Memorial Conference in Washington and Gergely Prőhle, representative of the Hungarian government

First, a very brief note on March 19th in Budapest. To mark the 70th anniversary of the German “occupation” of Hungary Mazsihisz organized what turned out to be a gathering of several thousand people on Herzl Square, in front of the famous synagogue on Dohány Street. Mazsihisz sent invitations to many important people, including Viktor Orbán. To be sure that he received it, they sent it registered mail. The prime minister’s office claimed that it never arrived. So Mazsihisz sent a second letter and got a second-string response. Viktor Orbán didn’t attend. Instead, he sent one of his deputies, Zsolt Semjén.

Now, let’s move on to a conference that was held in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The conference was opened by Paul A. Shapiro, Director of the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the Museum, and Randolph L. Braham, the foremost expert on the Hungarian Holocaust. Their two short speeches were followed by presentations by American and Hungarian historians of the Hungarian Holocaust, including Gábor Kádár and László Csősz, two of the three co-authors of The Holocaust in Hungary: Evolution of a Genocide about which we talked at length ten days ago. I will try to get the texts of all of the lectures. I can tell you right now that I’m lucky enough to have received a lengthy study by Professor Braham entitled “Hungary: The Assault on the Historical Memory of the Holocaust.” He would like to share it with the readers of Hungarian Spectrum, for which I’m very grateful.

Gergely Prőhle was the representative of the Hungarian government at the conference. He delivered a short talk defending the Orbán government’s handling of the Holocaust Memorial Year and growing Hungarian anti-Semitism in general.

As it turned out, Prőhle came to the United States to take part in the March 15th celebrations of the Hungarian community in Los Angeles. On his way home he stopped in Washington to talk to Ira N. Foreman, the U.S. State Department special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, with whom he discussed the details of the 2015 Hungarian chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. That was in the morning. In the afternoon he attended the conference in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Center, which he left early because he had to catch his plane.

The talk he delivered was short. He admitted that it is not easy for the government to react to all of the various interpretations of recent events. Anti-Semitism is not “a specialty of Hungary” and, according to him, the Hungarian government has done everything it could since 2010. They changed the civic code; they started a campaign against paramilitary groups. Admittedly, there are still problems but let’s wait for the election when hopefully the far-right Jobbik will be forced back to the democratic camp.

He denied the existence of any new interpretation of the Treaty of Trianon or the Holocaust. Hungary recognizes its responsibility, which by now should be clear. Trianon is an important issue but the rights of the Hungarians in the neighboring counties are more important.

Back in Hungary Prőhle gave an interview about his trip to Washington to György Bolgár of KlubRádió. Bolgár asked him how his talk was received and whether there was any follow-up discussion. Prőhle answered in the negative but admitted that he had left by the time the participants reconvened after a short break. If he had been there, he could have heard Zoltán Tibori Szabó from Cluj/Kolozsvár, writer, editor, journalist, who has written extensively on the Hungarian Holocaust, quip that perhaps it should be Fidesz that gets back to the democratic camp first. The audience loved it and responded with an extended applause.

Gergely Prőhle is an assistant undersecretary in the Hungarian Foreign Ministry who has the reputation of being a moderate. But how moderate is he? At the end of February he wrote an op/ed piece in Heti Válasz entitled “Arányok és tévesztések,” a play on words indicating that the Jewish community’s reaction to the government’s Holocaust Memorial Year was disproportionately vehement and hence mistaken. “It doesn’t matter who says what, the government didn’t declare 2014 to be the Holocaust Memorial Year because it wants to sweep Hungary’s responsibility under the rug. Given the amount of money allocated to the events, to talk about a ‘falsification of history’ and declare ‘a boycott’ is an overreaction.”

EichmannThen came something that took my breath away. Prőhle mentioned a recent film on Hannah Arendt’s years in New York (“Hannah Arendt: Ihr Denken veränderte die Welt” which according to the reviews I read is not exactly a masterpiece). I don’t know how many of you remember Hannah Arendt’s controversial book, Eichmann in Jerusalem, which originally appeared as a series of articles in The New Yorker. Adolf Eichmann was one of the chief characters in the Hungarian Holocaust. According to Arendt, who was present throughout the long trial, Eichmann showed no trace of antisemitism or psychological damage. Hence her famous phrase, “the banality of evil.” Her critics point out that she “grasped an important concept but not the right example.” That is, Arendt was wrong in saying that Eichmann wasn’t an anti-Semite but only followed orders. Indeed, some time after the trial his autobiography was published, which revealed that he was in fact a rabid anti-Semite.

