Hungary has honored 143 of its citizens for their efforts to save Jews during World War II in what was the first time the nation has made such a recognition at this high level.
Gabor Kuncze, Hungarian minister of the interior, distributed the awards at a ceremony Monday at a government building here.
All the recipients already were decorated with the Yad Vashem Medal of Honor by the Israeli ambassador to Hungary. More than 200 Hungarian christians have received the Yad Vashem Medal, some of them posthumously.
At the reception for the 143 honorees, Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn asked the Jews of Hungary to pardon other Hungarian citizens for crimes committed during World War II.
As he has in the past, Horn said he takes responsibility for those dreadful times.