Home > Uncategorized > The Orbán government doesn’t heed the warnings

The Orbán government doesn’t heed the warnings

June 21, 2012

There seems to be something every day that makes one wonder what’s going on in the heads of Hungarian government officials. At the time when Hungary’s relations with the European Union are at best rocky, when the Venice Commission has serious reservations about practically all the new laws passed by the government, and when the European Commission initiates one infringement procedure after the other against Hungary, the government is resolutely creating an atmosphere in which anti-Semitism is growing by leaps and bounds. The government moving farther and farther to the right. By now it is difficult to distinguish Fidesz from Jobbik.

The growth of this anti-Semitism cannot be separated from the steady shift to the right of the governing parties–Fidesz and its phantom coalition partner, the Christian Democratic People’s Party. I don’t have to go into the details here. I’ve already dealt with the growing Horthy cult, the inclusion of the writings of anti-Semitic writers from the interwar period in the core curriculum, the attempt to rebury József Nyirő in Romania and the strained Romanian-Hungarian relations, and finally with Elie Wiesel’s letter to László Kövér in which the Nobel Peace Prize-winning author and activist informed the speaker of the house of his return of the Grand Cross Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary he received in April 2004.

In addition, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum issued a statement on June 14 that expressed great concern over “the Hungarian government’s rehabilitation of fascist ideologues and leaders from World War II” and called on the Hungarian government “to unequivocally renounce all forms of antisemitism and racism.” And if that weren’t enough, on June 20 U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Hannah Rosenthal published a statement on recent events in Hungary in which we can read that “the United States places great importance on combating anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination around the world…. [and] recently, I–like many others–have noticed a disturbing increase in anti-Semitic acts and statements by various individuals in Hungary.” After the usual round of polite niceties Rosenthal returns to the meat of her statement: “The recent rehabilitation of figures from Hungary’s past who are tainted by their support for Fascism and anti-Semitism contributes to a climate of acceptance of extremist ideology in which racism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of intolerance can thrive.” She reminds the Hungarian government that it has “both an opportunity and an obligation to ensure a full and honest assessment of these historical figures as part of the national dialogue.”

To determine how seriously the Hungarian government is taking all this it is enough to read Viktor Orbán’s interview with Die Presse, the Austrian conservative paper, in which he takes absolutely no responsibility for the present situation and puts the burden on local communities. I also noticed with some amusement that Magyar Nemzet, a government paper, decided on June 18 to remember the 144th anniversary of Miklós Horthy’s birthday. What a nice round number! The article painted a positive picture of Horthy’s rule and his foreign policy while it was silent on the negative aspects.

Meanwhile the erecting of statues and renaming of streets continues. Nothing seems to divert the Hungarian government from this dangerous path. Another Horthy statue, this time a hideous looking bust, was erected in the village of Csókakő, and the square the statue stands on was renamed Greater-Hungary Square (Nagy-Magyarország tér). Getting closer and closer to the fire.

As expected, the two political sides have entirely different opinions on the significance of Elie Wiesel’s letter. Géza Szőcs, Fidesz undersecretary for cultural affairs who just resigned, is convinced that Wiesel’s gesture is part of a liberal conspiracy. Originally, when he went to Odorheiu Secuiesc/Székelyudvarhely to rebury József Nyirő, he didn’t realize “they [Hungary's enemies, the liberals] would go that far to attack Hungary.” Otherwise, he defended Nyirő, about whose politics we learn more and more–and the more we learn the worse his views sound.

Magyar Nemzet, wisely I think, decided not to devote an editorial to the Wiesel letter. In Magyar Hírlap, on the other hand, an outrageous editorial appeared by László Szentesi Zöldi. The piece is entitled “Elie Wiesel úr és az ő keresztje” (Mr. Elie Wiesel and his cross). The upshot of the editorial is that “who gives a damn whether Wiesel gave back the grand cross or not.” Life goes on. People don’t even know who Elie Wiesel is; they don’t care “what kind of tribe he belongs to.” But they may ask, “did Gyurcsány give that darned medal to the right person?” Szentesi Zöldi’s answer is naturally that it was not the right person who received this honor because “when they picked Elie Wiesel they honored some kind of cosmopolitan attitude, unending negation, not a real life achievement.” Meanwhile Szentesi Zöldi knows so little about Wiesel that he talks about him as the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature and compares him to Henryk Sienkiewicz and William Butler Yeats.

