Fake religiosity rules the day in Hungary

I will spend a little time today and tomorrow talking about topics that in one way or another are connected to religion.

Let me start with a footnote to the relationship between church and state in Orbán’s Hungary. I got so involved with the story of the alleged mummified right hand of Saint Stephen, whom I really should call Stephen I, that I didn’t pay much attention to the mass held in the St. Stephen Basilica and the procession that followed. However, today I noticed a sentence in an article that the grand old man of the 1956 Revolution, Tibor Méray, wrote on Galamus on August 28. The article itself is an indictment of the Hungarian political elite from József Antall to Viktor Orbán. The sentence that caught my eye was that “Orbán had the temerity to lead the Procession of the Holy Hand when he is a Protestant. Not even Horthy dared to do that.” Horthy was also Protestant.

Not only was Viktor Orbán present at the mass but also President János Áder; Zsolt Semjén, deputy prime minister; Pál Schmitt, former president who had to resign because of plagiarism; Péter Boross, former prime minister (1993-1994); Péter Darák, head of the Supreme Court (Kúria); Antal Rogán, leader of the Fidesz parliamentary delegation; and Mrs. Ferenc Mádl, wife of the former president (2000-2005) whose political sympathies definitely lie with Fidesz. I was somewhat surprised to find Ilan Mor, Israeli ambassador, among the dignitaries.

The opening of the school year prompted another round of incredible comments from government officials on religion and specifically on Christianity, but I will leave that topic for tomorrow.

Today I will touch on another topic that has something to do with religion. I’m talking about Mayor István Tarlós’s encounter with the Old Testament.

Erzsébet Gy. Nagy is currently a politician in the Demokratikus Koalíció. Earlier she was one of the leading MSZP politicians in Budapest, best known as the MSZP candidate against the long-time SZDSZ mayor Gábor Demszky in 2002. Recently she wrote an open letter in the name of DK protesting the decision of the Fidesz-KDNP city council to make homelessness a criminal act. After all, argued Nagy, the Constitutional Court found the practice unconstitutional. She reminded “the leadership of the country and the capital whose members claim to be Christians of what the Bible says: ‘Blessed is he who considers the poor! The Lord delivers him in the day of trouble’ (Psalms 41:1).”

That innocent biblical quotation became the center of a political controversy because of an interview Mayor István Tarlós gave on HírTV.  I will translate that part of the interview (from 8:25 on) that prompted the upheaval.

Tarlós: I also read today–what is the name of the group around Gyurcsány? Demokratikus Koalíció, isn’t it? Erzsébet Gy. Nagy, former MSZP colleague of mine in the city council, made a statement and began her declaration with “Blessed is he who considers the poor! The Lord delivers him in the day of trouble.” She quoted from the Book of Psalms. Now it is one thing that when they open the Bible on such occasions it always opens at the Old Testament, but I don’t want to say anything about this here.

Reporter: Let’s add to that that another DK member of parliament said that you will have to give account of your actions before the Lord.

Tarlós: It was so because I really believe in the Lord, although it is true that I read the New Testament more often, but we also read the Old Testament. But there is no need for such a hypocritical attitude. They come up with haphazard quotations. This is what happens to those who for a while confirmed.* Or who talk about the Messiah in front of rabbis.** So, these people would be better off if they didn’t lift passages from the Bible, but let that be their problem.

Kettos keresztWhy was it necessary for Tarlós to make an issue of the quotation that happened to come from the Old Testament? Naturally he denied that he intimated that members of the Demokratikus Koalíció mostly peruse the pages of the Old Testament and said that he finds the accusation “ridiculous and pitiful.”

