The deadline had long passed and Viktor Orbán’s promised answer to Mazsihisz’s three demands to ensure their participation in the events of the Holocaust Memorial Year still hadn’t arrived. So, it’s no wonder that Népszabadság headlined one of its articles “Orbán is ruminating.” And indeed, I don’t think that it was easy for a man who is not accustomed to retreating to admit that, despite all the power he acquired within the country, he might have to back down on the idea of erecting a monument to the German “occupation” of Hungary on March 19, 1944.
On February 16, in his “state of the nation” speech, he was still adamant and denounced those who “dare to tell us what we should or should not do, or what and how we should remember.” Commentators were convinced that Orbán would stand fast and wouldn’t give an inch.
There were other signs, however, that those harsh words were only for show. Zoltán Balog told ATV on Tuesday that the topic will most likely be “discussed” on Wednesday at the cabinet meeting. Mind you, we know from an earlier Balog interview that “discussing” something at the cabinet meeting means that all those present simply lend their support to Viktor Orbán’s decision. Still, he wasn’t the only one who indicated that the infamous memorial might not be in place on Szabadság tér on March 19. István Pálffy (KDNP) also suggested that it would be impossible to erect the structure given time constraints. Presumably they knew something even before the cabinet meeting.
Although word about the postponement became official only last night, the well-informed Ildikó Csuhaj of Népszabadság already knew about the decision a few minutes after the cabinet meeting. Her sources indicated that there was intense international pressure on the government, including German disapproval. Israel also made its feelings known by requesting the newly appointed Hungarian ambassador to have a heart to heart with officials of the Israeli foreign ministry.
After the decision was reached, Orbán wrote his long-awaited letter to the leaders of Mazsihisz. In it he mentioned, as Fidesz politicians always do, that the Holocaust Center was established during the first Orbán government and that it was during his first term that they declared April 16 to be the day devoted to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust. On the other hand, he completely ignored the controversy surrounding the Holocaust Memorial Year: the falsification of historical facts symbolized by the planned monument, the appointment of a far-right historian to a newly established institution called Veritas who considers the Kaments-Podolskii deportations and murders of mostly Hungarian Jews a simple “police procedure,” and the concept and the person in charge of the planned House of Fates. Instead, Orbán claimed that the reason for postponing the erection of the “Gabriel” statue is the campaign season for national and EU elections that takes place between February 15 and May 25.
The contents of this letter didn’t make the slightest difference as far as the leaders of Mazsihisz were concerned. They announced that there is nothing in this letter that would necessitate calling together the entire leadership which decided on the boycott in the first place. This is only a postponement of the statue, with no mention made of the two controversial historians, Sándor Szakály of Veritas and Mária Schmidt of the House of Fates.
Gordon Bajnai agreed with the Jewish leaders. He called the postponement of the erection of the monument no more than a “cynical avoidance of conflicts before the election” which does not address the core problem: “Falsification of history still remains falsification of history two or three months later.”
Two fundamentally opposing historical views are clashing here, and in my opinion truth is not on the Orbán government’s side even if they decided to name their new historical institute Veritas. I want to make one thing clear. It is not only the Jewish community that cannot accept the Orbán government’s efforts to rehabilitate the Horthy regime. More enlightened members of Hungarian society, both Jewish and non-Jewish, are only too aware of the respective Hungarian governments’ roles between 1920 and 1944 that resulted in the deaths of millions of Jews and non-Jews.
Some people are not surprised that in the last twenty-five years perhaps the majority of Hungarians refused to look critically at their own past. After all, they say, it is a painful process, and it took at least that many years for the Germans to do the same. So far so good, but the difference is that now, twenty-five years after the regime change, instead of turning the corner and facing harsh facts, the Orbán government is doing everything in its power to prevent the kind of dialogue that might result in a fair assessment of Hungary’s twentieth-century history. In fact, it is undoing the fairly sophisticated re-examination of the past that already began to take place in the second half of the Kádár regime. Admittedly, publications on the Holocaust and in general on Jewish affairs are much more numerous today than in the 1970s and 1980, but I still have some very valuable books from those days in my own library.
