Chief Rabbi Péter Kardos: "Daddy, Imagine, I Am Standing Here in the Parliament..."

2024. Április 26. / 14:48

Chief Rabbi Péter Kardos: "Daddy, Imagine, I Am Standing Here in the Parliament..."

“Imagine, I am standing here in the Parliament and in my speech, I am recalling what happened then. In the Parliament, in which the Jewish laws were born, with a kippah on my head. Which meant that you, the one I loved the most, were legally murdered” said Chief Rabbi Péter Kardos, a Holocaust survivor, in the Upper House of the Parliament on April 16. Below is the full text of the speech.

“Dear Daddy!

This time I am writing to you on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of your death, and because this is probably the last round anniversary of the Holocaust for me.

Imagine, I am standing here in the Parliament and recalling what happened at that time in my speech.

In the Parliament, in which the Jewish laws were born, with a kippah on my head. Laws that meant that You, the one I loved the most, was legally murdered.

Do you remember how many times you took to me to the City Park, to the Amusement Park, the so-called Vurstli?

During one of these walks, we came to Heroes' Square, where you wanted to show me the tomb of the unknown soldier. I will note here: You also rest in an unknown grave, somewhere around Balf-Hidegség.

Well, back to Heroes’ square!

Do you remember when you suddenly took the hat off my head? I just stared at you, because as an Orthodox child of an Orthodox Daddy, I didn't understand it all.

You pointed to the middle of the square, where a man in a fancy uniform got out of a beautiful, open car.

You bent down to me and whispered in my ear: Mr. Governor!

Is this the one for whose life and health Rabbi Süssmann asked for God's blessing in Kazinczy Street Synagogue?

"It is!" – you said.

Do you remember?

Do you remember the brick factory in Óbuda? You know, where you ran into Mom among thousands of people. And she said: Let’s run away!

According to the plans, you would have been driven to Austria on foot.

Mom told me that you said you weren't going. Because what will happen if it turns out during the roll call that you ran away.

You were as useless as I am.

You believed, and you weren't alone, that if you obeyed the Jewish laws, you would survive.

Perhaps you know that in '46 I was there for a year at the Keleti railways station, where the survivors came on two or three trains a day. In my hand is your Nikotex box full of cigarettes, which I have kept to this day. Let your home life begin with pleasure.

Towards the end of the year, Mom said that Uncle Dezső – your former domino partner from the Izabella Square café –witnessed when you were shot in the back of the head in Ilona-manor because you couldn't go on walking any longer.

Not by the Germans! By the Hungarian Arrow-Cross! The former National Socialists!

You weren't wrong for the first time! But it was for the last time!

What do I mean?

Do you remember when you said: Hungarians don't do this to Hungarians!

Let us stick to the fact that your eternal respect for the law brought you to death.

As we are recalling those times, the martyrdom of law-abiding people, let me tell you that when the Soviets liberated us in the ghetto, a soldier tore the yellow star off Uncle Miklós' (you don't know him) coat, and he protested and asked: is there a regulation for that?

Dad! Imagine, a Holocaust Day was introduced at home. This is when we remember you!

My bad news, on the other hand, is that in the wake of the Israeli war, anti-Semitism flooded the world like never before.

But imagine: the government announced zero tolerance at home.

If I add to this that there has never been such a good relationship between the two countries since the existence of Israel, then you can understand how especially we, the survivors, can handle these unusual gestures appropriately.

Finally, my dear Daddy!

When we boarded the tram car permitted for Jews on that April morning with the freshly sewn yellow star on our jackets - I can tell you now that you were the safety for me!

As long as I could hold your hand, nothing could happen to me!

Ever since we let go, I've been alone.

80 years!

I have children, I have a grandchild! I have a wife!

And yet I feel alone!

Because I can't hold your hand.

Dear Daddy!

So much for the 80th anniversary. From the ornate building, the birthplace of Jewish laws.

Your forever loving son,


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