A exhibition in the Sejm pays tribute to WWII rescuer of Jews

An exhibition devoted to Henryk Slawik, a Polish social activist who together with a Hungarian official helped Jews and POWs in Budapest, opened Wednesday in the Polish Sejm (lower house of parliament).

Opening the display, the Deputy Speaker of the House Beata Mazurek recounted the history of Slawik who was considered a national hero by Poles, Hungarians and Jews, and observed that only a few people could boast such a distinction.

Hungarian Ambassador to Poland Orsolya Zsuzsanna Kovacs remarked that the partnership in rescuing Jews between Slawik and his Hungarian associate Jozsef Antall Sr. was a classic example of the often quoted Polish-Hungarian friendship.

Deputy Justice Minister Michal Wojcik said that Slawik is "someone every Pole and everyone around the world should know about."

The display consists of 25 placards depicting Slawik's history.

Henryk Slawik (1894-1944) was a Polish politician, social activist and diplomat, who during WWII, with Hungarian government commissioner for war refugees Jozsef Antall Sr., issued false passports to about 30,000 Polish refugees, including approximately 5,000 Polish Jews, in Budapest. 

In Budapest, Slawik established the Citizen's Committee for Help for Polish refugees and together with Antall, organised jobs for POWs and refugees. He also helped exiled POWs leave internment camps and travel to France to join the Polish Army. He was also a delegate of the Polish Government-in-Exile. Arrested after German forces entered Hungary in 1944, he was executed in Mauthausen on August 23, 1944. In 1977, he was posthumously granted the Righteous among the Nations of the World distinction from Israel's Yad Vashem Institute. In 2004, Slawik was also posthumously granted the grand Cross of the Polonia Restituta Order, and in 2010 the Order of the White Eagle. 

Jozsef Antall Sr. (1896-1974) was appointed the Hungarian government's commissioner for war refugees in 1939. He was granted numerous foreign distinctions, including, the Commander's Cross of the Polonia Restituta Order in 1948, and posthumously the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (2010). In 1990, he was posthumously decorated with the Yad Vashem Righteous among the Nations of the World medal.