The Hungarian Holocaust Year and the reaction of Jewish organizations

Let me start with a disclaimer. In a comment I gave details of the negotiations currently underway among the politicians of MSZP, Együtt-14, and DK. I should have been more circumspect because the information came from Heti Válasz. Although it is the least objectionable of the pro-government publications, that doesn’t mean that one ought to believe everything that appears in it. Heti Válasz claimed to know that MSZP will have 66 districts while E-14 and DK will have 20 districts each. The paper reported that the list will be headed by Attila Mesterházy to be followed by Gordon Bajnai, Ferenc Gyurcsány, and someone from PM. Well, it turns out that although the negotiations are proceeding well, the participants are far from a final agreement.

Berlin postcard 1938 issued to commemorate the meeting between Hitler and Horthy

Berlin postcard 1938, issued to commemorate the meeting between Hitler and Horthy

And now to today’s topic. As all active readers know, my post on the events of 1944 created an incredible number of comments. I wrote in response to the government’s idea of erecting a monument to Hungary’s “occupation” by German forces. My summary was largely based on the final chapter of Krisztián Ungváry’s latest book, The Balance Sheet of the Horthy Regime: Discrimination, Social Policy and anti-Semitism in Hungary, which in turn relies on the cumulative research of German, American, and Hungarian scholars. Since it is a very recent publication, Ungváry incorporated the latest findings about the circumstances of this so-called occupation, which surely can’t be called an occupation in the accepted meaning of the word. It, in fact, could better be described as a troop movement within the territories of military allies.

Since the beginning of the year the controversy swirling around the erection of such a monument has been steadily growing in Hungary and abroad. It is not at all surprising, therefore, that Krisztián Ungváry decided to voice his opinion on the subject. Some people thought that the announcement of the erection of a monument was a joke, and accordingly Ungváry starts his article with a witticism of General Maximilian von Weichs, the general of the German forces sent to Hungary in 1944. When he was asked about the time it will take to occupy the whole country Weichs answered: twenty-four hours. And if there is resistance? Weichs’ answer was: only twelve hours because in that case there will not be so many welcoming speeches from Hungarian officials. Weichs felt that his stay in Hungary was unnecessary. His soldiers had nothing to do, and he personally spent his time going to parties, wine tastings, and the opera.

Ungváry makes no bones about the Orbán government’s duplicitous public relations campaign when it comes to Hungary’s role in the Holocaust. On the one hand, Ministers Tibor Navracsics and János Martonyi can admit Hungary’s share of responsibility in the events of 1944, but this is a message intended for foreign consumption. At home the government, by erecting a memorial to the German “occupation,” refuses to acknowledge any share of the blame. Some of the pro-government “historians” go even further and claim that, with the active help of Miklós Horthy, “300,000 Hungarian Jews were hidden, fed, and saved in Budapest.”

I think the erection of a monument was the last straw even for Mazsihisz (Magyarországi Zsidó Hitközségek Szövetsége), which has been watching with growing suspicion the government’s efforts to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Hungarian Holocaust. Mazsihisz is an organization that represents only the Jewish religious communities, which is a very small group in comparison to those who consider themselves Jewish but have no religious affiliation. Mazsihisz also depends to a large degree on the goodwill of the Hungarian government, and therefore its leaders tread lightly. However, last year there was a shakeup in Mazsihisz, and it seems that the new leadership is taking a more activist role in defense of Jewish interests.

In charge of both the new House of Fates and the memorial is János Lázár. Lázár instructed Antal Rogán, mayor of District V where the memorial will stand, to make the necessary arrangements for a “building permit.” The new president of Mazsihisz, András Heisler, wrote a letter to Rogán in which he expressed his misgivings about the project. The letter interpreted the erection of such a monument as a “grievous and sad message” which worries both the Hungarian and the international Jewry. The letter specifically asked the authorities to abandon the idea of such a monument.

Heisler is afraid that if the monument actually materializes there will be “an international scandal” which he would like to prevent. Mazsihisz also has problems with the House of Fates. At the beginning of December they wrote a letter to Mária Schmidt in which they listed the names of twenty experts whose presence would ensure the historical accuracy of the planned exhibit. They asked her to pick five. Now, more than a month later, there is still no word from Schmidt. Moreover, Heisler knows nothing more about the monument than he did when he read news of it on January 1. In brief, all the plans for the Holocaust year are proceeding without any input whatsoever from the official Hungarian Jewish organizations. A few days ago Mazsihisz decided to write to János Lázár himself. As yet they have received no answer from him either.

So, this is where we stand. I agree with András Heisler. The falsification of history is proceeding apace on all fronts, but the Holocaust is an especially sensitive subject as far as the Orbán government is concerned. On the one hand, the government wants to look like a responsible trustee of the memory of close to 500,000 victims and therefore organizes a whole series of events commemorating the Holocaust’s 70th anniversary. At the same time it is busily rehabilitating the same Miklós Horthy who bore a major responsibility for the fate of those Jews deported to Germany. The monument to the German “occupation” is especially egregious. With its erection, the present government would be giving material form to its sanitized history of the country, in particular the absolution of Hungarian governments of the interwar period and the Hungarian authorities of seventy years ago of any responsibility for the fate of Hungarian Jews. It is a shame, and I hope that the Orbán government will abandon the whole idea.