Erzsébet Gy. Nagy answered in the name of the Demokratikus Koalíció. She decided to give a short lecture on church history to Tarlós who “unlike the children does need religious education.”  And she made four points. (1) The First Council of Nicea in 325 declared the Old Testament one of the holy books. (2) The Bible normally opens at the Old Testament because it is much larger than the New Testament. Earlier the Demokratikus Koalíció cited some of the New Testament passages that are applicable.  (3) In fact, Jesus put an even greater emphasis on mercy and compassion than the prophets of the Old Testament. Instead of the Book of Psalms they could have cited Matt. 18:33 “and should not you have mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?” and (4) A gentleman is not “zsidózik” and for others it is forbidden.

I once tried to explain what this strange Hungarian verb means. The occasion was Zsófia Mihancsik’s article, which I translated as “Antisemitism: A short history of responsibility.” And I added that the word she used, and what I translated as antisemitism, is “zsidózás,” a noun coming from the verb “zsidózni,” which is an untranslatable Hungarian verb. It means talking about Jews (zsidók in pl.)  in an unfavorable light. It also implies that the speaker regularly engages in anti-Jewish speech. There is no question in my mind that this is what Tarlós was doing.

——–

*The original makes no more sense than the translation.

** The reference here is to Ferenc Gyurcsány who in 2005 in a speech commemorating the Holocaust got mixed up and talked about the Messiah instead of the Creator before attending a Jewish service.

56 comments

  1. Let us not forget Mayor Tarlos’s other anti-Semitic decisions:

    the appointment of a Csurka protegee to head the “New Theater”,

    the erasing of most anti-Nazi personalities from the Budapest map, including President Roosevelt.

    Tarlos is very comfortable working together with Jobbik.

  2. The “I was confirming for a while” is a reference to an interview with Gyurcsany from 2006. He said he wasn’t religious but was a churchgoer Catholic for a while when he was child. He even wanted to be a priest. I think he was joking.

    Tarlos is an idiot.

    There is a facebook page about him that has 26000 followers. It is called “Let’s Rename Istvan Tarlos!”

  3. Tarlós, like Orbán, is a bully who just loves these games. Tarlós (like Orbán and his friends) never has bigger fun when he can make liberals annoyed and worked up.

    He is also uneducated, but that is another issue.

    Anyway, unless Tarlós is given another position by Orbán (like the district XII mayorship where the right wing citizen would elect anybody nominated by Fidesz) or the Budapest mayorship is abolished altogether (Orbán deeply hates that position as it is a position in which a younger politicians can make himself and someone who symbolizes Budapest where Orbán is much less popular than elsewhere in Hungary), Tarlós has not a big political future (and of course his presence is abysmal).

  4. Dear Ms. Balogh

    I would like to set the record straight:

    I was invited, with other ambassadors, to the mass held outside the St. Stephen Basilica.

    As soon as the mass was over, I immediately left the place, and did not participated in the procession that followed.

    Ilan Mor.

  5. “The original makes no more sense than the translation”

    It is only your ignorance. It was Gyurcsány, the ham actor, none of whose gestures are honest and who is full of pretention, who said “rendszeresen bérmálkoztam” (meaning: “I regularly confirmed”). Tarlós was referring to this ignorant statement of that ignorant moron.

  6. Mutt :
    The “I was confirming for a while” is a reference to an interview with Gyurcsany from 2006. He said he wasn’t religious but was a churchgoer Catholic for a while when he was child. He even wanted to be a priest. I think he was joking.

    Tarlos is an idiot.
    There is a facebook page about him that has 26000 followers. It is called “Let’s Rename Istvan Tarlos!”

    No. Gyurcsány was not joking, he was putting on his usual, unbearably pretentious, completely dishonest, idiotic show. Tarlós was simply making fun of the twit, rightly so.

