The Orbán government’s war on multiple fronts

It looks as if there is a good possibility that the Orbán government will go through with its plans to erect a monument in memory of the German “occupation” of Hungary which, according to the new constitution’s preamble, put an end to Hungarian sovereignty for almost half a century. I’m sure that by now all readers of Hungarian Spectrum are aware of the significance of this monument. I also hope that most people who are even slightly familiar with the history of Hungary in the twentieth century perfectly understand that this monument, if erected, will be the embodiment of Hungary’s claim to total innocence in the Holocaust. This attempt at rewriting history has unfortunate ramifications for the way Hungarian society will look at the past and their own place in it. This monument, if Viktor Orbán’s plans become reality, will put a stamp of approval on the government-led falsification of history.

The planned monument has already raised concerns and objections, and yet Viktor Orbán refuses to reconsider. Why is this monument so important to Fidesz and the present right-wing government? Why are they ready to alienate important groups at home and abroad for the sake of this hideous monument? Why did they announce their decision so late? Why the hurry?

I would like to offer a couple of thoughts for consideration. The first is that, in my opinion, preparations for the reinterpretation of the history of Hungary between the two world wars has been in the works for a long period of time. Since way before 2010. Moreover, I’m sure that it was systematically worked out with one overarching thing in mind: to take away the odium of the Holocaust from the Hungarians. I know that a lot of people think that the script for a revisionist history was written only recently in order to compete with Jobbik, whose votes Fidesz needs at the next election. But the text of the constitution’s preamble belies this theory. Viktor Orbán promised great changes in every facet of life in 2010. Why should history be any different? In fact, changing society’s historical consciousness should be practically a prerequisite of all other changes.

It was maybe yesterday that Szabolcs Kerék-Bárczy, formerly of MDF and today a DK candidate in the first electoral district of Budapest, pointed out that by now he thinks that Viktor Orbán and his friends aren’t just trying to please their friends in Jobbik but actually believe that changes in historical interpretation are warranted. Reporter Olga Kálmán loudly protested, as is customary in Hungarian liberal circles. I tend to side with Kerék-Bárczy. I think that setting up the “Veritas” Institute under the direction of a former MIÉP now Jobbik supporter is more than politics. It comes from deep conviction.

I will make available a few documents here. First, a protest of twenty-three historians that was published this morning on Galamus. 

* * *

The protest of the Hungarian historians against the planned German Occupation Memorial

We hereby protest against the plan to erect a memorial in central Budapest to the German occupation of 1944. The memorial falsifies an important period of our history, and relativizes the Holocaust in Hungary.

According to the description of the memorial, which has recently been made public, the memorial will be built “in the memory of all the victims.” Since, however, this memorial is based on a falsified version of history, it cannot fulfill its purpose. By presenting both the victims and perpetrators of the Holocaust together as the sole victim of the Germans, the planned memorial dishonours the memory of those half a million victims who were killed in the Holocaust in Hungary. 

The Hungarian Holocaust took place with the active participation of the Hungarian authorities. But the planned memorial places all responsibility solely with the Germans and the German army’s “Arrow Cross subordinates.” In truth, the Arrow Cross had nothing to do with the mass deportations which took place in the summer of 1944.

We, the undersigned historians, call upon the government to stop falsifying our recent past, to stop relativizing the history of the Holocaust in Hungary, and to abandon the plan to erect a memorial to the German occupation on Freedom Square in Budapest.