 
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41 comments

  1. “Some of the pro-government “historians” go even further and claim that, with the active help of Miklós Horthy, 300,000 Hungarian Jews were hidden, fed, and saved in Budapest.”
    If that would be correct who would have inhabited in 1944 the Main or International Ghettoes, nobody would have been shot into the Danube and the march towards Vienna would have had no Jewish participants since there were not more than 200-220 thousand Jews in October 1944 in Budapest, the rest were either in labour service or dead. What wonderfully inventive people we have in today’s Hungary, if instead of falsifying history they would concentrate on something like cars or computers, Hungary would be the bestest in the World in no time.

  2. I would like to make a little correction. MaZsiHiSz is the organization of the Neolog denomination. It is notable that the second largest denomination, EMIH, the Hungarian branch of Chabad has been silent.

    They seem to subscribe to the New Testament adage:

    “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s”.

  3. How did Hungary deserve this insane government?

    Before erecting this fake memorial, all Hungarians could read Akos Kertesz, Imre Kertesz, and Gyorgy Konrad,,,,and Eva Balogh.

    So far, I am afraid, ignorance rules Hungary. Too many thugs are dreaming of destroying Jewish cemeteries, synagogues, and hurting living Jewish men and women.

    What a revolting mess.

  4. Krisztián Ungváry in his earlier book on the Battle for Budapest describes in some detail the attempts of the Arrow Cross to shoot down as many Jews as possible. These murders were not Germans and in fact the German military several times intervened to stop Arrow Cross men from dragging out Jews to be shot from the Ghetto. In order to not be accused of in anyway claiming that the Germans were protectors of the Jews in Budapest it has to be stated that both Eichmann and Himmler attempted to sell Jews or bargain with them near the end of the war and as we all know the Nazis killed as many Hungarian Jews as they could possibly do in the death camps. So German attempts to stop some Arrow Cross exterminations has to be seen in that context.

    The entire idea of as Eva has said of erecting a memorial to the German “occupation,” refuses to acknowledge any share of the blame on the part on Hungarians. As I have indicated before there were members of the Chicago Hungarian community who were members of the 25th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Hunyadi (1st Hungarian). The story they told their children and the story their children still believe here in Chicago is that their fathers had no choice and they would have been shot if they did not join the SS in December 1944. But the truth is about 2 000 pro-fascist university students from Budapest went to Rajka to join the Hungarian SS divisions and the parents of my friends were among those fascists.

    The truth bites hard and is difficult to accept. Hungarians are not alone in this, the Ukrainian community in Cleveland for years defended retired autoworker John Demjanjuk who was called Ivan the Terrible and was the most frightening figure at Treblinka who operated the gas chamber and took fiendish delight in torturing and mutilating those who were about to die.

  5. About Chabad and the Hungarian government. I think a whole post should be devoted to this topic, but I ‘m not the one who can write an article about it because I don’t know enough about the topic

    However, I know people who do and I will ask them to contribute. If you ask my gut reaction about that relationship, it is anything but positive.

  6. “… the fate of those Jews deported to Germany…”

    I know that my girlfriends father (now 100 years old) was deported to Mauthausen (a labour camp in Austria, then part of Germany) and almost died. But the largest number of Jewish Hungarians were sent by railway cattle cars directly to Birkenwald-Auschwitz in Poland (under German occupation) where most of them were murdered on arrival as far as I know.

    In addition, Hitler demanded from Horthy Jewish workers for his armament production in Germany. Tens of thousands were indeed deported to German arms production plants shortly before the Russians “liberated” Hungary. But in proportion I think their number was relatively small. What happened to them?

    From the phrasing it sounds as if Horthy was only responsible for the latter group, but I doubt from the former discussions that this was so.

  7. Duplicity, lies, inability to critically see the self, belittleing their enemies, hungry for the meat, character assasinations, mock trials, tacit permission of assasinations. Seems familiar? Rings a bell? Get a sickening, eerie feeling?

    In one of my comments not so long ago I discussed that there is a culture of character assasination in Hungary. Since generations. The re-writing of history with an aim of creating a different impression than which historical facts underlie is in a symbiotic relationship with the mischaracterisation and falsification of history. The two, namely character assasination and the re-writing of history) go hand-in-hand.

    Orban’s gang, the rebirth of the Horthy clan, the sizophrenic view of Germany of the World War II era and that of the Horthy government’s role are part of Orban’s efforts at obuscating history in order to create a mental instability within which people lose their sense of right and wrong. By this means Orban can create a putrid and fertile land to sow more garbage onto an earth where the average person will no longer be able to see straight because of the nauseating stench created by those whose interest is to create mayhem.