  7. Regular participants of the St.Stephen procession since 2010 is the “Hungarian National Guard”, former members of the banned Hungarian Guard. And this year also a group of veterans and symphatisants in the uniforms of the Horthy-Gendarms, who carried out the deportation of Jews, see https://hungarianspectrum.wordpress.com/2009/07/13/sk-the-return-to-the-gendarmerie/
    Apparently no problem at all for the Hungarian catholic church, the attending politicians and the audience. Some pictures here:
    http://pusztaranger.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/ungarische-garde-marschiert-auf-katholischer-staatsprozession/

  8. To Pusztarranger.That video is incredible. One doesn’t have to know Hungarian since they only keep singing the same hymn over and over again. As for Méray’s claim that Horthy didn’t have the temerity to head the procession I had my doubts and for a while I searched for pictures to disprove it. I did see the picture you used but I wasn’t 100% right that it was taken on August 20th.

  9. Johnny, Gyurcsany, as you can see in the video, simply said he wasn’t a religious person. So if he was dishonest, does that mean he is a practicing catholic? Then what’s your beef?

  10. Meawhile on Planet Hungary …

    The NGM took the National Debt Meter off their web site. The ministry explained that the reason is the raising software maintenance cost. Probably it required to change a number every week …

    Could this have something to do with the fact that the level it showed was higher than the level when the Fidesz took over in 2010?

    Our dishonesty expert, Johnny Boy, may want to comment …

  11. The Hungarian gendarms were ordinary Hungarians, mostly recruited from poor provincial areas.
    Their officers were responsible to turn most of them into monsters.
    Even so, I have known some who remained more the humane. Many of them even assisted Holocaust victims.
    This is the story of every police force in tyrannies.

  12. The other development of tyrannies.
    The whole population with the exception of a few, practices self-defensive liarship.
    To save carriers, social standing, honesty and openness are the first victims.
    How can the few honest political leaders address such a human mess?

  13. Mutt :

    Johnny, Gyurcsany, as you can see in the video, simply said he wasn’t a religious person. So if he was dishonest, does that mean he is a practicing catholic? Then what’s your beef?

    I guess Johnny thinks that Gy. was lying about his brief religious fervor at age of 12-13. But I don’t think so. A lot of kids at that age seek answers to their problems and think that religion will offer them guidance.Then, it turns out that their hopes were misplaced and their religious phase is over. Happens often enough.

  14. @Messagain.

    You obviously meant “To save careers, social standing, honesty and openness are the first victims.”
    I remember that story from my parents who had the same experience – in Hitler’s time …

  15. tappanch :
    Tarlos and the likely new director of the theater “Vigszinhaz” (who is another political commissar) together in a photo:
    http://index.hu/bloghu/vanyabacsi/2013/08/31/megsem_koltozik_alfoldi_mephistoja_a_vigszinhazba

    Johnny Boy :

    Mutt :
    The “I was confirming for a while” is a reference to an interview with Gyurcsany from 2006. He said he wasn’t religious but was a churchgoer Catholic for a while when he was child. He even wanted to be a priest. I think he was joking.
    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIb4XgxX4cY?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent%5D
    Tarlos is an idiot.
    There is a facebook page about him that has 26000 followers. It is called “Let’s Rename Istvan Tarlos!”

    No. Gyurcsány was not joking, he was putting on his usual, unbearably pretentious, completely dishonest, idiotic show. Tarlós was simply making fun of the twit, rightly so.

    OH, the same way as Orban used to be an atheist and making fun in religious people in the parliament? THat was before he found God. Maybe Gyurcsany learned a thing or two from Orban after all. hahahaha

  16. Johnny Boy :
    “The original makes no more sense than the translation”
    It is only your ignorance. It was Gyurcsány, the ham actor, none of whose gestures are honest and who is full of pretention, who said “rendszeresen bérmálkoztam” (meaning: “I regularly confirmed”). Tarlós was referring to this ignorant statement of that ignorant moron.

    Talking about ignorant morons, we missed your comment lately Johnny Boy.

  17. “It was so because I really believe in the Lord, although it is true that I read the New Testament more often, but we also read the Old Testament.”