In any case, Prőhle decided to refresh his knowledge of the Hungarian events of 1944 from this film. It “becomes clear from the film,” he writes, “how risky it is to show certain elements of historical truth that don’t fit the concepts contrived ahead of time.” If I understand Prőhle right, he thinks that Eichmann’s trial was a show trial.

But that’s not all. He accuses Mazsihisz, the umbrella organization of different Jewish communities, of criticizing the government of historical falsification for material gain. This is how he argues: “Regardless of how legitimate Mazsihisz’s misgivings are, it seems that its main aim is to mobilize and gather the Jewish community around it in order to receive more of the 1% offerings of taxpayers to Mazsihisz.” Taxpayers can designated that 1% of their taxes go to their favorite cause, from churches to animal shelters to radio stations.

This is Prőhle, the moderate. I don’t know what less moderate officials think or talk about. At least they have the good sense not to write op/ed pieces in Heti Válasz.

52 comments

  1. Many Hungarians have been corrupted by the regimes of Horthy.
    It is now being repeated by Orban.
    Between these two, there was a mad period of pre and post 56 socialist manipulations.

    I have lived quite a few years in the Kadar Hungary, and can compare it with the enlightened West.

    The Kadar lies were suffocating.
    In contrast, the Western nations have been nurturing an enlightened atmosphere of freedom.

    We must defend our new Western life, and reject the lies of the Hungarian regime, just like the deceit oozing from many authoritarian centers of the world, Moscow, Teheran, Riyadh, Caracas, Havanna, Phnom Peng…

    We have got many Kim Scheppeles, they have got lots of Putins.

  2. Mr Prőhle can be the most pro-Jewish person that has ever lived in Hungary, but let us see a few snippets from the past of his family.

    from my previous posts:

    January 7, 2014 at 8:18 am | #34

    By the way, is Gergely Prőhle (Orban’s under-secretary of the Foreign Ministry) related

    to Sandor Prőhle, Arrow-cross member of the Parliament from 1939?

    http://www.ogyk.hu/e-konyvt/mpgy/alm/al939_44/287.htm

    January 11, 2014 at 6:10 pm | #1

    Here is an essay about Gergely Prőhle’s family.

    Click to access belivek_20-22.pdf

    The family description above mentions Vilmos Prőhle (1871-1946), linguist.
    What it does not add that Vilmos was a high school teacher in Nyíregyháza from 1899 to 1919, a leader of several anti-Semitic organizations from 1920 (Etelközi Szövetség, Ébredő Magyarok Egyesülete), and died in Berchtesgaden.

    mek.oszk. hu/00300/00355/html/ABC11587/12472.htm

    (also search for “Prőhle szszbmo.hu” in Google to find a .pdf file by Mária T. Nyiri about Vilmos that mentions he had a son named Sándor.)

    Sándor Prőhle (1900-??), the Arrow Cross MP, was born in Nyíregyháza, according to the Almanac of the 1939-1944 Parliament.

    Unless there were two different Sándor Prőhle’s born in Nyíregyháza around the turn of the century, we can conclude that the Arrow Cross MP was the son of Vilmos, who is admittedly related to Gergely.

  3. Oops. You cannot download the article by Mária T. Nyiri about Vilmos Prőhle any longer from the website of Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg county.

    But I did save it in January. The author passed away in the Fall of 2008.
    The article was part of her PhD dissertation.

  4. The sins of the father… Let’s not stoop to damning Prőhle because of his ancestors, relatives or possible name-relatives. It serves no purpose, teaches us nothing. There is a wall in the House of Terror museum in Budapest that prominently displays pictures (set prominently at center eye level) of Jewish Communists who were the parents of persons who served in the post 1989 Democratic opposition. There is no need to join in that game.

    But if we want to read another queasy, stage managed example of the soft-revisionist approach to framing the Jewish community’s reaction as biased and baseless, there is a new piece on the English language page of Mandiner that does that just fine.

    http://hungarianglobe.mandiner.hu/cikk/20140219_hungary_memory_war_on_war_memory

    The last paragraph is the most revealing: how dare Jewish leaders not acquiesce to the Government during an election campaign!

