Győr and Jewry Outlook

The Pattantyús-Ábrahám Géza Technical Highschool (Győr) students in the footsteps of Wallenberg – 1

The competition “In the footsteps of Wallenberg”, The short movie “How I survived”, Exhibitions

We were pleased to read in a recent information material we received from the Pattantyús-Ábrahám Géza Technical Highschool in Győr that young people, at least some of them, are striving not to forget.

Tell it to your sons, tell it to everyone’s sons.

Young generations growing up should know the historical traumas, failures and sins of this country and the world, as well as its great deeds and outstanding successes.

Among many other things, they need to remember what happened in 1944, how the terrible tragedy of the Jews, the Holocaust took place, and how, in the midst of inhumanity, some saviours of humanity bravely acted to save lives in Győr, Hungary and the world at large.

This is the theme of an annual, national competition for secondary schools named “In the footsteps of Raul Wallenberg”.

It is gratifying to see that schools from Győr also participate successfully in this contest, in which students from the Pattantyús-Ábrahám Géza Technical Highschool among others, have been active participants for years.

In 2017, the school’s 3-member student team led by history teacher Melinda Kazóné Kardos reached the regional finals in Veszprém. In addition to the Holocaust and examples of rescuing designated victims, the students dealt with issues of anti-Semitism, tolerance, racism and xenophobia. Before the competition, they had to create a profile on a social network site, where they posted pictures and entries about Imre Pattantyús-Ábrahám, one of the leaders of the Győr-based Waggon and Machine Factory who is considered by Yad Vashem to be one of the “Righteous Among the Nations”. The team of Bence Haász, Tamás Horváth, Márk Jakus achieved great success with, among other things, a five-minute film about the 85-year-old Holocaust survivor, Mrs. Joli Stern, entitled “How I survived”.

The team: Bence Haász, Tamás Horváth and Márk Jakus, 2017 and 2018

In 2018, this time the team named after Imre Pattantyús-Ábrahám, the rescuer, reached the final in Budapest with an unchanged line-up. The 86 teams included ones from neighbouring countries such as Slovakia, Romania and Serbia. They had to create a Facebook profile where they had to post pictures and entries until the final of the competition. The team from Győr also solved tasks on the Győr aspects of the Roma Holocaust. The final competition took place at the Holocaust Documentation Centre and Memorial Site in Páva Street, where they completed a test on the centre’s exhibition, followed by a quiz on the Holocaust and the rescue of people. Afterwards, the participants visited the Dohány Street Synagogue.

The Pattantyús-Ábrahám Géza Technical Highschool has also organised a number of exhibitions on the subject.

In 2017, an exhibition entitled “Explorers, Scientists, Magicians – Hungarian Inventions” was presented at the school with the help of the Budapest Holocaust Documentation Centre and Memorial Site as well as private collections of the school’s teachers. The exhibition presented Hungarian inventors and scientists of Jewish origin who made significant contribution to the development of a particular field of science. Visitors were able to learn about Gedeon Richter’s role in the pharmaceutical industry, the important contribution to the development of physics by Leó Szilárd and Ede Teller, and the work of many other renowned scientists, as well as gaining insight into the world of art through the work of the photographer Robert Capa, and even learning about the escape artist Harry Houdini and the magician Rezső Gross (Rodolfo). The exhibition was complemented by archive film footage. Over two weeks, nearly 500 students from Győr visited the exhibition.

“Explorers, Scientists, Magicians – Hungarian inventions” exhibition participants, 2017

In 2018, 600 students took part in a historical journey through time in the framework of an exhibition entitled “The State of Deception: the power of Nazi propaganda”, which was again compiled using materials from the Holocaust Documentation Centre and Memorial Site, also under the guidance of Melinda Kazóné Kardos, history teacher. This time, the pupils were given an unconventional history lesson and looked at former Nazi propaganda posters. Then they filled in worksheets and “experimented with mass manipulation” to “prove” the absurd thesis that people should be afraid of the – non-existent – Martians.

In addition to the Highschool’s own students, the extraordinary history lesson was attended by pupils from the Győr Krúdy Gyula Technical Highschool, the Gárdonyi Géza and Kölcsey Ferenc primary schools, as well as from Győrújbarát and Ikrény. Ten history teachers from schools in and around Győr also visited the exhibition.

Pictures from the exhibition “The State of Deception: the power of Nazi propaganda”, 2018

How did the students like this special lesson? They told the Győr daily Kisalföld: “It was like turning the pages of a giant history book.”

In 2019, the Pattantyús-Ábrahám Géza Technical Highschool organised an Anne Frank Memorial Exhibition called “If I can be who I am”. The exhibition material was provided by the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Over a three-week period, nearly 900 students and 27 teachers from Győr and the surrounding area visited the exhibition, which aimed to help young people to better understand the dangers of discrimination and exclusion, to learn more about human rights, to appreciate democracy and the main features of an inclusive, tolerant, multicultural society.

Flyer for the Anne Frank Memorial Exhibition “If I can be who I am”, 2019

It is heart-warming and encouraging to see enterprising teachers and open-minded students who are receptive to “difficult issues” such as exclusion, racism, rejection of otherness, anti-Semitism, but also responsible action against these phenomena, even self-sacrifice. Only the expansion of historical knowledge, the recognition and acceptance of the historical choices and responsibilities of the individual and the masses, can gradually lead to the peaceful coexistence in society that is so much desired. 

Based on a communication by Melinda Kazóné Kardos, history teacher

Photos © Pattantyús-Ábrahám Géza Technical Highschool

Featured image: © Swedish Army Museum; published by