Belated happy birthday

June 1, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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NSW has belatedly celebrated the 64th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel prompting an interpretation of “When I’m 64” by Israel’s ambassador to Australia, Yuval Rotem.


More than 500 members of the community packed the function room in Sydney’s Amora Hotel. The Premier announced that the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel would be sending a delegation to Israel in 2013.  The group will comprise only of NSW politicians and reinforced that support for Israel within the NSW Parliament is bi-partisan.

Premier Barry O'Farrell and Ambassador Yuval Rotem

The Premier also addressed the current laws in NSW regarding racial vilification. He said that a parliamentary committee would be set up to address the strengthening of the State’s racial vilification laws.

Israeli Ambassador had a message for the Palestinians. He said that Israel “is flourishing”. He said “We have created something from nothing. But we can still ascend to much greater heights. Let me use this opportunity to say to our immediate neighbours the Palestinians we have no reason or interest to fight you. We don’t wish to control you or rule over you or determine your life. We want to live you and not die with you. We want to share with you and not take from you. Appeal to our hearts and you will find us yearning to make a generous and genuine peace with you. Build with us the dream of two States for two peoples living side by side in security and peace.”

He finished by saying “better days lie ahead”.

Two special presentations of Righteous Amongst the Nations Awards were made on behalf of the State of Israel and Yad Vashem by the Ambassador.

Kornelne Hay:

Born 1910, Hay saved many people, including Furedy Belane and her four year old son John F Furedy, and Pauncz Miklosne and her four year old son, as well as her mother and father in law, and her husband’s sister. Two people asked for Kornelne Hay to be recognised for this award.

She passed personal documents, food coupons and managed food deliveries, according to a letter written by the two people who nominated Hay for this award.

The saver, Kornelne Hay, whom everyone called Manyi, was married in 1944 and gave birth to a child. She was employed as a secretary in the factory of a Jewish man named Furedy Bela. He was taken to a working camp and left behind his four year old son and pregnant wife. (According to the son, John F. Furedy, the saver ran the factory from 1940 because of anti-Jewish laws, but stayed loyal to the Jewish landlord until the end.)

Mrs Furedy gave birth in 1944 to twin girls who never survived, but she stayed in hospital for 6 months because of deteriorating health. At this stage, in the absence of her husband, Mrs Hay came to her help by smuggling Swedish documents to her from Raoul Wallenberg, allowing her to obtain food and move freely once she was discharged from the hospital.

According to the nominators, Pauncz Miklosne and her husband,  Kornelne Hay saved their lives and the lives of their family by sharing her food with them, and from January 1945 they moved in with her to her apartment.

A letter written by Kornelne Hay describes her actions during 1944:

1.       Transferred Swedish documents to the factory owner’s wife, Mrs Furedy
2.       Transferred her parents’ documents to her Jewish father and mother in law that allowed them to live in a modest hotel
3.       Transferred her own documents from her single days to a friend’s wife from the factory called Magda Lajosne Goldner
4.       Gave her and her son’s own documents to a friend, and her four year old son. (It’s assumed these went to Pauncz).
5.       She went searching for the Deutsch Roza Morne’s husband’s grandmother, however she was already unsaveable, and after the search for the grandmother, she saw horrific scenes of Jewish women and men in dire straights and tried to help with giving them comfort, food and water.
6.       In her own words, she often went into the closed ghetto area (between November 1944 and January 1945) during the event of ‘arrow cross’ – where people killed in Hungary by this aggressive Arrow Cross method by fascists – Jews killed in Budapest by militiamen, ordered to take off shoes, shot at edge of water so they fell into the river. Hay said the terror she felt when she was arrested with a few Jewish people in the street, she was released because one of those soldiers pardoned her. However at the time, she warned the Jewish women that they should run away.
7.       Another evening she gave food to Jewish women who were congregated under her window
8.       After liberation of the ghetto, she opened her house to all her friends who had nowhere to stay
9.       In a personal letter, she said ‘when I remember these days I’m not satisfied with myself, I should have helped more, but I was afraid to hide someone in my house because I had a very small child, and I was all the time afraid for him.

Peter and Erzebet Szorenyi:

Ungar Yanosh and his family lived in Nyiregyhaza, Hungary in 1944. That year, the government sectioned off a ghetto in the town and his wife was taken there. Prior to this, Ungar was taken to a working camp. A friend of the family heard that their three year old daughter was left alone and he told the story to a person named Gyorgy Bartha. Bartha took the girl out of the ghetto and brought her to Budapest to her aunt, who lived in ‘Kochav house’.

Bartha thought the place was not suitable for a little girl, so she took her out of kochav house and moved her to the Szorenyi family to hide her there. It was close to Christmas 1944. The girl does not remember much because she was a baby, but she does remember that she was ill and Erzebet Szorenyi took care of her loyally. She also remembers that once in a while they were sleeping in a dark basement on mattresses, probably because they were looking for a secure place from the bombing of the Soviets on Budapest.  The Szorenyi family explained the neighbours that the little girl was a refugee from the bombing in Transylvania and she was a family member.

With the liberation, the girl’s aunt from Budapest came to get her and moved her to Nyiregyhaza. In the meantime, the mother was freed from Auschwitz and came back home. Also the father survived and returned home.

The Szorenyi family decided to come back and live in Nyiregyhaza and between the two families, Ungar and Szorenyi, there was a very strong friendship built.

When the authorities seized Szorenyi’s business, the family emigrated to Australia, and then the relationship between the two families ended.

After the war, Ungar officially changed his last name to Urban, and in 1965 the Unger/Urban family also immigrated to Australia. Both of the parents of the family are no longer alive, but their children are still living in Australia, and remain friends to this day.
The evening was hosted by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies in conjunction with Zionist Council of NSW, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and the Zionist Federation of Australia.


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