  5. I was about to write what Kave wrote. Let us stay away from blaming the son for the father. I would judge Gergely Prőhle for the actions of Gergely Prőhle, but it does not look good.
    What I find very disturbing is that they try to turn this “all bout the money”. They try to showcase to Hungarians that Fidesz is ready to talk but those Jewish organizations want more money. That Prohle actually promotes that point o f view must mean that he believes that this is true.

  6. It is scary to see how big rooms Jobbik can fill during the campaign.

    You see pictures about DK and you see pictures of Jobbik in Nyiregyhaza. Whoa. There will be huge surprizes.

    Jobbik is just getting started.

  7. The history of the Hungarian right-wing, so far, has been the history of struggle against modernity and capitalism (itself a concept that emerged with/coincided with modernism, especially in Hungary), as well as communism (also a modernistic idea), in each case conveniently symbolized by “the Jew”.

    Jobbik continues that tradition. (Fidesz too, but it is more moderate – at least compared to Jobbik).

    Jobbik can disappear or get irrelevant in only three ways: it gets to power and through its own incompetence, if the economy gets significantly better or if it is banned. There is no other way.

    The economy will not get any better. So it may get to power or it may get banned (after which it would reappear under a new name and jobbikniks would go berserk). In any other case, it’s popularity will only grow because it does not seem to me that the pressures from capitalism or modernity will relent in the foreseeable future.

    http://index.hu/tudomany/tortenelem/2014/03/20/amikor_a_nyilasok_lenyomtak_a_centralis_eroteret/

  8. OECD report:
    Society at a glance 2014.

    Hungary is at or close to the bottom in a lot of areas like

    disposable income, (only Chile, Turkey and Mexico are worse)

    % change in social spending between 2007 and 2013 (only Greece is in our category)

    benefits for working age people (rock bottom) !!

    % change for spending on education (only Chile and Mexico are worse)

    care for the poor (only Poland is worse)

    hunger (only Turkey’s and Mexico’s numbers are worse)

    trust in police (only Mexico is worse)

    happiness (rock bottom) !!

    change in life expectancy (1970-2011) only Turkey’s and Mexico’s numbers are worse

    charity

    growing hatred against gay people (largest growth in hatred in the 2007-2012 period)

    http://444.hu/2014/03/21/boldogtalanok-vagyunk-rettegunk-mindenkit-utalunk-es-lassan-kicsuszunk-a-fejlett-orszagok-kozul/

    http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/social-issues-migration-health/society-at-a-glance-2014_soc_glance-2014-en

    http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/social-issues-migration-health/society-at-a-glance-2014_soc_glance-2014-en

  9. Thanks tappanch for your work.

    According to Népszabadság Yad Vashem of Jerusalem is not collaborating anymore with Mária Schmidt. The Historian who is responsible for The house of Terror and now also for the “House of fate”.
    The historian László Karsai called Schmidt a relativizator of Holocaust and a falsifier of History.
    (Holocaustrelativizáló, történelemhamisitó) and Schmidt is not starting procedure against Karsai.

  10. “To be sure that he received it, they sent it registered mail. The prime minister’s office claimed that it never arrived.”

    Orban seems to have an ongoing postal problem; inconvenient letters, particularly from Jews, just don’t seem to reach his bunker.

  11. That OECD report was in the news yesterday on RTL, they showed those numbers for happiness – M1 probably didn’t report on it …

    And now a real life example for those abstract numbers:

    A (not so …) strange coincidence: We did some shopping at the OBI yesterday and helped a salesman we know serving two ladies who only spoke English and after that he started to complain:
    His mother gets a pension of 280 € a month (he really spoke of €s) and needs 200 € for rent, gas electricity etc – so how is she supposed to survive on 80 €s for food etc ?

    You can’t be very happy in such a situation …

  12. wolfi :
    That OECD report was in the news yesterday on RTL, they showed those numbers for happiness – M1 probably didn’t report on it …
    And now a real life example for those abstract numbers:
    A (not so …) strange coincidence: We did some shopping at the OBI yesterday and helped a salesman we know serving two ladies who only spoke English and after that he started to complain:
    His mother gets a pension of 280 € a month (he really spoke of €s) and needs 200 € for rent, gas electricity etc – so how is she supposed to survive on 80 €s for food etc ?
    You can’t be very happy in such a situation …

    So he will vote for Fidesz as clearly utilities are his/her biggest worry.

