An open letter to Tamás Fellegi in Washington
The reason for our open letter is that Tamás Fellegi, former minister of national development, minister in charge of the IMF negotiations and adviser to Viktor Orbán, spoke before the members of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
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Gyömrő, February 27, 2013
Dear Mr. Fellegi,
You claimed prior to your appearance before the congressional committee that all democratic forces in Hungary stand in unison against antisemitism and that not one of the mainstream political parties in Hungary is antisemitic or racist.
You were quoted as saying that it is very hard for a country to be shielded against racism, including antisemitism, and indeed you are right, especially if one considers that in the preamble of the new constitution the present Hungarian government considers itself the direct successor to the Horthy regime while it does not take responsibility for the most important events of the Hungarian Holocaust, including the deportations of Jewish citizens. Or, when the Kossuth Square in front of the Hungarian parliament building is being refashioned as it was in 1944, the worst year of the Holocaust.
It is difficult to confront racism and antisemitism when our minister in charge of education and culture, Zoltán Balog, and the deputy speaker of the House, Sándor Lezsák, while still in opposition unveiled the statue of Ottokár Prohászka, Catholic bishop and member of parliament, who was the author of Europe’s first racist legislation, the so-called Numerus Clausus of 1920 that made antisemitism part of the Hungarian legal system.
In the new constitution Christianity is mentioned as Hungary’s only religious heritage, excluding other faiths, while Hungarian Reformed Bishop Gusztáv Bölcskei unveiled a plaque honoring Regent Miklós Horthy, who bears the foremost responsibility for the Hungarian Holocaust. He did that in the presence of a banned neo-Nazi paramilitary organization called Magyar Gárda. And this celebration took place in the famous Reformed College of Debrecen where many of the greats of Hungarian culture studied: the sin of the Holocaust is elevated to the status of memorials to János Arany, Mihály Vitéz Csokonai, and Zsigmond Móricz.
How can societal memory function when the government maintains a Holocaust Institute but at the same time an undersecretary and a Fidesz mayor collect donations for a statue of Miklós Horthy in Budapest?
The Hungarian Parliament enacted a law mandating that all public places and organizations that are named after people whose ideology is not to the liking of the current government must be changed. We are not talking about politicians connected to the Rákosi or Kádár regimes but those who had anything to do with the trade union movement or early social democracy. At the same time there are more and more streets being named after people who are responsible for the anti-Jewish laws of the 1920s and 1930s or the Holocaust. In the last two decades at least a dozen institutions have been named after Ottokár Prohászka. The situation is the same with racist and antisemitic politicians, for example Prime Minister Pál Teleki. Statues and streets carry his name. He was prime minister when the Numerus Clausus was enacted and he was responsible for the text of the second and third anti-Jewish laws. There are at least 50 statues of the antisemitic Albert Wass who was condemned to death in absentia as a war criminal in Romania after the war. József Nyirő, who was an admirer of Hitler and who remained a member of the Hungarian parliament even after the Arrow Cross take-over, was reburied at government expense, an event organized by László Kövér. By that act Kövér violated the Romanian law banning the adulation of war criminals. A law that doesn’t exist in Hungary.
Miklós Horthy, who bears a major responsibility for the Holocaust, was reburied in the presence of several government officials and members of parliament in 1993. A member of that government was Péter Boross, an open sympathizer with the Horthy regime, who is the chairman of the National Memorial and Reverence Committee. In Kenderes, a small town where the Horthy family’s residence is situated, there is a permanent exhibition in which Horthy’s role in the Holocaust is not even mentioned. Today in Kenderes there is official Holocaust denial. On the other hand, one can hear a lot of irredentist propaganda from the tour guides.
In 2000 Hungary signed the Declaration of the Stockholm International Holocaust Forum that obliged the signatories, including Hungary, to teach and disseminate information about the events of the Holocaust. The state of affairs described above doesn’t jibe with these declared obligations.
Since Miklós Horthy’s reburial in Kenderes eight towns honored the former governor either by erecting statues or by naming public places after him–Szeged, Páty, Csókakő, Kereki, Gyömrő, Debrecen, Harc, Kunhegyes–as well as three districts in Budapest. Most of these occurred in 2012. While irredentist national flags (országzászlók), the so-called Árpád-striped flags recalling the Arrow Cross Party of Ferenc Szálasi, are prominently displayed in several towns and villages, the government organized an exhibit in the Holocaust Center about the very same flag’s role in the Holocaust.
For a number of years the Military Museum has organized a remembrance for the “Day of the Breakthrough” of German and Hungarian troops from the Hungarian capital that was surrounded by Soviet troops. Sometimes the day is called the “Day of Honor,” borrowing the term from the Waffen-SS’s motto. On the wall of the museum is a plaque honoring the gendarmes who were entrusted with the deportation of the Hungarian Jews in the summer of 1944. All this is happening while the Criminal Code (§269/C) states that the denial of the Holocaust is a punishable act.
