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Interior Minister Sándor Pintér and Israeli Ambassador Yakov Hadas-Handelsman awarded the Righteous Among the Nations award posthumously and the Medals of Bravery to former Italian literally translator and diplomat in Hungary Antonio Widmar, his wife Irén Widmar and their daughter Lucia Karsai at a ceremony in Budapest. In his address, Pintér said “on this day we remember those who had the courage in horrid times, who, driven by their internal moral order, hurried to save the lives of persecuted Jews in the second world war by risking their own”.
The Israeli ambassador said fighting against any form of anti-Semitism and discrimination was a duty of not only Jews but each and every person. He said “it is our moral obligation to never forget and keep reminding our fellow people of the horrors of the Holocaust,” adding that learning the past and the deeds of Antonio Widmar and his family was owed to his grandson, historian László Karsai who had researched his family’s history. The ambassador said that values represented by the Widmar family such as courage, compassion, self-sacrifice, social responsibility and integrity would be guiding principles for future generations. Antonio Widmar worked at the press section of the Italian embassy in Budapest before and during the second world war and provided false identification documents to journalist and poet László Hárs and other persecuted Jews. Hárs was hiding safely in the apartment of Widmar’s wife and daughter in central Budapest’s Széll Kálmán Square, it was noted at the ceremony.
The awards were presented to Zsuzsa Karsai. The ceremony was attended by state secretaries Bence Rétvári and Attila Fülöp and members of the family, including constitutional lawyer Dániel Karsai. The Righteous Among the Nations Award is the highest honour expressing the gratitude of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. It is granted to non-Jews in recognition of their humanity and courage in saving the life of Jews by risking their own.