Finally, I would like to talk briefly about two issues. Today Ilan Mor, Israeli ambassador to Hungary, and Sándor Pintér, minister of interior, gave out decorations to those who saved Jewish lives at their own peril during the Holocaust. Ambassador Mor bestowed the Yad Vashem’s Righteous Among the Nations awards to the children or grandchildren of ten Hungarians. Alongside the Israeli awards, Sándor Pintér gave out decorations “For Bravery.” I didn’t find a lot of information on this bravery award except that it is given to firefighters. Even a German Shepherd dog received it not so long ago.
One of the awardees was Béla Fekete Nagy (1904-1983), a well-known painter, whose two sons were at the ceremony to receive their father’s posthumous award. Mihály and Szabolcs Fekete-Nagy accepted the Yad Vashem award but would not accept the “For Bravery” decoration from Sándor Pintér. Mihály delivered a speech which the cameramen muffled, but the message was that they would defile the memory of their father if they accepted the decoration from the minister of interior of the Orbán government.
I also just learned that in the last four or five months the government allegedly stopped all subsidies to the Holocaust Memorial Center with the result that this month the Center cannot even pay the meager salaries to its employees. This stoppage of funds might be a bureaucratic mix-up, but given the present tense relations between the government and the Jewish community it might be more than that. Perhaps the goal is to put pressure on the Holocaust Center to convince Mazsihisz to be less rigid and make a deal with the Orbán government. Or there might be another explanation. As we have learned, the Orbán government had rather strong objections to the leadership and concept of the Center. Since, as Mizsihisz argued, two Holocaust centers in one city are not really necessary and since this administration came forth with the idea of the House of Fates, it might want to marginalize or eliminate the Holocaust Memorial Center. I’m just guessing, but whatever the reason it most likely reflects the Orbán government’s two-faced attitude toward the Hungarian Jewish community.
Let’s see what the teachers and the education system can be thankful Fidesz for. Unfortunately it is in Hungarian. (I am sorry, it is not Fidesz, as it was not Fidesz that doing this, and not Rozsika, probably an other person. Also, this is one teacher’s point of view, and I am sure that all the another teachers will live happily ever after. I had to put this disclaimer here before I will be ripped apart by Fidesz sticklers.)
The text of the secret service report that was released by the Orban government before the elections.
It was sent to Fidesz in 2006 and they published it on public radio.
Click to access gyumolcsoskert_anonimizalt.pdf
Marcel De writes: “You mean, the numerus clausus laws of 1920 and 1929, the racial laws of 1938, 1939 and 1941, exclusion from the Army, forced labor program, regular calls in Parliament for expelling all Jews… none of this is relevant ? Wow.”
What are the items for which parlamentarians calls is a whole different matter so let’s not bring issues up like that. While none of you like comarative examples, just look at a few parlaments, where supposedly democracy “rules” and see what parlamentarians say.
The Initial racial laws were not well adhered to, as an example, the numerus clausus applied only to first year students so many completed their first year elsewhere and then returned to the relevant Hungarian University.
There is (hopefully!) no question that even at the beginning of WWII the Hungarian large Industry and the large banks were near completely in Jewish hands, thus, the effect of the early racial laws did not siginificantly affect the economic well being of Jewish Hungarians.
I spent the war years in a small oil refinery. The majos shareholders were Jewish, the head of marketing was Jewish, the chief engineer was Jewish, the head chemist was Jewish and several other leading personnel were also Jewish including a refugee Moravian Jew. I remember them filling those positions even while wearing the yellow star……They all returned in 1945 to their old positions. Some of them left for the West after nationalization.
In the fall of 1944, there was not a single non-Jewish person in any leading positons in the refinery. Life was not that bad….until the Germans showed up.
Tappanch writes: “The text of the secret service report that was released by the Orban government before the elections.
It was sent to Fidesz in 2006 and they published it on public radio.”
Phenomenal, a document written in 2007 is sent to the FIDESZ in 2006………
I asked if you had the numbers about the Bácska massacres committed by the Serbs against Hungarians. I didn’t wanted to use a number instead I wanted to know what are your numbers. Since your numbers are acceptable to both of us. You seem to be knowledgable about Hungarian history. Instead of answering me you launched into a rant about how I am the same as Luis and other irrelevant things. Next time just don’t answer if you don’t want to but this sort of reply that you gave contributes nothing to the discussion really.
