The last straw: Either true depiction of the Hungarian Holocaust or Jewish boycott

The fallout from Sándor Szakály’s outrageous comments on the Kamenets-Podolskii mass murder of deportees delivered to German-occupied Ukraine is intensifying in Hungary. Instead of calling it what it was, the first atrocity in the Hungarian Holocaust, Szakály called it “a police action against aliens.” It seems that this was the last straw for Mazsihisz, the organization that represents non-Orthodox Jewish religious communities.

An exceptionally strongly worded statement appeared on Mazsihisz’s website this morning. Here is a translation of this very important document. We must keep in mind that in the past Mazsihisz was relatively inactive and avoided serious confrontations with the Hungarian government. The fact that such a statement was released by Mazsihisz shows how strained relations between the Orbán government and the Jewish communities have become in the last four years.

* * *

MAZSIHISZ DEMANDS THE RESIGNATION OF SÁNDOR SZAKÁLY

The leadership of Mazsihisz is aghast and finds incomprehensible the relativization of the Holocaust by the “Veritas” Institute established by the Hungarian government. The director of the “Veritas” Institute, Sándor Szakály, called the deportation of Kamenets-Podolskii, the first mass murder of the Hungarian Holocaust, “a police action against aliens.” After the failure of his past efforts at falsifying history, we expect him to resign from his position.

The leadership of Mazsihisz calls on all politicians to refrain from using the 70th anniversary of the Hungarian Holocaust as an element in the electoral campaign and asks all concerned to refrain from rewriting our past. If the government of Hungary is serious about facing the true history of the Holocaust,  it should immediately put an end to the disrespectful behavior that is ruinous for the credibility of the memorial year of 2014.

Because of the lack of information about the ideology of the new Holocaust Center at Józsefváros, because of what transpired at the Horthy Conference at the House of Terror, because of the falsification of history in the series “Lifesaving Stories” on Magyar Rádió, because of the erection of the [German occupation] memorial on Szabadság tér, and because of the statements of the director of the “Veritas” Institute, Mazsihisz is seriously contemplating refraining from participation in the events of the Holocaust Year. Moreover, we will make use of the grant we received from the Civil Grant Fund only if there is a change in the direction of the whole project.

We call everybody’s attention to the words of Sándor Márai: “We cannot excuse, we cannot explain what happened, but we can admit it and can tell it.  This will be the duty of this generation.”

* * *

András Heisler, president of Mazsihisz

András Heisler, president of Mazsihisz

Since then Szakály was invited by Antónia Mészáros of ATV for a chat on her program. He started out on a high horse and tried to prove the correctness of his interpretation by reading passages from Randolph L. Braham’s work on the Hungarian Holocaust. Naturally, since the appearance of that monumental work several books and articles have appeared on the subject. Szakály is either unfamiliar with this research or purposely ignored it. By the end of the conversation, however, he was less sure of his views and admitted that perhaps he was wrong. But that is not a political issue, he claimed, but differences of opinion within the profession. Initially he categorically announced that he has no intention of resigning, but by the end he was quite contrite. Obviously he realized the precariousness of his situation.

Mazsihisz’s quasi ultimatum pushes Viktor Orbán into a corner. He either has to sack Szakály, force Mária Schmidt to allow a dialogue with the Jewish community concerning the new Holocaust Center, and give up the idea of erecting a monument to the German occupation which is an important part of the myth he wants to create about the innocence of Hungarians in the Holocaust, or he loses the support of the Hungarian and international Jewry which he seems to find very important. Perhaps he thinks that key members of the American Jewish community will rush to his aid and convince the American government that the current Hungarian government is democratic and especially sensitive when it comes to anti-Semitism. I doubt, however, that such an intervention on Viktor Orbán’s behalf, even if it materialized, could counterbalance, for example, Orbán’s “strategic alliance” with Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

We will see what will happen. One thing is sure: the leadership of Mazsihisz is not exaggerating. A wholesale falsification of history has been under way for some time. On all fronts and not just the Holocaust. Lately, for instance, MTV launched a series on the late 1980s and the regime change. The job was given to someone who is not qualified, and the first two segments were apparently crawling with factual errors. And, of course, with revisionist history. On Duna TV there is another questionable historical series called “Heritage.” Put it this way, the number of programs dealing with history is far too high and therefore highly suspicious. One wishes that politicians would leave history alone. We would all be much better off.

