Hungarian media reaction to the U.S. Helsinki Commission’s hearing on Hungary

Now that the U.S. Helsinki Commission’s hearing on Hungary is over, let’s take a look at how much Hungarian citizens learned about what transpired in Washington on March 19. MTI’s Washington correspondent was present and sent very brief summaries. Judging from the precise dating of the MTI reports, all four or five reports were written while the hearing was going on. All of them, with the exception of the description of József Szájer’s speech, were extremely short. Benjamin Cardin and Brent Hartley merited only 137 words while Kim Scheppele’s fairly lengthy testimony was summarized in 135 words. Not much can be said about such complex topics as the constitution, the rule of law, antisemitism, and the Holocaust in only a few sentences. The description of Szájer’s speech was extensive (634 words). By way of comparison, most of my posts are between 900 and 1,200 words.

Helsinki CommissionNot surprisingly, the right-wing papers that were not too eager to publicize the criticisms of the Orbán government from the three people who testified simply copied out MTI’s reports, playing up Szájer’s speech and giving practically no coverage to what Benjamin Cardin, Brent Hartley, Kim Scheppele, Sylvana Habdank-Kolaczkowska, or Paul Shapiro had to say.

However, thanks to modern technology and the well-prepared newspapermen of Népszabadság, HVG,  and Index, a more balanced account reached the Hungarian public almost simultaneously with MTI’s super-short reports. The first to report was Népszabadság, about 20 minutes after the hearing ended. The headline repeated what Kim Scheppele had said during her testimony: “Hungary is on the verge of tyranny.” In the article itself the journalist offered a short (316 words) description of what transpired during the proceedings.

It was nearly twenty-four hours later that Magyar Nemzet first mentioned the names of Ben Cardin, Brent Hartley, and Kim Scheppele. Paul Shapiro, it seems, was not considered important enough to be mentioned by name. He was described merely as “one of the employees of the U.S. Holocaust Museum.” Neither Sylvana Habdank-Kolaczkowska nor Freedom House was mentioned at all. Kim Scheppele was described as “the loudest [leghangosabb] critic of the Hungarian government.” By the way, one normally talks about the “severest [legkeményebb] critic.” “Loudest” carries the connotation of lacking substance or foundation.

Now let’s see how József Szájer and Gergely Gulyás viewed the hearing itself, the American officials, and their own roles in the proceedings. Up to now I haven’t written much about Gergely Gulyás, who is the rising star of Fidesz. He is in his early 30s, good looking, and way above the run-of-the-mill Fidesz-KDNP party hacks in mental ability. Gulyás’s role seemed to be to hand two books on Hungary to Senator Cardin. Apparently one of them was on the police brutality in September-October 2006. Otherwise he silently sat next to Szájer while the latter delivered his speech. It was clear from his expression that Gulyás was extremely satisfied with Szájer and most likely admired one of the founders of the party for his eloquence.

Szájer immediately gave a telephone interview to a reporter of a new outfit called Hungarian Globe, which is part of Mandiner, an Internet paper run by young conservatives. Besides this one interview and the texts of the testimonies I found nothing else on the Hungarian Globe site. According to Szájer, “the level of interest was rather weak, only one U.S. senator who is the chairman and no congressmen showed up.” Otherwise the hearing was not properly balanced because “the other three witnesses were heavily critical of the Hungarian situation. The verdict was already decided before the trial, but at least Gergely Gulyás and I had the chance to make our contributions.” (Gulyás’s only contribution was the lecture he gave Cardin about the proper pronunciation of his name.) Szájer complained that “the chairman sometimes wasn’t even sure which country the hearing was about. He mentioned Austria a couple of times instead of Hungary.” On the other hand, he felt that the chairman “showed a positive attitude towards my offer [of dialogue] and understood my message.” As for the quality of the other participants, “we heard numerous biased, partly or completely untrue remarks.” He was especially critical of Paul Shapiro who was accused of “a number of false and misleading details during his testimony…. I was expecting a more correct approach.”

Gergely Gulyás also talked to journalists, and to Index he repeated the same belief that no one is really interested in Hungary in the U.S. government because members of the Committee were not present. He even claimed that most of the people present were reporters. I talked to people who attended the hearing, and they reported that this simply was not true. The hearing was held in a small room for forty people and seventy people were present. Several people stood along the walls for two solid hours. Index also stressed that the Helsinki Commission is in fact a very important body with big names from both sides of the aisle.

All in all, the coverage was skimpy, although it became a convenient forum for taking the occasional pot shot at the U.S.. One Internet website from Pécs talked about “American darkness [homály],” implying ignorance. Many right-wing papers made fun of Ben Cardin, portraying him as senile because he didn’t even know what country the hearing was about. One gets so tired of the old joke about Americans who mix up Budapest and Bucharest. Now we will hear about mixing up Hungary with Austria.