According to Szentesi Zöldi, Mr. Wiesel is deadly boring with his old stories from the middle of the last century. For young Hungarians this is history. “We don’t understand it, we don’t appreciate it, and I may add sadly, we are even bored by these same old stories.” Wiesel “gave back something he didn’t receive from the Hungarian nation but from his closest friends. Nothing has happened by the return of the decoration and this event will have no consequence.” Otherwise, Nyirő is a much more important writer than Wiesel.

Szentesi Zöldi is quite correct. Life goes on in Hungary. In Pécs, Mihály Károlyi Street will be renamed Albert Wass Street for a mediocre writer from Transylvania who was deemed a war criminal by the Romanian courts after the war. He was a man who until his death at the age of 90 in 1998 remained faithful to his Hungarist (Arrow Cross) convictions.

Meanwhile the Jobbik delegation of the Budapest city council suggested the erection of a Bishop Ottokár Prohászka (1858-1927) statue in front of a church in District XIII. The bishop is a very controversial man because of his rabid anti-Semitism; his writings and anti-Jewish propaganda had a considerable influence on Hungarian thinking of the interwar period. The bishop became a member of parliament in 1920 and in this capacity had an important role to play in drafting and passing the numerus clausus law of 1920 that limited the number of Jewish students in the universities to 6%.

Destinies circumscribed by numbers
The numerus clausus from the perspective of 90 years
Holocaust Memorial Center, Budapest

This is not the first Fidesz attempt to whitewash Ottokár Prohászka. In October 2008 Sándor Lezsák and Zoltán Balog, both Fidesz politicians, were involved in the erection of a Prohászka statue in Lakitelek, a large village, where Lezsák, a minor poet, began his teaching career in an elementary school. That event also created quite a stir. I wrote about it at the time.

Meanwhile László Kövér did answer Elie Wiesel, but no one wants to talk about it among the numerous government spokesmen. Put it this way, a “political scientist” who is a devoted Fidesz supporter only yesterday expressed his cinviction that Kövér was perfect for this task because he knows how to strike back. I do hope that our “political scientist” is wrong and Kövér did not attempt to strike back. It wouldn’t be a very good idea.

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  1. June 23, 2012 at 5:17 pm | #1

    See also the New York Times for April 10, 1919 “Twelve hundred German-Austrian voloneers for the Hungarian Communist Army have arrived in the Hungarian capital from Vienna under the command of the Austrian communist leaders Roth and Ziegel…”

  2. June 23, 2012 at 5:36 pm | #2

    Louis! Did you know that the Yad Vashem Holocaust Victim Database has about 50 victims with name Kovach (exact spelling)?

    http://db.yadvashem.org/names/search.html?language=en

  3. June 23, 2012 at 6:15 pm | #3

    Louis Kovach :

    See also the New York Times for April 10, 1919 “Twelve hundred German-Austrian voloneers for the Hungarian Communist Army have arrived in the Hungarian capital from Vienna under the command of the Austrian communist leaders Roth and Ziegel…”

    OK, let’s start again! Did you try to figure out where the information is coming from? Is it possible that it comes from the same Professor Brown? I’m almost sure.

    I know you don’t like to hear it but it does help to have some training in historical research.

  4. Some1
    June 23, 2012 at 6:29 pm | #4

    @ Louis Kovach, I got it. Horthy sent as many Jews to concentration camps as many he let in. This way he solved two issues at once. Now you and the ones who think like you can go and erect a statue with clear conscience since Horthy was the saviour of Jews but the same time you can also satisfy the Jobbik with the same statue of Horthy as the supporter of the anschluss. The clear and fine Hungarian thinking will help you and Horthy to be absolved. Is this answer satisfies you?

