Sztehlo, Gábor

20-02-2008 , by Christoph Gann

Gábor Sztehlo was born in Budapest in 1909. He studied theology in the sopron. Time spent in Finland and Bethel influenced Sztehlo greatly. From 1932 he was chaplain in Budapest, then in Hatwan and Nagytarcsa. In 1936 Sztehlo was a priest in Nagytarsca and there 1937 he grounded the first Hungarian Adult Education Centre. A few years later he returned to Budapest as a young priest. In March 1944 following German occupation he carried out his priestly duties in old people´s homes.

The Good Shepherd Committee

In October 1942 the Good Shepherd Committee was founded by Jews who had converted to the protestand church. The leader was Jozsef Èliás. Following German occupation Sztehlo came in contact with the Good Shepherd Committee. Together with the International Red Cross they provided aid for homeless children and also for escaped ´forces workers. abor Stzehlo took very special care of the children. Following the Arrow Cross Revolt, Éliás had to go into hiding, so Sztehlo took over the leader position. In various houses approximately 2.000 people, the majority of which were children, were beeing cared for.

Section B. The International Red Cross

Friedrich Born appointed Sztehlo as head of Section B, the International Red Cross. Since November 1944 Sztehlo was excused from his churchly duties so he could concentrate solely on the childrens needs. Due to attacks from the advancing Red Army, Good Shepherd Committees establishments were destroyed. From one particular home over thirty children, with German soldiers help, were transported to Sztehlos house. For the remaining weeks until liberation they stayed there.

Following The Liberation

Also following the liberation Sztehlo looked after the children who had lost their parents. These children along with oterhs were accommodated in homes under Sztehlos supervision. In1950 the homes were nationalized and Sztehlo became a welfare and social work priest. In 1956 his family moved to Switzerland. Six years later he followed them. In 1972, two years before his death, Gábor Sztehlo was honoured by the Israeli memorial Yad Vashem.
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