Eduardo Rózsa-Flores document
Click to access gerilla_anonimizalt.pdf
Orban must be afraid of Gyurcsany.
Gy. beat him in the television debate in 2006.
That was the last prime ministerial television debate.
Orban was not willing to sit down in 2010, and it will not happen in 2014 either.
The text of the Őszöd speech was sent to Fidesz in 2006, of course – not the 2007 secret service report.
All the other names are still covered out for various reasons. Guevera (Rozsa Flores) was killed in Bolivia by government forces in a firefight. He is the crown witness.
“And why would Gyurcsány arrange to leak recordings that are going to destroy his political career, hand the next elections to Orbán on a plate?
Only in Orbánisztán would they try this on”
Because Gyurcsany wasn’t a seer and miscalculated the effect the speech had? By the way Gyurcsany did manage to win the Budapest elections for MSZP and SZDSZ which were shortly after the leaking of the speech. The speech leaked in September and the elections were early October. MSZP and SZDSZ managed to hold Budapest, the most important local government and keep Demszky in power by pulling a surprise win.
Right after the leaking of the speech.
Also this is what comes out of these reports. Remember these reports were made when MSZP had full oversight of the secret service.
It is a whole sum of circumstances, not just a word of one person (who by the way had posession of the speech before leak for sure. And they were tapping his phones and extensively monitoring him it is not as if he volunteered this information with an intent to mislead. So by itself it is pretty solid). It is also the circumstances of the recording. The fact that the second recording was ordered special from XXXX kft. Which the report states has good relations and is very loyal to the PM, Gyurcsany. Once again this is the MSZP controlled service that writes this in official report.
Kovach, what the hell are you trying to sell here? If “iife was not that bad” then where did more then 500,000 of our countrymen disappear? Were they abducted by aliens? Or were the Hungarians hypnotized by aliens when they were happily and diligently slamming the boxcar doors on their neighbors? Kovach! What’s your point?
So even if we discount the role of Gyurcsany, (which one should not do) it can now be 100% determined “that someone in MSZP leaked the Öszöd speech” on purpose. Which is also what it says on the index.hu front page right now.
@Some1: “All the other names are still covered out for various reasons. Guevera (Rozsa Flores) was killed in Bolivia by government forces in a firefight. He is the crown witness.”
Regardless of how many names are crossed out, all the allegations that the leak was intentional and Gyurcsany knew about it comes from one person, Guevera. Who, by the way, is described as an extreme rightwinger by the same document. The document is even using the language “”Guevare elmondasa szerint a beszed kiszivarogtatasara azert volt a kormanynak szuksege…” .. “According the Guevara, the government wanted to leak the speech because….”
So this is all Guevara’s version of the story… which may or may not be true.
That was an ugly misquote. “Life was not bad… until the Germans showed up” and you manage to only quote Life was not bad. Quite abhorrent. But I guess it didn’t fit the story to quote properly. Because then the answer to your question becomes really simple. 500 000 people did not disappear until the germans showed up. We know from eyewitness reports history books and other means that they were there and only started disappearing in numbers close to 500 000 after the Nazis germans came.
K Pfeiffer writes: The officers who were responsible were released by order of Horthy and escaped the next day to Germany to return with the SS on 19. March 1944.”
Hmmm…who has difficulty with history? He was released by whose order????
THe Őszöd info is NOT news.
It is a simple application of Chomsky’s first strategy of media manipulation.
Hew named nine other strategies
“The key element of social control is the strategy of distraction that is to divert public attention from important issues and changes decided by political and economic elites, through the technique of flood or flooding continuous distractions and insignificant information.”
Re: Oszod documents… if these reflect the quality of investigative work that the Hungarian services can put together, that’s rather worrying.
Hungarian secret services, I mean
Mutt: “Kovach, what the hell are you trying to sell here? If “iife was not that bad” then where did more then 500,000 of our countrymen disappear? Were they abducted by aliens?”
Well, if you count the Germasn as aliens then there maybe a sliver of truth in your quote and statement. Quote my complete sentence!!! I was there, wher were you?
The Öszöd relevations are the leading news item on every single news portal in Hungary.
Népszabadság was the first to broke the story.