  13. tappanch :
    OECD report:
    Society at a glance 2014.
    Hungary is at or close to the bottom in a lot of areas like
    disposable income, (only Chile, Turkey and Mexico are worse)
    % change in social spending between 2007 and 2013 (only Greece is in our category)
    benefits for working age people (rock bottom) !!
    % change for spending on education (only Chile and Mexico are worse)
    care for the poor (only Poland is worse)
    hunger (only Turkey’s and Mexico’s numbers are worse)
    trust in police (only Mexico is worse)
    happiness (rock bottom) !!
    change in life expectancy (1970-2011) only Turkey’s and Mexico’s numbers are worse
    charity
    growing hatred against gay people (largest growth in hatred in the 2007-2012 period)
    http://444.hu/2014/03/21/boldogtalanok-vagyunk-rettegunk-mindenkit-utalunk-es-lassan-kicsuszunk-a-fejlett-orszagok-kozul/
    http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/social-issues-migration-health/society-at-a-glance-2014_soc_glance-2014-en
    http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/social-issues-migration-health/society-at-a-glance-2014_soc_glance-2014-en

    Now that’s what politics is all about.

    People are depressed, feeling awful, public services are terrible — but people still vote for you because they (at least the necessary 30-40% of the people) genuinely adore you.

  14. Here is a nice trick for the social security budget.

    Nobody can retire in the first half of 2014!

    The retirement age is raised from 62 to 65 in steps.

    If you were born in:

    1951 you were allowed to retire in 2013. (at 62)
    1952, you cannot retire before you reach 62 1/2, nobody retires before July 1, 2014
    1953, you cannot retire before you reach 63, nobody retires in 2015. Period.
    etc.

    So the “new retiree”-free periods are:

    2014, 1st half
    2015, full year
    2016
    2017, first half
    2018, full year
    2019
    2020, first half
    2021, full year

    http://adozona.hu/tb_jarulekok_nyugdij/Nyugdijazasi_stop_junius_vegeig_D4Z0XN

  15. tappanch :
    Here is a nice trick for the social security budget.
    Nobody can retire in the first half of 2014!
    The retirement age is raised from 62 to 65 in steps.
    If you were born in:
    1951 you were allowed to retire in 2013. (at 62)
    1952, you cannot retire before you reach 62 1/2, nobody retires before July 1, 2014
    1953, you cannot retire before you reach 63, nobody retires in 2015. Period.
    etc.
    So the “new retiree”-free periods are:
    2014, 1st half
    2015, full year
    2016
    2017, first half
    2018, full year
    2019
    2020, first half
    2021, full year
    http://adozona.hu/tb_jarulekok_nyugdij/Nyugdijazasi_stop_junius_vegeig_D4Z0XN

    Thanks for spotting it, but this is not a trick.

    It is a legal, if not a popular or much-advertized, way to handle (to an extent) the retirement issue which threatens even Fidesz. I am sure many Western countries would love to copy this, if they could get away with it politically.

  16. True, the son should not be judged by the actions of his father or grand-father.

    However, after growing up in a family where antisemitism is culturally ingrained, the child would have to have a strong(er) moral compass and a strong(er) character to go against the family tide and the antisemitism he was fed with during his nurture years. Not too many succeed.

    Alternatively, the scion of the anti-Semite family may discover the shameful truth: his grand-mother was actually a Jew! But nothing to worry then, Chabad will then come to the rescue 😉

  17. lol@qaz

    Éva S. Balogh :I can tell you right now that I’m lucky enough to have received a lengthy study by Professor Braham entitled “Hungary: The Assault on the Historical Memory of the Holocaust.” He would like to share it with the readers of Hungarian Spectrum, for which I’m very grateful.

    An update of his 1999 piece? Certainly looking forward to reading it.

  18. As Karl Pfeiffer mentions, it seems that Yad Vashem has pulled out both its name and its advisory board members from the ‘House of Fates’ project. János Szász left as well. It’s starting to look like the ‘House of Schmidt’ and I wonder who will actually attend the board meeting scheduled for April 27th. Will Anne Applebaum be there? She just published a piece in the WaPo, in which she writes:

    For the first time, many are beginning to understand that the narrative is wrong: Russia is not a flawed Western power. Russia is an anti-Western power with a different, darker vision of global politics.

    Try replacing ‘Russia’ with ‘Orbanistan’, and ‘power’ by ‘regime’.