Hungary thus disgraces the memory of the Holocaust and denies the responsibility of the Hungarian state and society. How can the country integrate itself into the European culture of remembrance this way? How can one government undersecretary attend a Holocaust Memorial while another collects money for a Horthy statue? How can they dedicate a year of remembrance to Raoul Wallenberg while the works of racist, antisemitic writers are made part of the school curriculum? Or how can someone–namely Ottokár Prohászka–be deemed a propagator of antisemitic ideas by the Holocaust Center while at least a dozen mostly educational institutions bear his name?
You claim that only the far-right Jobbik is an antisemitic party. However, open neo-Nazi demagoguery goes on unchecked in the Hungarian Parliament even from an MP who happens to be the editor-in-chief of a weekly magazine. The banned Magyar Gárda can parade in military formation with government permission. The government with a two-thirds majority doesn’t move a finger to enforce the law on hate speech.
While in December Antal Rogán, a leading member of the government party, stood by the demonstrators against the infamous Márton Gyöngyösi (Jobbik) who suggested keeping lists of Jews, in February another important member of Fidesz, Lajos Kósa, mayor of Debrecen, made one of the cultural institutions of the city available for Gyöngyösi to deliver a lecture there.
We ask Tamás Fellegi to admit that in Hungary there is a glorification, with the active assistance of the government, of those responsible for the Holocaust. Admit that Hungary is incapable of admitting responsibility for the death of 600,000 Hungarian victims. Admit that Hungary is incapable of recognizing the danger of neo-Nazi ideology fostered by legislators. The Hungarian government is idly watching the ever increasing racism that once already ended in a series of murders. This is a greater problem than the racism of one party.
We ask you to take legislative steps to end the glorification of people who are responsible for the Holocaust—Miklós Horthy, Ferenc Szálasi and members of the government between 1941 and 1945 in addition to those who voted for the Numerus Clausus, among them Ottokár Prohászka and Pál Teleki, and all those who took an active part in spreading racist ideologies, for example Albert Wass, József Nyirő, and Cécile Tormay. Memorials, places suitable for pilgrimages by extremists, plaques, and museums devoted to war criminals should be removed and their erection in the future forbidden.
According to the Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum it is the Holocaust Memorial Center and the Hungarian school system that are responsible for documenting Hungarian events accurately. We can remember these events on international and Hungarian days of remembrance without a denial of the past and without the glorification of those responsible.
Környezet-, Ifjúság- és Gyermekvédelmi Egyesület (KIGYE), Gyömrő /A civic group that protested the renaming a park Miklós Horthy Park
Those were exactly the same misgivings I had reading the Fellegi statement
Lots of ammunition here…and the writer of this open letter didn’t even mention CSATARY!
Fidesz does with the Jewish issue what it does with the EU. Fellegi speaks abroad about all the wonderful things that they do for the Jews, but back at home they do the opposite. While Fidesz embraces the EU while in front of them, they spend millions of forints on advertising to discredit the EU in Hungary. The list about all the wonderful things Orban did for the Jews is like a decorations on a Christmas tree, it makes the tree look wonderful but in reality the tree is drying away.
..and the Uj Szinhaz and its repertoire.
I sent a copy of the open letter to MD Senator Ben Cardin, a strong supporter of democracy in Hungary.
Treaty of peace with Hungary. Signed at Paris, on 10 February 1947
Hungary, which in accordance with the Armistice Agreement has taken measures for dissolving all organisations of a Fascist type on Hungarian territory, whether political, military or para-military, as well as other organisations conducting propaganda, including revisionist propaganda, hostile to the United Nations, shall not permit in future the existence and activities of organisations of that nature which have as their aim denial to the people of their democratic rights.
1. Hungary undertakes that in all cases where the property, legal rights
or interests in Hungary of persons under Hungarian jurisdiction have, since
September 1, 1939, been the subject of measures of sequestration, confiscation
or control on account of the racial origin or religion of such persons, the said
property, legal rights and interests shall be restored together with their accessories
or, if restoration is impossible, that fair compensation shall be made therefor.
2. All property, rights and interests in Hungary of persons, organisations
or communities which, individually or as members of groups, were the object
of racial, religious or other Fascist measures of persecution, and remaining
heirless or unclaimed for six months after the coming into force of the present
Treaty, shall be transferred by the Hungarian Government to organisations in
Hungary representative of such persons, organisations or communities. The
property transferred shall be used by such organisations for purposes of relief
and rehabilitation of surviving members of such groups, organisations and com
munities in Hungary. Such transfer shall be effected within twelve months from
the coming into force of the Treaty, and shall include property, rights and
interests required to be restored under paragraph 1 of this Article.
Dear Eva: agree.
Another Hungarian politician with a forked tongue
And of course the mantra: It’s all someone else’s fault!
Eva, the end of the letter is missing. Without the signature it is not clear either who the writer is (I assume you…) Can you upload it again? Thanks.
It was there. A civic group that fought against naming a park Miklós Horthy Park. But I made it even clearer since.
We have much bigger problems in Hungary than the so-called “anti-semitism”.
Why do we allow a tiny minority to have such influence over politics, media and finances.
Try to bring this subject up, and they will quickly issue the popular “anti-semite” label.
