Hungarian students stage play about Holocaust for high school competition

BUDAPEST (JTA) – A play about the fate of the late Israeli politician Josef “Tommy” Lapid during the Holocaust in Hungary was the winner of a contest for Hungarian high school students, held in Budapest.

Lapid, a Yugoslavian-born Jew of Hungarian descent, who survived WWII in the Budapest ghetto together with his mother, was the hero of the short play performed by a team of high school students last week in the Hungarian Foreign Ministry in Budapest.

It was the seventh contest for high school students about the Holocaust in Hungary, organized by the Budapest Raoul Wallenberg Society. Over 50 high schools took part in this year’s contest, fewer than in previous years. In addition, five schools were from neighbouring countries, including Romania and Slovakia, where a Hungarian minority resides.

This year for the first time a Hungarian high school for students of Roma origin took part in the contest and spent a day in Budapest to learn about the history of the Holocaust.

This year’s winner was a three-member team from the high school in the town Nyiregyháza in Eastern Hungary, the Gabor Bethlen Gimnázium, a Christian religious school.

Lapid, then 13 years old, hid with his mother in Budapest in a house under the guardianship of the Swedish Embassy with the active participation of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from the hands of the Nazis. Discovered and forced from the protection of the home, Lapid was almost shot on the banks of the Danube river at the end of 1944, when his life was saved by the bombardment of the Russian air forces. The students’ play was based on a book about Lapid written by his son, Yair.

The contest also was organized by the Hungarian Jewish community umbrella MAZSIHISZ, the Holocaust Museum and Documentation Center, the March of the Living Foundation and the Swedish Embassy in Budapest. First prize is a one-week trip to Sweden to walk “in the footsteps of Raoul Wallenberg.”

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