    The only element the Orbanists have left out of their equation is the question that by the time they have finished sullying the entire nation, what kind of place will they be left with to rule over???? Perhaps their ultimate goal is something like a Dr No or Dr Goldfinger who will take the riches and his immediate cohorts to a secret island where they think they will rule for ever, leaving a dump formerly called Republic of Hungary behind them… Sickening to imagine. Doomsday. I just dont see where else this could lead in the cneter of Europe but an escape with the spoils to a sunnier tax-haven.

    In psychology the process involved to gain this end is manipultaion via schizoid reasoning, psychotic behavior, delusionary thinking, inability to admit to mistakes, or lack of an ability to see the self.

    Its horrifying to see how bamboozled a society can become, one whose members canot see the psychological manipulation which they are being subjected to. Evidently the purchasing and ruling by hook or crook of the media and ALL its other actions point to this direction.

    In my personal expereience in working with governmental and inter-governmental agencies or even in the one-to-one or human elemental dimension in small societal subcultures I have only seen such phenomena in isolated and relatiovely small and rare cases. Human manipulation of one-another in small scale exists widely in the workplace but rarely in scales the size of a complete country within Western civilisation.

    For an entire government to systematically behave in such unacceptable human behavior is unique in my own lifetime and expereience. The exeptions are the Hitlerian, Soviet-Stalinist, Chinese Communist, Cambodian and other ill-willed and hell-bent aggressive political systems.

    It does help to speak up and enlighten our liberal-leaning brothers-in-arms here and the world-over but up dictatorships adamantly plug their ears against hearing such thoughts as these contradict their aggresive and dangerously selfish logic.

    Time has come to make a list of the top 300 most serious transgressions of the Orban gang befoe the facts will become ven more odious. And in case they remaini in power after April 2014 that would signal a long-term (minimum a decade-long) hijacking of power over this land.

    If from the above logic you take away just one notion, then let it be of the psychiatric patient who has been diagnosed with a severe case of schizoprenia and psychosis, with dangerous case of aggressive behavior toward others. The unwillingness to admit any mistake or acting as if above all others which is called delusion. This dangerous cocktail of psychosis, committed within a “falka” i.e. huge pack of hungry dogs will quicly lead to an uncontrollably hungry dictatorship.

    It is time to stop asking, praying or begging for reason or reasonable behavior. This pack of dogs is extremely hungry and it is a matter of time before they will tear apart the fabric of the outer clothes (already done) and then to see this oligarchy get at the very meat of things…

  8. Chabad and Tett és Védelem (a civil organization close to Chabad) support Fidesz. That is a fact. They don’t care about the Holocaust that much, they think that they lived through Egypt, the stetl, then they will live through Fidesz as well. More importantly though, Chabad is socially conservative (very, to Western secular standards) so there is a lot of common ground with Fidesz. In addition, Mazsihisz is thought of as a communist nest by Fidesz (since it was set up in those times) and Chabad is fiercly fighting Mazsihisz on religious grounds. Having a common enemy with Fidesz (since Fidesz tries to elmininate all problematic power constituencies everywhere, with varying intensity) is helpful. Note also that the tábori rabbi, a state position within the army, a kind of top rabbi position within the army (not that it would mean anything in practice, obviously) is Slomo Köves himself from Chabad (Fidesz appointed him, thereby elevating his stature within the Jewish community). So, all in all, given that the interests are aligned, both Fidesz and Chabad wants to do away with Mazsihisz (at least by waging a war of attrition, making Mazsihisz less and less relevant), Chabad and Tett és Védelem will support at least tacitly whatever Fidesz will do. The Jews areas always divided and that is the best world for Fidesz which loves to utilize these situations.

  9. Horthy and the Jews are just one aspect of Hungary between 1918 and 1945. That Horthy was involved with the Jews during his regime is obvious and that he influenced the anti-Jewish rules and laws cannot be doubted, but it is a fact that after the 1919 disasterous Kommune there was a period when the population’s life improved, industries developed and employed more as well as agriculture and exports. (Never mind that Jews might have been involved in Industry and Banking, as complained by a certain Admiral.) Even ‘though there was no political freedom it was a controlled “democracy”. But never since WWI was it a pleasure to be a Jew in Hungary, finishing up with increasingly more restrictive conditions. The present pro-Horthy debates and whitewashing efforts of the existing rulers and Jobbik, who were voted in by the Hungarians are just a sign of the long established anti-Semitic feelings of the Hungarian Nation. There are not a lot of steps between Tiszaeszlar and the proposed memorial on Szabadsag?ter.