I would not, however, take the criticism of Brent Hartley of the State Department lightly. His words carried a serious warning, and he made it clear at the end of his speech that his message reflects the views of the U.S. State Department. Although I think Szájer comported himself well, the evidence against the Hungarian government is too solid to be shaken by a list of cleverly constructed half-truths. It is possible that his forcefully delivered speech might mislead someone not thoroughly familiar with the facts, but those responsible for Hungary and the region in the State Department will not be swayed by Szájer’s twisting of the truth.

68 comments

  1. “As for the quality of the other participants, “we heard numerous biased, partly or completely untrue remarks.” He was especially critical of Paul Shapiro who was accused of “a number of false and misleading details during his testimony…. I was expecting a more correct approach.””

    I would be curious to hear Mr. Szajer’s detailed listing of the “false and misleading details” or even better, a debate between him and Paul Shapiro on the truthfulness of the “details”.

  2. “Now we will hear about mixing up Hungary with Austria.”

    It’s easy to tell which is which – just wait for the next big snow storm. One side of the border the roads will be clear, the other side people will be dying in their cars, whilst’ voluteers’ struggle with shovels.

  3. Győr Calling!

    That the Helsinki Commission’s hearings should receive trivial coverage and unbalanced reportage is no surprise.

    The state of the media is, after all, one of their main concerns – and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    In addition Szájer can do an ‘Orban’ – “I slapped them around the face a little!” on his hero’s return to BP.

    Which makes me wonder why he was given this propaganda coup in the first place – after all (2) he could have been expected to warp the truth as he did.

    It will be testimony which will be difficult to refute.

    My interpretation versus your’s.

    Cardin was far too polite with him – but this was contrasted by the carefully balanced negative observations.

    Szájer will have great difficulty explaining away the long-term holes in the constitution – when he said don’t worry about your interpretation of the law – it is untested so won’t happen! (At least this is my interpretation of what he said – and is the exact opposite of what lawyers try to achieve with tightly drawn, nailed down, law – where even a miss-placed comma can cause no end of trouble!) This may well turn round and bite him unexpectedly later on.

    Such arrogance too.

    So the Hungarian people will, in the main, be ignorant of the inquiry – neatly buried in the media, in a language that few understand.

    Job done Mr Szájer, job done.

    Regards

    Charlie

  4. I did not hear these mix-ups when I was there–and I was only 2 rows behind Mr. Szajer. Anyone hear them from the video? I did notice that Mr. Hartley mis-pronounced ‘Fidesz’ as ‘fides’. But perhaps, like many, I hear what I want to hear.

  5. Somehow OT or not. Fidesz’ incompetence and lies at work: Apparently Fidesz is accusing Bajnai for collecting personal information and passing it on to foreign identities. On Bajnai’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BajnaiGordon?fref=ts you can click and sign up to Egyutt 2014 movement. THey ask you name, email address, postal code. According to Fidesz they also implant a “software” into the computers of those who signed up. THis is all illegal! Yes? NO!!!! THe “software” they are talking about are “cookies” or “suit” in Hungarian , and almost any website you visit plants this in your computer. Fidesz has cookies, so does Viktor Orban. THese dimwits have no idea about the Internet and computers whatsoever. You do not believe me? DId you ever visit Fidesz’ or Orban’s home page? If you did, go to your browser preferences, then go to your privacy, and under you will be able to see the cookies that are planted in your computer. Facebook (is the foreign network obviously Fidesz is so afraid of) has a cookie. THey track your behaviour on Facebook and otherwise. THey track not only Bajnai’s visitors, but anyone’s visitors. Check your cookies, you will also find Fidesz.hu and Fidesz.com planted a cookie. If it is not there, just visit their site, and check your cookies again and will be there.
    Apparently Fidesz following up with some complaint they received. Well, I am going to make a screenshot of the Fidesz cookie, the Orban cookie and so forth, and I suggest you should all do the same and file a claim against Orban and Fidesz. WHat idiots!!!

  6. CharlieH :
    Cardin was far too polite with him – but this was contrasted by the carefully balanced negative observations.

    I had the same reaction but then I said: this politeness is not for Szajer, it is for the friendly allied country.

  7. Gretchen :
    I did not hear these mix-ups when I was there–and I was only 2 rows behind Mr. Szajer. Anyone hear them from the video? I did notice that Mr. Hartley mis-pronounced ‘Fidesz’ as ‘fides’. But perhaps, like many, I hear what I want to hear.

    I heard the Senator once saying Austr and then quickly correct it to Hungary.

  8. Gretchen yes he did – twice…mention Austria when he meant Hungary.

    I squirmed.

    Bit of a diplomatic gaff, I’m afraid.

