Still about March 19, 1944: A call against the falsification of Hungarian history

The following letter was sent to the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris, the Stiftung Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas in Berlin, and the Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. The signatories, as you can see, are from all over the world.

Holocaust Memorial Center, Budapest

Holocaust Memorial Center, Budapest

The memorial the current Hungarian government, despite months of protests, intends to erect is an important issue because it symbolizes a revisionist interpretation of the Hungarian Holocaust that is inadmissible. Let me express my hope that international public opinion will be able to prevent the erection of a monument that not only the Hungarian Jewish community but approximately half of the country’s population disapproves of.

* * *

We, the undersigned, ask the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris, the Stiftung Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas in Berlin and the Yad Vashem in Jerusalem to help safeguard the historical memory of the destruction of the Hungarian Jews.

The Hungarian government, with deep contempt for historical truth, persists in creating an alternative vision, which denies the responsibility of the Hungarian government and of those Hungarians who had facilitated, or participated in the murders during the Second World War.

We are deeply concerned about the attempt by the government’s Veritas institute (charged with rewriting the past from a nationalist perspective), to sign an agreement with the Holocaust Memorial Center at Páva Street, Budapest, and about the current insecure situation in which the Holocaust Memorial Center finds itself, without director. The director of Veritas consistently uses terminology once employed by the regime of Regent Miklós Horthy which had engineered the murder of the Hungarian victims of the Holocaust. This rhetoric, in line with government ideology, exculpates the Hungarian government of the period.

We are deeply concerned about the falsification of the past, and fear that there will no longer be a public institution in Hungary that will be able to work unhindered on the history of the Holocaust. There are now several operational or planned museums in Budapest that provide a historically inaccurate, distorted version of the past (The House of Terror Museum, the planned House of Fates, and the possible new conception for the Holocaust Memorial Center). The trend is towards minimizing the Holocaust and shifting the blame onto both Nazis and communists who are widely equated with Jews. We would like to ensure that the truth is available to the public in an independent museum or virtual museum.

We also ask that you support those in Hungary who oppose the government memorial that is being erected in Budapest to commemorate Hungary’s “German occupation” on 19 March 1944. The monument blurs the lines between victims and culprits by representing Hungary, or in recent governmental reinterpretation, “all the victims” of the occupation, in the figure of the Archangel Gabriel, while shifting all the responsibility onto German Nazis represented by an eagle.

 * * *

Nous, soussignés, sollicitons le United States Holocaust Memorial Museum à Washington, le Mémorial de la Shoah à Paris, la Stiftung Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas à Berlin et la Yad Vashem à Jérusalem de nous aider à conserver la mémoire historique de l’anéantissement des Juifs Hongrois.

Le gouvernement hongrois, avec un mépris profond pour la vérité historique, s’obstine à créer une vision alternative, qui nie la responsabilité du gouvernement hongrois et de ceux parmi la population hongroise qui ont facilité ou ont participé aux meurtres pendant la deuxième guerre mondiale.

Nous sommes profondément concernés par la tentative de nouer unaccord entre l’institut Veritas fondé par le gouvernement (dont la tâche est la réécriture du passé dans une perspective nationaliste) avec le Centre de la Commémoration de la Shoah de la rue Páva, à Budapest; nous sommes également choqués par la situation d’insécurité dans laquelle le Centre se trouve, sans directeur. Le directeur de Veritas utilise systématiquement la même terminologie que celle employée par le régime du Régent Miklós Horthy, qui avait orchestré le meurtre des victimes hongrois de la Shoah. Cette rhétorique, correspondant à l’idéologie gouvernementale, innocente le gouvernement hongrois de l’époque.

Nous sommes profondément concernés par le démenti du passé et nous craignons qu’il n’y aura plus d’institution publique en Hongrie qui pourra mener sans entrave un travail sur l’histoire de la Shoah. Il y a maintenant plusieurs musées opérationnels ou projetés à Budapest qui donnent une version historiquement erronée et déformée du passé (le Musée de la Maison de la Terreur, le Musée en projet de la Maison des Destins, et le possible nouveau concept pour le Centre de la Commémoration de la Shoah). La tendance actuelle vise à minimiser la Shoah et à déplacer le blâme sur les nazis et les communistes qui sont largement assimilés auf Juifs.  Nous voudrions nous assurer que la vérité reste accessible au public à travers un musée indépendant ou un musée virtuel.

Nous sollicitons aussi votre soutien pour ceux en Hongrie qui s’opposent au mémorial en train d’être érigé par le gouvernement à Budapest, commémorant «l’occupation allemande» de la Hongrie, le 19 Mars 1944. Ce monument efface la différence entre victimes et coupables dans la figure de l’Archange Gabriel qui représente la Hongrie, ou, selon une réinterprétation gouvernementale récente, «toutes les victimes» de l’occupation, tandis que la responsabilité est déplacée sur les nazis allemands, représentés par un aigle.