    One would have thought the Old Testament God would have been more Tarlos’ and his Fidesz sponsors’ cup of tea what with all the various plagues, smittings and what have you he sent to sort out the heathens, liberals and MSZP voters. I am also surprised a celebration of the destruction of Sodom and Gommorah hasn’t been included in the Budapest Muncipal calendar Perhaps the Old T God too Jewish? The New T God would have problems with certain elements of the Tarlos Philosophy… I think Jesus is unlikely to have believed the homeless should be thrown in the clink for example.

    As regards a Prod like Orban getting involved in a RC ritual, it suits both parties.
    If becoming a Co0nfucian would grab him an extra 6 votes in Debrecen, he’d do it. And the RC church’s collaboration with the Nazis during WW2 and countless other *holy* dictators shows what realpolitik moral plane it operates on

  18. Meanwhile on Planet Hungary …

    Brownnose champion of the month!

    In a Torokbalint, Pest County, elementary school children were ordered by the principal to haul all (!) their books to the school Monday morning, and place them on their desks, because Viktor Orban will visit the school. The principal wants to prove Orban that au contraire to the “left-liberal” press there are no problems with the book distribution.

    The dear leader cannot be disappointed …

  19. Let’s have some more “haphazard quotations”:

    “love your enemy”

    “turn the other cheek”

    “blessed are the meek”

    “it is harder for a rich man to enter Heaven than for a camel to go through the Eye of the Needle”

    Funny how these people who profess so loudly and frequently to be ‘Christians’ never seem to follow anything that Christ actually preached…

  20. Good to have you back, Johnny, I haven’t had much to laugh about since I broke my foot.

    “Tarlós was referring to this ignorant statement of that ignorant moron.”

    “he was putting on his usual, unbearably pretentious, completely dishonest, idiotic show. Tarlós was simply making fun of the twit, rightly so.”

    How long does it take you to write this stuff? It’s brilliant!

    And “twit”! I haven’t seen anyone use that in decades. Exactly where (when) did you learn your English??

  21. Maybe here:
    http://szotar.sztaki.hu/en/search?searchWord=seggfej&fromlang=hun&tolang=eng&outLanguage=eng
    At least JB’s always good for a laugh – unlike most other trolls …

    PS and OT:

    Has anyone visited politics.hu lately ? They have the most unbelievable lowlife trolls there now – and these people call themselves real Hungarians! They’re so full of hate against everything/everyone not to their liking – maybe these are the soccer fans with their signs you see in Hungary …

  22. Ilan Mor :
    I would like to set the record straight:
    I was invited, with other ambassadors, to the mass held outside the St. Stephen Basilica.
    As soon as the mass was over, I immediately left the place, and did not participated in the procession that followed.
    Ilan Mor.

    Israel and Hungary would be better served by less sycophancy. There is no need for diplomatic personnel to patronize local semi-pagan rites (parading of mummified body parts) even when solemnly invited. Separation of church and state, domestic as well as international.

  23. OT of the day …

    Egyptian authorities arrested a Hungarian spy stork. The bird was tagged by Hungarian ornithologist group with a transmitter device to track the migration of the storks. The device was spotted by concerned citizens.

    Orban’s ministry of defense denied any allegations that this is part of a secret Hungarian drone program.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2407948/Bird-thats-ruffling-government-feathers-Stork-suspected-SPY-detained-police-Egypt.html

  24. Stevan Harnad :
    Israel and Hungary would be better served by less sycophancy. There is no need for diplomatic personnel to patronize local semi-pagan rites (parading of mummified body parts) even when solemnly invited. Separation of church and state, domestic as well as international.

    Stupidity is a Hungarian custom. One has to make peace with the natives … For instance I participate in every pot luck party in my office and taste everything that remotely looks edible. When I stock up with Imodium the pharmacist always goes like “Pot luck? Again?”