It’s getting tired, no debate, no discussion, no disagreement only the good old label.
What if Jewish groups use their influence to harm the interests of Hungary? What are we allowed to do then? Jewish pressure groups are capable of creating such horrible fear, it forced opposing parties to march together, not for the benefit of Hungary, but to show their undying support for the dual citizens of Israel, who for some reason are permitted to become members of the parliament. We have to declare all Jews as saints to enjoy such protection, and we all know there are many Jews who are not exactly little angels.
Now before you delete this post or give me the usual “anti-semite” award, let me remind you that I don’t care about ethnicity, no one can choose their parents. My problem is with hostile Jewish and Zionist groups and their members, who are busy pushing their own selfish agenda, in many cases against the benefit of the Hungarian people. Is that wrong?
This idiotic troll called “Stan” used to be on pol.hu too, always whining about “hostile Zionists” etc – now what hostile actions against Hungary are the Zionists responsible for ?
Stan is writing about a real problem. An attack of Hungary is hurting the feelings of many decent Hungarians.
My longest decent good friend is very upset with me.
Many-many decent Hungarians understand that the attacks are directed at those few Hungarians who destroyed the decency of the nations.
We have to refrain from generalizations in general. Can it be a pledge from all?
Stan and other decent Hungarians will be welcome on our side and we must promise that we will be careful.
I hope that Stan will work with us to reform the regime, and that Stan will see some of the failures and crimes of the Orban regime.
Nobody is generalizing here. You and Stan are big time anti-Semites. Where is the generalization in this?
“You and Stan are big time anti-Semites”
Based on what?
Can you even explain what “anti-semite” is supposed to mean these days?
Is it better or worse than anti-gentile or anti-Hungarian?
Calling me an “anti-semite” is not an intelligent answer, it only proves my point.
You can do better than that. Why would you lower yourself to the level of trolls like Mutt and wolfi. Please answer my above questions, I’m seriously curious.
What if Jewish groups use their influence to harm the interests of Hungary?
The above is and always was ant-Semitism. Here you have it.
Let me guess. Now you will go: “but it’s true …” So is your anti-Semitism.
Hah, no antisemitism here, Stan, of course…. I can understand if somebody does not like the idea of double citizens becoming members of the parliament (in some countries it is allowed, in some not) … but if you are so concerned, how come you are only concerned about Hungarian-Israeli citizens??? Please.
Stan is a deranged troll. Don’t feed him.
So telling the truth qualifies me as an “anti-semite” in your strange world.
Obviously I came to the wrong place for a debate. This is abuse…
We’re talking about “anti-semitism” so it’s about Jews and Israel, right?
I don’t mind double citizens as long as they are Hungarians, holding citizenship of one of the neighboring countries. Just because the territory and the people were donated to Slovakia or Romania, etc. by the shameful Trianon Treaty, they are still Hungarians, and have a place in our Parliament.
Israel is far away, if someone refuses to become Hungarian, we have the right to question his loyalty. Nothing anti-semite about that, it’s common sense. Unlike Israel, we welcome foreigners, no questions about ethnicity or religion. As long as they are willing and able to integrate, respect our culture and way of life, we have no problems with them.
It’s a fact: Israel has a long history of spying on its allies, and use unorthodox methods to promote its own interests. We prefer people in our Parliament who represent Hungarians.
Of course there is a shortage of patriotic MPs, and an oversupply of greedy, corrupt career politicians, but that’s another story…
“We’re talking about “anti-semitism” so it’s about Jews and Israel, right?”
No. Anti-Semitism is, as it’s name suggests, being racist towards Jews (and, technically, towards Arabs, as they are also Semites). Being anti-Israel is like being anti any other country (South Africa, Iran, North Korea) because of it’s political activities, attitude to minorities, illegal possession of territory, etc, etc. There are plenty of Jews who are anti-Israel, and plenty of non-Jews who are pro-Israel.
And, while we’re on the topic of un-thought-through, simplistic, notions – my kids (white, and non-Jewish) have both Hungarian and UK citizenship, and the UK is even further away than Israel, so does that mean you would ban them from ever being in the Hungarian parliament too?
Think before you post – it’s always safest.
I’m not Jewish but I’m all for having Jews in powerful positions in Hungary.
A friend of mine (also not Jewish) has a funny saying, “I don’t know if there’s a ‘Jewish conspiracy’ in Hungary or not, but if there is, I’m all for it! The Jews know how to run things here, while the non-Jews just screw things up.” He’s right, I have to say.
“The Jews” know nothing. Some Jews, some Hungarians, some Brits, some Americans know how to run some things, and some others don’t.
THe tiny minority is maybe better qualified to certain positions then the majority? You know how it is.. the best runners lately are form Africa. THey are minority in the Olympic world, so should we outlaw them, so they do not take all the medals?
Your problem is that indeed you are racist and an anti-semite. WHy? Because you say that “Jewish groups”, instead of Hungarian Jews. You say is a minority group, but not once you say they are Hungarian.
How many Jewish groups are you aware of in Hungary that works for Israel? You are such a baby.
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