Zsolt Bayer vents against Hungarian Jews and the foreign press

There are some people in Hungary who refuse to utter the name of Zsolt Bayer, a notorious anti-Semite and a "journalist" of sorts. His style, as you will see here, is beyond what can be considered appropriate to appear on a printed page.

As was suggested by a reader of this blog, it is worth looking at Bayer's biography. It's important to recall that he was one of the thirty-seven students who established Fidesz. Despite his venomous writing, the old Fidesz leadership never disassociated itself from Bayer. Yearly there is a Fidesz birthday bash which is proudly attended by the founders, among them Zsolt Bayer. A few years ago after a particularly outrageous anti-Semitic attack, I think on Imre Kertész, Viktor Orbán made a special effort to be photographed with Bayer as they were amiably enjoying some private jokes. It was Orbán's way of saying "Bayer is our boy, we stand by him."

András Schiff's letter to the editor of The Washington Post gave Bayer a wonderful opportunity to vent against Hungarian Jews. I will translate some passages, but I'm not sure whether I will be able to give the flavor of Bayer's writing in English. It is hard for me to be that base.

The piece, entitled "The same stench," begins this way: "A stinking excrement called something like Cohen from somewhere in England writes that 'foul stench wafts' from Hungary. Cohen, and Cohn-Bendit, and Schiff. Népszava appears with the red figure of the man with the hammer and demands freedom of the press. Most people think that this is something new and that war like that didn't take place before. Nonsense. There is nothing new under the sun. Unfortunately, they were not all buried up to their necks in the forest of Orgovány." A brief explanation. Orgovány, a small village on the Great Plains, was the place of massacres committed by the leaders of the Hungarian White Terror in 1919-1920. In plain language, Bayer is expressing his sorrow that not all the Jews were killed in those days.

Bayer is trying to make the case that today's social democrats are admirers of the leaders of the Hungarian Soviet Republic of 1919 who escaped to Austria. There were those, according to Bayer, who never wanted to return, and he brings up the example of Imre Roboz, "the writer" who swore that he never wanted to see Hungary again. "András Schiff is his kindred soul." Perhaps I'm wrong but to my knowledge Imre Roboz was not a writer but a theater director and he lived in Budapest until his death in the Budapest ghetto sometime in January 1945.

But even worse than Roboz were those who were actually waiting for the opportunity to return. And "the stupid chancellor of Austria, Renner, and his even stupider undersecretary (sic), Otto Bauer," gave Béla Kun and his fellow communists political asylum.  Naturally, Otto Bauer wasn't the chancellor's undersecretary because chancellors don't have undersecretaries. He, as the head of the Austrian Social Democratic Party, was foreign minister of the coalition government formed after the collapse of the monarchy. "These two Bolshevik lovers were waiting for them with open arms…. And these foul-smelling excrements openly attacked Hungary."

The emigration, which Bayer calls a "red cesspool," remained in Austria and "began to blacken the name of Hungary." Bayer quotes Elemér Mályusz (1898-1989), the medieval historian with right-wing sympathies, that in Hungary these people didn't have a chance because the inhabitants of Horthy's Hungary were solidly behind the new regime. Thus they tried to overthrow the legitimate Hungarian government with foreign help. The communists, the liberals, the Bolsheviks, and ordinary criminals united just like now in an attempt to ruin Hungary. The greatest traitors were Jenő Landler, Zsigmond Kunfi, Andor Gábor, Ferenc Göndör, Vilmos Böhm, and Zoltán Rónai. All Jews naturally. Their organs were Népszava; Rothe Fahne, the Austrian communists' paper; and Bécsi Magyar Újság, the Hungarian emigré paper in Vienna. "It was in these publications that they lied about the horrors of the 'White Terror'."

"Has anything changed since? No, it hasn't. Western public opinion can see Hungarian events only through the distorting mirror of the emigration." Bayer's advice is to read all the foreign press in this light. "These people didn't change a bit. We will have to be very strong and very patient."

I'm happy to announce that István Mayer, a physicist, turned to the new National Media Authority and asked them to investigate Zsolt Bayer's article. In his letter that is available on the Internet he claims that it is the Authority's duty to investigate because this article is an incitement against Jews. He added that it is most likely also the Authority's duty to report the case to the prosecutor's office. We will see what happens.




