Ira N. Forman
Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism
Dean Acheson Auditorium
Washington, DC
January 30, 2014

I am sure we were all moved by this powerful and thought-provoking documentary. We will now be joined in Budapest by a group at the Embassy that includes Hungarian high school teachers, officials from the Hungarian Department of Education in charge of Holocaust Education, members of the Embassy Budapest Youth Council as well as NGOs who promote tolerance.

We now have the rare opportunity to share our thoughts and questions with the film’s protagonist, Gyongyi Mago – live from Budapest -- and its director, Gabor Kalman.

As we have seen, Gyongyi Mago’s determination to document the thriving Hungarian Jewish community before World War II -- and her success in engaging a younger generation -- is an inspiration to everyone as we honor International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

We share Director Gabor Kalman’s admiration for her success in taking on the task “not only of digging up this lost (Jewish) culture, but of using what she found to educate, to inform, to enlighten, and to fight prejudice and hatred…demonstrating what one person can do.”

An award-winning documentary filmmaker, Gabor Kalman was ten years old when Hitler marched into Hungary; he survived the War, the Holocaust, and the Soviet occupation. For “There Was Once…” he was awarded the Medal of Valor by the Museum of Tolerance and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Gabor Kalman has worked doggedly to bring Gyongyi Mago’s remarkable story to the screen and share it with the broadest possible audience.

We have approximately twenty minutes of discussion. Please, the microphones are located in the aisles.