Bencsik Péter historian

Deák Ágnes historian

Eörsi László historian

Fazekas Csaba historian

Frojimovics Kinga historian

Gecsényi Lajos historian

Gyáni Gábor  historian

Hajdu Tibor historian

Hosszú Gyula historian

Karády Viktor sociologist

Karsai László historian

Kenedi János  historian

Klaniczay Gábor historian

Kovács M. Mária historian

Kövér György  historian

Majsai Tamás historian

Mink András historian

Molnár Judit historian

Ormos Mária historian

Paksy Zoltán historian

Pihurik Judit historian

Rainer M. János historian

Sipos Péter historian

    * * *

You will recall that Mazsihisz wrote a letter to Viktor Orbán in which the leaders of the organization expressed their misgivings about the direction in which the Holocaust Memorial Year is heading. They complained about Mária Schmidt’s reinterpretation of the Horthy regime and objected to the appointment of Sándor Szakály to head the “Veritas” Institute and demanded his resignation. In addition, they called on the government to give up the idea of a monument to the events of March 19, 1944. Yesterday came the answer:

* * *

A Statement by the Government Information Centre

January 21, 2014 2:50 PM

Historical facts speak for themselves. The time has come for us to erect a monument to all victims. This is a question of humanity. The debate concerning the monument is understandable because this is an important issue, but we very much hope that no one disputes the fact that the victims of the events that occurred following 19 March 1944 deserve to be remembered with compassion and respect. On 19 March 1944, Hungary was occupied by Nazi German forces; on this day, the country lost its independence.

The Fundamental Law of Hungary states very clearly: “We date the restoration of our country’s self-determination, lost on the nineteenth day of March 1944, from the second day of May 1990, when the first freely elected organ of popular representation was formed. We shall consider this date to be the beginning of our country’s new democracy and constitutional order. We hold that after the decades of the twentieth century which led to a state of moral decay, we have an abiding need for spiritual and intellectual renewal.”

This is why, to mark the 70th anniversary of the German occupation, the Government decided to erect a memorial in commemoration of all victims.

We ask everyone not to make a political issue out of this compassionate remembrance. It is the objective of Hungary’s Government for a culture of remembrance to become established in Hungary.

(Prime Minister’s Office)

* * *

There is one obvious question: what victims are we talking about besides Hungary’s Jewish citizens? Hungary continued the war uninterrupted on the German side just as before. Thus the peaceful occupation of the country made no difference in the military losses of Hungary. The reference to lost independence, of course, equates to a refusal to take any responsibility for what happened.

So, this is where we stand now. Orbán is planning to go ahead while Mazsihisz is standing firm.  As expected, the city council of District V with its Fidesz-Jobbik majority voted to grant the permit to construct the statue. Mazsihisz so far hasn’t changed its mind. As András Heisler, president of Mazsihisz, said, “trench warfare” set in.

St. George and the Dragon

St. George and the Dragon

In addition to Mazsihisz, there is EMIH (Egységes Magyarországi Izraelita Hitközség/Unified Israelite Religious Community/Chabad) whose leader, Rabbi Slomó Köves, has been on very friendly terms with Fidesz and the Orbán government. For example, Köves was appointed to be the official rabbi to the Hungarian armed forces. Even he is supporting Mazsihisz, but he suggests that besides the ultimatum-like voices an alternative program ought to be offered. Whatever he means by that.

Mazsihisz’s position has been greatly strengthened by Randolph L. Braham’support, who shares the point of view of Mazsihisz concerning the issues at hand. He considers the events of late a well orchestrated rewriting of history with a view to the rehabilitation of the Horthy regime. Braham in an interview given to Népszabadság said while talking about Sándor Szakály that he recalled the saying:  “Behind every dictator with  a sword there is a historian with a sponge in his hand.” How true.

And here is another topic we ought to cover. I may have criticized Colleen Bell for not being as well prepared for her Senate hearing as she should have been. However, no one in his right mind should think that her statement about current Hungarian politics is Colleen Bell’s personal opinion. It clearly reflects the U.S. State Department’s interpretation of Hungarian affairs. She was only the voice of this opinion. Therefore it is inexplicable why Gergely Gulyás addressed an open letter to Colleen Bell personally in today’s Magyar Nemzet. He accused her of bias. How will she be able to represent the United States with the kinds of prejudices she exhibited at the hearing, Gulyás asked. Bell shouldn’t be worried about the state of democracy in Hungary. The U.S. Embassy had nothing to say when in the fall of 2006 “the police force of the Gyurcsány government brutally attacked the peaceful demonstrators.” Gulyás at one point talked about Ferenc Gyurcsány’s party as a “left-wing Jobbik.” It is the Demokratikus Koalíció that poses a danger to democracy. He expressed his hope that “the Hungarian government can count on the new ambassador in the struggle against extremists.”