 * * *

Wir, die Unterzeichneten, bitten das United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, das Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris, die Stiftung Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas in Berlin, und die Yad Vashem in Jerusalemdabei zu helfen, die historische Erinnerung an die Vernichtung der ungarischen Juden zu bewahren.

Die Ungarische Regierung, in tiefer Verachtung für historische Wahrheit, insistiert auf einer neuen Version der Geschichte, die die Verantwortung der Ungarischen Regierung und jener Ungarn, die an den Morden während des Zweiten Weltkriegs beteiligt waren, leugnet.

Wir sind tief besorgt über den Versuch der Übereinkunft zwischen dem Regierungsinstitut „Veritas“ (das die Aufgabe hat, die Vergangenheit aus nationalistischer Perspektive neu zu schreiben) und dem Holocaust Memorial Center in der Pávastraße in Budapest, und die aktuelle unsichere Situation, in der das Center keinen Direktor hat. Der Direktor von „Veritas“ benutzt konsequent die Terminologie, die einst vom Regime Miklós Horthys verwendet wurde, das die Ermordung der ungarischen Holocaust-Opfer ins Werk gesetzt hat. Diese Rhetorik entschuldigt, ganz auf der Linie der Politik der heutigen Regierung, die damalige.

Wir sind tief besorgt über die Verfälschung der Vergangenheit, und wir fürchten, daß es nicht länger eine öffentliche Institution in Ungarn geben wird, die die Geschichte des Holocaust ungehindert erforschen kann. Es gibt derzeit mehrere existierende oder geplante Museen in Budapest, die eine historisch unrichtige, verdrehte Version der Vergangenheit präsentieren (das „Haus des Terrors“, das geplante „Haus der Schicksale“, und die mögliche neue Konzeption des  Holocaust Memorial Center). Der Trend geht dahin, den Holocaust zu minimalisieren und die Schuld den Nazis und den Kommunisten – die weitgehend mit den Juden identifiziert werden – zuzuschieben. Wir möchten sicherstellen, daß die Wahrheit der Öffentlichkeit in einem unabhängigen oder auch in einem virtuellen Museum zugänglich bleibt.

Wir bitten Sie auch diejenigen in Ungarn zu unterstützen, die sich dem Regierungsprojekt eines Denkmals widersetzen, das in Budapest an die „Deutsche Besetzung“ Ungarns am 19. März 1944 erinnern soll. Das Denkmal verwischt die Trennlinien zwischen Opfern und Tätern, indem es Ungarn bzw., nach der neuen offizielle Interpretation, „alle Opfer“ der Besetzung, in der Figur des Erzengels Gabriel darstellt, während alle Verantwortung den deutschen Nationalsozialisten in Form eines Adlers zugewiesen wird.