  9. CharlieH :
    Gretchen yes he did – twice…mention Austria when he meant Hungary.
    I squirmed.
    Bit of a diplomatic gaff, I’m afraid.

    From my memory Cardin said Austria in a question to Szájer when clearly he meant Hungary. Szájer made the most of it claiming he didn’t understand the question. It was just a slip of the tongue. If FIDESZ and its supporters wish to make any more of it than that, well, that speaks volumes about them. Cardin’s message was pretty clear: what is happening in Hungary matters as much for what it means for other countries in the region and the possibility that the “Hungarian disease” would spread. Other countries may be emboldened by what they see happening in Hungary and the fact that Hungary is “getting away with it”. The warning is clear.

  10. Mr.Shapiro, who calls himself “lobbyist for the truth”, is free to express his political views and interpretations of history as he likes, and I have no objections to it. At the same time when he seeks to buttress his views with “historical facts”, fact checking should be in order. His testimony is replete with inaccuracies; here are a few.
    On page 3, he states that “invasion of Hungary by German forces in mid October” when in fact Hungary was invaded by the Germans on March 18, 1944.
    The “Hungarian military suffered some 300,000 casualties during the war” is incorrect. According to a number of published sources, the figures are considerably higher.
    The Vienna Accords, that returned parts of Transylvania with a majority of Hungarian population to Hungary was not “violation of post WWI national boundaries” but a mutually agreed to and signed agreement by the governments of Italy, Germany, Romania and Hungary.
    Contrary what is stated in the testimony, Hungarian Army did not participate in the battle for Stalingrad.
    Istvan Deak in several of his published works, clearly states that the number of victims of the Hungarian Holocaust cannot be determined accurately. His numbers are lower than what we read in the testimony.
    Wass Albert was sentenced to death before his trial for things he did not do. A number of sources, that are available, clearly show it. Under the Freedom of Information Act I obtained all the documents on Albert Wass from the U.S, Government and there is nothing to implicate Wass of any crimes. The U.S. government refused the request of the Romanian government to extradite him. Interestingly, Albert Wass’ son graduated first in his class at West Point and later became a general of the U.S. Army. Had his father been a war criminal, as Mr. Shapiro writes, he never would have been admitted to the select few of the U.S. Army.
    Checking facts is time consuming, but certainly necessary.

  11. @ Csaba K. Zoltani

    Is that all? You missed that Shapiro also failed to pronounce ‘Jobbik’, ‘Nyilas’ or ‘Szálasi’ with the correct Hungarian pronunciation.

    But apart from that, all the rest of his testimony was fine, right?

  12. @Csaba – it is also time consuming to fact check a presumed fact checkers “facts”.

    Deborah S. Cornelius. 2011. Hungary in World War II: Caught in the Cauldron. Fordham University Press, New York.

    Pages 217 to 218.

    Hungarian 2nd Army held the northeastern flank.

    What are your sources fact checker?

  13. Important news just in from the Ministry of Truth!

    Ferenc Kumin has managed to find out some FACTS about the Helsinki Commission hearing. I wonder if Csaba K. Zoltani has time to fact check it for us.

    Anyway, apart from the hearing having almost no-one in the audience, Ferenc, has also managed to find “other members of the US Congress” (actually, only one) who thinks Orban is right.

    Apparently, according to Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey (I don’t know anything about him), constitutional checks are alive and well. Good news, everyone!

    http://ferenckumin.tumblr.com/

  14. I keep hearing about this “conversation among equals”. I have news for Mr. Kumin and Mr. Szajer: the USA and Hungary are not equals. One is the world’s strongest democracy with a constitution that is the base of all its laws, one that is respected; the other one is a small operetta tyranny of a group of mobsters, its strength is represented by parades of huszars, with a constitution that is ignored and modified any moment a government decision contradicts it. And then I am ignoring some of the other reasons for the two countries not being equal…

  15. @csaba zoltani

    If I were you, I would not bring up the second Vienna award, aka Northern Transylvania.

    Without the 151,000 Jews, another 15,000 people considered Jews, the Gypsies (most of them counted as Hungarians in the 1941 Hungarian census) and the Romanians that were expelled or fled in 1940-1941, the Hungarians were a minority.

  16. @Csaba,

    What he actually wrote on page 3 – “After Horthy was ousted following the invasion of Hungary by German forces in mid-October, in the wake of a last-minute attempt to extricate Hungary from its alliance with Hitler (Soviet troops were already advancing across the country’s borders), the Hungarian fascist Arrow Cross Party (Nyilas) government that took over had no such hesitation. ”

    Shapiro was talking about the date that Horthy was ousted, not when the invasion occurred. Horthy was taken to the western train station by German troops on Oct. 17th.

    You should read more carefully when “fact checking”.