At the same time he talked about some of “the self-appointed Hungary experts” who have an influence on American diplomacy and who are committed to the Hungarian left-liberal side and are therefore unable to swallow the fact that it was a right-of center government that won the election. “These people try to mislead American diplomacy and the American public with the most absurd lies.” Finally, he drew a line in the sand: “The citizens of Hungary don’t need outside help in their decisions concerning their own future.”

Trench warfare with with Mazsihisz and open war against the United States. Where will this lead?

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99 comments

  1. @tappanch: Baky broke with the Arrow Cross in September 1941, joining forces with the Imrédists.

    What the current horthycultists would like to have everybody forget, is that from 1942 it wasn’t ‘Horthy the protector vs. the Arrow Cross brutes’ – there were already enough Horthy-compatible, pro-German fascists and ultra-conservatives to do the dirty work.

  2. There is little new in the current historical revision relating to Horthy, it’s outlines existed in the Hungarian community outside of Europe for many years. I am sure Eva saw this even when she emigrated to Canada after 56. In fact Radio Free Europe allowed Hungarian language programs to be broadcast that contained elements of this revisionist history. Tapes of some of these broadcasts were played as part of my own Hungarian language training in Saturday school as a child.

    All Orban’s people have done is brought home a existing narrative and have tried to support it with pretend historians. What I find interesting is that some of the world community is shocked to some degree by this stance. This perspective on the past was nurtured by the US CIA or its predecessor agency, when it recruited former Arrow Cross members as anti-communist agents and allowed them to emigrate to the US. All of this is now documented as I have pointed out before on this blog. In saying this I do not want to in any way imply that all or even most opposition to the Kadar regime was a creation of the CIA. Most opponents to authoritarian Communism were honest believers in democracy who also linked democracy with capitalism, which given the reality of Hungary made sense. But the world of free markets does not necessarily equate to civil democracy.

  3. Mr. Paul :
    “The fact that the German ambassador also raised his voice doesn’t bode well.”
    Did you read the full text from the German embassy though? It has some parts that say “Germany takes full responsibility for the nazi crimes committed. Inlcuding those crimes committed in Hungary…” Something like that. And then it goes on and says that the project was too fast or something. Those passages heavily undercut the message here.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if the sculptor would give out a statement: ” I was very happy to hear that the Germans take responsibility for their horrible crimes. This is the main message of my statue, so I am happy they agree with it.”
    It is a tricky position here, I don’t know what will come out of this eventually.

    It is not tricky at all. That Germany would take responsibility is no news.

    The only important part is that the Germans publicly regret not being associated in any practical way to the project. For any EU citizen, this should be interpreted as a diplomatic yet clear and fully justified criticism of the Hungarian Government: we’ve fought each other so many times, we absolutely need to adress these memorial projects together, former enemies side by side.

  4. Re: German occupation – Romania vs Hungary

    Do not forget the massacre of Trans(d)nistrian Jewry by Romanian troops in 1941-42, the Iasi pogrom in June, 1941, but…

    There were significant number of German troops in Hungary only for 3 weeks after March 19, 1944, most of them were re-deployed outside Hungary BEFORE the deportations.

    In Romania, there were lots of German troops at the same time. But the Romanian government was smart [or nationalistic] enough not to agree in the deportations of its Jewish population from Southern Transylvania or Bucuresti.

    This is another proof for the responsibility of the Hungarian State, including Horthy.

