Hungarian documentary on forgotten hero screened in Ottawa
A Hungarian documentary film entitled Captain Ocskay, the Forgotten Hero will be screened on November 6, 2008, at the Ottawa Public Library. This powerful documentary film tells the story of a Hungarian army officer whose heroic deeds have all but been forgotten. Captain László Ocskay went to extraordinary lengths to save the lives of hundreds of Jews in Budapest.
The organizers were very fortunate to have been able to bring Dan Danieli to the screening from California. He is one of the main “characters” in the film; a Holocaust survivor, he was a teenager at the camp about which the film was made. Dan Danieli is also the person without whom the story of Captain Ocskay might have remained forgotten and the film might not have been made. He did the research necessary, prepared a background document, and published a monograph on the story of the labour battalion and Captain Ocskay.
With little to gain and everything to lose, Captain Ocskay harboured some 2,500 men, women and children from 1944 to 1945, the most dangerous period of World War II. Ocskay ran the Labour Service Company responsible for collecting clothes in the building of the Abonyi street Jewish school (known today as the Miklós Radnóti Secondary School).
Dan Danieli in 1958 on his wedding day, 13 years after liberation
from a military labour camp in Budapest
In doing so, he hid the workers and their families from both the Hungarian Arrow Cross and the German SS. Unbelievably, Ocskay was able to protect the Abonyi Street building from the constant Arrow Cross threat by arranging for armed SS officers to stand guard outside the building.
Those delivered from the Holocaust included Kossuth Prize-winning writer Gábor Goda, composer Pál Kadosa, fencing world champion Ede Kabos, and actors Dezsõ Kellér and Imre Ráday. Ocskay worked closely with Raoul Wallenberg, even offering him shelter in his own house, and the legendary Miksa Domonkos.
Mr Danieli with the Hungarian Ambassador, H.E. Pal Vastagh at the
Hungarian Embassy in Ottawa the day after the Ottawa film screening
This is a pioneering piece of film about a man whose incredible personal sacrifice is rarely acknowledged. He is an example and inspiration to all people and should rightly be remembered as one of the greatest Hungarians of the twentieth century.
The screening of this Hungarian film (with English subtitles) is being organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Hungary, the Canada Hungary Educational Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Ottawa. Admission is free of charge and light refreshments will be served. There will also be a questions and answers session with Dan Danieli following the screening. The event will take place on November 6, 2008, at 6.30pm at the Ottawa Public Library’s Main Branch (120 Metcalfe Street–at the corner of Laurier).
For more information about the film and an interview with the Director, read the media package here.