Éva Antala Recieves the Wallenberg Award

2016. február 08., hétfő

Éva Antala, prison chaplain and pastor of Nagyölved, received the Wallenberg Award for her impressive work in promoting human rights and the peaceful coexistence of minority populations. Antala says that her ministry with those who are incarcerated is so successful because of the authentic human connections that she makes with her clients and their families. 

“It was a great surprise for me, because I had no idea that I was nominated for the award. It was a pleasure when I found out; there are so many people who could be worthy of this honor.”- told Éva Antala to the website felvidek.ma. She received the award due to her creditable activity in the field of human and civil rights and for the appreciation of her dedicated work in order to help foster the harmonious coexistence of national minorities.

In 1999, Éva Antala got the charge from the Reformed Church to organize a prison mission in Slovakia, which operates in every prison in the country. She was the first pastor who took on this responsibility in Slovakia after World War II. Éva Antala has dedicated her life to this service: she visits the convicts – who are primarily Hungarian speaking, but often Roma people – and she supports those who suffer due to their incarceration: not only the ones who are in prison but also their relatives on the other side of the walls. She also organizes camps for the prisoners’ children.

She confesses that the only way to make the pastoral care powerful within the walls of the prison is to make a strong, human connection between her and the families of the prisoners. She makes a point to know what kind of circumstances the prisoners are coming from and what kind of environment they will return to at the end of their sentence. The pastor also wrote her thesis on prison mission and is the president of the Fraternal Association for Prison Mission [an organization that provides pastoral care to those in prison and also leads prevention seminars to deter others from getting in trouble with the law].

This year there were five award recipients. The award was handed out by The Raoul Wallenberg Association, The Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, and the Hungarian Ministry of Human Resources for those who dedicate their lives to minorities: to create better and more human circumstances for them and also to fight prejudice against these communities. Other award recipients include the writer and historian, Géza Komoróczy, director of the cartoon studio of Kecskemét, Ferenc Mikulás, the former president of The Raoul Wallenberg Association, András Sipos, and Péter Szőke.

In the last few years there have been many reformed believers whose service has been highlighted by the Raoul Wallenberg Award: in 2012 Eszter Dani, reformed pastor and the leader of RCH Mission Office, in 2013 Anikó Uhrin, the former director of the István Wáli Reformed Roma Collegium, and  in 2015 Sándor Jonathan Szénási, Central Trans-Danubian National Prison Institute’s pastor.

As the Swedish Embassy’s secretary, Raoul Wallenberg saved the lives of thousands by providing them with Swedish travel documents or resettling them in protected homes. The Red Army seized him in January of 1945. If we believe the Soviet authorities, Wallenberg died in a prison in 1947, but there are some sources which claim that he lived as a prisoner. He was last seen alive in Budapest on January 17, 1945.

According to the Council of Europe:

In Budapest in 1944, Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg used his status to save tens of thousands of Jews from the Holocaust. His actions show that one person's courage and ability can really make a difference, offering inspiration to us all to speak out and indeed to act against persecution, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism.

In recognition of his outstanding contribution during that period, the State of Israel awarded Wallenberg the title of "Righteous among the Nations." He was also made an honorary citizen of Israel, the United States, Canada, and Hungary.

Raoul Wallenberg was arrested by Soviet forces on 17 January 1945. His fate remains an intriguing mystery. There is still no clear picture of what happen to him after his arrest.



Source: felvidék.ma, MTI, reformata.sk

Photo:Soós Lajos/MTI

Translated by Lilla László


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