  5. Marcel,

    I guess Mr. Paul has a point in that the German embassy’s letter is extremely vague and aloof as if they did not really care or understand the situation.

    I imagine the German embassy/Amt is burocratic to the point of impossibility. In addition, as we know, Germany is very non-activist in foreign relations matters by default, and especially Ms. Merkel has a style of not responding, even evading challenges. That must permeate her administration. And, last but not least, the Germans apparently still have – even vis-a-vis Hungary, which is a joke given our full support of Hitler until the very end – bad consciousness re WWII, so they do not dare to raise their voices.

    If some crazy Hungarian government would like to use the Germans and their national symbol in such a way as it is intended, well, that is more or less OK with the German government.

    Never count on any EU member to act decisively. The Europeans are incapable of acting tough. The Germans especially. Orban knows that and he used this knowledge time and again against Western-Europe. Believe me, he will continue to do so.

    The memorial will be built and will be a place of pilgrimage for people wanting to believe it was only ‘zi Germans’ responsible for WWII and the Holocaust. There are a lot of such Hungarians. And the Germans still harbor such a bad conscience that they will take on any responsibility (ie from Hungary in this case) without a beep. They are just OK with that.

    I hope I am wrong, but based on what I have been seeing from the Germans re other foreign affairs/EU matters, I would not hold out too much hope for that.

  6. @kovic

    If it weren’t for the Germans, the EU would have disintegrated long ago. But I agree that Merkel is not a very pronounced or principled European. But who is at this time (except perhaps for Tusk)?

    Ambassadors are meant to use diplomatic language and not meddle in internal affairs of other nations.

    Although it were the Hungarians who deported their Jews and plundered their belongings, the Germans actually killed almost all of them. And at least in Germany that is not forgotten.

    The sad thing about Hungarian current affairs is that the Orbán regimes wastes a whole country’s time, and a huge lot of it. The third Meciar government in Slovakia cost the country four years, but it could easily catch up. Orbán has only just begun. The damage he has already done and the brain drain he has already caused will take years to reverse – once there is a chance to do so. But when will that be? His time horizon was 10-20 years…

    As for foreign direct investment and German companies: There is hardly any new foreign direct investment to speak of. But the exporting companies that are already in Hungary are not interested in politics as long as Hungary is part of the EU and they are left alone. They are the only reason that Hungary can show an export surplus, that some taxes are coming in and unemployment doesn’t crush through the bottom.

  7. @kovic: but there was a beep, and we just read it. Since this is a Hungarian memorial on Hungarian soil, and the 1944 invasion is a fact, I’m not expecting nor suggesting Germany could do anything else about it for the time being, apart from pointing out Orbán’s bad European manners. We’ll see how it develops until the inauguration.

    @Istvan: I agree with you, but would like to add that the irredentist narrative never entirely left the country. It resurfaced at the end of the 1960s under the clothing of the ‘defence of minority rights’, and the relations between communist Hungary and both Romania and Czechoslovakia were notoriously bad because of it. Then it took another turn in the 80s with the progressive rehabilitation of the populists.

    Both late Kádár and post-Kádár communists governments allowed forms of the victimised national narrative to grow again, for the sake of consolidating their power. The present generation of Fidesz politicians was educated in those years…

  8. LwiiH :

    gdfxx :

    tomgrof :
    In this article Szakaly wrote: 95% of the losses at the River Don of the forced labor troop was caused by the soviet Red Army. And then he cited figures for a longer period of time trying to blame the Soviets as enemies for all what happened to the forced laborers. It was already more than a year ago

    Yes, the mines that the forced laborers were forced to pick by hand were indeed planted by the Red Army. Probably that is what this idiot meant.

