The last straw: Either true depiction of the Hungarian Holocaust or Jewish boycott

The fallout from Sándor Szakály’s outrageous comments on the Kamenets-Podolskii mass murder of deportees delivered to German-occupied Ukraine is intensifying in Hungary. Instead of calling it what it was, the first atrocity in the Hungarian Holocaust, Szakály called it “a police action against aliens.” It seems that this was the last straw for Mazsihisz, the organization that represents non-Orthodox Jewish religious communities.

An exceptionally strongly worded statement appeared on Mazsihisz’s website this morning. Here is a translation of this very important document. We must keep in mind that in the past Mazsihisz was relatively inactive and avoided serious confrontations with the Hungarian government. The fact that such a statement was released by Mazsihisz shows how strained relations between the Orbán government and the Jewish communities have become in the last four years.

* * *

MAZSIHISZ DEMANDS THE RESIGNATION OF SÁNDOR SZAKÁLY

The leadership of Mazsihisz is aghast and finds incomprehensible the relativization of the Holocaust by the “Veritas” Institute established by the Hungarian government. The director of the “Veritas” Institute, Sándor Szakály, called the deportation of Kamenets-Podolskii, the first mass murder of the Hungarian Holocaust, “a police action against aliens.” After the failure of his past efforts at falsifying history, we expect him to resign from his position.

The leadership of Mazsihisz calls on all politicians to refrain from using the 70th anniversary of the Hungarian Holocaust as an element in the electoral campaign and asks all concerned to refrain from rewriting our past. If the government of Hungary is serious about facing the true history of the Holocaust,  it should immediately put an end to the disrespectful behavior that is ruinous for the credibility of the memorial year of 2014.

Because of the lack of information about the ideology of the new Holocaust Center at Józsefváros, because of what transpired at the Horthy Conference at the House of Terror, because of the falsification of history in the series “Lifesaving Stories” on Magyar Rádió, because of the erection of the [German occupation] memorial on Szabadság tér, and because of the statements of the director of the “Veritas” Institute, Mazsihisz is seriously contemplating refraining from participation in the events of the Holocaust Year. Moreover, we will make use of the grant we received from the Civil Grant Fund only if there is a change in the direction of the whole project.

We call everybody’s attention to the words of Sándor Márai: “We cannot excuse, we cannot explain what happened, but we can admit it and can tell it.  This will be the duty of this generation.”

* * *

András Heisler, president of Mazsihisz

András Heisler, president of Mazsihisz

Since then Szakály was invited by Antónia Mészáros of ATV for a chat on her program. He started out on a high horse and tried to prove the correctness of his interpretation by reading passages from Randolph L. Braham’s work on the Hungarian Holocaust. Naturally, since the appearance of that monumental work several books and articles have appeared on the subject. Szakály is either unfamiliar with this research or purposely ignored it. By the end of the conversation, however, he was less sure of his views and admitted that perhaps he was wrong. But that is not a political issue, he claimed, but differences of opinion within the profession. Initially he categorically announced that he has no intention of resigning, but by the end he was quite contrite. Obviously he realized the precariousness of his situation.

Mazsihisz’s quasi ultimatum pushes Viktor Orbán into a corner. He either has to sack Szakály, force Mária Schmidt to allow a dialogue with the Jewish community concerning the new Holocaust Center, and give up the idea of erecting a monument to the German occupation which is an important part of the myth he wants to create about the innocence of Hungarians in the Holocaust, or he loses the support of the Hungarian and international Jewry which he seems to find very important. Perhaps he thinks that key members of the American Jewish community will rush to his aid and convince the American government that the current Hungarian government is democratic and especially sensitive when it comes to anti-Semitism. I doubt, however, that such an intervention on Viktor Orbán’s behalf, even if it materialized, could counterbalance, for example, Orbán’s “strategic alliance” with Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

We will see what will happen. One thing is sure: the leadership of Mazsihisz is not exaggerating. A wholesale falsification of history has been under way for some time. On all fronts and not just the Holocaust. Lately, for instance, MTV launched a series on the late 1980s and the regime change. The job was given to someone who is not qualified, and the first two segments were apparently crawling with factual errors. And, of course, with revisionist history. On Duna TV there is another questionable historical series called “Heritage.” Put it this way, the number of programs dealing with history is far too high and therefore highly suspicious. One wishes that politicians would leave history alone. We would all be much better off.

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petofi
Guest

Shed a tear for Duna TV: they used to have the loveliest interludes with winter scenes and gorgeous music.

Stupidity, delusions, and lying eventually bring only one harvest–sadness.

tappanch
Guest

Dear Eva,

As you can see from the planned memorial with Reich eagle, Orban will not back down.

Putin or Obama could care less about anti-Semitism in general, and Fidesz’s in particular.

petofi
Guest

By the way, United States should see the Paks II treaty as Russia’s first steps to invasion of Europe.

Together with the terrorists threat in Sochi, the US and the EU should give a travel warning against travel to Russia…as a first step; to be followed, after following closely the next developments, by other steps specifically on Russian ‘aggression’ into an EU country.

tappanch
Guest

@petofi

Iran is building its empire through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Does the Obama administration care?