  17. As an ignorant Brit, can I just ask a rather obvious question – what was the point of this hearing?

    Does the Helsinki Commission have any power to do anything about what it discovers – even if that’s just to ask the US government to do something? Is it a part of the US government? When it reports, what happens as a result of those reports?

    It’s good to hear all these condemnations of Orbán, but if that’s all it is he’ll just ignore it – what we need is for the US to DO something. Is that likely to happen as a result of this?

    Sorry for ignorant questions, but we don’t have anything like this over here.

  18. Antony Beevor in his book Stalingrad, the Fateful Siege, Viking 1998, on page 64 has a map showing the position of the different army groups. The German 6th Army covers the left flank while the Hungarian 2nd Army is several hundred km away according to the map. No, the Hungarians did not participate in the battle for Stalingrad.

  19. Being one of the people who had to stand along the wall in this very cramped hearing room, I can attest to the thoroughness of the testimony provided by the American panel of experts. Kim Scheppele’s presentation was quite well researched and based on primary sources, including daily readings of Magyar Kozlony, to keep track of changes toi the constitution that most Hungarians likely are not familiar with. I found it shocking that Szajer pressed the argumnent that extraordinary measures were needed to stave off the crisis (near bankruptcy) in 2010, meaning the need to rewrite the constitution and toss out 20 years of constitutional case law to boot, as well as to ensure that changes to the constitution don’t receive any sort of review or vote by the populace. With Fidesz’s overtures to far right voters, and its attempt to rehabilitate Arrow Cross ideologues, this evokes the memory of the latter days of the Weimar republic and the need to “justify” total control to save the republic. Its all very disturbing, indeed, and although I would argue that Horthy was not Hungarys Hitler, the veneration of Horthy to cult-like status (along with writers like Nyiro) by extremist elements in the country will not bode well for its democracy. Democracy after all is not simply about the right to vote but also the protection of civil liberties and freedoms of ALL its citizens. It doesnt help the cause of liberty perhaps, that Hungarian-American organizations in the US such as the AHF and HRFA pander to the cause of a “greater Hungary”. It may be nostalgic and harmless rhetoric in the US but I’m guessing such talk in Hungary only stokes the aspirations of extremist, irredentist elements that are still fighting the last war. Americans ARE interested in Hungary, and the number of Senators/Congressmen who attend the hearing does not signal the sincerity of that interest.

  20. Csaba K. Zoltani :
    Antony Beevor in his book Stalingrad, the Fateful Siege, Viking 1998, on page 64 has a map showing the position of the different army groups. The German 6th Army covers the left flank while the Hungarian 2nd Army is several hundred km away according to the map. No, the Hungarians did not participate in the battle for Stalingrad.

    You have a rather limited definition of a battle. The Battle for Stalingrad did not compromise fighting only in the city of it immeadte environs. It was a regional operation not a fight for a hilltop. The Germans deployed forces from several nations to protect their flanks to try and prevent the Russians from encircling them. The Russians did attack these protective flanks that were comprised to Hungarian and Romanian forces. The Hungarian army protected a 200 km line as part of the battle for Stalingrad.

    This is what Shapiro was referring to, and you can not legitimately claim he made a false statement.

    The Hungarian 2nd Army were not tourists on a sightseeing tour. What do you think the Hungarian Army was doing there at that time?

  21. Csaba K. Zoltani :
    Interestingly, Albert Wass’ son graduated first in his class at West Point and later became a general of the U.S. Army. Had his father been a war criminal, as Mr. Shapiro writes, he never would have been admitted to the select few of the U.S. Army.

    Admission to to West Point is not based on the parents origin or their ideology. It is based on a recommendation by a US House member.

  22. I am not familiar with any book, and I have access to quite a number, including the recently published Don Kanyar Don Bend 1942-1943, that describes the Honved 2nd Army as having anything to do or even being close to Stalingrad. These books have maps but these do not even show Stalingrad. To claim that the Hungarian Army fought in the battle of Stalingrad, is simply mistaken.

  23. Csaba K. Zoltani :
    Antony Beevor in his book Stalingrad, the Fateful Siege, Viking 1998, on page 64 has a map showing the position of the different army groups. The German 6th Army covers the left flank while the Hungarian 2nd Army is several hundred km away according to the map. No, the Hungarians did not participate in the battle for Stalingrad.

    I think it you actually read the book rather than just look at the pictures you’ll see that the Hungarian army was engaged in the battle. They just didn’t make it into the city.

  24. Csaba K. Zoltani :
    I am not familiar with any book, and I have access to quite a number, including the recently published Don Kanyar Don Bend 1942-1943, that describes the Honved 2nd Army as having anything to do or even being close to Stalingrad. These books have maps but these do not even show Stalingrad. To claim that the Hungarian Army fought in the battle of Stalingrad, is simply mistaken.

