Sára Salkaházi

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Sára Salkahazi (May 11, 1899 - December 27, 1944) was a Hungarian Roman Catholic nun who saved the lives of approximately one hundred Jews during World War II.

Salkahazi was born in Kassa, Hungary on May 11, 1899. As a young woman, she worked at various jobs including that of a bookbinder, a reporter and newspaper editor. Before becoming a nun she had been engaged to be married.

She took her religious vows to the Sisters of Social Service in 1930. During the final months of World War II, she helped shelter hundreds of Jews in a building belonging to the Sisters of Social Service. Reported to the authorities, she was captured, along with the Jews she had sheltered, by members of the Hungarian pro-Nazi Arrow Cross Party. The prisoners were taken to the bank of the Danube river, and shot. Her body was never recovered. The killings only came to light in 1967, during the trial of some Arrow Cross members.

In 1972, her deeds on behalf of Hungarian Jews were recognized by Yad Vashem when she was nominated by the daughter of one of the Jewish women she was hiding, who was killed alongside her.

On September 17, 2006, Sister Sara was beatified in a proclamation by Pope Benedict XVI, read by Péter Erdő during a Mass outside St. Stephen's Basilica in Budapest. This is the first beatification to take place in Hungary since that of King Stephen in 1083 along with his son Imre and the Italian bishop Gerard Sagredo, who were instrumental in converting Hungary to Christianity. If Salkahazi is canonized, she will be the first non-royal Hungarian saint.

Speaking at the Mass, Rabbi Jozsef Schweitzer said of Sister Sara, "I know from personal experience ... how dangerous and heroic it was in those times to help Jews and save them from death. Originating in her faith, she kept the commandment of love until death."


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