Christopher Adam, Historian, Carleton University, Canada
Eszter Andor, Remembrance Coordinator, Canada
Attila Ara-Kovács, Former Diplomat, Journalist, Hungary
Anna Balint, Independent Critic, Writer, Curator, Hungary
Zsófia Balla, Poet, Hungary
Eva S. Balogh, Historian, USA
Péter Bányai, Political Analyst, Romania
Anna Bayer, Human Rights Activist, USA
Nora Berend, Cambridge University, UK
Zsuzsa Berend, Sociologist, UCLA, USA
Gábor Betegh, Head of Department, Department of Philosophy, Central European University,
Hungary
László Bitó, Writer, Hungary
Randolph Braham, City University of New York, USA
Holly Case, Associate Professor, Cornell University, USA
Victor Caston, Professor of Philosophy and Classical Studies, University of Michigan, USA
Isabelle Cochelin, University of Toronto, Canada
Esther Cohen, Hebrew University, Israel
Vilmos Csányi, Ethologist, Researcher, Professor,
Vilmos Csaplár, Writer, Hungary
Erika Csontos, Editor, Hungary
Istvan Deak  Columbia University USA
Gábor Demszky, Former Mayor of Budapest, Woodrow Wilson Center, Hungary
Matyas Eorsi, Hungary
Robert Evans, Regius professor of History emeritus, Oxford University, UK
Borbala Farago, Professor, Researcher, Ireland
Gabriella Fekete, Psychologist, Hungary
Luc Ferrier, Groupe d’Anthropologie scolastique, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales,  France
Roy Flechner, Lecturer in Early Medieval History, University College Dublin, Ireland
Tamás Fodor, Actor, Director, Hungary
Tibor Frank, Economist, Businessman, Urban Innovative Solutions, Inc.  (UIS), Canada
Anna Fried, Canada
Laszlo Fried, Canada
Kinga Frojimovics, Historian, Archivist, Hungary
Zoltán Gendler Szabó, Professor of Philosophy, Yale University, USA
Susan Glanz, Professor, St. John’s University, USA
Peter Godman, Professor, Monumenta Germaniae Historica (MGH), Germany
András B. Göllner, Concordia University, Canada
Nadia Gorman, Dartmouth College, USA
Gábor Halmai, Professor of Law; Visiting Research Schollar, ELTE; Princeton University, USA
Miklós Haraszti, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, Hungary
Roza Hodosan, Sociologist, Hungary
Ágnes Horváth, Professor of French Studies, ELTE BTK – Faculty of Philology, Hungary
Eva Illouz, Hebrew University, Israel
László Karsai, Szegedi Tudományegyetem/University of Szeged, Hungary
R. A. Kaster, Professor of Classics, Princeton University, USA
Erika Kiss, Associate Research Scholar, Director of Film Forum, Princeton University, USA
Géza Komoróczy, Professor Emeritus, Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary
Éva Kovács, Sociologist, Hungary/Austria
Péter Kovács, Art Historian, Hungary
Mária M. Kovács, Central European University, Hungary
János M. Kovács, Economist
Júlia Lázár, Writer, Teacher, Translator, Hungary
Paul Lerner, Associate Professor of History, Director, Max Kade Institute for Austrian-German- Swiss Studies, University of Southern California, USA
Balint Magyar, Sociologist, Hungary
Michael Marrus, Professor of History, University of Toronto, Canada
Stephen Menn, Professor of Ancient and Contemporary Philosophy, Humboldt-Universität zu  Berlin, Germany
Andras Mink, Archivist, Historian, OSA Archivum, Hungary
András Mohácsi, Artist (képzőművész), Hungary
Judit Molnár, Szegedi Tudományegyetem/University of Szeged, Hungary
Piroska Nagy, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada
Zsuzsanna Ozsvath, Leah and Paul Lewis Chair of Holocaust Studies, University of Texas at  Dallas, USA
David Patterson, Hillel Feinberg Chair in Holocaust Studies, University of Texas at Dallas, USA
Anna Perczel, Architect, Hungary
Anna Porter, Writer and Publisher, Canada
Jeffrey Prager, Professor of Sociology, UCLA, USA
László Rajk, Architect, Hungary
Ruben A. S. Rein, Merchant, Techdec Informatica, Brazil
Jeannie Rifkin, Cosmetics Consultant,
Kim Lane Scheppele, Princeton University, USA
Tamas St.Auby, Artist, Hungary
Gisela Striker, Walter C. Klein Professor of Philosophy and of the Classics, Emerita, Harvard  University, USA
Judith Szapor, Assistant Professor, McGill University, Canada
Júlia Szilágyi, Writer,  Romania
Sándor Szilágyi, Writer on Photography, Hungary
Mihály Szilágyi-Gál, Philosopher, ELTE, Hungary
Gáspár Miklós Tamás, Hungary
Jozef A. Tillman, Artist, Hungary
Tamas Ungvari, Professor Emeritus,
Judith Vince, Hungary
Judy Young, Holocaust Survivor, Canada
Talia Zajac, University of Toronto, Canada
Froma I. Zeitlin, Emerita, Ewing Professor of Greek Language & Literature, Professor of  Comparative Literature, Princeton University, USA

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19 comments

  1. We cannot possibly agree on historical questions all of us humans. For example I will never agree with a Communist on matters on the history of the Communist period. But I can’t really do anything if pro-Communist historians also write their articles, their projects and are busy falsifying history some of them just as actively as when they were in power.

    The same problem appears here. How do you propose to stop the research of historians that the undersigned do not agree with? Do they propose to shoot such historians on sight? Surely not. So what is the solution?

    The only possible solution is that interested and invested historians dedicate themselves to Holocaust research. But for that to have a chance of success one must stop becoming a politician, a sociologist or any other profession and become a Holocaust historian. Some of the undersigned could do exactly that and the others must donate their money to this cause.

    Without sacrifice there can be no victory.

  2. i wonder why I was not asked to sign this letter? I would have done so whole-heartedly.

  3. Our guest jimmy wrote at June 11, 2014 at 4:50 pm: “The only possible solution is that interested and invested historians dedicate themselves to Holocaust research.”

    What is the Schmidt/Szakaly/Bokor team is doing? Perhaps digging a hole of shame, with the support of Orban.

    jimmy can make a simple decision, it is time to dump the illegitimate orban regime, and rehabilitate Hungary finally.

