Two prominent suburban Washington doctors, both Hungarian-born Jews who escaped the Holocaust in their homeland during World War II, received the New Life Award last night at the Washington Hilton. The award, presented by the allied medical division of the Israel Bonds organization, got its name because its honorees started with nothing when they came to the new world and achieved gainful, productive careers.
The two are Dr. Laszlo Sokoly, 60, of Bethesda, a Washington dentist, and Dr. Michael Vermess, 51, of Potomac, a radiologist at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.
Dr. Sokoly, who is an associate professor of dentistry at Georgetown University in addition to his private practice, lost his parents and sister in the Nazi extermination in 1944 and survived a forced labor camp. Dr. Vermess, out buying food for his family at the age of 10 in Budapest, was caught in the Nazi net, scheduled to be shot but managed to flee. He remained underground until the arrival of the Soviet Army in 1945.
During an occupation of Hungary that lasted less than a year, the Nazis killed about 600 Jews, about two-thirds of that nation's Jewish population, Dr. Vermess said.
Both men came on their own to the United States after the war and made their own ways.