  1. I just want to make one thing clear, in every group (social, ethnic, religious) there will be good people and bad people (I know it is overly simplified), but I reject collective guilt or collective responsibility. (Hitler’s Willing Executioners, Pack of Thieves, etc.) It could be Germans, Jew, Hungarian, Muslim, everyone is responsible for their own actions when basic tools (education) is fairly provided.
    I had the good fortune to watch again Lawrence of Arabia (on 70 mm transfer), and the whole “concept” is not lost. It is not about the war and request for independence of the Arab “tribes”. It is about universal quest for identity home and morals. It is about how moral and ethics can change and can be formed.
    I think Hungary is no different. The tone the government set becomes the norm, and if there is no individual responsibility required, then everyone will be grouped according to race, religion, and political believes. THis is why is important to hold not everyone, but culprits responsible for their hate speech or their actions.

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  2. “If the bankers continue to eat the British Isles alive – as there is every indication that they will – you may discover that levels of anti-semitism may start to change in that part of the world.)”
    I read your posts with interest, Bálint, but I read your final para with sorrow. This is just the sort of unconsious anti-Semetism that is so typical in Hungary – the assumption that banks=Jews.
    Historically, you are right, of course, as this one of the few areas of commerce permitted to Jews, and consequently many of the great banks have a Jewish past – or even present. And you are right, the banks have shafted the UK (with quite a bit of help from the people), and they are universally hated for what they did (and do – they are about to pay out huge bonuses yet again).
    But I’ve not heard or read one person over hear draw the comparison that you make so unthinkingly. To us banks are just greedy, uncontrollable institutions, to you (and I suspect many other, maybe most, Hungarians, banks are part of the hidden Jewish influence on the world, and especially Hungary.

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  3. Paul wrote: “But I’ve not heard or read one person over hear draw the comparison that you make so unthinkingly. To us banks are just greedy, uncontrollable institutions, to you (and I suspect many other, maybe most, Hungarians, banks are part of the hidden Jewish influence on the world, and especially Hungary.”
    100% correct!
    Unthinkingly, people will also say inane things like, “Well, you know what Jews (or Roma, women, Romanians, Chinese, blacks, etc. etc.) are like.
    Several years ago I was going to Turkey and I chatted with a distant cousin in Hungary over the phone and she, in a most helpful way – or so she though, told me to be careful of the “brown people” there. And she’s never been there, for gawds sake, but she knew all about them. Sad. Very sad.

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  4. Paul, you misread Balint.
    He did not suggest that Jews would RIGHTLY be blamed if “banks continue to eat the British isles”. He simply suggested that Jews would be blamed. There is nothing anti-semitic in such a statement. His statement is morally equivalent to saying “I think anti-semitism will increase in Ireland if the economy continues to nose-dive.” I have no idea if anti-semitism is (negatively) correlated to economic well being but I would be surprised if it is.

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  5. It does not matter who fired the first salvo; Bayer’s articles are uncalled for, disgusting and damaging.
    I have read that Eorsi is suing Bayer for a quote which was not written or said by this Eorsi. I hope he wins.
    It is one thing to write such article; it is another to publish it. Magyar Hirlap bears the responsibility for printing this crap.
    Long, convoluted discussion about Zionism or anti-Semitism does not lead anywhere.

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  6. Ba’lint: “Gyurcsany, a man who – in a country where old people are going hungry – amassed an immense personal fortune out of the purchase of public property at fire sale prices, and who shows tone deaf contempt for symbols like the crown, symbols that matter to people who have little else.”
    I cannot understand the problem with people going hungry and somebody amassing a fortune out of the purchase of public property at fire sale prices. What’s the problem? Did Gyurcsany do something illegal? Did he do something immoral? If some people are going hungry, everyone has to go hungry? Or what?
    As far as his contempt for the tone deaf contempt for the crown is concerned, is that a crime? Isf his contempt for the crown is such a revolting issue, how come he was elected into office?

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  7. Kormos: “Magyar Hirlap bears the responsibility for printing this crap.”
    I agree. I don’t know what editors do in Hungary. Unless of course, the editor-in-chief agrees with Bayer.

