Tribute to Hungarian military leader condemned by Jewish community


Central Europe


A statue-bust of Hungary's wartime leader Miklos Horthy is seen after it was unveiled in Budapest on November 3, 2013. Photo AFP, Ferenc Isza

Hungary’s Federation of Jewish Communities (Mazsihisz) is calling on the government to cancel a war leader’s commemoration ceremony.

That was reported by the European Jewish Congress (EJC). The ceremony, which is expected to take place on October 15, will dedicate a “memorial plaque” to Miklós Horthy, an admiral who served during the two World Wars.

However, according to an official statement from Mazsihisz, Horthy should not be honoured, since he “is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Hungarian citizens,” including Jews. A leader of the Fidesz-KDNP parliamentary group, Béla Mihálffy, is expected to make a speech at the event, which is viewed by Mazsihisz as “unacceptable” since her party has a “zero tolerance” policy against anti-Semitism.

Civilised world

“Our Federation draws the attention of all members of the Fidesz-KDNP parliamentary group to the fact that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán himself has rightfully proclaimed zero tolerance against anti-Semitism, in accordance with the norms of the civilised world,” Mazsihisz said in the EJC article

Earlier, a statue paying tribute to Horthy was erected within a Deputy Speaker’s office at the Hungarian Parliament. Six Holocaust survivors came to protest the “Horthy Bust”, calling its instalment “unfathomable,” according to a Telex report.

Labour camp

Zsuzsanna Jávor, who was eight years old during the time of Horthy, remembers her cramped family apartment for Jews and how her father was sent to a labour camp. When Horthy spoke about the Second World War ending on October 15, 1944, the joy was “short-lived,” she said. Horthy announced the continuation of the war and introduced a curfew.

“This is what Horthy did to Hungary and to Hungarian Jews. I simply could not believe it when I first heard that they were unveiling a statue of him in parliament. It is unfathomable that there still are people – and an organisation – in Hungary who worship this man”, she said to Telex.

Now, that another upcoming tribute for Horthy is on the horizon, Mazsihisz has vowed that it will continue to prevent another manifestation of the “Horthy Cult.”

“We trust that this is not the case, and that the leaders of the state, government, and parliament will do everything in their power to prevent another manifestation of the Horthy cult and the desecration of the memory of hundreds of thousands of martyrs,” the organisation said in the official statement.



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