Komoly (Originally Kohn), Ottó

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KOMOLY (originally Kohn), OTTÓ

KOMOLY (originally Kohn ), OTTÓ (1892–1945), Hungarian Zionist leader. Born in Budapest, he studied engineering. He was wounded in World War i and received military awards. Afterward a member in the reserves, he rose to the rank of captain, an unusual achievement for a Jew at that time. He published two books on Zionist matters: under the name Kohn, O., A zsidó nép jövője ("The Future of the Jewish People," 1919) and under Komoly, O., Cionista életszemlélet ("Zionist View of Life," 1942). He also wrote a book dealing with problems in construction engineering. In 1940, Komoly was elected deputy chairman of the Zionist federation of Hungary, becoming its chairman in 1941.

In 1943 he was elected chairman of the underground Relief and Rescue Committee. His deputy was Rezső (Israel) *Kasztner. Komoly attempted to rouse the progressive and humanitarian individuals in Hungarian society to protest against the Nazi extermination program against the Jews. For this purpose he formed ties with church leaders, diplomats, members of parliament, and even with the regent Miklós Horthy's son, who passed information on to his father. Komoly helped organize the rescue train which led 1,686 Jews to safety outside Hungary. When Ferenc *Szálasi took over rule, Komoly continued his work under the auspices of the International Red Cross, which made him their representative in Hungary. However, *Arrow Cross leaders abducted him, and killed him. After the liberation, Komoly was posthumously awarded Hungary's highest distinction – the "Hungarian Freedom Order." In Israel, Komoly's Hebrew name was given to moshav Yad Natan in the Adullam Region.


J. Lévai, Black Book on the Martyrdom of Hungarian Jewry (1948), passim; E. Landau (ed.), Der Kastner-Bericht… (1961), index; A. Biss, Der Stopp der Endloesung (1966), index; A. Weissberg, Desperate Mission (1958), index; L. Fürst-Komoly, in: G.E. Galili (ed.), Tanúk vagyunk (1970), 292–4; Nathan Otto Komoly (Heb., 1970).

[Yehouda Marton]