  5. Some1
    June 23, 2012 at 6:32 pm | #5

    Mutt Damon :
    Louis! Did you know that the Yad Vashem Holocaust Victim Database has about 50 victims with name Kovach (exact spelling)?
    http://db.yadvashem.org/names/search.html?language=en

    So , I guess Louis is a closet Jew who also sympathize with the communists. I am just following Mr Kovach’ general logic here, and reliance on single informations.

  6. Some1
    June 23, 2012 at 6:44 pm | #6

    While following Mutt Damon’s link to the yadwashem’ site, I came across a nice photo of two true Hungarians. Look at their coats and their hats Louis. They could walk into the Hungarian Parliament today and the Jobbik would clap their hands, because they are so nationalistic. What do you think Louis? http://collections.yadvashem.org/photosarchive/en-us/97836_33027.html

  7. June 23, 2012 at 6:52 pm | #7

    Some1 :

    While following Mutt Damon’s link to the yadwashem’ site, I came across a nice photo of two true Hungarians. Look at their coats and their hats Louis. They could walk into the Hungarian Parliament today and the Jobbik would clap their hands, because they are so nationalistic. What do you think Louis? http://collections.yadvashem.org/photosarchive/en-us/97836_33027.html

    If you have time to listen to TGM’s talk with Olga Kálmán. (http://atv.hu/cikk/video-20120621_tamas_gaspar_miklos) please do. What he is saying is that the rehabilitation of Horthy and the Hungarist, anti-Semitic writers is an insult against the Hungarian nation because half a million Hungarians were killed by this regime. These Hungarians of Jewish descent were part of the Hungarian nation.

    Indeed, if you think about it. Half a million Hungarians were killed or driven away in 1944. About 200,000 were killed during the war against the Soviet Union. Add to this number about 200,000 Hungarians leaving the country after 1956. Staggering loss to the nation. About one million if not more.

  8. gdfxx
    June 23, 2012 at 7:24 pm | #8

    Eva S. Balogh :

    If you have time to listen to TGM’s talk with Olga Kálmán. (http://atv.hu/cikk/video-20120621_tamas_gaspar_miklos) please do. What he is saying is that the rehabilitation of Horthy and the Hungarist, anti-Semitic writers is an insult against the Hungarian nation because half a million Hungarians were killed by this regime. These Hungarians of Jewish descent were part of the Hungarian nation.
    Indeed, if you think about it. Half a million Hungarians were killed or driven away in 1944. About 200,000 were killed during the war against the Soviet Union. Add to this number about 200,000 Hungarians leaving the country after 1956. Staggering loss to the nation. About one million if not more.

    TGM is right, theoretically. He expresses his hope that the followers of FIDESZ will express their disagreement with the revival of the Horthy/Nyiro/Wass cult in Hungary, perpetrated by FIDESZ leaders and their friends (I suspect he is referring to Bayer Zsolt) . Unfortunately, practically, one does not see this happening, at a large scale.

    For those interested in this topic I suggest prof. Randolph Braham’s recent lecture on the causes of the Holocaust in Hungary. It contains an interesting analysis of how the Jews in Hungary became Hungarian patriots and how that collapsed in the 1940s. It is available on this page: http://www.ushmm.org/research/center/presentations/lectures/pdfs/weinmann-2012-lecture.pdf

  9. June 23, 2012 at 7:27 pm | #9

    “At a mass meeting in front of the Vienna town hall, he defended the internationalist need to help the Hungarian Revolution. On the 2nd April he marched with 400 volunteers, soon joined by 800 armed workers leaving for Hungary. Here they were warmly welcomed by the Hungarian working class. Bela Kun, leader of the Communist Party in Hungary incorporated them in the Red Army and sent them to the front against the Romanian and French forces at Debrecen.

    Instead of spreading the revolution in Austria, the 1,200 volunteers ended up as pawns of in the manoeuvres of the Bolsheviks and the inept Bela Kun.

    During an attack by the Romanian forces at Vamospercs, on 29th April 1919 Rothziegel was mortally wounded. Kisch wrote that “ the communist Rothziegel has fallen on the battlefield: he was 27 years old, competent printer, autodidact, brilliant orator and as enflamed as his ideal, Bakunin”.

