Hungarian Nun Who Saved Jews in World War II Beatified

Sunday, September 17, 2006

BUDAPEST, Hungary  — Thousands of faithful on Sunday attended the beatification of a Hungarian nun who helped save the lives of dozens of Jews during World War II.

The beatification proclamation for Sara Salkahazi, issued by Pope Benedict XVI, was read out by Cardinal Peter Erdo, Hungary’s Primate and Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, during a Mass held outside St. Stephen’s Basilica.

“She was willing to assume risks for the persecuted … in days of great fear,” Erdo said. “Her martyrdom is still topical … and presents the foundations of our humanity.”

Salkahazi was killed by the Arrow Cross — the Hungarian allies of the Nazis — on Dec. 27, 1944, for hiding Jews in a Budapest building used by her religious order, the Sisters of Social Service.

Salkahazi was taken along with several other occupants of the home and shot, their bodies falling into the Danube River and never recovered. Details of her death were revealed only in the 1967 trial of some Arrow Cross henchmen.

The Sisters of Social Service are credited with saving the lives of some 1,000 Jews during the Holocaust, of whom around 100 were aided by Salkahazi herself.