Hungarian football club honours coach killed by Nazi collaborators
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Hungarian football club honours coach killed by Nazi collaborators

Ferencváros paid tribute to István Tóth ahead of its Europa League qualifying match against Maccabi Tel Aviv

Ferencváros player paid tribute to István Tóth. Picture: World Jewish Congress
Ferencváros player paid tribute to István Tóth. Picture: World Jewish Congress

A football club in Budapest has honoured a local Holocaust victim murdered by Hungarian collaborators.

The Ferencváros Torna Club dedicated its match on Thursday against Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv to István Tóth. The UEFA Europa League qualifier at Groupama Stadium in Budapest ended in a 1-1 tie.

The tribute was a joint initiative of the football club, the World Jewish Congress and the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary, Mazsihisz.

Tóth was a Ferencvárosi player and later its head coach before joining the Hungarian anti-fascist resistance following Nazi Germany’s invasion of Hungary. Tóth helped several hundred Hungarians, including many Jews, escape Nazi detention and death before his arrest and execution in February 1945.

Children attending the game received T-shirts bearing Toth’s portrait and signature.

World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer said: “It is enormously encouraging to see the Hungarian government make use of this central stage of Europa League Football to honor Istvan Toth, who risked his life for the sake of humanity and mutual respect.”

Andras Heisler, President of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary (MAZSIHIZS), added: “Our mutual heroes of the past are here with us in our hearts and minds to remind all of us that humanity and respect are the basic values we all share. István Tóth is a football hero and a righteous person, who scored the biggest goal of the 20th century by saving Hungarian Jews in the midst of the greatest inferno of the century.

“Football offers the magic possibility to experience the tension and thrill of a game together with the next generation while educating them about respect, fairness and decency of our colorful world. By remembering István Tóth, we are honoring a celebrated sport figure, who stood up against violence, hatred and discrimination. His life and behavior is an example to follow in all places and times.”

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