  10. gdfxx
    June 23, 2012 at 7:27 pm | #10

    Since my comment above (#8) is awaiting moderation, I would like to point out that only the first two paragraphs are quotes from the previous comment. Obviously I am not a HTML editing expert.

  11. June 24, 2012 at 8:00 am | #11

    Louis Kovach :

    “At a mass meeting in front of the Vienna town hall, he defended the internationalist need to help the Hungarian Revolution. On the 2nd April he marched with 400 volunteers, soon joined by 800 armed workers leaving for Hungary. Here they were warmly welcomed by the Hungarian working class. Bela Kun, leader of the Communist Party in Hungary incorporated them in the Red Army and sent them to the front against the Romanian and French forces at Debrecen.

    If I recall you brought up the topic of 1,500 wild men, mostly Jews, who were going to Budapest “to loot.” It was one of your examples of Jewish immigration into Hungary. A counter-example to emigration of Jews from Hungary because of fear of persecution.

    Now it turns out that they were “armed workers” or “internationalists.” Yes, there were some Austrian volunteers who joined the Hungarian Red Army but your portrayal of the event based on Nicolson’s diaries is simply ridiculous.

  12. June 24, 2012 at 8:02 am | #12

    I almost missed it. French forces in Debrecen?

  13. LwiiH
    June 24, 2012 at 9:43 am | #13

    From Wikipedia,

    “Serbian and French troops advanced from the South, taking control of the entire Banat and Croatia. At the same time Czechoslovakia took control of Upper Hungary and of Carpathian Ruthenia and Romanian troops were allowed to advance to the Mureș river.”

  14. June 24, 2012 at 9:59 am | #14

    LwiiH :

    From Wikipedia,

    “Serbian and French troops advanced from the South, taking control of the entire Banat and Croatia. At the same time Czechoslovakia took control of Upper Hungary and of Carpathian Ruthenia and Romanian troops were allowed to advance to the Mureș river.”

    This description is of an earlier period. The Romanian troops reached the Tisza River by April 23, 1919. And of course the French were nowhere close to Debrecen. They were in Szeged.

  15. June 24, 2012 at 11:35 am | #15

    Mutt:
    “So , I guess Louis is a closet Jew who also sympathize with the communists. I am just following Mr Kovach’ general logic here, and reliance on single informations.”
    I hope not. If Mt. Kovatch is a Jew, I am ashamed.

  16. LwiiH
    June 24, 2012 at 11:53 am | #16

    Eva S. Balogh :
    This description is of an earlier period. The Romanian troops reached the Tisza River by April 23, 1919. And of course the French were nowhere close to Debrecen. They were in Szeged.

    Sorry my post wasn’t clear.. What I was trying to say is that the French were not in Debrecen from my limited understand of this history of the period.

  17. June 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm | #17

    LwiiH :

    Eva S. Balogh :
    This description is of an earlier period. The Romanian troops reached the Tisza River by April 23, 1919. And of course the French were nowhere close to Debrecen. They were in Szeged.

    Sorry my post wasn’t clear.. What I was trying to say is that the French were not in Debrecen from my limited understand of this history of the period.

    We agree. Surely, when someone decide to study a given period of history the best thing is to start with a fairly recent general text from a reliable historian. Once one knows the outlines then one can go to contemporary material. Otherwise, one can get things very wrong.

  18. oneill
    June 24, 2012 at 2:22 pm | #18

    The speaker of the Knesset has withdrawn invitation to Köver to attend a Wallenburg commemoration-
    http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=275018
    Let’s see if he dares refer to the Israeli government as “barbarians”. They’ll wipe him and his fellow nazis off the face of the earth (metaphorically speaking of course but here’s hoping)

  19. June 24, 2012 at 3:57 pm | #19

    Thomas :
    Mutt:
    “So , I guess Louis is a closet Jew who also sympathize with the communists. I am just following Mr Kovach’ general logic here, and reliance on single informations.”
    I hope not. If Mt. Kovatch is a Jew, I am ashamed.