    This is a completely ridiculous sidebar. No one said they were in the city but then you don’t need to be in the middle to be involved.

  25. AHF and HRFA?

    The American Hungarian Federation – Founded 1906 – http://www.americanhungarianfederation.org/

    HRFA Hungarian Reformed Federation of America (Washington, DC)

    I hope that the leadership and membership of these organizations abandon their blind approval of the Orban regime, and support a change to decency.

  26. Here is the introduction of the Battle of Stalingrad from Wikipedia:

    Battle of Stalingrad

    Strength
    Initial:
    270,000 men
    3,000 artillery pieces
    500 tanks
    600 aircraft, 1,600 by mid-September (Luftflotte 4)[Note 3][1]
    At the time of the Soviet counter-offensive:
    1,040,000 men:
    (400,000 Germans,
    235,000 Italians,
    200,000 Romanians,
    200,000 Hungarians,
    5,000 Croatians)
    10,250 artillery pieces
    500 tanks
    732 (402 operational) aircraft[2]:p.225[3]:87 Initial:
    187,000 men
    2,200 artillery pieces
    400 tanks
    300 aircraft[1]:p.72
    At the time of the Soviet counter-offensive: 2,500,000 men in total
    1,143,000 men in Stalingrad area
    13,451 artillery pieces
    894[4]-4,000 tanks
    1,115[2]:p.224 aircraft
    Casualties and losses
    est. 850,000 killed, missing or wounded
    including 107,000 captured (only 6000 survived the captivity and returned home to 1955)
    900 aircraft (including 274 transports and 165 bombers used as transports)
    1,500 tanks
    6,000 artillery pieces[1]:122–123 Approx. 1,150,000 killed, missing or wounded
    including 478,741 killed and missing
    650,878 wounded and sick
    40,000 civilians dead
    4,341 tanks
    15,728 artillery pieces
    2,769 combat aircraft [5]
    1 Over 11,000 Axis soldiers continued to fight until early March 1943.

    The Battle of Stalingrad was a major and decisive battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) in the southwestern Soviet Union. The battle took place between August 23, 1942 and February 2, 1943 and was marked by constant close-quarters combat and lack of regard for military and civilian casualties. It is among the bloodiest battles in the history of warfare, with the higher estimates of combined casualties amounting to nearly two million. The heavy losses inflicted on the German army make it arguably the most strategically decisive battle of the whole war. After the Battle of Stalingrad, German forces never recovered their earlier strength, and attained no further strategic victories in the East.

    The German offensive to capture Stalingrad commenced in late summer 1942, and was supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing that reduced much of the city to rubble. The German offensive eventually became mired in building-to-building fighting; and despite controlling nearly all of the city at times, the Wehrmacht was unable to dislodge the last Soviet defenders clinging tenaciously to the west bank of the Volga River.

    On 19 November 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus, a two-pronged attack targeting the weaker Romanian and Hungarian forces protecting the German 6th Army’s flanks.[12] After heavy fighting, the weakly held Axis flanks collapsed and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded inside Stalingrad. As the Russian winter set in, the 6th Army weakened rapidly from cold, starvation and ongoing Soviet attacks. Command ambiguity coupled with Adolf Hitler’s resolute belief in their will to fight further exacerbated the German predicament. Eventually, the failure of outside German forces to break the encirclement, coupled with the failure of resupplying by air, led to the final collapse. By the beginning of February 1943, Axis resistance in Stalingrad had ceased and the remaining elements of the 6th Army had either surrendered or been destroyed.
    The battle lasted 5 months, 1 week, and 3 days.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Stalingrad

  27. Sorry folks, the Hungarian Army was NOT engaged in the battle for Stalingrad. There is no verifiable proof otherwise, unless one claims that the factory worker thousands of miles away, who manufactured the guns used there by the Germans, were also engaged.

  28. Paul :
    As an ignorant Brit, can I just ask a rather obvious question – what was the point of this hearing?
    Does the Helsinki Commission have any power to do anything about what it discovers – even if that’s just to ask the US government to do something? Is it a part of the US government? When it reports, what happens as a result of those reports?
    It’s good to hear all these condemnations of Orbán, but if that’s all it is he’ll just ignore it – what we need is for the US to DO something. Is that likely to happen as a result of this?
    Sorry for ignorant questions, but we don’t have anything like this over here.

    The US Helsinki Commission is the American branch of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. It can recommend actions to the OSCE as part of the US’s membership in that organization and it can recommend actions to the US government to fulfill US commitments under the Final Helsinki Act 1975 and related documents. For the history, see http://history.state.gov/milestones/1969-1976/Helsinki and for the documents see http://www.osce.org/mc/58376 .

