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A Lifetime of Saving Lives

Dr. Clara Ambrus and her husband (Photo: Yad Vashem)

Dr. Clara Ambrus

Life: December 28, 1924 - February 26, 2011

Why you should know her: While a young medical student in Budapest during World War II, Clara Ambrus saved the lives of many Jews.

In 1944, the Nazi-aligned fascist movement in Hungary began a reign of terror that left thousands of Jews dead. During this period of murder, a young Christian medical student stood up for what was right.

Clara Ambrus was only 19 when she joined forces with a fellow medical student at Budapest University. First, Clara hid a childhood friend, Eva Klein, in her home, even giving Eva her own identity card. Eventually, Eva's entire family hid in Clara's attic.

Clara's helper was fellow student, Alexander Szirmai. Together, they hid many more Jewish refugees in the attic and in the cellar of a nearby factory, also providing the hidden people with false identity papers. When the number of the Jews grew, the students hid some more in the histology lab at the university, and provided them with ID cards from other medical students.

That year, Clara married another medical student, her husband of nearly 70 years, Julian. The couple moved to the United States and settled in Buffalo, NY, where both worked in medicine. Clara spent her career as a professor of pediatrics and obstetrics.

For her bravery and service during the Holocaust, Dr. Clara Ambrus was named Righteous Among the Nations in 2006.

Sadly, Dr. Ambrus perished from injuries suffered in a house fire in 2011, a tragic end to a life spent helping those in need.

Tags: Advocates and Allies

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