    In my opinion there is nothing to be ashamed of as there is nothing to be proud of because let’s say Einstein was Jewish. Each person should be proud or ashamed of himself, maybe of his/her children where some contribution is natural.

  20. June 24, 2012 at 7:04 pm | #20

    Dr Balogh
    “If I recall you brought up the topic of 1,500 wild men, mostly Jews, who were going to Budapest “to loot.” It was one of your examples of Jewish immigration into Hungary. A counter-example to emigration of Jews from Hungary because of fear of persecution.
    Now it turns out that they were “armed workers” or “internationalists.” Yes, there were some Austrian volunteers who joined the Hungarian Red Army but your portrayal of the event based on Nicolson’s diaries is simply ridiculous”
    Neither you nor I was there,(Nicholson and Brown were!) thus I can state only the references to the event. I have cited four sources. I did not add any “opinion” to those. Opinions are clearly the “historians” perview. Naturally, almost all citations from those times also contain inconsistences or were written from a different viewpoint. The last quote, from the current Communist source stating French presence also is incorrect, unless the writer includes the backers of the Rumanians who were clearly the French. The same way as any attack by Hungarian forces in WWII could be described as German and Hungarian attack. After Smuts visit, the French gave free hand to the Rumanians, even if they did always dicuss that with their fellow “Great Powers” in Paris.

  21. June 25, 2012 at 6:31 am | #21

    Louis Kovach :

    but your portrayal of the event based on Nicolson’s diaries is simply ridiculous”
    Neither you nor I was there,(Nicholson and Brown were!) thus I can state only the references to the event. I have cited four sources. I did not add any “opinion” to those. Opinions are clearly the “historians” perview. Naturally, almost all citations from those times also contain inconsistences or were written from a different viewpoint. The last quote, from the current Communist source stating French presence also is incorrect, unless the writer includes the backers of the Rumanians who were clearly the French. The same way as any attack by Hungarian forces in WWII could be described as German and Hungarian attack. After Smuts visit, the French gave free hand to the Rumanians, even if they did always dicuss that with their fellow “Great Powers” in Paris.

    Louis, this is not so simple that “you were there and therefore you know better than….” Let me give you an example. There are people who were on the spot in 1956 and complained about widespread antisemitism. I was also there but I heard only one comment on the street that indicated that the man believed that all Jews were supporters of the regime. Now which active eyewitness is correct? Most likely neither. Only serious research can determine the extent of antisemitism in Budapest in those days.

    But let’s go back to Nicolson. You yourself mentioned that he was prejudiced against Hungarians. Didn’t you notice that he was also prejudiced against Jews? And can you imagine the case of a Hungarian Jew. Double jeopardy. Those passages you mention are loaded with hatred and contempt. And naturally this attitude permeates his diary notes. A historian must take all this into consideration and decide how much Nicolson can be trusted.

    Nicolson’s diary is an important source when it comes to the everyday working of the committee he was on as representative of Great Britain. His descriptions of his conversations with different East European politicians are useful but even here one must be cautious. He loved Benes and hated Bratianu. So even here one must weigh Nicolson’s every word. And this is also so with all contemporary accounts. No one in his right mind would believe every word Horthy says about his own activities in his autobiography, for example.

    And finally, I would love to know who your “current Communist source” is because as far as I know there are no current communist historians in Hungary. Actually, they were very few even in the 1970s and the 1980s. Those historians did remarkably good work and many of their books and articles are still very useful.

  22. June 25, 2012 at 11:11 am | #22

    Dr Balogh. I am well aware of the problems with eyewitness accounts. I have benn at the Radio on 1956 and have not read yet an eyewitness story that was accurate from both the defenders and the attacker’s side. Although I am surprised that you also dismissed yourself as an eyewitness from 1956. I am sure there was some antisemitism in 1956 and I agree that it was not widespread. I also heard statements regarding a captured AVH person that. “don’t hurt him he is Jewish and we don’t want to be accused of antisemitism.”