  10. Andy – LISTEN ! Hungary becomes minced meat :
    Duplicity, lies, inability to critically see the self, belittleing their enemies, hungry for the meat, character assasinations, mock trials, tacit permission of assasinations. Seems familiar? Rings a bell? Get a sickening, eerie feeling?
    In one of my comments not so long ago I discussed that there is a culture of character assasination in Hungary. Since generations. The re-writing of history with an aim of creating a different impression than which historical facts underlie is in a symbiotic relationship with the mischaracterisation and falsification of history. The two, namely character assasination and the re-writing of history) go hand-in-hand.
    Orban’s gang, the rebirth of the Horthy clan, the sizophrenic view of Germany of the World War II era and that of the Horthy government’s role are part of Orban’s efforts at obuscating history in order to create a mental instability within which people lose their sense of right and wrong. By this means Orban can create a putrid and fertile land to sow more garbage onto an earth where the average person will no longer be able to see straight because of the nauseating stench created by those whose interest is to create mayhem.
    The only element the Orbanists have left out of their equation is the question that by the time they have finished sullying the entire nation, what kind of place will they be left with to rule over???? Perhaps their ultimate goal is something like a Dr No or Dr Goldfinger who will take the riches and his immediate cohorts to a secret island where they think they will rule for ever, leaving a dump formerly called Republic of Hungary behind them… Sickening to imagine. Doomsday. I just dont see where else this could lead in the cneter of Europe but an escape with the spoils to a sunnier tax-haven.
    In psychology the process involved to gain this end is manipultaion via schizoid reasoning, psychotic behavior, delusionary thinking, inability to admit to mistakes, or lack of an ability to see the self.
    Its horrifying to see how bamboozled a society can become, one whose members canot see the psychological manipulation which they are being subjected to. Evidently the purchasing and ruling by hook or crook of the media and ALL its other actions point to this direction.
    In my personal expereience in working with governmental and inter-governmental agencies or even in the one-to-one or human elemental dimension in small societal subcultures I have only seen such phenomena in isolated and relatiovely small and rare cases. Human manipulation of one-another in small scale exists widely in the workplace but rarely in scales the size of a complete country within Western civilisation.
    For an entire government to systematically behave in such unacceptable human behavior is unique in my own lifetime and expereience. The exeptions are the Hitlerian, Soviet-Stalinist, Chinese Communist, Cambodian and other ill-willed and hell-bent aggressive political systems.
    It does help to speak up and enlighten our liberal-leaning brothers-in-arms here and the world-over but up dictatorships adamantly plug their ears against hearing such thoughts as these contradict their aggresive and dangerously selfish logic.
    Time has come to make a list of the top 300 most serious transgressions of the Orban gang befoe the facts will become ven more odious. And in case they remaini in power after April 2014 that would signal a long-term (minimum a decade-long) hijacking of power over this land.
    If from the above logic you take away just one notion, then let it be of the psychiatric patient who has been diagnosed with a severe case of schizoprenia and psychosis, with dangerous case of aggressive behavior toward others. The unwillingness to admit any mistake or acting as if above all others which is called delusion. This dangerous cocktail of psychosis, committed within a “falka” i.e. huge pack of hungry dogs will quicly lead to an uncontrollably hungry dictatorship.
    It is time to stop asking, praying or begging for reason or reasonable behavior. This pack of dogs is extremely hungry and it is a matter of time before they will tear apart the fabric of the outer clothes (already done) and then to see this oligarchy get at the very meat of things…

    Some interesting stuff here. It dove-tails with an odd occurrence: the cousin of a friend of ours has ‘gone over’. Once a free-thinking, liberal-minded person, he has suddenly become a Fidesznik. Very strange. He’s in his 40’s.

    Something about his personal history: he’s had a string of disappointments in his working life. His personal life is secretive, but he’s got aging parents that he takes care of. All in all, seemingly a life of little hope or expectation. Could it have been the increasingly difficult situation on the country, coupled with insecurity and instability…and his last lifeline; his last hope of empowerment…was to believe totally in the Fidesz programme.
    Is this what Orban’s hurly-burly confusion is about–the creation of zombies?

    And whose general plan is this, anyway?

  11. Agreed…a much better monument would be to the great Jewish-Hungarians who contributed to arts, culture and science. Leo Szilard, Elie Wiesel, Andre Kertesz….the list is long and impressive. Too bad the current government of Hungary can’t take pride in those figures instead of Horthy and his cohorts.

  12. CarlosD :
    Agreed…a much better monument would be to the great Jewish-Hungarians who contributed to arts, culture and science. Leo Szilard, Elie Wiesel, Andre Kertesz….the list is long and impressive. Too bad the current government of Hungary can’t take pride in those figures instead of Horthy and his cohorts.

    I think the Nora Berend article that was translated here a few days ago is much more perceptive and subtle that I first thought. The issue in Hungary is the anti-Semitic question. When I think about the anti-Semitism in Hungary is indeed the problem. It has done enormous and irreparable damage to Hungary and Hungarians. We need to think only of the Holocaust. But the damage is much more widespread and pervasive than that. Jewish-Hungarians have been forced to leave their homeland throughout the 20th century yet they have contributed so much to Hungary and Hungarian culture. Just imagine if Jewish-Hungarians had felt safe enough to stay and continue to contribute to Hungarians arts, culture and society. How much richer would Hungary be! But instead anti-Semitism forced them away, to leave their beloved homeland, simply to survive. It is anti-Semitism and its supporters who need to be held to account for the damage they have done Hungary. Jewish-Hungarians should be celebrated. Instead they are vilified. So, there is no chance the Hungarian regime and its supporters can take pride in those that were forced to depart or who were murdered by their fellow citizens. And yet there is, as you say CarolsD, so much to celebrate. The question is indeed the anti-Semitism question.