    The reason why I suggested election monitoring and a “Needs Assessment Mission” is that those are things that OSCE does to ensure free and fair elections, which is one of the tasks in its remit. Here are the various things that the OSCE can do: http://www.osce.org/what .

  29. Information in Wikipedia is often unreliable, as in this case the numbers cited are incorrect. A cursory look at the map of Operation Little Saturn (the Soviet operation), will convince the reader that the Hungarian 2nd Army was approximately 400 km away from the site of the battle of Stalingrad.

  30. Paul, you made me Google the Helsinki Commission — http://csce.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=AboutCommission.WorkOfCommission will lead you to a description of its remit and its activities. Glancing through that website makes me think that the minuet just danced was a part of establishing, for the use of the Congress and the executive-branch departments of Defense (note American spelling), State, and the Treasury, recommendations on what policies to adopt, in respect of human rights, toward a Hungary whose behaviour appears more and more extraordinary.

  31. Csaba K. Zoltani :
    Sorry folks, the Hungarian Army was NOT engaged in the battle for Stalingrad. There is no verifiable proof otherwise, unless one claims that the factory worker thousands of miles away, who manufactured the guns used there by the Germans, were also engaged.

    Csaba K. Zoltani :
    Sorry folks, the Hungarian Army was NOT engaged in the battle for Stalingrad. There is no verifiable proof otherwise, unless one claims that the factory worker thousands of miles away, who manufactured the guns used there by the Germans, were also engaged.

    O.K. lets not discuss if the battle for Stalingrad included or not the Hungarian Army

    But one thing is sure, the Hungarian Army in the Soviet Union perpetrated terrible crimes. Krisztián Ungváry describes some:
    http://nol.hu/ajanlo/ungvary_krisztian_a_magyar_katonak_buneirol_es_a_multtal_valo_szembenezesrol_

    So it is really not important, in what battle the Hungarian Army participated. Important facts are, they perpetrated also war crimes.

    It is interesting to note: apologists of Orbanistan reply to arguments with caviling, they just prefer nitpicking.

  32. Is it common for Americans to argue about Iwo Jima on a current-events blog? I guess we should concentrate on the present and the future.

    Fidesz is pouring money in lobbying and media both in the US and in Europe. It seems, for example, that Christopher H. Smiths reelection fund was open for, say, 100k (perhaps he was even cheaper than that), but I am sure that Fidesz identified some other congressional prospects as well. While we are reading this blog, Fidesz is working tirelessly to turn the tide using any means necessary: they will not change anything policy-wise and will never concede an inch, but will do anything to prevail in the PR game.

  33. hoppe hoppe hoppe :

    AHF and HRFA?

    The American Hungarian Federation – Founded 1906 – http://www.americanhungarianfederation.org/

    HRFAHungarian Reformed Federation of America (Washington, DC)

    I hope that the leadership and membership of these organizations abandon their blind approval of the Orban regime, and support a change to decency.

    No, they will not. In the late 1990s and early years of the new century I was running a political discussion group in Hungarian. Among the members was a one-time president of this Federation. He almost got ill when Orbán lost the election in 2002. He eventually left the group because he couldn’t stand that all the others criticized the Orbán regime. This guys are blind followers of Fidesz and Orbán. They simply don’t want to consider the facts. Even in those days the Fidesz regime was pretty terrible. They were marching very much in the same direction then now but now they really lost all control due to the two-thirds. They will never change regardless what the current Hungarian government does.

  34. tappanch :
    Orban’s propaganda machine, through MTI, is mounting a counterattack – they refer to Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R) defending Orban’s record.
    http://index.hu/kulfold/2013/03/21/smith_meltanytalanok_a_magyar_kormanyt_ert_biralatok/
    I was not able to find any statement on his website:
    http://chrissmith.house.gov/

    He fits right in wit them. He is a nut case. He is an open pro-life supporter, a conspiracy theorist. Hi says thinks like this : “The world is a challenging place, in terms of wars and peace, basic human rights and freedoms” At any case , I am wondering of he read the constitution.

  35. Christopher H. Smiths – just few miles south of Princeton, in the 14th district, Mr. Smiths is talking nonsense. Has he listened to KLS? Has he ignored all testimonies in his hearing except for the one of the fuzzy FIDESZ loyalist, Fellegi.

  36. Győr Calling!

    Thanks Kim for the ‘next steps’ – I was wondering!

    And thanks to all for the laughs!

    The ‘Demolition-of-a-troll’ laughs!

    Classics these – you know who you are! (Made my day – and it’s only 11am here!):

    “Is that all? You missed that Shapiro also failed to pronounce ‘Jobbik’, ‘Nyilas’ or ‘Szálasi’ with the correct Hungarian pronunciation.
    But apart from that, all the rest of his testimony was fine, right?”

    “What are your sources fact checker?
    If I were you, I would not bring up the second Vienna award, aka Northern Transylvania.”