    Oh yes, Nicholson and many of his compatriots (Seaton-Watson, and most others involved with Hungary from the British side.)were both anti-Hungarian and antisemite by 1919. However, it is interesting to follow R.W Seaton-Watson’s ideas swiching from pro-Hungarian and antisemite to anti-Hungarian and and antisemite after his visits to Hungary around 1904-6.

    Now for the sources, the prejudiced Nicholson stated that Bolgor was a Galician Jew, as it was discussed earlier on the blog, the majority of Jews in Hungary originated either from Moravia or Galicia. He also stated that most those present were Jews. Considering that the red volonteers were assembled by Rothziegel and Kisch, were Jewish, it is not difficult to accept that Jews were over represented in the Austrian contingent. Prof.Phillip M. Brown was one of the few western power reps., who resided in Hungary all through the Bela Kun regime, he stated that most of the arrivals were Jews. You only presumed that the NYT obtained news from either of these two folks without any factual info, You do not have the foggiest idea where the NYT got the info, and even if it was from one these two sources, it adds to the available information.BTW, the NYT converted Rothziegel to Roth and Ziegel….

    The third source is from http://libcom.org/history/rothziegel-leo-1892-1919
    which is perhaps more of an anarcho communist than solely communist site and it is NOT Hungarian, neither was Kisch although it is not clear whether he was present or not, but he also used the Weiss pseudonym, although he did not have the split personality ascribed by the NYT.

  23. June 25, 2012 at 11:31 am | #23

    I wish I had the time to Google the exact opposite of Kovach’s garbage here … I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. Perhaps after I retire and become a Ph.D. historian …

  24. June 25, 2012 at 1:42 pm | #24

    gdfxx:
    “In my opinion there is nothing to be ashamed of as there is nothing to be proud of because let’s say Einstein was Jewish. Each person should be proud or ashamed of himself, maybe of his/her children where some contribution is natural”
    I was trying to be funny giving one more twist to Mutt’s previous commnet of Mr. Kovach being a clost Jew. I guess i was not.
    Nobody should be proud of anything except what one has done and accomplished. On that we agree. And nobody should care about anybody’s race, religion or nationality. I know I dont. But it seems to me, that is not the norm in Hungary.

  25. June 25, 2012 at 3:19 pm | #25

    “>Mutt Damon</I wish I had the time to Google the exact opposite of Kovach’s garbage here … I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. Perhaps after I retire and become a Ph.D. historian "
    I am sorry to disappoint you, but I do not have a Ph.D in history, that attribution goes to Dr Balogh. BTW. I do have a daytime job, as a matter of fact several. History is only a hobby for me.

  26. June 25, 2012 at 3:24 pm | #26

    Louis Kovach :
    I am sorry to disappoint you, but I do not have a Ph.D in history, that attribution goes to Dr Balogh.

    Dang! I’m truly disappointed …

  27. June 25, 2012 at 5:05 pm | #27

    Concerning Louis’s observations on eyewitnesses. As for your presence at the Radio Station it seems that the only true description of the events was yours. Because all others were wrong from both sides. Is it what you wanted to say?

    As for the reporter of the New York Times. Believe me that these guys got all their information from the small western contingent in Budapest. They had no independent sources whether it was in Vienna or in Budapest.

    I still don’t understand how these people just by looking at these wild men knew that they were Jewish. Perhaps they had a preconception.

    As for Jewish immigration. Louis is right about the earlier Moravian and later Galician immigration but according to most historians dealing with the question, the real Galician influx came to a practical halt by the 1860s. So, I must say that Brown and Nicolson must have had fantastic powers to spot a Galician Jew in 1919.

    If I read you right you are convinced that the the 1918-1919 period was somehow the work of Hungarian Jews and foreign Jews poured into the country to help a Jewish cause. I bet that was also what Brown and Nicolson supposed and that’s why they saw Jews in every nook and cranny.

    You might get a kick out of reading these books but I don’t think that the way to a real knowledge of the period.