  13. @tinshed:

    This is also something I find really strange. I read somewhere that a few weeks ago Orbán praised the “Hungarian geniuses” of von Neumann, Biro etc without realising that all these people had been forced to leave the country …

    Of course the situation of my homeland Germany is similar in a way – German science has not the same position as up to 1930, when most Jews left and some loonies promoted “German physics” against Einstein etc …

  14. Follwing up comments 13-Carlos, 14-tinshed and 15-wolfi, there is a favorable new topic discussed in a recdnt article the highly respected journal ‘Science’ in this regards – that is, the potential ability to keep the human mind more malleable after the pre-age 7 years

    I am referring to the deep-seated scapegoating, that is, for example the recurring anti-semitic bias in segments of societies.

    I can only provide a very scetchy version of the information and deduce inferences.

    The Science article describes something to the effect that tests have been done on mice to observe genes that change after a young age to a less malleable, less perceptive and less flexible alternative behavior model.

    I think the article has to do with the young persons ability to be accepting to new impulses and infomation.

    The article talks about injecting such DNA to prolong this period of receptiveness.

    If scapegoating is a phenomenon that comes into being after, say age 5, then maybe we can prolong the early unadulterated behavior model into adults…

    As you see my description is very sketchy – and it leaves it to the reader to do his/her research into this material and phenomenon. And I leave it here for anyone who senses the connection that I sense here.

    Please dont come shooting down the inexactness of my description. Its only a potential direction if you get the rift, otherwise you could deal with the above as null and void cause this is as far as I can expand it today. They call such attempt a “long-shot” – though I personally see it clearly in the distance.

  15. Well, Andy, injecting DNA?

    A bit OT:

    Maybe I was lucky – I lost all faith in religion at the ge of six when I heard that I couldn’t go to school with my friends – they went to Catholic school and I to the Protestant school, which was situated in the same old schoolhouse! They just had built a wall in the middle …

    Even several years later at the gymnasium I and some friends had a heated discussion about this nonsense with our school director, who insisted it was better to have two primary schools (with 3 respectively 5 classes for 8 years of pupils!) because of religion – WTF!

    That was in Germany in the 1950s – a horrible time with religion playing a much too prominent role. The good side of that was:

    It made most of us into revolutionaries and paved the way for the 1968 upheavals!

    That’s something that Hungarian youths seem to have missed.

  16. I honestly believe many of the comments relating to Hungarian antisemitism see our culture as unique in relation to that issue. Because Chicago is a melting pot of Central European peoples I see much of the same forms of denial amongst Ukrainians, Poles, and Romanians. Chicago during the 1950s was a hotbed of anti-communist organizing for Eastern Europeans and some of the leaders of the anti-communist movement here were former SS and fascists.

    To be honest psychologically it is easier to try to find something positive about the Horthy regime than to look at the reality of it objectively. Goldhagen’s book “Hittler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust” for Germans really dove deeply into the collective responsibility for the mass murder of Jews, other racial minorities, and the disabled in Nazi Germany. That book got the children of many WWII Germans enraged, because in so many ways these children were lied to about the actual fascist ties of family members.

    Because I actually grew up with families with such deep and dark pasts I have come to believe that the oppression of the Communist regimes were a god send for these historic fascists, it allowed them the avoid coming to grips with what they had done. I understand this in a most intimate manner because of my own participation in the US war in Vietnam. When Nick Turse’s book “Kill anything that moves” was published I read it cover to cover and kept thinking it’s all true but the Vietcong did equally bad things. But really it forced.me to accept the fact that some of what happened in that war was simply criminal and I too was guilty.

    Coming to such realizations is not easy.

  17. CarlosD :
    “Agreed…a much better monument would be to the great Jewish-Hungarians who contributed to arts, culture and science. Leo Szilard, Elie Wiesel, Andre Kertesz….the list is long and impressive. Too bad the current government of Hungary can’t take pride in those figures”

    ALL THREE NAMES AND MORE ARE INDEED LISTED ON THE FACADE OF THE TUDOMÁNYOK PALOTÁJA IN BUDA AT THE NAGY IMRE SQUARE.

    Also, I listened to an interview by Agnes Heller on YouTube. She said many Jews return to Hungary even from Israel as they find the country hospitable.

  18. OT:

    Nepszabadsag, the ailing left-leaning daily is used by Fidesz brilliantly (link below). Somehow it is Nepszabadsag which is able to get insider info from the otherwise paranoid and secretive Fidesz-governmen). Man, what suckers these journalists are. But they have no choice, Nepszabadsag may be closed down at any time (or be sold to Simicska or his front men), so I guess the editors cannot be too critical (especially if they get something in return, which is difficult to refuse when you are about to lose your job in a market where even the most die-hard Fideszniks have difficulty to get media jobs).

    According to really reliable sources, because if someone from Fidesz says it, then it must be true, we must accept it, Fidesz, should it win the elections will be very moderate, will be less activist and will make gestures towards otherwise unloved constituencies. Also, Fidesz just does not think it could again have 2/3s. No.