According to sources familiar with the investigative document put together under Bajnai regarding the Oszod speech, the published version is not even close. I am sure we did not read the end of this just yet. Apparently the original document still exist. So, why not publish it?
Come on people, let’s not get overexcited by the trash that Louis and Mr Paul are heaving on us!
The same old stories about how life was wonderful for the Jews in Hungary before and during WW2 when thousands were put into labour camps starting in 1940 – and of course discrimination wasn’t so bad, just some geniuses had to leave Hungary (John von Neumann or Polya among others),others couldn’t get a job (like Túran Pál) etc …
Sure, a few thousands were killed but the others had a splendid life – until the Germans came …
What are these trolls trying to accomplish? Are they paid by Fidesz or whom?
I propose no longer to answer their idiotic questions and loonie statements!
From me it’s good night!
Nice try … If you read my whole comment then you can see that I’m questioning this mysterious phenomenon that happened to the nation of Gabriel Archangel after the Germans arrived … We became vicious nazis because of a few Jerries?
The latest news is about the nazi monument. It got postponed because the whole thing weighs about 18 tons with all the auxiliary objects and pillars and the underground garage below it cannot support it.
I also heard on the grapevine that the sculptor indicated that he is willing to do another design for another million dollars (plus tax). The design will be a German shepherd humping a white blind komondor.
@Pete H. ” Reading your posts since you appeared here, what pops into my mind is “slithering”.”
What a wonderful word. Perfect! Absolutely perfect. Like an eel you can’t get hold of him.
@An, re the Hungarian ambassador in Bratislava. Unreal what kind of people the Hungarian Foreign Ministry sends abroad. There is an article on Galamus by György Lázár (California) who wrote about the Hungarian consul in Los Angeles who barely speaks English. There is a video of his disgraceful performance which is worth looking at especially from 50 minute on. It is embarrassing.
@Mr. Paul, C’mon. Oh, yes. Gyurcsdány himself leaked it. Don’t be ridiculous. You believe every crap you read?
The question isn’t really whether or not you can, rather like du you really want to touch it/him?
All the other names are still covered out for various reasons. Guevera (Rozsa Flores) was killed in Bolivia by government forces in a firefight. He is the crown witness.
There is plenty of information on Flores in older issues of Hungarian Spectrum.
This is outright brilliant Mr. Paul. We all know that someone or someones leaked it to Fidesz but the question is why? The “why” is also fairly clear: because Gyurcsány’s enemies in the party wanted to get rid of him.
Re: German occupation.
I would argue that the occupation lasted only for ONE WEEK. During that week the Hungarian troops, who outnumbered the occupying Germans by 6 to 1 (I will double-check this number) were not allowed leave their barracks.
On March 27, Hitler and his cohorts decided to release them. The decision was communicated on March 29. The Soviets reached the Carpathians on the 30th.
Both the German and the Hungarian troops were needed for a counter-attack.
There were significant number of German troops in Hungary for less than a month after March 19, 1944.
During the deportation of Jews in there were hardly any occupation troops in Hungary (less than 4,000 on May 1 and less than 5,000 on June 1).
The deportation was carried out by the Hungarian state apparatus. The Hungarian jews were handed over to the Germans at the border crossings like Kassa.
Fantastic book, One Must Also Be Hungarian, by Adam Biro (University of Chicago Press):
“horthy* forced Hungarian Jews to prove that they were Hungarian, that their ancestors had lived on the Hungarian territory since 1863, and this without interruption … Well, my ancestors were more Hungarian than the monument of the Millennium on Heroes’ Square in Budapest, near Gundel’s restaurant, which has the reputation of being the best in the country. They were more Hungarian – those-idiots-who-didn’t-know-what-was-going-to-happen-to-them, who-couldn’t-wouldn’t-notice – more Hungarian than the Tisza, than the puszta. They were more Magyar, or rather as Magyar as the others in their behaviour, their thinking and their attitude. With hindsight, from here, afterwards … much later, it is easier to judge, even easier to not understand. All this makes me horribly sad. Out of the six million Jews that were exterminated, one out of ten came from this small country of around fifteen million people – so in Auschwitz, one Jew out of three had a Hungarian passport. Among my close kin, my grand-father and my uncle who were killed were not murdered by Germans but by Hungarians.”
*understandably, he refuses to capitalise his name throughout the book.