  28. Ron
    June 25, 2012 at 5:21 pm | #28

    According to Wiki in 1881 (well before 1919) the jews were divided as follows:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Juden_1881.JPG

    As to how they came in this area. They were invited (before 1500) or fled the pogroms.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_Galicia_(Eastern_Europe)

  29. June 26, 2012 at 10:38 am | #29

    Dr Balogh. Well, regarding the events at the Radio, I have not found written info that according to what I have seen is correct in all accounts. I can surmise from either side reasons why some events are incorrectly described. One reason is that many people were there originally, then when the actual fighting took place, the crowd thinned out and it reassembled some in the morning. I consider that some folks fill in events that they did not see at the beginning or at the end. But that is an entirely different subject.
    I have traveled extensively in some areas where the US press has reported wild demonstrations, etc., which have not occurred. It is more convenient to sit in a hotel bar and decribe events inaccurately from hearsay and not evidence.Taken alone, I would not have used the NYT (it did not get better with time!)article, but as a corroboration, I consider it useable. (Regarding the US press, I have made a public statement not to long ago that Japan was struck by three disasters, the earthquake, the tsunami and the US media.)
    Yes, I do claim that there was an inordinately high Jewish participation in the Bela Kun regime and in both the Viennese and Munich “revolutions”. The assistance to Kun, from these areas, who was still in power is not an unusual event.(And yes, I have read the “Myth of Jewish Communism” by Gerrits.
    Regarding Jewish immigration it did not halt by 1860, the “emancipation act of 1867(8) somewhat increased the attraction of settling in Hungary.
    See “During the same period there was a rapid growth of the Jewish population of Hungary, due both to natural increase and immigration from neighboring regions, especially Galicia. The number of Jews had risen to 340,000 by 1850, and in the first population census held in modern Hungary (1869), 542,000 Jews were enumerated.” from http://www.porges.net/JewishHistoryOfHungary.html#The Emancipation Period, 1867-1914

    Near the end of the 19th century Jewish emigration to the US from Hungary has more than balanced the influx, but even then immigration still took place.
    I also posit that the entire gang of Brits who prepared or participated in the Trianon Treaty were very much antisemites, as a matter fact more so than the contemporary Hungarians.

    As I have stated numerous times. the stories of both sides need to be read, and I place more verity in contemporary writings over the later generated “interpretations” of historians who refer only to a previous historian for data or lack of it.

  30. CharlieH
    June 26, 2012 at 3:57 pm | #30

    London Calling!

    What is the point of Louis Lovach?

    Regards

    Charlie

  31. June 26, 2012 at 5:18 pm | #31

    Louis’s post is too long to quote in full. Therefore I will simply concentrate on three topics he mentions.

    (1) I am so glad that there was at least one person at the Radio Station, Louis Kovach, who knows absolutely everything about what happened there. You should share your knowledge with others.

    (2) It is a well known fact that people of Jewish origin held prominent positions in the social democratic movement everywhere, including Hungary. Some of these leaders came from the ranks of the working class but because of the Jewish tradition of learning they became self-educated union and party leaders. Some others were intellectuals whose number again were higher among Jews than among non-Jews. Reason? The same. The proportion of high school graduates in the first couple of decades of the 20th century among Jews was four times that of non-Jews. Hence high number of people of Jewish decent at the universities.

    A minority, especially one that had been discriminated against in the past, has an affinity with the downtrodden and the position of the working class poor wasn’t exactly enviable in those days.

    The so-called progressive intellectuals were actually sympathetic to the Bolshevik revolution. Naively they seemed to have believed in the coming of a new wonderful age. It is a mistake to judge the sentiments of these people from hindsight. They didn’t know what Lenin or Stalin would bring. But even among them there were people who became disillusioned quite early.

    I still maintain that Nicolson’s impressions at the Hungarian Embassy in Vienna are colored by his deep-seated antisemitism.

    (3) You come up with an internet site that supposes to be the final word on Jewish immigration. The source is pretty useless. No footnotes, we don’t know the qualifications of the author. I, on the other hand, went to János Gyurgyák’s A zsidókérdés Magyarországon where there is a short summary of the demographic changes between 1930 and 1870. In brief, books written on the subject can’t even agree on numbers. However, everybody agrees that the Jewish population of Hungary grew faster than that of the non-Jews. Immigration was a factor but also the higher birthrate and the much lower deathrate. Here are a few numbers. Between 1866 and 1870 the rate of population growth was 14% while nationwide it was only 8.5%.By the 1880 it was twice of the national average. Apparently, that great difference was caused by a much lower death rate among Hungarian Jews.

