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Bratislava hosts exhibition about an unknown saviour of Jews

THE VESTIBULE of the Culture Ministry hosts an exhibition about Aron Grünhut, a Bratislava native who helped save Jews during World War II.

THE VESTIBULE of the Culture Ministry hosts an exhibition about Aron Grünhut, a Bratislava native who helped save Jews during World War II.

“While Oskar Schindler and Nicolas Winton are world renown saviours of Jews, an unknown man who helped many Jews escape to freedom in Israel lived in this city,” Alexander Ben-Zvi, the Israeli ambassador to Slovakia, said during opening the exhibition, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “I am glad that such an exhibition will spread knowledge about brave Aron Grünhut who risked his own life to help the others.”

During an interwar period, Grünhut (1895-1974) was doing business selling various goods and owned a Jewish canteen. He was member of the Chamber of Business and Industry and functionary of the orthodox Jewish religious community. He was leading Chevra Kdiša and was a member of the board of the Jewish hospital and various charity organisations.

In 1939, Grünhut arranged an illegal ship transport to Palestine. Though it was complicated and took 83 days, 1,365 Jews from Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic were saved. He also cooperated with Winton who arranged the transport of Jewish children to Great Britain in 1943.

During the war, Grünhut was hiding from Nazis in the cellar of the former Czechoslovak Embassy in Budapest. After World War II, he returned to Bratislava and did business selling goose liver that he was buying from farmers and then exporting it to France.

After the communist overthrow in 1948, he emigrated to Israel.

“His life is like a Hollywood box-office hit,” said Radoslav Ragač, head of the Slovak National Archive and one of the organisers of the exhibition, as quoted by TASR. “He devoted his determination and organisational skills to saving others, so he had to hide. He lived a full life and 40 years after his death we remember him in this way.”

One of Grünhut’s five sons attended the exhibition.

“I returned after 75 years,” said Benny Grünhut who left Czechoslovakia thanks to Winton, as quoted by TASR. “If my father were here, he would be proud of such recognition in the form of an exhibition.”

The exhibition, which among other things shows old Bratislava before the reconstruction of its centre, will last until September 29.

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