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  8. @Balint, @Paul:
    I think I pretty much understand the doubts on whether the “West” would be so “civilised” to manage any future crisis without resorting to resentment against “foreigners”, “immigrants”, “bankers (of whatever origin)” and the like. Most probably not Jews, that is too obviously negatively connoted (very rightly so), but other groups could be attacked more easily (you, Paul, reminded us that we “East Europeans” are considered to be trouble-makers of sorts) and it would depend very much on the behaviour of people with strong influence on public opinion which assaults would or would not be acceptable.
    But that is of course not meant to downplay the state of anti-semitic or anti-Roma sentiments in the east European countries. When I suggested that for me it makes sense to have some of these entirely unfounded accusations prohibited by a court, I meant that thereby the society clarifies which attacks on personal dignity it considers unbearable. It could make the system of values of a “democracy” clearer to people that may still have doubts. The more liberal part of the society would not simply quit the public space but offer an alternative interpretation of reality and also complicate the decision for those who like to side with the more powerful. But I agree with Balint that in Hungary that is difficult because the alternative is MSzP…

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  9. Paul – how little (you can be proud and relieved) you instinctively understand anti-semitism.
    Anti-semitism is a faith. As such it it exists in a blissful Platonic realm untroubled by a need for facts or evidence or indeed by even an approximation of critical thinking. (Probably a Jewish invention anyway.)
    Jews are by definition greedy blood-sucking parasites who care for nothing but themselves. Is it not clear to you that bankers (greeedy blood-sucking parasites who care for nothing but themselves) must – of necessity – be Jewish? Oh yes – and I forgot one very important thing – Jews are always preternaturally clever. And what normal person really understands credit default swaps? Or for that matter money itself? That clinches it. Bankers and Jews are one and the same.
    Was it George Bernard Shaw who call anti-semitism the socialism of fools?
    The same intellectual rigor evinced in the widely spread belief in Gyurcsany’s “Jewishness” He’s actually not Jewisht? And there’s not a shred of evidence that he’s a “crypto-Jew?” (For those of you who are unfamiliar with that term that’s a Jew who has been passing – all the better to further his dark ends – as a gentile, sometimes for several generations.) Well, as always, lack of evidence should be no impediment to coming to a conclusion. We know Gyurcsany is Jewish because he corresponds so perfectly to our idea of a Jew. (Clever? Check. Rich? Check. Selfish? Check. Fantasizes about melting down the Holy Crown and adding it to his hoard? Well, isn’t it obvious?) That’s all you need to know.
    Ironically enough since we’re talking about stereotyping, you appear to have concluded from my name that I’m a “real” Hungarian.” and since (you seem to conclude) all “real” Hungarians are anti-Semites this has mislead you into thinking that in mentioning the identification of bankers and Jews I was actually asserting that identification. I hope i’ve made iit clear at this point that I wasn’t.
    In any case, I’m actually no more Hungarian than you are. When I first started posting here I somewhat thoughtlessly signed in as Balint – the magyar equivalent of my name and the one I use to introduce myself in the Hungarian village where I live. I may have also been inclined to sign in as Balint by the existence of several regular posters here who sport improbably British-sounding names to go with their rather un-British attitudes. I thought the reverse might be fun. I regret now that I didn’t call myself something like Guy Who Needs to Stop Posting and Go To Sleep.

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  10. Kirsten and Someone – I don’t agree but I certainly understand your point. There’s a good faith argument to be made that prosecution has a theoretical place in defining social norms.
    But at this point in the game there’s a very practical problem with that approach – economic misery and general insecurity have undermined faith in public institutions to the extent that were the Fidesz government to prosecute some selected anti-semitic droolers people would shake there heads and say that “even” our Orban has to throw the Jewish Moloch some sacrificial lambs, so mighty have the Jews become. And perhaps the next chance they have they’ll vote a little further to the right – just to keep Orban honest. If you think this government is scary can you imagine what a Fidesz – Jobbik coalition would look like?
    Eva – please – for the love of God – ask your friend Gyurcsany to retire from politics before it’s too late for all of us.

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  11. @Balint: An improvement in the economic situation or general state of the Hungarian society is impossible without a (so to speak) “more practical” intepretation of the current state of affairs or the Hungarian nation. The rather disappointing development of Hungary in the past 10 years might be considered a cause of the obsession with Jewish conspiracy, but for me it could very much also be the other way round. It is very difficult to imagine a “thriving” society in permanent search for “crypto-Jews”. If people have no other theory of development or the origin of wealth, it may not be surprising that the living standard does not improve. It is a vicious circle…

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