    I thought the posting was quite thoughtful and he’s quite right, forcing unarmed people to work in the middle of an armed conflict is as good as killing them yourself. Lets not talk about the slave labour bit.
    I personally find this whole plan to be an offensive towards Germans (as well as the victims). Today’s Germany is *not* the Germany of the past while we do need to remember, we also need to forgive. Rubbing Germany’s nose in it’s past promoting false icons is not part of forgiving.

    The word idiot was for Szakaly.

  9. tappanch :

    Gardonista :
    I wish people would pay more attention to Slomó Köves. There is a large right-wing Orthodox Jewish community that respects this man, who seems to me to be completely dedicated to serving his personal self-interest.

    “large” = 1,000

    This community is larger outside of Hungary. While there is a huge gap between the liberal Jews and the Köves’s Lubavitch constituency, the Lubavitch are very well organized. They listen to Köves.

  10. @Marcel De: “that the irredentist narrative never entirely left the country. It resurfaced at the end of the 1960s under the clothing of the ‘defence of minority rights’, and the relations between communist Hungary and both Romania and Czechoslovakia were notoriously bad because of it.”

    The victimized national narrative during the Kadar era was very different from the narrative we have nowadays. First, it was lot more subtle, a lot less outspoken. It was a kind of “we all know that the world was unfair to Hungary, but that’s past, and there isn’t anything to do about it”. I actually was brought up with this sentiment in school in the 80s. In school. Not by reading some anti-government propaganda. This was the narrative implicitly installed in the average young person growing up in the 80s.

    The Communist, however, were also hard-core anti-fascists and anti-Horthy, so the narrative also included “the Horthy regime lead the country to disaster.” The narrative was not only missing the Christian Conservative ideology of the Horthy period and the Nazi ideas propagated by Jobbik, but these ideas were abhorrent, and practically eradicated in the country. Or so the Communist leadership thought.

    Most of those who subscribed to these ideas either left the county, were executed, and those who stayed would not in a million years would voice any openly right wing/Horthyist sentiments that would give them away. Not even in the 80s. So these ideas did not have a big influence on the population en masse. And although there were silent Horthy fans and silent Nazis in the country, I do believe that most of this ideology was imported back in the 90s and fell fertile ground meeting the more modest “the world was unfair to Hungary” narrative of the 80s.

    But in the end, it really doesn’t matter where it came from. It did resurface.

    What my generation learned from growing up in the 80s is that you cannot trust the Communists. They lie. They lie about history. So when 1989 came, especially young people, were very open to different historical narratives, and started to read those works that were banned under the Communists… and lot of these were right wring, or extreme right wind renditions of Hungarian history.

  11. The Ringier company sold several papers, including the largest circulation daily Nepszabadsag to Vienna-registered VCP today.

    VCP is also a major shareholder in the FHB bank, owned by a oligarch close to Fidesz.

    Who owns VCP? Simicska?

  12. The acquired portfolio includes 8 county daily newspapers (!), vg.hu, and the largest sports daily “Nemzeti Sport”

  13. In Chicago we have a community of Hungarian Hasidim, the oldest members of this community speak and read Hungarian. But I have not met a second or third generation member of that community that community that understands Hungarian although many speak yiddish. When Orban was in Chicago there was no presence of Hungarian Hasidim at any of the events held in his honor as far as I know. Even Agudas Achim North Shore Congregation synagogue which historically was Hungarian has collapsed and the temple is fenced up.

  14. @Istvan
    Люба́вичи, the original village of this sect is in Smolensk oblast’, in the westernmost part of current Russia.

    Hungarian Chassid != Chabad.

    Traditional Orthodox != Chassid

  15. we just wait till the democrats , communists ar back in power, new scoolbooks and all this ridiculus statues will go to the garbidge .

  16. tappanch :
    The Ringier company sold several papers, including the largest circulation daily Nepszabadsag to Vienna-registered VCP today.
    VCP is also a major shareholder in the FHB bank, owned by a oligarch close to Fidesz.
    Who owns VCP? Simicska?

    I guess good bye to nol.hu.