    As for Galician immigration in particular, according to László Varga who wrote an article on Jewish Immigration to Hungary in Századok (1992) Galician immigration came to a halt around 1850. According to another expert, György Haraszti, it continued into the 1850s and 1860s. You must understand that it is not enough to find an internet site and without further research or anything consider it the final word on the subject.

  32. June 29, 2012 at 11:59 am | #32

    Dr. Balogh.
    1) I did not say that I am the only one who knows what happened at the Radio Station in 1956, I said that so far I have not read anything that was completely correct. I am sure many; many other folks have seen it the same way, because they were there and because they do not have an ax to grind.
    2) Since I read your blog, you incessantly “judge sentiments of (these) people from hindsight”.
    Apparently, you do not expect that those who thought that Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism was so wonderful were not as smart as you claim, exactly for the reason of believing that claptrap.
    I claim that neither in Russia nor in Hungary the Bolshevists were a small minority even among the progressives (whoever those were, that term are recent and were not used in those days). The working class poor was only a tool for them, they were unabashedly power hungry, it was really not “all power to the soviets” but “all power to us”. William McCagg has a more reasonable explanation than your attempt for the attraction to communism.9J.S.H Vol.6, 1, pp78-105, 1989.
    I am not denying the holocaust or the cruel treatment of the Jews, but I expect others not deny that –at least in Hungary the overwhelming communist cadre were Jewish both in 1919 and after WW II, at least until the Kadar regime. H. Seaton-Watson claimed that the “popularity of communism among young Jews in East Central Europe was a largely negative choice, because they could look forward to nothing”. This cannot be acceptable for Hungary of the late 1800 early 1900s, because with the possible exception of the USA, nowhere was the upward mobility of the Jews more evident.
    I also claim that prior to WWI there was no minority in Europe that had as good a chance for upward mobility as the Jews in Hungary.
    Nicholson, Seaton Watson, C.J.C Street, Wickham Stead and most of their cohorts were violent anti-Semites and their influence on the Trianon outcome was very strong and they included (or almost equated) the Hungarians with the Jews in their dislike. But that fact does not make their observations useless, it only needs filtering.

    3) History is put together from individual and collective experience descriptions. You claim that a Jewish family’s rather well written site is “pretty useless” because their description does not match your opinion. I used that site, because I thought it represented well a date at which Jewish immigration to Hungary did not stop. Thereafter you get into a sociological discussion without comparative evaluation.
    Let’s first look at Jewish immigration to Hungary data. Perhaps, a to you almost acceptable source, of Szekfu-Homan Vol. V page 249 for the early dates. Gives the Jewish population in 1785 -75,000, in1805 -127,000, in 1840 -241,000 and in the same volume page 552: for 1848 -241,000, 1870- 550,000, 1900 -831,000 and 1914 -935,000. Now consider that in the latter part of these times extensive emigration to the USA also occurred. Your birth/death rate contribution is lame if the Jewish population growth of Hungary in these periods is compared with the Cisleithanian percentage growths. For 1880, 1890, 1900 and 1910 first the Cisleithanian percentages of 4.54, 4.78, 4,68 and 4,60 while for Hungary (less Croatia) 4.60, 4.70, 4.90 and 5.00 (Source Wandriszka & Urbanitsch “Die Habsburgermonarchie 1848-1918”, Vol. 3 Pages 882-883.) The differences show that public health improvements alone do not account for the continued Jewish increase in Hungary. It is also worthwhile to state that the public health improvements occurred mainly in the bigger cities and not in the countryside. A Joint aid visit in 1926 in Subcarpathia still stated that the public health conditions were those of the 1500. Even though the area was under the “democratic” occupation of the Czechs for 7 years by then.

  33. June 29, 2012 at 12:07 pm | #33

    “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
    ― Stephen Hawking

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