Did you know ...

Tree of Life memorial at Budapest Synagogue

Did you know ...

... that in memory of his Hungarian-born father, Tony Curtis, son of Emanuel Schwartz, footed the bill for the Tree of Life Memorial located in the Raul Wallenberg Memorial Garden at the rear of the Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest?  The work of Varga Imre, it resembles a weeping willow whose leaves are inscribed with the names of some of the 400,000 Hungarian Jews who were murdered by the Nazis. 

…that 13-year old Százados Ábel, a Hungarian boy shot a video for fun, on his phone and won at the Cannes Film Festival?  He received the Most Promising Young Filmmaker award at the World Peace and Tolerance Institute Awards ceremony.  The film was submitted by Ábel’s uncle to the Hungarian Mobile Film Festival.  Titled “Never”, it is only one minute long.  It advanced to the Mobile Film Festival, then to the Global Short Film Awards’ mobile phone section's finals, where Ábel’s video became a winner.  He filmed his younger brother, and the video became a short film about suicide.

... that a bust of Dr. Semmelweis Ignác was unveiled at the New York State Department of Health in Albany, NY recently?  A gift of the Hungarian government, it was set up on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Semmelweis’ birth on April 24, 2019.

Semmelweis Ignác was known as “the savior of mothers” for introducing antiseptic procedures – handwashing by doctors! – before examining women who had just given birth.  Alerted by the high mortality rate of new mothers in Vienna hospitals, he realized that the same doctors who had just performed autopsies would then examine these women, many of whom then developed puerperal fever.  By the simple expedient of requiring doctors to wash their hands in chlorinated water, he was able to drastically reduce the mortality rate of new mothers. 

Despite living proof that his idea worked, he was ridiculed by his colleagues for such an “unscientific” procedure, to the point of persecution.  He suffered a nervous breakdown as a result and died at the early age of 47.