    “You should read more carefully when “fact checking”.”

    “The Hungarian 2nd Army were not tourists on a sightseeing tour. What do you think
    the Hungarian Army was doing there at that time?”</b) This was tops! as was this:

    “I think if you actually read the book rather than just look at the pictures…..”

    “This is a completely ridiculous sidebar. No one said they were in the city but then you don’t need to be in the middle to be involved.”

    “It is interesting to note: apologists of Orbanistan reply to arguments with caviling, they just prefer nitpicking.”

    “Is it common for Americans to argue about Iwo Jima on a current-events blog? I guess we should concentrate on the present and the future.”

    Yes Karl you are right – but the ‘unnecessaries’ certainly enrich Eva’s blog!

    Regards

    Charlie

  37. and btw….

    Respect to Andrew Bodrogligeti – you were there.

    Spot-on analysis I think.

    Thanks

  38. “So it is really not important, in what battle the Hungarian Army participated. Important facts are, they perpetrated also war crimes. ” maybe so, but it is important that the statements made be true. It is NOT true that the Hungarian army participated in the battle for Stalingrad. They did NOT.

  39. Csaba K. Zoltani :
    “So it is really not important, in what battle the Hungarian Army participated. Important facts are, they perpetrated also war crimes. ” maybe so, but it is important that the statements made be true. It is NOT true that the Hungarian army participated in the battle for Stalingrad. They did NOT.

    O.K. Csaba K. Zoltani you repeat, what you have said before, you like nitpicking and we don’t.
    Fact is the Hungarian Army committed terrible crimes in Russia as a recent book has documented and the historian Krisztián Ungváry confirmed.
    Except for probably not pronouncing Nyilas correctly, could you tell us with quotes, what was wrong in the statements of those critizising Orbáns government?

  40. Csaba K. Zoltani :
    “So it is really not important, in what battle the Hungarian Army participated. Important facts are, they perpetrated also war crimes. ” maybe so, but it is important that the statements made be true. It is NOT true that the Hungarian army participated in the battle for Stalingrad. They did NOT.

    2/3 of your comments are complete BS as proven many times. Can you just give at rest? Why don’t you analyze the complete lies of Fidesz through the years at once if “it is important that the statements made be true”. Trust me this would provide you with plenty of material through the rest of your life. How about their crusade against Bajnai who tries to install suspicious “softwares” into computers? Can you please check for us if Orban and the Fidesz webpage does the same? Can you check if Fidesz’ Facebook does install those suspicious softwares? We are waiting for your honest true statement to support Fidesz on how malicious Bajnai is.
    While you are at it, lets prove how important for FIDESZ that their statements are true. Enjoy!

  41. @Csaba, you are like sleaze-bag lawyer who tries to acquit a rapist by saying the victim doesn’t remember the color of attackers baseball cap.

    If there is a shred of intellectual pride left in you start commenting on the subject.

  42. Karl Pfeifer :

    Csaba K. Zoltani :
    “So it is really not important, in what battle the Hungarian Army participated. Important facts are, they perpetrated also war crimes. ” maybe so, but it is important that the statements made be true. It is NOT true that the Hungarian army participated in the battle for Stalingrad. They did NOT.

    O.K. Csaba K. Zoltani you repeat, what you have said before, you like nitpicking and we don’t.
    Fact is the Hungarian Army committed terrible crimes in Russia as a recent book has documented and the historian Krisztián Ungváry confirmed.
    Except for probably not pronouncing Nyilas correctly, could you tell us with quotes, what was wrong in the statements of those critizising Orbáns government?

    This is just an anti-Hungarian agit-prop without proofs.

    http://tortenelemportal.hu/2013/03/krausz-tamas-agitprop/

  43. Csaba K. Zoltani :
    Sorry folks, the Hungarian Army was NOT engaged in the battle for Stalingrad. There is no verifiable proof otherwise, unless one claims that the factory worker thousands of miles away, who manufactured the guns used there by the Germans, were also engaged.

    Indeed the factory worker making guns used by the Germans was also engaged. All I can say is that I’m really really glad that you’re not teaching my kids history. I have enough trouble correcting the revisionist views that they already face. Goodbye!

  44. Kim Lane Scheppele :

    Paul :
    As an ignorant Brit, can I just ask a rather obvious question – what was the point of this hearing?
    Does the Helsinki Commission have any power to do anything about what it discovers – even if that’s just to ask the US government to do something? Is it a part of the US government? When it reports, what happens as a result of those reports?
    It’s good to hear all these condemnations of Orbán, but if that’s all it is he’ll just ignore it – what we need is for the US to DO something. Is that likely to happen as a result of this?
    Sorry for ignorant questions, but we don’t have anything like this over here.