Advertisements

58 comments

  1. Karl Pfeifer :

    Ovidiu :
    @Pfeifer “return to Hungary, to the massive government sponsored rewriting of history”
    What to say more since nothing as yet happened.Szakály has not resigned and the occupation-monument has not been cancelled.
    One even wonders “why now ?”, wonders whether Orban actually does this because he wants a conflict with Mazsihisz in order to collect the votes of the die-hard anti-semites.

    Ovidiu I am not sure. Orbán believes that he can throw sand into the eyes of Jews and of the West by showing those building and at the same time to get the votes of Jobbik sympathizers.
    But if he has to choose, for him it is more important to get those votes.
    I guess he is going to break his word, that he will not form a coalition with Jobbik, if the results of the election will not allow him to form a Fidesz-KDNP government. He seems not to have problems with the ideology of Jobbik.

    I keep reading about bloggers firm belief of how Orban’s desperate for Jobbik votes, or the votes of Romanian Hungarians. People miss the main point: wherein does their confidence
    come from that the elections will be ‘fair’ and the counting–note Stalin’s dictum here–will
    be legal? Is it certain that the OSCE will monitor the elections or will they be a) hampered,
    or b) barred as captain Putin, Orban’s mentor, has done in the past? Let’s get real folks: there’s no guarantee, as far as I can ascertain, that the voting/counting will not be rigged.

    Forget Orban’s smoke & mirrors–someone make the necessary research about whether the OSCE will be in Hungary in force or not.

  2. Ferenc J. :
    http://www.kitorestura.hu/ supported by budapest kupa

    Just wonderful.
    I somehow missed the fallen angel with the broken wings, even if there’s quite a number of participants masquerading as German, Hungarian, even Russian soldiers, but no angel, whatsoever. Perhaps Kerényi’s ingenious concept haven’t reached the “Ausbruch 60 – Gedenk- und Wandertour” organisers earlier. Well, there is still time…

    Btw., the site even available in German, but interesting to browse the photos anyway.

    Look forward to see, when it will be part of the education-program. As things “developing” it may happen any time now…

  3. Several Jewish cultural organizations issued a statement tonight.

    They do no regard Szakaly’s apology sufficient and demand his resignation.

    http://www.mazsihisz.hu/2014/01/20/kevesnek-tartjak-szakaly-sandor-bocsanatkereset-a-zsidoszervezetek-6733.html

    Efraim Zuroff of Wiesenthal Center has reportedly also issued a statement, but I am not able to locate it either on the Center’s address or om his personal facebook page.

    nepszava. hu/cikk/1008527-szakaly-nyilatkozata—tiltakozik-a-wiesenthal-kozpont/

  4. @petofi
    I anticipate that there is no real need for rigging the counting or the election by itself – as it seems, the idea was/is to modify the legal- and practical environment – as the latest advertising stunt prove – before the actual voting, so the whole process could look perfectly legal to any observer from the outside.

    It’s true though, that Orbán never trust in anything or/and anybody, so, as it seems they working fervently to ensure, nothing possibly could go wrong, and since they tend to overdo just about everything, there is a chance to catch them fiddle with the results, but then what?

  5. I have a request.

    In my childhood I saw a movie on television. Latinovits and Ruttkay played the roles.

    We are after the war. R. and L. meet. R. falls in love with L. Then she finds out that L. was a csendőr in the war We learn that she was a persecuted Jew…

    THey played phenomenally. My question. What was the title of this play?

  6. @tappanch

    These are the films in which both played together. They were married. In 1976 Zoltán Latinovits killed himself.

    1963: Foto Haber (Foto Háber)

    1969: Ein unvergeßlicher Sommer (A rérg nyar)

    1970: Reise um meinen Schädel (Utazás a koponyám körül)

    1971: Sindbad (Szindbád)

    1972: Es war mal eine Familie (Volt egyszer egy család)

    1976: Das Labyrinth (Labirintus)

  7. spectator :
    @petofi
    I anticipate that there is no real need for rigging the counting or the election by itself – as it seems, the idea was/is to modify the legal- and practical environment – as the latest advertising stunt prove – before the actual voting, so the whole process could look perfectly legal to any observer from the outside.
    It’s true though, that Orbán never trust in anything or/and anybody, so, as it seems they working fervently to ensure, nothing possibly could go wrong, and since they tend to overdo just about everything, there is a chance to catch them fiddle with the results, but then what?

    All those changing permutations of the voting law are just a ‘blind’–Orban will adjust the results
    as he deems fit: if he wants to include Jobbik in the government, he’ll deal himself a minority government, in need of a coalition partner. It’s all a matter of what’s in his psychopathic game-book…

Comments are closed.