  25. Mutt :
    OT of the day …
    Egyptian authorities arrested a Hungarian spy stork. The bird was tagged by Hungarian ornithologist group with a transmitter device to track the migration of the storks. The device was spotted by concerned citizens.
    Orban’s ministry of defense denied any allegations that this is part of a secret Hungarian drone program.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2407948/Bird-thats-ruffling-government-feathers-Stork-suspected-SPY-detained-police-Egypt.html

    Mutt :
    OT of the day …
    Egyptian authorities arrested a Hungarian spy stork. The bird was tagged by Hungarian ornithologist group with a transmitter device to track the migration of the storks. The device was spotted by concerned citizens.
    Orban’s ministry of defense denied any allegations that this is part of a secret Hungarian drone program.

    It somehow reminiscent of the old joke fro my childhood:
    – How is the Albanian air defence looks like?
    – Like this..! (Shake your fist toward those hostile airplanes…)

  26. The Fidesz lost the elections big time in Szigetszentmiklos. 359 to 201 against the MSzP-e14-DK candidate. Thi place never was a Fidesz stronghold but still …

  27. Actually, in my point of view while Tarlós well overplaying his role as a bona fide idiot: “…what is the name of the group around Gyurcsány? Demokratikus Koalíció, isn’t it?”
    could it be early Alzheimer’s? – may really have been thinking to become a priest as an adolescent, I’ve experienced the same myself.
    Then I turned to twelve or so, and I started thinking with my own head – instead taking the doctrines as they come – and around the age of fourteen I decided, something isn’t square in this whole religion thing.
    (In case you’re interested: born and raised as catholic and took quite seriously at first, I started to question the contradictions in the Bible from – relatively – very early on, like: how come, that if God really is gracious, he(?) threw out Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden, or if he(?) really is almighty, why all the wars and misery happening..?)

    Then I started to study around all the other options ( – Yes, I’ve read “the books”, from the Talmud to Zen and most in between) and decided that no, thanks.

    From that minute onward I take all the responsibility for my acts and decisions – it wasn’t God who fucked up, but me alone on my own account – and accordingly, I am a consequent atheist.
    However, I’m respecting the belief (and misery) of all the others with different view, as long as they don’t push it on other people.

    In this respect the remark of Tarlós is utterly tasteless and once again a proof of the existence of a superficial opportunist who he really is.
    Let alone the obvious antisemitic hint, what nothing else, but a cheap populist gesture.

    I think, that Erzsébet Gy. Nagy fundamentally right, Tarlós isn’t a true and through anti-Semite, but at the end of the day isn’t really matters, isn’t it, if someone hit you just to show up, or because he/she really hate you, it’s still feels the same, is it?

  28. Mutt :
    The Fidesz lost the elections big time in Szigetszentmiklos. 359 to 201 against the MSzP-e14-DK candidate. Thi place never was a Fidesz stronghold but still …

    More than a two-third victory?
    Majority rules in Hungary, as I’ve heard..!

  29. tappanch :

    Szigetszentmiklós, 8th electoral precinct.

    2013 [2010]

    Turnout 30.9% [38.2%]
    —————————–
    Fidesz 29.1% [32.7%]
    Jobbik 4.9% [ 5.3%]

    LMP 3.8% [6.6%]
    MSzP 52.0% [29.4%]

    Others 10.2% [26.0%]

    http://www.szszm.hu/valasztas/index.php?spage=eredmeny

    Note that Fidesz & Jobbik both have [only] lost about 10% of their supporters.

    Very low turnout that usually is good for Fidesz. It seems to me that a lot of Fidesz voters stayed at home while some of them voted for the MSZP-E14-DK man.

  30. Loss of voters, using the actual # of voters, not their relative %,
    2013 vs 2010.

    Fidesz: -27.4%
    Jobbik: -24.4%

    LMP: -53.6%

    MSzP+others: -8.7%

  31. Very low turnout that usually is good for Fidesz. It seems to me that a lot of Fidesz voters stayed at home while some of them voted for the MSZP-E14-DK man.