    The US Helsinki Commission is the American branch of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. It can recommend actions to the OSCE as part of the US’s membership in that organization and it can recommend actions to the US government to fulfill US commitments under the Final Helsinki Act 1975 and related documents. For the history, see http://history.state.gov/milestones/1969-1976/Helsinki and for the documents see http://www.osce.org/mc/58376 .
    The reason why I suggested election monitoring and a “Needs Assessment Mission” is that those are things that OSCE does to ensure free and fair elections, which is one of the tasks in its remit. Here are the various things that the OSCE can do: http://www.osce.org/what .

    Thanks, I was wondering how much teeth this commission had. I’d also like to thank you for presenting such a powerful paper to the commission.

  45. @ Ms. Scheppele and Eva, It is very clear that Fidesz is working very hard to make sure that the next election will not be an equal opportunity for all parties and independents. THe election will not start at the voting boots, but it started already with laws and decisions falling into place in an ad-hoc manner by the day. The current voting requirements are a mess, the outside of Hungary voters’ list is made a secret, and as such we have no way of knowing that 500000 vote would be to many or not (if for example only 100000 voters registered). The advertising requirements are changing by the minute and although it allows to some organizations to advertise other than government channels, it makes it impossible to “spread the news” on a possible coalition as it’s restriction are ambitious.
    I am wondering how, when, when, and who can “send in” objective observers or to oversee and report on the process of this “free election”. I think a two weeks before election observance will be too late. Is there any way concerned citizens can request help now?

  46. Győr Calling!

    Of course – Guilty as charged.

    For every three Messerschmidt’s built by the Raba factory in Győr, two were given to Hitler’s Luftwaffe – and one went to the Hungarian airforce.

    Of course the planes featured heavily in the Stalingrad conflict.

    We in England were grateful that Germany’s forces self-destructed in the East. or were at least overstretched – many believe that this was one of that major factor’s in the Allies winning the war.

    And many Hungarians died needlessly in the futility of that conflict – fruitlessly chasing the ‘Trianon promise’.

    Hungary paid a price – but nowhere near what the Hungarian Jewry paid. How dare you conflate the two CSZ.

    And of course nowhere near the price paid by England.

    Open those archives.

    Regards

    Charlie

  47. Győr Calling!

    Completely O/T

    End-of-life Care – Hungarian Style:

    A friend of my partner became ill several weeks ago – The GP sent her away with some medication.

    She steadily got weaker – and they did some ‘infection’ tests after she was admitted to hospital.

    She was 85.

    However she became progressively weaker and no further tests could be undertaken – because of the delay.

    During this time much (all?) of her care – and cleaning up – was done by her relatives – often after a long hard day’s work (so no compassionate leave then).

    Incontinence pads were supplied by the relatives – as were wipes and other things – which were ‘appropriated’ by the nurses for other patients. They said she had been washed and cleaned in the mornings – but from the state of the sheets this was not the case…….until…….

    The relatives supplied coffee, chocolates – and the ubiquitous ‘envelope’ for the nurses (the NURSES! – I thought this blackmail was only perpetrated by the doctors!).

    And yes – they said they intervened in the morning after that. Doubtful.

    However they would only replace a soiled top sheet when one was requested – (not the bottom sheet) as they had to make sheets last over the Bank Holiday. Many of the sheets coming from the laundry looking soiled – disgusting.

    Presumably the ‘Coffee-Chocolate-Envelope’ premium was not high enough to allow for an extra clean sheet.

    The beds are so old they can’t be raised – preventing back ache for the nurses; if ever they felt inclined to care for the patients.

    Vulnerable patients are prevented from falling out of bed with planks – PLANKS of wood! How can wood ever be made sterile?

    In England we even ban wooden spoons in catering because of the bacteria risk. – Semmelweis must be turning in his grave – no wonder he went mad.

    And she died.

    No one will know of what. She was 85 – and that was long enough. This seems to be the prevailing attitude of the medical profession: she lived long enough– and the relatives accept it readily too.

    If you’ve had your three score years and ten – then you visit a hospital in Hungary at your peril. If you need an ambulance in your 90’s – forget it, just die. You’ve had long enough and we won’t even spare the petrol it seems – not worth doing any tests. Just go and push up the daisies.

    So if you have nurse friends – and you see jars of coffee and chocolates in their food cupboards – you know why.

    How does it work? Does the lucky receiving nurse ‘trouser’ the envelope quickly? Or are they all pooled and divvied out weekly. Monthly? As and when?

    The share-out must be a highlight of the week.

    My partner works in a hospice in England – so knows what compassionate care is – even in the NHS which isn’t exactly a shining beacon of professionalism.

    But Hungary? Truly dire.

    If I get the slightest twinge or pain anywhere – I’ll be back on the first plane to England, believe me.

    Regards

    Charlie

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