    So no worries, folks, you leftist voters don’t have to go to vote if they don’t feel like to, Fidesz will not get 2/3s, so no problem, Fidesz will not be all-powerful, for sure, and Orban will be much friendlier, so no reason to be so upset. He will change and will love you too. Promise.

    Needless to say that article is either paid for directly by Fidesz or the journalists are hopelessly naive (I’m guessing both). It’s a fact that the present system is almost impossible to predict, Fidesz can absolutely get 2/3s even with something like 25-30 percent of the votes cast (!), of the other parties fare badly and in bad districts, so there is no basis to say that they will no get 2/3s, it’s very easy for them to get 2/3s (it is another issue whether they have prepared for an outcome with less than 2/3s they can always get Jobbik’s assent to any issue if necessary). As to Orban’s purported plans to be moderate is pure BS, he will not be able to be even if he planned to. The economy will not improve significantly so he will need his right-wing rhetoric and they know it well, and also there is just no way Orban will suddenly fundamentally change in the his mid fifties, if anything he will be more conservative and anti-West. His reserve is in the Jobbik voters not in the MSZP/DK voters.

    But I guess, this article is more of a nice snapshot about the state of the ‘leftist’ media, which is going down quickly and is disappearing for good, helped by its hopeless amateurism and directionlessness.

    http://nol.hu/belfold/20140111-orban_konszolidacios_palyaivet_es_kormanyt_tervez

  19. wolfi :
    It made most of us into revolutionaries and paved the way for the 1968 upheavals!
    That’s something that Hungarian youths seem to have missed.

    As one revolutionary to another I must say I find your comment above exceptionally perceptive. Except that you presumably meant your generation and I have an interesting story about the current 20 and 30-somethings. My younger son lives in Canada and is an active Marxist. Even when on holiday he is very perceptive about the state of the countries he visits, re: the general mood and obvious signs of politics, culture etc. He and his family visited us last summer and towards the end of their stay he took his wife to a “romkocsma” (ruin pub) for the evening. They had a brilliant time, enjoyed the youthful atmosphere, the interesting decor of junk furniture etc., but he made the following comment: “You know what surprised me? – he asked me. What?- I answered. The total lack of politics on the walls. No posters, no graffiti, nothing. And the fact that the main slogan in the bar was “Have another beer!”

    We all had a good laugh, but his reasoning was very interesting. He told me that he had travelled extensively in Europe and North America and not once, until that night, did he have a drink in an obviously student/young people’s bar without at least the obligatory Che Guevara poster on the wall. He said that anywhere where he is familiar with young people’s clubs and bars, the talk would have been of politics, both foreign and domestic. When should you be against the government if not in your youth? And he found nothing like that in Szimpla.

    So, I think that is one of the saddest things that had happened to Hungary and Hungarian youth in the last few years/decades. I can’t gauge whether this is deep or just on the surface, whether the bar would not let anyone put up anythying for fear of getting their bar license withdrawn or whether it is an absolutely genuine lack of interest in the ways of the world and your own country. I hope it isn’t, because in my opinion, never mind the Fidesz government, never mind Jobbik, never mind all the laws, racism, anti-semitism, corruption etc., – if the youth is apathetic and is not interested in its own future we are all bu….ed!

  20. @JGrant:

    Interesting, and I also feel that “opposition” among the young here is different, not as “revolutionary” as in Western Europe. But there is opposition and a different outlook, at least among some of the younger people.

    For example I was really surprised when my wife’s younger son (he’s over 30 btw) told me that among his and his wife’s favourite internet sites are reddit and – Jon Stewart! So they are informed about what goes on in the world outside – and of course they know all those Hungarian scandals where the Fidesz mafia is involved: Közgép, the businesses of Orbán’s father and his wife’s winery etc …

    But they have to work hard to just make a living (without our support they wouldn’t even have thought about having children) and have no time to protest on the streets.

  21. @JGrant and @wolfi: As a fellow rebel of the 1960s I’ll add that the cause of the absence of ideological symbols or logic here is mainly due to the mayhem of confusing ideologies present within the Hungarian ideological atmoshpere.

    To the post-communist generation living here the world must seem like that ball of string or wool to a cat i.e. the “gordiuszi csomó”, which is the local expression for the undecipherable message or the untiable knot.

    What with the slew of options offered by the older local generations who are most often unclear themselves of the differences, I too would be hard put to know where to find the reliable structural pillars.

    By fate and by extension this is most likely the phenomenon reposnible for even Orban’s odd behavior and mixture of ill-fitting ideologioes that are currently steering the country with the masses hanging on for dear life.

    This boat, likely for this simple but not as evident reason has lost a reliable steering mechanism as well as a reliable captain, leading to likely fateful collision or accident. A boat that could evidently capsize.

    All because no competent person has been allowed to get to the helm and because the steering mechanism is out of order. Not by chance the word govenment comes from the French word “le gouvernail” which is the steering mechanism on a ship.

  22. To wrap up my previous comment “Andy – ship Ahoy”, there is an eerie connection between the lack of critical focus of the Hungarian population and the Hungarian unprincipled political and economic debacle.