  19. Marcel:

    Hungary is a goulash/soft kind of anything.

    And, yes, right now it is like Russia, only a goulash version of it.

    I am afraid Anna Applebaum tells new things only to superficial Westerners, smarter people of the CEE always have known what she writes about.

  20. @Pizsi

    What makes her position on the ‘House of Fate’ interesting – to me – is related to what peoples wrote in the first paragraph of his comment #9.

    I believe the former communist regimes and ideology must be criticized, and the damages they inflicted to CEE societies assessed. I also believe – and Arendt comes to mind (the writings, not the shallow movie) – that some aspects of fascism and communism can be equated. However, I think it is time for some people to recognize the dangerous fallacy at the core of the Orbán/Schmidt memorial policies, and get away from them as far as they can.

  21. Marcel, communism in a way is just one kind of the modern “isms” which emerged with an intent of a radical change.

    Lots of people, even backward and poor people did not like radical and fundamental change.

    It is not just that their land or small business were nationalized (the big business was nationalized from surviving Jews, towards whom there was no sympathy), but also the everyday power structure and value systems changed radically and a lot of people just hated that. It was not natural to them.

    People in rural places kept track of collectivized land plots decades after nationalization. Even in the early 1990’s when people could buy agricultural land using their allocated compensation coupons, the local land committees at least informally did take account of local land ownership claims dating back to the mid-1940’s. That was the way people lived in rural places such as Bács-Kiskun or Western-Hungary for decades where the Hungarian left still has zero traction. So there is no campaign in those areas, just like the Democratic presidential candidates do not campaign in Texas and Alabama, it would be hopeless.

    So communism to most people is just one of the “isms”, like capitalism or other creatures of modernity, radical ideas which threaten the traditional way of life, however poor or backward that way of life is.

    I think that is what bugs the average people, and they do not care about fine points in ideology. To them capitalism or communism (ie. lefty liberal politics) are the same kind of threat to their good old (perhaps never even real) days the loss of which they cannot even allowed to mourn properly.

    So they turn to Jobbik and Fidesz which promises to protect them form these radical (and (foreign, as these ideas originate from foreigners not from Hungarians) changes.

    I am beginning to think that Fidesz may end up with a smaller party list result in April than the united left due to its voters flocking to Jobbik (but given the election system the left could still not win overall as it would have to exceed Fidesz by 6-8% points to prevail in the Parliament). Jobbik is a huge issue, but there are indeed fundamental issues which the other parties avoid to speak about (capitalism – modernity).

  22. Tappanch has discussed before the likely family history of Gergely Prőhle. We have already discussed at length the debate around the “sin of the father.” I recall discussing the fact that in Chicago’s Hungarian community I was raised with children of fascists and former SS who on the face of it were not outright fascists themselves, but almost all of whom justified Hungarian fascism by comparing it to the Communist terror which was worse in all of their opinions.

    I think one has to come to grips with each of our own family histories in order not to justify what can not be justified. When we do that we are not responsible for our father’s sins. Both my Grandfather and great uncle clearly committed war crimes in the Balkan wars for the old empire, I accept that fact and even have researched it. I don’t see that Prőhle has done that in relation to his own family, moreover there is a huge collective guilt in Hungary over the Holocaust and that part of what this debate is about.

    Some of us who fought in the Vietnam war, including Sec Kerry, recognize the collective war crimes we committed and also those committed by the NLF. But many more veterans of that war live in denial and are showing up more and more often in Veteran’s administration facilities with chronic mental health problems years and years later. We all have some collective responsibility for the past.

  23. nolp :

    tappanch :
    Here is a nice trick for the social security budget.
    http://adozona.hu/tb_jarulekok_nyugdij/Nyugdijazasi_stop_junius_vegeig_D4Z0XN

    Thanks for spotting it, but this is not a trick.
    It is a legal, if not a popular or much-advertized, way to handle (to an extent) the retirement issue which threatens even Fidesz. I am sure many Western countries would love to copy this, if they could get away with it politically.

    WHat do you mean by “Western countries would love to copy this, if they could get away with it politically”? Your statement falls into the category of admiration of Orban/Fidesz. Everyone would love to do what Matocsy does, the whole world is following Hungary, Finland has the same thing in their constitution, and other myths…..
    Of course every country tries to tackle the cost of taking care of the baby boomers, but no country stole the legal, private retirement savings of its citizens then told them that they cannot retire when they wish! If someone would be able to retire from their private savings, why couldn’t they? Because it was stolen and spent by Fidesz! THis is why, and there is no civilized country out there that would allow this! Big difference!
    By the way, why did Orban/Fidesz made professors and judges retire so early if they did not know how to pay for it?

