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The inaguration of the new Wallenberg memorial at Erzsébet tér in downtown Budapest | Dávid Harangozó

New heroic diplomacy walking tour

If fortunate to be in Budapest on this Saturday, June 21, tourists, expats, and Hungarians can partake in one of the best developed tours by manners at once engaging and deeply moving into the brightest, yet, best kept secrets of Hungarian history.

The tour derives from
diplomats Giorgio Perlasca of Italy, Raoul Wallenberg of Sweden, Carl Lutz and
Friedrich Born of Switzerland, Henryk Slawik of Poland, Angel Sanz-Briz of
Spain, Sampaio Garrido and Teixeira Branquinho of Portugal, Angelo Rotta and
Gennaro Verolino, Holy See; Italy.

Their cooperation resulted in
heroic team work among the diplomats, and their Hungarian helpers to
successfully Rescue 147,000 endangered men, women, and children from the
darkest period of the Hungarian Holocaust. In joining together now, the seven
Embassies are replicating similar mutual efforts. The walking tour is run by
the innovative young team at Bupap Budapest Walking Tours Association, to be
guided by well-known historian, László Csõsz.

As hard to believe, their
humanism derived from recognition and rejection of the banality that scraps of
paper – serving as identification – meant the difference between life and death
for families and their loved ones. For many Hungarians, this area of ‘truth telling
of history’ is of greatest value to share in a prideful and brave point from
that time.

One knows well of the late
President Pinero of Chile, rescuing a handful of trapped miners a few months
back, and receiving international front page and TV coverage for weeks on end.
Yet, the unprecedented Rescue in Budapest of those endangered remained shrouded
and is just now becoming known.

The figures for successful rescue
are so staggering and stand in such tragic contrast to the quick weeks of
complete devastation of countryside Jewry and the ghettoisation by which most
Jewry in Budapest were debased, that desires for ‘truth telling of history’ for
those grateful to be alive has remained shrouded and largely unknown.

This rare gift of bringing to
high profile the deeds of bravery and life saving Rescue is shared as a parting
gift from the Swedish Ambassador, Karin Olofsdotter whose productive tenure in
Budapest is sadly closing. Under her service during the recent Wallenberg
Centennial Year, strides were achieved in the renaming of 13 streets which led
to the Danube embankment where Jewry were herded and shot into the Danube.
These tragic byways now bear plaques for Rescuer.

Bupap uses a new method of
engaging history tourism based on SEL (Social and Emotional Learning)
researched at Harvard by the Boston-based ‘Facing History and Ourselves’ for
over 20 years. Because of Facing History’s unique ability to engage for
participation, the firm played a central role in regions of conflict, Northern Ireland,
South Africa, the Czech Republic and even Poland. Just look at these young Polish,
every bit as needful as those of Hungary, and deriving from a history every bit
as troubled as our own, as they remember Polish pride in the Warsaw Ghetto
Uprising: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGzTytCwJ1k

This tour leads to
experiencing history, indeed, more so than the blackboard/chalk methods most of
us know, or power point lectures and seeks to attain the essence of modern
research on successful tourism, the ‘tourist should feel something’. Covered by
dozens of positive reviews, one of the best for Bupap is featured even by euronews: http://www.euronews.com/2014/05/23/living-history-to-learn-and-retain-it/

Put on your shoes, grab the
kids, and walk down a memory lane you will always remember.

Reservations at +36-70-408-6888.

László Petrovics-Ofner

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