    Positive changes can only be built on solid intellectual foundations. Not having these foundations, the changes will appear ‘ad hoc’ and canot be solid or long-lasting.

    The EU would do well to note the absence of solid ethical foundations in some post-communist societies.

    Just as “reverse discrimination” had beneficial results in bringing change to formerly accepted thinking in the USA, a new era of education in the former Communist States — of ethics, politics, Western economic principles, logic of globalisation, concepts of social capitalism within democracy — need to be taught.

    Also the areas of potential misunderstandings neeed to be explained to as wide a swarth of the population as possible.

    This may appear like ‘brainwashing’ in the former Soviets system.
    Not so, however. This serves as corrective clarification of fundamental principles that were mis-taught previously. If you, dear reader, believe in the current Western system as being more efficient and more human, this step of reeducation is a ‘sine quoi non’.

    Message to the EU + USA administrations:.
    Your work has not been finished by targeting huge amounts of money to assist finacially. You need to offer University Economics 101 that INCLUDES extra portions of Western economic, legal and ethical concepts which had been missed out by those in responsible positions as well as by the mass population. And as you would be re-educating adults, you’ll need to do it very patiently.

    Message to Mr Soros and like-minded good natured Western souls.
    Kindly redirect your funds toward adult education to help foster solid Western intellectual principles. Remeber: you can’t build a Western society on a base constructed by Karl Marx or Josef Stalin!!!

    Old concepts, like that ONLY CROOKED THINKING is what it takes to succeed in capitalism need to be DISPROVED!!! Your work has not been accomplished by throwing money at current operational systems upheld on shaky foundations. Proof is that SINCE 1989 these systems have MALFUNCTIONED. Admitting to the above is the FIRST STEP in the RIGHT direction.

  23. The saying that “those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it” has never been truer than it is in revisionist Hungary today. But, Hungarians don’t want to learn from the past, they want what they had yesterday. If it was not for the Hungarian Jews, who consistently have had their head in the sand, I would say leave them to what they want.
    As it is, the only hope for decent Hungarians is the complete ostracism of this government by the world community. Those who like what they have today will soon change direction, as they have done si in the past, when their everyday life was affected by the action of their leaders. As capital has fled and banks are unable to function, it is only a matter of time before the population will revolt. Shame, shame, shame!

  24. Mo: Hungarians as well as many Germans would have voted for Arrow-cross/Nazis, respectively, even after the war, even after the utter devastation (if they could). War, ostracism, revolt, have nothing to do with it. People are socially conservative and want to take away the wealth of others, they being poor — it is such a logical combination in our age, that no disaster is too big for such voters. Dont’t expect that the right wing will go away anytime soon in Hungary.

  25. The Tragedy of Madach can not happen in Hungary.
    Too many Hungarians are in the dark of the national past.
    Deak enlightened Hungary for a short time.
    After him, the darkness just became darker.
    Hungary, unfortunately, is a black hole again.
    All attempts to lighten it up, has been failed.

  26. wolfi :
    @JGrant:
    … I was really surprised when my wife’s younger son (he’s over 30 btw) told me that among his and his wife’s favourite internet sites are reddit and – Jon Stewart! So they are informed about what goes on in the world outside …

    I don’t know much about reddit (although I looked at their website and the headline on the top of the page was “Little girl and alpaca turned into cartoon.”) but Jon Stewart is a comedian who has a pseudo-news nightly comedy show (on the Comedy Channel). If someone gets his/her news from it, that person is not informed about what goes on in the world (from a reliable, objective news source)

  27. Anti-Semitism has always served as the hegemonic ideology of the Hungarian capitalist class; especially since 1989 it has been a close handmaiden of nationalism in the restoration of “capitalism without capital.” In this respect Hungary is only an extreme example of a larger international retrogression of consciousness in which the bourgeoisie attacks what is historically progressive within its own ideological foundations in the French Revolution, the American Civil War, etc.

    For the working class anti-Semitism is and remains, in August Bebel’s deathless phrase, “the socialism of fools.”

  28. “…this so-called occupation, which surely can’t be called an occupation in the accepted meaning of the word. It, in fact, could better be described as a troop movement within the territories of military allies.”

    It reminds me a story on “a limited contingent of troops of the Warsaw Pact” that entered Czecho-Slovakia in 1968.

    Ladies and Gentlemen! You may amuse yourselves with this version of history as much as you wish, but none of the serious historians or serious readers will take this text seriously. Interesting, the article on Holocaust in Hungary does not even mention Eichmann’s name!

    “Some of the pro-government “historians” go even further and claim that, with the active help of Miklós Horthy, “300,000 Hungarian Jews were hidden, fed, and saved in Budapest.””
    Steve comments on January 10, 2014 at 4:38 pm:

    If that would be correct who would have inhabited in 1944 the Main or International Ghettoes, nobody would have been shot into the Danube and the march towards Vienna would have had no Jewish participants since there were not more than 200-220 thousand Jews in October 1944 in Budapest…”

    I have heard 280 thsd. as a maximum. Who? They would – inhabit, be shot, marched towards… If there had been no Jews saved, no all these actions were possible. If the deportations were not stopped in the early July, at a speed of 12 thsd. souls a day nobody would remain in Budapest by the end of the month.