  17. Putin is on the roll.

    Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, while in Russia on Thursday, was reported to be signing a $1 billion natural gas project in Gaza with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

  18. @An: thanks for weighing in. I agree there are many differences.

    Also today, pupils in today’s Orbánistan aren’t taught that Hungary is going to conquer back the 64 counties, and the main Fidesz line is not antisemitic. Again, there are big differences – but they do not erase the continuities. Istvan and yourself are absolutely right to point out Foreign influences, but I think the domestic debates – even limited to a small number of people as they were under communism – are those who matter the most.

    I’d be curious by the way to know whether since 89 regular opinion studies have been conducted on the subject of the Hungarian nation, magyar ethnicity and so on. The breakup among party lines may be surprising…

  19. Marcel De: I think I wanted to bring in what was my lived experience in the 80s… the majority of people were not harboring even remotely revisionist ideas and were not heavily invested in the victim narrative, unlike today. Yes, you can find the root of almost any sentiment in any society … problems are starting when the NORMs of the society are changing, and the views that were shunned, isolated and marginal before become the norm…. and that’s what is going on in Hungary with pre-ww2 ideologies… they are becoming more and more mainstream. Yes, research on this would be very interesting, but I doubt that such a longitudinal study exits… maybe at TARKI?

  20. “Ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out, and have been successfully described with epidemiological models,”

    This is actually from a study on how Facebook will die out… anyways, the idea is interesting, and I hope it applies to politics as well.

  21. Also, how many buildings or other infrastructure were destroyed during the fights to resist this occupation? How many Hungarian members of its defense forces lost their lives during the fight to keep the independence?

    – A very good point, indeed!

  22. @spectator

    As we all know, MP Endre Bajcsy-Zsilinszky resisted with one revolver shot.

    la stiff Résistance hongroise!

  23. Regarding the ‘multiple fronts’ – I guess its more or less intentional smokescreen, designed to totally thematise the time before the election, tie down resources from the opposition and at the same time further mobilise and bond his believers.

    As I see it the only time Hungarians managed to unite were against something, particularly when the reason wasn’t only personal, but it hurt- or attacked their special group-interest too.
    So, here we are, now “we are under attack” again, the leader calls for support, and will have it fully. Never mind, that Orbán deliberately created a situation when the reactions could be interpreted as attacks, in a few days nobody cares to remember, the important issue is to “fight”, just about anything and anybody in sight.
    Remember, in “peace time” there is a chance, that the belief wavering, there is room for consideration – Heaven forbid, reason, – but in “war” no time for such decadent tendencies.
    There is a marching order – even “March for the Russian Friendship”(!) and from now on nobody dares to abandon ship, even if the course is totally insane.

    In my opinion this is what we are seeing now, developing nicely.

  24. tappanch :
    @spectator
    As we all know, MP Endre Bajcsy-Zsilinszky resisted with one revolver shot.
    la stiff Résistance hongroise!

    This I remembered proudly, my heart swelling, etc., thank you!
    However, I concentrated on the buildings and other collateral’s, and not even a broken window, while the country being occupied by “our enemies” in a war…
    Or “our friends” came over for a chat and a schnapps, so, why break anything?

  25. @An: I do believe that your experience was that of most Hungarians at the time. And decidedly agree that the current Govt bears a huge responsibility in imposing such views as part of the mainstream democratic discourse – even writing some of them in the country’s Constitution.

    Yet only five years separated the re-burial of Bartók from the re-burial of Horthy, and my guess is for all its declared internationalist and humanistic stances, communism did not actually solve the national question in Hungary (nor anywhere else for that matter).

    @gdfxx, spectator, tappanch: Tyrker’s (wrong) claim that Baky was nyilas in 44 had me reading a bit about his boss. It seems that a sizable number of appointed/elected officials did actually resign in March 44. Jaross didn’t have a hard time replacing them, yet coming from a country – shame on us – where resignations were notoriously scarce I was quite impressed.

