French memorial room inauguratedText: Ministry of Defence | 12:05 March 31, 2022
On 29 March, a memorial room dedicated to French prisoners of war who had escaped to Hungary during the Second World War was inaugurated in the Fischl House, Balatonboglár. The event was also attended by Colonel Dr. József András Balogh, Head of Cabinet, Ministry of Defence.
Between 1940 and 1945, some 1200 French prisoners of war escaped from German POW camps and found a safe haven in Hungary, most of them in Balatonboglár. Although our country was an ally of Germany on the eastern front, it did not declare war on France. For this reason, not only private persons but the Hungarian state also treated the French soldiers kindly, and despite repeated calls from the Germans, the Hungarian authorities of the age did not extradite anyone. The French soldiers lived by Lake Balaton until 1944, and were practically given freedom of movement and work.
The French memorial room – which is located next to a Polish exhibition room having an identical theme in Fischl House, Balatonboglár – was inaugurated by Pascale Andréani, the French ambassador to Hungary and by Miklós Mészáros, the mayor of Balatonboglár. It was stated that the establishment of this memorial room serves “our commemoration of this outstanding example of solidarity”.
Nowhere else in wartime Europe could that happen which happened in Balatonboglár during 1942-43, when the French soldiers who had fled here were allowed to celebrate their national day with military honors, i. e. by drawing their swords and hoisting their flag.
At the entrance to the exhibition, on the shore of Lake Balaton, a picture of a soldier hoisting the French Tricolor flag receives the visitors. The French embassy, the local government of Balatonboglár, the Alliance of Hungarian Awardees, and the sponsors had a major role in the arrangement of the exhibition, including the research work and the implementation.
Among others, Member of Parliament József Móring was also present at the opening ceremony.