Brief History of the Zionist Youth Resistance Movement in Hungary” at Yad Vashem, as part of a one-day seminar. This detailed lecture was translated into English.

Following that lecture in 2015, Dr. Yael Nidam-Orvieto, director of Yad Vashem’s International Institute for Holocaust Research asked David Gur to prepare a survey of the cooperation between the ZYRM and the anti-Nazi organizations in Hungary in 1944. This survey had five chapters. Most of the source material is in Hungarian. This was a groundbreaking survey, the first of its kind.

In 2016, Avihu Ronen published his seminal article, Two Avant Garde Concepts: Hashomer Hatzair in Poland and Hungary during the Holocaust.

In 2016, following Yuval Alpan’s request to philosophy Prof. Asa Kasher of Tel Aviv University, Prof. Kasher wrote a position paper on the obligation to recognize and appreciate Jews who risked their lives to rescue other Jews during the Holocaust, and mentioned the ZYRM in Hungary, who saved many thousands of their co-religionists.

On 16 September 2016, the society participated in Israeli author and theater director Yossi Alper’s storytelling program. David Gur, Yuval Alpan, Sarah Agmon, Zohar Arnon, Irit Dagan and Yehudit Eshbal spoke about their experiences in the ZYRM in Hungary. The audience filled the Givatayim theater auditorium. The program, which was taped, was broadcast several times on radio and television, and elicited emotional reactions from viewers and listeners alike.

In 2018 the society produced two documentaries, edited by Benny Barzilai: The Resistance Arises and Code Name: Tiyul, in Hebrew with English subtitles.

In 2018, Under Swiss Protection. Jewish Eyewitness Accounts from Wartime Budapest, edited by Agnes Hirschi and Charlotte Schallié was published in English by ibidem-Verlag, Stuttgart. An essay in the book, by David Gur, represented the first reference to the Jewish underground in Hungary in academic literature, as the Zionist Youth Resistance Movement. This book was published thanks to the efforts of Charlotte Schallié, Director of European Studies Program, University of Victoria, BC, Canada. The Hungarian edition of the book is in production.

The treasurers of the society since 1985 have made significant contributions to its ongoing activities:

1985-1994:    Efra Nadav

1994-2010:    Efra Agmon

2010-2014:    Yoel Shahar

2015-              Yuval Alpan (second generation)

Since 2005 the society had been publishing periodic activity reports on its research and documentation of the ZYRM’s rescue operations. The society preserves the memory and heritage of the ZYRM. The second generation is active in this work. The reports are disseminated among the society’s members, the next generation and to institutions in Israel and abroad (translated into English).

The following are members of the society who are dedicated to its activities and consistently participate in retelling and spreading the heroic story of the ZYRM, an innumerable conferences, year after year, at every opportunity and in every possible forum and medium (this list does not presume to mention everyone): Eli Netzer, Efra Agmon, Tamar Agmon, Meir Freidmann, Tzipora Friedmann, Tzvi Shahar, Yehiel Han, Yuval Alpan, Tzvi Rosenblum.

The society issues announcements of its activities and sends articles, books and documentary films to institutions such as the Memorial Museum of Hungarian Speaking Jewry in Safed, Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority (Visual Center, archives, library, personal development seminars for teaching the Holocaust, International School for Holocaust Studies, etc.), Museum of the Jewish Soldier in World War ll (Latrun, Israel), the Holocaust Documentation Center, Budapest, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington.

The existence and operations of the ZYRM are preserved thanks to the society. The collection of testimonies and their publication in writing; lectures to various types of audiences, the writing of biographies and autobiographies, the production of documentary films – are means used by the society to document and vitalize the history of the ZYRM. Readers’ and viewers’ reactions confirm and reinforce the narrative of the ZYRM as expressed in the society’s publications and in the historical research of the period of its operations (Randolph Braham, Jenő Lévai, Asher Cohen, Avihu Ronen). The ZYRM’s rescue operations were initiated by the local ZYRM leadership, without any guidance or instructions from overseas organizations or from the local Zionist institutions in Hungary. The ZYRM leadership dared and succeeded. This remains the mode of action by the society. In 1980 the ZYRM veterans in Israel founded the society on their own, without any assistance from the establishment, and has preserved the memory of the ZYRM in Hungary in 1944. The testimonies and the articles accumulated in the society’s archive are a unique and unparalleled asset that must by preserved and made accessible to future generations, for their use, research and knowledge. They must continue to study and publicize the details of the vast rescue operations of the ZYRM in Hungary. The society’s archive must be in a facility that has the necessary preservation conditions. The archive must be accessible to future generations of researchers and interested persons, who want to learn and to know what the ZYRM did in Hungary in 1944; how they met the formidable challenges at that time, and how their actions can be appreciated anew, from the perspective of a few generations.

In recent years, the society’s activities have been aided by a few from the second generation (the children of ZYRM veterans). This practical assistance is vital today. They are the ones who will maintain the society’s activities and carry it forward.

David Gur

21 October 2018