  29. I am not sure that in July ’44 there were 220 or 280 thousand Jews in Budapest but to suggest that the good non-Jewish burghers have hidden 300,000 of them is a mathematical impossibility and judging by the number of Righteous awards, which includes Jews hidden in the provinces as well, it is quite a joke by the radio commentators . To assume that had the deportations not been stopped, the deportations of Budapest Jews on this scale (12 thousand per day) could have been carried out is not a good guess. There were all these Jews in over 2000 buildings, and later on 20th October when just men between 16 and 50 were collected to dig fortifications, (or less than half of the total Jews) they had to send young boys of levente age to collect them and they had to walk, but already in June/July there were serious rolling stock shortages and by June Budapest and its train junctions were heavily bombed. Even in May there were insufficient waggons available and since the Germans kept most of the rolling stock in Poland after delivery to Auschwitz the shortages must have been considerable by July/August. Even in 1948 one could see waggons with “MAV” in Germany!

    When in October/November Jews were taken towards Germany, they had to walk or a very small number were taken by freight barges on the Danube towards Vienna.

    Most of those who were in Budapest and “in hiding” were, like me, masquerading as non-Jews and while some may have been helped, most of them had to survive without being hidden by a Hungarian Gentile.

    I cannot suggest that Horthy’s action of having Jaross, Baky and Endre sacked and forbidding further deportations were not of any consequence, but without it, finding, consolidating and moving 220 or 280 thousand Jews would have taxed even Eichmann and his staff of 80. In my opinion the danger was not in deporting the Jews but in having the Ghettoes blown up and shooting those fleeing from it as per the Warsaw example. That this did not happen was due to both Himmler and the Waffen SS general who decided not to touch the Main Ghetto. The International Ghetto was saved due to Baron Gabor Kemeny, the 24 years old Foreign Minister in the Szalasi ministry,

  30. I don’t see why moving 437 thsd. was not a problem for Eichmann, and moving extra 220 would during July. He was quite ready to resume deportation even on August 25. Patai, Deak write about 170 thsd in 1900 Jewish houses with the stars on the roofs and 110 thsd who failed to register and to move from their original homes and were not betrayed by their neighbors. Do you know that Baron Gabor Kemeny was hung together with the most members of Szalasi’s government?

  31. >The present pro-Horthy debates and whitewashing efforts of the existing rulers and Jobbik, who were voted in by the Hungarians are just a sign of the long established anti-Semitic feelings of the Hungarian Nation. There are not a lot of steps between Tiszaeszlar and the proposed memorial on Szabadsag?ter.

    True. Did not the Hungarian population freely and democratically elected the right majority before the war? Horthy dealt with the nation that he had, not with a theoretical ideal nation. He just was appointed to his post when in 1921 count Teleki introduced the first anti-Jewish law. Almost all his prime-ministers were committed anti-Semites. Kallay first rejected the appointment because of this situation with the government party.

    It is a stupid thing to erect a monument to a national humiliation. But I wonder; does not Hungary have other problems before election, economic etc.? Or the Horthy problem is the only one?

  32. “Did not the Hungarian population freely and democratically elected the right majority before the war?”

    Absolutely not. Under Horthy, Hungary had one of the lowest voter eligibility rates in Europe – which was quite an exploit if you consider not all women were barred from voting. And only 20% could vote with secret ballots. Not to mention the party system, etc.

    See https://hungarianspectrum.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/two-elections-in-hungary-1922-and-2012/

  33. Hello Eva how is it possible that the comment i made on the 10 or 11 janu. is missing, did you block the comment i made greetings

  34. elisabeth :

    Hello Eva how is it possible that the comment i made on the 10 or 11 janu. is missing, did you block the comment i made greetings

    I didn’t block anything. I have no idea what happened to them.

  35. “Mazsihisz is an organization that represents only the Jewish religious communities, which is a very small group in comparison to those who consider themselves Jewish but have no religious affiliation.”

    How can one consider oneself Jewish without having any religious affiliation?
    To me that sounds as weird as saying, “I’m not religious but I consider myself a Catholic.”

  36. Tyrker :
    “Mazsihisz is an organization that represents only the Jewish religious communities, which is a very small group in comparison to those who consider themselves Jewish but have no religious affiliation.”
    How can one consider oneself Jewish without having any religious affiliation?
    To me that sounds as weird as saying, “I’m not religious but I consider myself a Catholic.”

    For your edification: the Jewish religion’s rules consider anyone to be a Jew if his/her mother was Jewish, even if that person is not religious. One can also become Jewish via religious conversion.

  37. gdfxx :

    For your edification: the Jewish religion’s rules consider anyone to be a Jew if his/her mother was Jewish, even if that person is not religious. One can also become Jewish via religious conversion.

    Here is Tyrker. Jewish topic, so it is inevitable.

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