A Holocaust Memorial, Spoken at School

In addition to being the last day before our spring break, this was also our Holocaust Memorial day. Hungary’s Holocaust memorial falls on April 16; since that falls in our spring break, we commemorated it today.

The music teacher, Andrea Barnáné Bende, had envisioned an event where we (the whole school) would gather in the courtyard and recite János Pilinszky’s “Ravensbrücki passió.” Before this, there would be music; afterwards, a minute of silence; then music again and the conclusion of the ceremony.

She was dedicated to bringing this about: helping students learn the poem, announcing the event many times, stressing its importance, talking about it with individual colleagues, and reminding us of it at the last minute. I memorized the poem about ten days beforehand and brought it to my students numerous times. Other teachers did the same. And there were students who took the lead in learning the poem and leading the recitation.

I had no idea how focused and moving this would be. Thanks to Andrea and the whole school.

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  1. Andrew James Chandler

     /  April 15, 2022

    The reason that Hungary commemorates 16th April as its Holocaust Memorial Day is that it is the date of the Nazi occupation of Hungary, which its Regent agreed to in 1944. Orbán chose it about ten years ago in an attempt to blame the Holocaust in Hungary solely on Germany. In fact, the 440,000 deportations of Hungarian Jews and Roma which followed that date, and the advent of a handful of SS staff in Budapest under Eichmann. These were carried out entirely by the Hungarian Gendarmerie, but you’d be lucky to hear anyone referring to that fact.

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