  26. You can see the true occupation monument on another blog:

    The Hungarian turul bird with read-white-green wings swoops down on the frail and wounded archangel Gabriel, who wears the yellow hexagram on his chest.

  27. @Marcel De: “for all its declared internationalist and humanistic stances, communism did not actually solve the national question in Hungary ”

    I absolutely agree with that. They just swept these issues under rug in Communist times, as they were never openly discussed (well, nothing was openly discussed in Communist times). There was total silence about Hungarians’ role in the deportations of Jews, for example,and if anybody was blamed for Hungary’ disastrous role in ww2, it was always “them” (the Horthyist ruling classes, the Hungarian ArrowCross, the Nazis), as if the average Hungarian had nothing to do with all that. But mostly it was hush, hush.. so generations grew up with knowing very little of the era other than that it was bad and whatever happened was somehow not our (Hungarians) fault. There were a few bad apples, that’s it. Of course such thinking is a fertile ground for the nationalistic demagoguery that is spreading today.

  28. The leadership of MaZsiHiSz was silent today. They might convene an emergency congress to decide what to do. It seems to me the leaders do not dare to boycott the government sponsored events.

  29. tappanch :
    @spectator
    As we all know, MP Endre Bajcsy-Zsilinszky resisted with one revolver shot.
    la stiff Résistance hongroise!

    Yes, and I still remember when Csurka (or someone else?) stated something like this : one Hungarian with a sword is better than any American ICBM.

    And to avoid any misunderstanding, I have no intention to belittle Bajcsy-Zsilinszky’s action.

  30. tappanch :
    A new interview with Koves of Chabad:
    The time of boycotting the government has not arrived.
    Our life is not in immediate danger like in 1944.
    The [Nazi Reich eagle] monument is set up outside the Memorial Year.
    We will stay away from the House of Fates, because we do not know what they will show there.
    http://zsido.com/cikkek/Mikor_jon_el_a_bojkott_ideje/10/3925

    This reminds me the old joke about how good of a person Lenin was. When his life partner, Krupskaya, is telling the children about him, she gives an example:

    One day comrade Lenin was so tired of all the revolutionary activities, that he went out to a nearby park and sat on a bench, to rest. When some children at a bench nearby started playing with some drums, comrade Lenin walked over and told them:
    – Children, I am comrade Lenin, the head of the revolution and I am very tired of all my revolutionary activities, could you please move a few benches away, so I can have some rest?
    Krupskaya stays quite for a while and then says:
    – After all he could have had all of them shot!

  31. Re Balog’s visit to Israel. It is clear that he had a hard time defending the Hungarian government’s position. As for all that talk about “dialogue” and “debate” I have very bad feelings. Balog means here that the present interpretation of the majority of Holocaust scholars is one-sided and a professional debate should start. Yeah, with Sándor Szakály, for example.

  32. Steve :

    I find it interesting that while in Hungary attempts are made to blame others for the Hungarian Holocaust, the same Government admits responsibility and apologises in New York.

    Isn’t it typical but how long they they go on like this?

  33. Tappanch: Mazsihisz is very unlikely to not-support Fidesz. The people at Mazsihisz have shown that they like money quite a lot and we are talking about a potential loss of a lot of money and influence here. My bet is that there will be a ‘smart compromise’ in the end. They will fumble a bit, to be able to say that they have properly criticized the government but otherwise they will continue to sing about the Jewish renaissance of Budapest. This way they will continue to get a lot of money from the government and be able to show that one can work with them because they are pragmatic (aka opportunistic). Not like those liberal Jews in the media who always oppose the Fidesz-government. But they will receive less subsidies than they received for this year, just so they get that everything has consequences.