Does anyone really think that Adam Biro and so many others who lost so much and so many are ready to be convinced that this statue is a moral and good and truthful idea? Or, if it is erected, does anyone think the statue saga will ever actually end?
Anyone wanna bet, who the next person going to be the target of the Fidesz mud-slinging actions? Rest assured, there will be at least one more “event”. We may even learn that Gyurcsány really was Jack the Ripper before became a foreign agent selling top secret information about our Viktor while funneling out great fortunes with the help of a wheelbarrow…
According to the rules of the trade it would be too soon to peak the campaign otherwise, and so far they doing everything by the book, so there will be more “Breaking News” for sure.
So, keep guessing people, we may figure out in advance.
Well a lot of new information came out since the story was just breaking and broadcast on ATV (when I wrote my first comment). Based on the new information I’m not sure Gyurcsany leaked it. Now I am leaning towards a political opponent of Gyurcsany, within MSZP. Remember when Gyurcsany had some names? He put them in a white paper container and gave it to Mesterházy. Who then promptly shredded it in front of cameras.
Eva: I don’t consider what came to light now proof either, but I always suspected that Gyurcsány was ok with the speech coming out. The country’s economy was facing a disaster and MSZP was reacting very very slowly. If he didn’t want to be the sitting duck PM of a bankrupt country he needed a bold move that would pull MSZP together behind him.
I think he anticipated to be able to sell his interpretation of the truth speech (which he did to quite a few people) and then he was expecting to be able to move on so that a few years later nobody would remember it anymore. He seriously underestimated Fidesz’s capabilities. This is of course only a theory and I don’t ever expect to ever see any conclusive evidence, but this is not as far fetched as you might think it is.
I think we went over these numbers once already. There were about 50 000 german troops in the eastern half of Hungary in addition to the 4 and 5 thousand you mention. They also had Germans fighting in the “Hungarian” army. Remember that during this time Hungary had a significant minority maybe 5-6% that would be hundreds of thousands of actual Germans 100% loyal to their German Vaterland. Some of these were intelligence officers, or generals within Hungary.
I don’t know if you think that Hungary could beat the Germans in a one-on-one fight in March 1944 but if it could the Germans would have collapsed in a few months after this Hungarian victory. With Hungary fully under Hungarian control and fighting the German armies, all their forces in Romania get cut off from supply and trapped, encircled. Wien would have been instantly on the frontlines. Their forces in Slovakia instantly become vulnerable to encirclement and so on and so forth.
Re: German occupation
THere were about 15,000 German troops in Hungary BEFORE March 19.
The initial occupational force consisted of 8 divisions. Three were deployed from Serbia, two from Croatia, two from Austria and one from Poland.
Two German divisions were redeployed to the collapsing Soviet front already on March 24.
Ivan, people also had to prove their ancestry when they were in a certain elevated position or rank in order to be able to remain there.
I mentioned before, that I’ve found the certificates among old family related papers – akin to the dogs or horses pedigree – declaring, that they are “pure blooded Aryans” just like they are truly French Poodles or full blood Lipizzan…
And there are Hungarians even today, who will go back there and start it all over again, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…
No “Amen” from me, ever!
@Jano about the leak. Look one can love or hate Gyurcsány but one must admit that he is a very smart man. No sane person would make such a mistake.
As a curious teenager I was looking through some of my father’s papers in his desk when I found all the birth certificates he had to gather to prove his and my mother’s Aryan ancestry. I even managed to find some family secrets as far as illegitimate birth was concerned. It was pretty thrilling for a kid.
As to why it should be considered normal by any sane person that a student of certain descent, because of this descent, has to go study abroad before he can come back to his family, friends and countrymen – I’m at a loss to say. Any idea?
Except for all those who lost their jobs in the press, the theater, cinema, lawyers, engineers, physicians, and every commercial, financial and industrial companies having more than ten intellectual employees because… they were ‘over quotas’? All of Budapest Jewish taxi drivers, tobacconists, newspaper vendors? All Jewish employees of the public sector? Or farm owners and operators? All the officers who were demoted? All those who were prevented from joining the Army and sent to the labor bataillons? And their families? Am I stupid, since their families were of course ‘large industrialists’ and ‘large bankers’, they were not ‘significantly affected’…
Hungarian anti-Semites were often slow in implementing the regime’s legislation aiming at removing their Jewish and Roma compatriots from society. But had they had a couple more years on their own, I’m confident they wouldn’t have needed German know-how.