  24. Not only is the employment report full of contradictions, so is the Welsz case.

    Rumors from the police yesterday were that he was handcuffed in the police car when he died.

    Today they claim he was not handcuffed, his girlfriend left him, and had taken something, i.e. committed suicide.

    But friends claim he was not abandoned by his girlfriend, was in good spirits and wanted to reveal bombshells [presumably about Fidesz]

    http://444.hu/2014/03/21/ez-a-welsz-ugy-nagyon-buzlik/
    http://hvg.hu/itthon/20140321_Simon_nyomozas_Welsz_boritani_akart

  25. Re retirement age:

    Raising the retirement age is a demographic and financial necessity everywhere – and one shouldn’t forget that people at 65 today are much healthier than 50 or 100 years ago.

    Germany e g has raised/is raising the retirement age from 65 to 67, but in smaller steps over a longer time – that was decided in 2006 already!

    I have to confess that I was really surprised when I heard that retirement in Hungary was at 62 years …

    There is a table comparing these data for European countries including the average age at retirement for most, but not Hungary …) on the German wiki – easy to read without knowledge of German.
    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rentenalter

    PS:

    In Germany people already talk about the necessity to raise the age of retirement to 70 years!

  26. Here’s an interesting video posted a couple of days ago on YouTube. An activist group called Szavazz a Jobbik Ellen! conducted a street poll in downtown Pest asking passersby to identify the author of the following quote: “Világméretű zsidó összeesküvésnek vagyunk a tanúi, amelynek célja országunk gyármatosítása és erőforrásainak ellopása.” [We are witnesses to a worldwide Jewish conspiracy whose aim is the colonization of our country and the theft of its resources.]

    The possible responses offered are A) Ferenc Szálasi; B) Adolf Hitler; C) Benito Mussolini

    Of course, those posing the question didn’t quite play fair, as the correct answer is none of the above. Astonishing nonetheless.

  27. @wolfi

    The real number is life expectancy at retirement.

    Life expectancy at birth in Germany – same in Hungary is 80.19-75.02 = 5 years
    http://www.indexmundi.com/g/r.aspx?c=hu&v=30

    Life expectancy at birth in Germany – same in Hungary is 81-75 = 6 years
    [WHO] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy

    Life expectancy at birth in Germany – same in Hungary is 78 – 71 = 7 years
    http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.LE00.MA.IN

    for men, the difference is 78.5-71 = 7.5 years

    for women, 83.5- 79= 4.5 years

    Retirement age : 67 – 62 = 5 OK, 67-65= 2 NOT OK.

  28. wolfi :
    Re retirement age:
    Raising the retirement age is a demographic and financial necessity everywhere – and one shouldn’t forget that people at 65 today are much healthier than 50 or 100 years ago.
    Germany e g has raised/is raising the retirement age from 65 to 67, but in smaller steps over a longer time – that was decided in 2006 already!
    I have to confess that I was really surprised when I heard that retirement in Hungary was at 62 years …
    There is a table comparing these data for European countries including the average age at retirement for most, but not Hungary …) on the German wiki – easy to read without knowledge of German.
    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rentenalter
    PS:
    In Germany people already talk about the necessity to raise the age of retirement to 70 years!

    I do agree with you. At the same time if you would like to retire early in any western country you can put your private retirement savings at work. In Hungary you cannot, as it was stolen by Fidesz.
    We must differentiate between the various pension earnings. What later retirement means in western society is that the government guaranteed portion of your pension will not kick in before a certain age.

    Also in western societies age discrimination is not so prevalent than in Hungary. (I am not saying it does not exist.) Here is what will happen in Hungary: Older people will let go from their work place, and will be forcer to work in the freebee government work scheme.
    Younger people will take the older workers’ place. THis will result in a very skewed unemployment data.