    VCP, a fund management company made up of former investment bankers, is a strange organization. Vienna, as you know is a center for management of Russian and other Eastern-European, also Central-Asian moneys (direct daily flights to all major former SU cities). So VCP mostly does that, acting often as fronts for such investors. By having the regional expertise they dare to invest in projects alone (without the hidden support or instigation of such investors). I agree that they may well be a front for Simicska, but they may have just invested managed money for a potentially great return. They might have just bought the portfolio with the hope that in six months, when the elections are over (regadless of who wins but it will be less controversial), they can sell it to Nyerges or Simicska or any one of their stromans. Remember, the left has no media strategy and have no long-term plans. Btw the regional dailies are much more important than Nepszabadsag is.

    Sanoma’s Hungarian portfolio (weekly magazines, eg. ones regularly showing A. Rogan or Orban in speedos) is also interesting, I wonder where the deal is standing, it must have been closed in 2013. I suppose the media situation is pretty tricky these days. The chances are that those will also be purchased by someone close to Nyerges/Simicska.

  34. Eva S. Balogh :

    Steve :
    I find it interesting that while in Hungary attempts are made to blame others for the Hungarian Holocaust, the same Government admits responsibility and apologises in New York.

    Isn’t it typical but how long they they go on like this?

    The whole thing is available on the UN’s web TV. Pr. Rittner’s exposé stuck dangerously to the “it all started with the Germans in March 44” version, and though Mrs Vertés’ testimony didn’t omit to mention both her father and grandfather were taken for slave labor long before that, I expected the worst.

    However, Mr. Körösi unequivocally said “We owe the victims an apology, for the Hungarian State was guilty of the Holocaust. Guilty in two respects. First because it did not protect its own citizens from the extermination. And secondly because it assisted and provided resources for the genocide. The institutions of the then Hungarian State were responsible for the Holocaust”.

    http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/other-meetingsevents/watch/the-70th-anniversary-of-the-deportation-of-the-hungarian-jews-during-the-holocaust-dpingo-briefing/3097397082001

  35. I watched the very long video about the UN meeting mentioned by Marcel De.

    The problem with this video is that it is very long. I also must criticise the lady who is a holocaust survivor but she was but 4 years old at the time and not surprisingly incorrect in some details.

    However, those people who are interested in what the Hungarian Ambassador had to say. should look at the relevant parts.

  36. all jews must apologize to the hungarians for staying there when the germans came in on 3/19/1944.

  37. “Attack on the United States and friendship with “tolerant” Russia”

    Standard Issue Soviet Communist style. They grew up on it, were so strongly inculcated in the dogma the thinking is 2nd nature.

    It just shows how much trouble Fidesz is really in !!! — Having to revert to the dogma learned in childhood. When under tremendous pressure people always revert to the worst within – what they leaned as gut instinct.

    This attack actually gives away the Fidesz and Orban real mind-set. They must know they are in moral and country-economic trouble and are reverting to basic instinct. anti-Americanism and pro old style Soviet dogma.

  38. The Orban government is not willing to reconsider the “Nazi eagle” monument.

    Minister Balog yesterday:
    “THere are people who are stunned by the facts codified in the “basic law” only now, and this is not our responsibility. The basic law states that Hungary lost its independence on March 19, 1944.”

    http://nol.hu/belfold/20140124-_rossz_megfogalmazas_

    Mind you, Fidesz put this in the basic law. The wording reflects the ideology of Orban, Balog, Csurka and Vona, the “basic law” was not created by God, and the Fidesz narrative is not facts but half and full lies.

  39. One needs to be young and ignorant of history to maintain that when the allies of Hungary have increased their presence in Hungary the “occupied” country lost is capability to act. I am repeating myself when I say that Admiral Horthy could still have the final word as to who serves in his government and indeed was in charge until October 15th. If the basic law says differently it is wrong and untruthful. That Parliament approved this falsity is sad, but these sorts of history falsifications have occurred many times before, but usually in dictatorships. Mr. Orban of course can anything approved by using his 2/3 majority, but that does not make it any less of a fake statement.

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