Eva: I’m saying this absolutely distanced from my emotions towards Gyurcsány, I even agree with you that he’s a smart man. Everybody makes mistakes and the smarter the person is, the more likely to get cocky and overconfident. Napoleon was a great commander and yet he ran into the Russian adventure which was incredibly foolish in hindsight and eventually caused his demise.
Gordon Bajnai made a statement on his blog about the Oszod speech leaks. He says as prime minister he saw the reports and what is made public today is a primitive election propaganda and has nothing to do with the truth. What was pulished is a mutilated, manipulated version of the reports. It is also cleaned of everything that would implicate the present Fidesz political leadership in any wrongdoings.
Oops. My bad. Prof Balogh already posted it.
Marcel Dé: You have taken the words out of my mouth, not that dear old Kovács Lajos would be interested in what anyone says, – he will carry on giving us his history lesson.
Mr. Paul, sorry to be a johnny come lately on this one, but why is it 100% that MSZP or gyurcsany leaked the öszöd-tape?
Because we have to believe what the government says?
Because that is how we got used to it, right, the government says something then it’s the truth? Yep, that is how it is in Hungary.
C’mon, you are ridiculous.
What can I tell you. Hungary was the Jewish paradise during the Horthy era. There is nothing to apologize for. Actually Yad Vashem should issue a blanket decoration to the Hungarian government and all Hungarian citizens for the humane treatment of the Jews in Hungary during those years. Mazsihisz should be ashamed to bring up all this falsehoods about these glorious aspects of the Hungarian history. And all the Jews of Hungary should apologize for murdering themselves, with the only goal to dishonor the brave Hungarians who did everything to save then from the German occupiers.
Let us stick to subject matter. The systematic falsification of History in Hungary. Imangine the
uproar if somebody would have written “some Hungarians were killed” about the massacre perpetrated at the end of the war in the Vojvodina.
So more than 1000 Jews robbed and killed by Hungarian soldiers and gendarms well before the German occupation are “some Jews”?
As medical officer, my father was assigned to Forced Labor of the “foreign Jewry” who had fled here and were soon deported from Rumbach. Those he could he placed in hospital rather than sending them to the collection center, and this gave them time and mobility, and many escaped. I now run a walking tour from Rumbach out of Zara Hotel on Dohany u. which the Civil Tender has supported with some small funds. We aspire –I think successfully –to achieve those areas of modern Holocaust Education which you mention. We work closely and draw upon the over 30 years of evidence-based Harvard research of Facing History and Ourselves, a Boston-based firm, which uses a method of personal involvement called SEL, Social Emotional Learning. Central to this, you are correct, is the uniqueness of the Holocaust. This is a method of “education by invitation,” and it is especially gratifying that even embittered “extremist” from the countryside, let alone young German tourists burdened by needless guilt, as well as a mix of Israeli’s or Swedes, Spanish, etc. have spontaneously shared, “I have never been able to talk of my family’s Wartime experiences as now.”
Less than 4 blocks, the Stations of Rescue tour, is interactive, and I share articles I have written of Rumbach, Lutz, Wallenberg, etc. along the way, and the four block walk can take as long as 5 hours. That is because –and I can not agree with you more –the Holocaust is a Universal concern, not “merely” Jewish, although many Jews, correctly, will resist comparisons demeaned as “relativistic.” As we look at the dark stain in the carpet of which you speak, a carpet befouled in its reflection of 150,000 children lost, many visitors have been moved to weep, right out there on the street. This is because they see all around them those of the 147,000 who were Rescued, in one of the most vibrant and revived sections of the city, of the 7 Courtyards, and the many interesting new businesses, shops, and coffee houses, and desire NOT TO FORGET, but also mainly TO LIVE FULLY AND HAPPILY.
I hope you visit and look me up, Marcell. It is near Spring and the calf has been given birth. So you come, too. http://www.linkedin.com/profile/viewid=63144225&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile
I’m going out to fetch the little calf
That’s standing by the mother. It’s so young,
It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too.
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