  4. Hungarian Christian Churches, Hungarian governments since the end of WW2, and the Hungarian people at large failed to admit responsibility for their silence and tacit cooperation in the execution of murder of Hungarian Jewry. The problem is primarily not that of research of History but that of conscience.
    Failure of taking responsibility over the years was similar in Austria,
    It was only the Federal Republic of Germany, where government and people faced up to their role during the period of Nazi rule.

  5. Jimmy: “Without sacrifice there can be no victory.”

    Do you mean that the signatories of the letter should pay historians to confirm their views, and the Hungarian tax payers should pay historians to confirm Fidesz views? Quite a lopsided sacrifice.

  6. Official data:

    Income for minimal subsistence in Hungary, 2013

    EUR/HUF= 305.3, (it has grown to 306.1 while I was writing this)
    1 month= 30.4 days

    Single person:
    —————–

    9.4 EUR/day including everything: housing, utilities, food

    food allowance in the official statistics
    2.6 EUR/day or

    296 grams of bread
    79 grams of cheese and other milk products
    112 grams of meat, meat products and fish combined
    132 grams of potato
    381 grams of all other vegetable
    214 grams of fruit
    13 grams of beans, peas and lentils
    39 grams of sugar, cocoa and honey

    0.4 eggs
    1/4 liters of milk

    I challenge the leaders of the Statistical Office to buy all this foodstuff for such little money!
    (The calculated price for fruits is especially ridiculous)

    According to the Office, retired people can survive on 90% of the allowance.

    Factors for additional people in a family:
    ————————————————-
    Second and further adult: 0.75
    First child or second retired: 0.65
    Second child: 0.5
    Third and further child: 0.4

    http://www.ksh.hu/docs/hun/xftp/idoszaki/letmin/letmin13.pdf

    ———–

    PS
    The net income of 30% of the employees and 20% of the retired people are LESS than the subsistence level.

  7. Our topic:

    Good letter.

    The net practical result of this sculpture is that it will be the first memorial to the Nazi eagle. It will attract Nazis from Hungary and all over Europe. They will express their adulation not to Gabriel, but to the Nazi spirit on the top of the memorial and of the Hungarian government.

  8. Quote from orban’s letter dated 6.4.14: “The composition erected now is a freedom fighting people’s memorial of the pain of having its liberty crushed. ”

    This letter will be an historical exhibit, as an example of the many failures and lies of this regime.

    Schmidt/Szakaly/Veritas will be on the list of failed historians.

  9. Mr Eddy’s article in ft.com yesterday:

    Hungarian advertising tax raises fear of media clampdown

    “The tax is expected to raise Ft8bn, roughly half of which will come from RTL”

    That was before the last minute amendment before the vote, which reduced the 17% share
    of TV2 by half (?). So RTL will pay more than half of the total tax.

  10. Last year, 1,103,779 taxpayers gave 1% of their taxes to one of the 31 “accepted” churches or denominations.

    By the number of donors,

    59.92% gave to the Catholic Church
    21.25% to the Calvinist Church
    5.63% to the Lutheran Church
    2.59% to the Evangelical Church “Hit”= Faith
    2.32% to the Baptist Church
    2.11% to Hare Krishna
    1.73% to 3 largest Buddhist denominations
    0.88% to Jehovah’s Witnesses
    0.79% to the 3 “accepted” Jewish denominations

    Source:

    http://www.nav.gov.hu/data/cms328096/Kimutatas_2013_12_31.pdf

  11. Taxpaying 1% donors to Jewish denominations.

    2010 vs 2012 vs 2013

    MaZsiHiSz: 6,001 vs 6,835 vs 6,901
    Chabad: 1,120 vs 1,551 vs 1,578
    Orthodox: 290 vs 286 vs 294
    Reform: 435 vs “not permitted” vs ” not permitted”

  12. tappanch, that underlines that the number of people who identify themselves as Jewish on a religious level in Hungary is minimal. Which makes the obsession with things Jewish by the political right in Hungary all the more ridiculous.

  13. @Ungaro, seriously?

    33 list their address as Hungary.

    Approximately 56 have Hungarian names – at least those that are obvious to me.

    And let’s not forget this is Orban’s Hungary, where all Hungarians scattered far and wide, and generations removed are Hungarians.

    I am a Hungarian-American with an Irish last name. From my mother’s side I have Hungarian birth certificates in my possession, going back four generations.

    If they put my my name on that list I would expect you, Ungaro, to recognize it as Hungarian.

    Everyone on that list might be Hungarian. But I do not care, their concern for Hungary is enough for me.

Comments are closed.