    Eva, it may be that the Fidesz supporters stayed at home because they didn’t feel there is too much at stake… while the MSzP-opposition voters went to vote, as they were sufficiently upset with the way things are going now… anger actually get voters to go and vote (Orban knows this, that’s why he was so aggressively firing up people against the MSZP government after 2006)

    I think Fidesz will be able to mobilize its supporters better when it comes to the general elections. And for the opposition, mobilization will be the key, too… it is not enough for people to be dissatisfied, they actually have to want to do something about it… and go to vote.

  32. Sorry, the quotation marks are missing form the first paragraph. That was Eva’s comment I’m replying to.

  33. Karl Pfeifer :
    Good news another conference on antisemitism in Budapest parliament (irony). At least the tourism managers know how to attact foreigners
    http://www.atv.hu/belfold/20130901-az-antiszemitizmus-okaival-foglalkoznak-egy-konferencian-a-parlamentben

    A strange thing I have noticed, which is probably entirely irrelevant, but…

    In all the years we’ve flown to and from Hungary, from a variety of UK airports, via a variety of European ones, and on many different airlines, I’ve never seen orthodox Jews on any of those planes. And yet, since we’ve started flying Wizzair direct to Debrecen, there’s at least one, often several, on each flight – and they never have EU passports.

    If I were a right-wing nutter I could develop some pretty fantastic conspiracy theories around this…

  34. Paul

    A strange thing I have noticed, which is probably entirely irrelevant, but…
    In all the years we’ve flown to and from Hungary, from a variety of UK airports, via a variety of European ones, and on many different airlines, I’ve never seen orthodox Jews on any of those planes. And yet, since we’ve started flying Wizzair direct to Debrecen, there’s at least one, often several, on each flight – and they never have EU passports.
    If I were a right-wing nutter I could develop some pretty fantastic conspiracy theories around this…

    I have no clue, but do not doubt, that kurucz and others will tell us, that the Jews are to occupy Hungary and similar baloney.

  35. I have an idea about the orthodox Jews traveling to Hungary.Slomo Köves is a favorite of the Orbán government. I have the feeling that there is a connection. I also understand that Köves is rather aggressively promoting his brand of Judaism.

  36. @Karl Pfeifer: Some Hasidic Jews are moving back to a small village in Szatmar, Nyirtass. (well, the closest airport would be Debrecen). And yes, moving back to where they once lived. There was a Hasidic community in Nyirtass in the 40s who had to leave because of persecution.. . And yes, Jobbik and the far right knows about this and yes, they are talking about the occupation of Hungary.

    http://www.nol.hu/archivum/archiv-408644?ref=sso

  37. Paul :

    Karl Pfeifer :
    Good news another conference on antisemitism in Budapest parliament (irony). At least the tourism managers know how to attact foreigners
    http://www.atv.hu/belfold/20130901-az-antiszemitizmus-okaival-foglalkoznak-egy-konferencian-a-parlamentben

    A strange thing I have noticed, which is probably entirely irrelevant, but…
    In all the years we’ve flown to and from Hungary, from a variety of UK airports, via a variety of European ones, and on many different airlines, I’ve never seen orthodox Jews on any of those planes. And yet, since we’ve started flying Wizzair direct to Debrecen, there’s at least one, often several, on each flight – and they never have EU passports.
    If I were a right-wing nutter I could develop some pretty fantastic conspiracy theories around this…

    The explanation may be that Debrecen is the home of a major branch of the Israeli pharmaceutical company TEVA. The vast production facilities of the state owned BIOGAL was bought by TEVA in the early nineties.

  38. @Paul

    Tour organizers, attention! Free info follows:

    The towns or villages below once accommodated notable Hassidic dynasties [the percentage of Jews in the population comes from the 1910 census].