  29. Nádas :
    Here’s an interesting video posted a couple of days ago on YouTube. An activist group called Szavazz a Jobbik Ellen! conducted a street poll in downtown Pest asking passersby to identify the author of the following quote: “Világméretű zsidó összeesküvésnek vagyunk a tanúi, amelynek célja országunk gyármatosítása és erőforrásainak ellopása.” [We are witnesses to a worldwide Jewish conspiracy whose aim is the colonization of our country and the theft of its resources.]
    The possible responses offered are A) Ferenc Szálasi; B) Adolf Hitler; C) Benito Mussolini
    Of course, those posing the question didn’t quite play fair, as the correct answer is none of the above. Astonishing nonetheless.

    Whoever is responsible for that video should take over the democratic opposition parties communication. THis video is hundred times better (and cheaper) than any of the PR the opposition have done.

  30. I wouldn’t totally rule it out that the campaign against Jobbik gets some Fidesz supporting winds as well.

  31. tappanch :
    @wolfi
    The real number is life expectancy at retirement.
    Life expectancy at birth in Germany – same in Hungary is 80.19-75.02 = 5 years
    http://www.indexmundi.com/g/r.aspx?c=hu&v=30
    Life expectancy at birth in Germany – same in Hungary is 81-75 = 6 years
    [WHO] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy
    Life expectancy at birth in Germany – same in Hungary is 78 – 71 = 7 years
    http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.LE00.MA.IN
    for men, the difference is 78.5-71 = 7.5 years
    for women, 83.5- 79= 4.5 years
    Retirement age : 67 – 62 = 5 OK, 67-65= 2 NOT OK.

    No, the issue is the average age of actual retirement.

    The statutory retirement age may be 62 or 63 in Hungary right now, but the median age is actually something like 53 (!) — given the various special perks applicable to various professions (although Orban cut back at those too) or the general rule that women can retire after 40 years of work (and re the years prior to 1998, time spent in higher education also counted towards the years spent in work). So the time spent in retirement is actually much longer than most people assume.

    Also there is another issue.

    People only mention life expectancy at birth — all of these data concern that.

    However, those Hungarians who actually live to be, say, 60, they almost have the same further life expectancy as those people in Germany. (As the mortality is greatest in the 40-60 male cohort).

    Orban and his pals stole the private pension funds, but this is another issue: they do what every government in the West would have to do, increase retirement age in one way or another. That is a necessity, even if it may legitimately hurt a lot of people.

  32. Jobbik

    One has to consider that any Hungarian voter wishing not to vote for a proven, corrupt entity…has no other choice in a major party than Jobbik. So Jobbik’s present popularity
    may have little to do with its anti-semitism.

  33. Some1 :

    nolp :

    tappanch :
    Here is a nice trick for the social security budget.
    http://adozona.hu/tb_jarulekok_nyugdij/Nyugdijazasi_stop_junius_vegeig_D4Z0XN

    Thanks for spotting it, but this is not a trick.
    It is a legal, if not a popular or much-advertized, way to handle (to an extent) the retirement issue which threatens even Fidesz. I am sure many Western countries would love to copy this, if they could get away with it politically.

    WHat do you mean by “Western countries would love to copy this, if they could get away with it politically”? Your statement falls into the category of admiration of Orban/Fidesz. Everyone would love to do what Matocsy does, the whole world is following Hungary, Finland has the same thing in their constitution, and other myths…..
    Of course every country tries to tackle the cost of taking care of the baby boomers, but no country stole the legal, private retirement savings of its citizens then told them that they cannot retire when they wish! If someone would be able to retire from their private savings, why couldn’t they? Because it was stolen and spent by Fidesz! THis is why, and there is no civilized country out there that would allow this! Big difference!
    By the way, why did Orban/Fidesz made professors and judges retire so early if they did not know how to pay for it?

    I agree, Orban stole the savings. I do not like Fidesz a bit. The forced retirement of judges was indefensible.

    But this is simple an increase of the retirement age in a non-publicized way.

    This is a clear necessity given Hungary’s terrible demography. Mind you it is also a necessity with respect to other pay as you go schemes in countries where demography is problematic, but it is politically very sensitive (see the German intra-coalition debate about that). In Hungary people just do not really care about anything so this issue was not even raised in the media.

    Also, in Hungary people did not care about the fact that Orban stole their retirement savings. Some did, they tried to save their savings, and some 80,000 people still have those savings after complicated multiple paperworks.. But there was no big resistance, Fidesz’ popularity did not change a bit when it did it. Most people, we can assume, were OK with it.

  34. Welsz was most likely killed deliberately.

    Fidesz, aided by the secret services are now just confusing the stories, leaking contradictory narratives. If they are successful, nobody will believe anything in a couple of days. And that is enough.