    (current official name of town) {Name of the dynasty}

    Munkács (Mukachevo) 44.4%
    Máramarossziget (Sighetu Marmaţiei) 37.4%
    Ungvár (Uzhhorod) 31.4%
    Beregszász (Berehove) 30.2%
    Sátoraljaújhely 28.7%
    Nyitra (Nitra) 22.4%
    Szatmárnémeti (Satu Mare) 20.6%
    Miskolc 20.0%
    Dés (Dej) 18.9%
    Pápa 15.3% {Puppa}
    Kassa (Košice) 15.2%
    Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca) 11.6% {Sanz-Klausenburg}
    Szászrégen (Reghin) 10.8%
    Eger 9.5% {Erlau}
    Debrecen 9.1%
    Zenta(Senta) 4.5%

    Sztropkó (Stropkov) 44.1%
    Dunaszerdahely (Dunajská Streda) 43.6%
    Hunfalva (Huncovce) 33.2% {Unsdorf}
    Szaplonca (Săpânţa) 32.6% {Spinka}
    Tolcsva 23.5%
    Huszt (Khust) 23.0%
    Bodrogkeresztúr 19.3% {Kerestir}
    Sopronkeresztúr (Deutschkreutz GE) 18.6% {Tzelem}
    Naszód (Năsăud) 16.7%
    Técső (Tiachiv) 14.8%
    Olaszliszka 14.4% {Liske}
    Nagymarton (Mattersdorf) 13.5%
    Nyírtass 12.2% {Tosh}
    Nagykálló 11.3% {Kaliv}
    Újfehértó 9.8% {Ratzfert}
    Nagyecsed 7.6%

    As you can see, most of them are/were located in Eastern Hungary.
    Each of the towns above is a potential place of pilgrimage for the devotees
    of the particular dynasty.

    Source: myself

  39. The dynasties above have nothing to do with
    Rabbi Koves= EMIH= Status quo ante since 2004= Chabad,
    since Chabad goes back to the village of Lyubavichi (Люба́вичи) in Russia

  40. I’m surprised that Debrecen was only 9%. The Jewish community was very prominent there pre-war, with a large (and apparently magnificent) synagogue. I get the impression the Jewish community was very much the ‘engine’ driving Debrecen in those days.

    As for Ungvár, the Jewish community there has all but vanished. The synagogue is still there but it’s a music school or something now. And the entire Jewish community of Beregszász was shipped off to the camps, so I doubt there’s many there either. (Not making any points, other than the obvious one, just places I happen to know.)

    As for the orthodox Jews I see on our flights, sometimes there quite a crowd of them, including a lot of youngsters (late teens/early 20s). It’s quite interesting watching the other passengers’ reactions – there’s no outright hostility, but the body language gives away a lot of unease.

  41. The Hungarian Chassids differ from Chabad not only in the person of the rebbe, but also in their relationship to Israel. Most Hungarian Chassids are hostile to Israel (well, Ben Gurion did not claim to be the Messiah), while Chabad is rather pro-Israeli.

    Some Neturei Karta (close to Satmar) sect members even kissed Ahmadi-nejad in the cheek for promising to exterminate Israel.

    ——————–
    I think some people can look angrily at 10 noisy children of any ethnicity or religion.

  42. @Paul

    Debrecen in 1910 was 68.3% Calvinist, 17.9% Roman Catholic, 9.1% Jewish, 2.9% Greek Catholic and 1.4% Lutheran.

  43. Re orthodox Jews on planes:

    For our several USA holidays we’ve flown mainly from germany and Austria, only once with American Airlines from Budapest to JFK and back – those planes were also full of Jews, not all of them in orthodox garb however …

    A very nice young Jewish couple with a baby sat next to us – my wife complimented them that their baby was the only one not crying …

    Most of them seemed to be from the USA visiting Hungary. Some people got a surprise when those orthodox Jews started their prayers at around five in the morning (Budapest time) on the return flight.
    I wonder how it would have been if those people had been orthodox Muslims …

    PS and OT:

    That flight BUD/JFK must have been very convenient for visitors to/from Hungary. It started in April and I don’t understand why it was cancelled after just one summer. The planes were full – but we had got a very good price for those flights including the connection to the US South …

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