    Welsz was likely an intelligence asset and he used this protected position to enter into shady deals (like the Panama fraud). In many cases I believe some of his handlers/intel superiors got their cuts too and in return protected him from the justice system. (Although there was talk in the media that even his relatives were also employed by the the security services, so he may have enjoyed this strong protection from multiple sources within the agencies). Possibly some of the cuts ended up in coffers related to Fidesz, which ultimately controls the services and always demands its cuts.

    However, this intelligence agency protection could not work effectively any more because of the Simon-story, there was just too much focus on it, so the Welsz-thread got out of hand too.

    But with the story escalating and especially before the elections there was a danger that he would talk about these shady deals too, so his handlers staged a police action during which people from time to time die, so it does not appear to be special to an average reader. Or it just looks like a simple beating which happens at the police, part of the routine. Not nice, but shit happens.

    But this happened on purpose, whatever the actual method was: to prevent him from talking.

  35. Vtornyik :
    Orban and his pals stole the private pension funds, but this is another issue: they do what every government in the West would have to do, increase retirement age in one way or another. That is a necessity, even if it may legitimately hurt a lot of people.

    It is the same issue. You cannot withheld retirement founds that people put aside for themselves, only if you steal it!
    Even if Canada or the USA or Germany puts the legal retirement age for 120 years of age, those who legally put money aside for early retirement could decide to do so, you just not going to receive the government’s contribution. So essentially what more developed countries are doing simply pushing people to use up their private funds (money that was not taxed to begin with), and they will start to pay out government contributions later in their life.
    In Hungary the government forces you to not touch your own savings because it is not yours any longer. Fidesz stole people’s private retirement savings to pay for pet projects, and there is no money left. THere is no money left from the private savings. So it is very closely tied together!

  36. utassy vazul: “Welsz was most likely killed deliberately”.

    That is what everybody believes. Even the Fideszniks believe it secretly. The assumption is that Fidesz has arrived at the point of no return. For fear of what will happen to them if they loose power, they are ready to do away with dangerous people.

    The probability that Welsz happened to die from a natural cause while guarded by police is rather small.

    This case and the previous suspicious death of a software engineer may be a milestone that is worth a post in HS. I can see that there is a lot about it in Hungarian on the internet, but I cannot read it.

  37. “Also, in Hungary people did not care about the fact that Orban stole their retirement savings.”

    Yep, 100%, although I am proud to say that Ms oneill was one of those who stood up to the regime’s bullies- we will take great delight when she does retire gloating at Orban’s sheep who believed in his promises to protect them in their twilight years.

    It was a turning point though for me though- I realized that normal civilized standards of democratic practice no longer existed in Hungray post 2010 and more importantly the vast majority of Hungary couldn’t give a fiddlers for that fact.

    Welsz’s *removal* could well be another turning point. Would Orban’s regime murder to protect their priviledge? I think every reader here knows the answer.

  38. Orban plays the stock market with taxpayers’ money:

    MOL @11,950

    Watch for 50% loss @11,234 for the Hungarian taxpayers.

  39. Welsz death is not a turning point for Fidesz fanatics. Nothing is. If they would loose everything, and stand outside in the rain with nothing left, they would still vote for Orban, and believe that that everything they lost is because of Gyurcsany and/or the jews. THey would still vote for Orban, the saviour. You should read the comments about the suspicious circumstances of all these people who are dying around Fidesz before they are able to open their mouth…

  40. “Welsz death is not a turning point for Fidesz fanatics”

    I wasn’t thinking about the sheep or even Hungarian society at large- 95% don’t care that a healthy 40 year-old suddenly died in a police car.

    I meant it was a turning point in terms of what the regime believes it can get away with.

  41. What’s a little assassination of a political foe to a gang who’s happy to give an early release to a convicted ax murderer?

  42. oneill :
    “Welsz death is not a turning point for Fidesz fanatics”
    I wasn’t thinking about the sheep or even Hungarian society at large- 95% don’t care that a healthy 40 year-old suddenly died in a police car.
    I meant it was a turning point in terms of what the regime believes it can get away with.

    Gotcha! Makes sense.

  43. GW :
    What’s a little assassination of a political foe to a gang who’s happy to give an early release to a convicted ax murderer?

    I guess you’re not a Hungarian–most Hungarians would know that the Azeri was a ‘sold’ item…

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