THanks to fracking, the US does not need the Middle East oil for a while, so their concept is the old “splendid isolation”.

Minusio
Guest

As all Jewish Hungarians I happen to know will not vote for Orbán – and he probably knows it – Orbán will just shrug his shoulders. So far he has not sent anyone packing for incompetence – only for rivalry or lack of loyalty.

I can’t see American Jewry rushing to Orbán’s rescue either. Why should they? Obama’s Israel policy is probably unsettling enough, and as they are well informed, they will know that Orbán’s status as persona non grata in Washington hasn’t changed since the days of Dubbya.

Furthermore, for the Hungarian population at large Putin is far away and the promise of cheaper electricity is luring. They either don’t understand the potential ramifications or they don’t care.

What remains is the remarkable fact that MAZSIHISZ has finally piped up. And I hope they will stick to their guns!

Jano
Guest

The sad fact is that Szakály actually seemed to be a reasonable guy on ATV, and was thoroughly surprised at some of the fact cited at him. I think he honestly believed that there was some misunderstanding about what really happened. I find it an honorable thing to be able to revise your opinion in face of new facts you learn but in this case not knowing those facts to begin with implies such blatant ignorance and incompetence that he should never have gotten a degree in history let alone a complete institute under himself. Once again WTF Hungary?

(By the way he reminded me of that family association guy with Olga Kálmán, who totally fell apart admitting that their proposal was idiotic and worthless)

MerkTopher
Guest
Orban and his people have been systematically pushing back, see the incomplete list of Mazsihisz, on what they consider as Jewish ideology. These Fideszniks think that whatever we think about history now has been written by ‘Jews’ (ie. Jewish Hungarian historians according to these Fidesz loyal ‘intellectuals’), so they think it is high time to correct the situation. Szakaly, Schmidt and their friends have been strategically and for many years marching forward to take over the symbolic and cultural discourse re the 20th century. In addition, many of these historical discourses have clear current political overtones and purposes. These discourses thus reinforce each other, so the right-wing gets more for their buck. For instance there are at least 100 if not more Trianon statues all over Hungary, which both serve to emphasize the most important and defining historical moment for the right-wing and serve current right-wing ideologies. Obviously, the left, yet again, could not counter the symbolic power of these historical discourses with anything. Just as on other fields, the left has been watching events take place without doing anything. The left had not idea what to do, but I also contend, it did not even realize what has been… Read more »
petofi
Guest

tappanch :
@petofi
Iran is building its empire through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Does the Obama administration care?
THanks to fracking, the US does not need the Middle East oil for a while, so their concept is the old “splendid isolation”.

Obama is a totally lost cause as far as foreign affairs is concerned (and his domestic politics
don’t shine, either)
Proofs:
a) Appointing Hillary
b) Allowing Hillary’s asinine “reset” with the Russians
c) Bending to Russian threats re missile deployment in Europe…etc.etc.

Luckily, the Democrats don’t have a reasonable candidate for the next Presidential elections,
and the Republican soldier may yet succeed. I don’t think Putin will go eye-ball to eye-ball with him-

Member

On the positive side: Better late than never. (for the MAZSHISZ)
On the negative side: The majority of the Hungarian people are slow in rationalizing what is happening around them, don’t care much about the correctness of history and scared of their Government. A fast a furious attack on them by even a vile and semi-educated dictator and his sordid scum of school friends, chums and relatives which is the Hungarian Cesspool of Government today robbed the country of its name (Köztársaság) Constitution and the people of their basic rights, not to mention their private retirement savings. George Santayana Spanish born American philosopher, poet and writer once said; “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
In my opinion, Hungary did not progress nearly as fast as other European, Asian and African countries in the past 150 years, because of repeating their huge mistakes. The people did not close the cultural and moral gap between Western Europe and themselves, and in times like this under a Mafia “Government” they become more unprincipled, dishonest, dishonorable, even stupid. Hungary is like a seesaw, the quality of the society goes up and down, but not ahead.

gdfxx
Guest

gybognarjr :
In my opinion, Hungary did not progress nearly as fast as other European, Asian and African countries in the past 150 years, because of repeating their huge mistakes. The people did not close the cultural and moral gap between Western Europe and themselves, and in times like this under a Mafia “Government” they become more unprincipled, dishonest, dishonorable, even stupid. Hungary is like a seesaw, the quality of the society goes up and down, but not ahead.

I wonder what else can one expect from a culture, where even having fun is done while crying, and the tears are not tears of joy (sirva vigad a magyar)?

Mr. Paul
Guest
“or he loses the support of the Hungarian and international Jewry which he seems to find very important. ” Éva, do you think that Orban ever had their support to begin with? I mean sure he would love to have it, but did he ever have it? I think its absurd to think that he had any kind of support, that he can now lose. I predict that MAZSIHISZ sealed the issue, Szakály will remain in his position with 100% certainty. If we were not right before an election I would say Mazsihisz’s word carries a lot of weight and has 50% chance of removing Szakály. If the date were 2015 january then yes. But not right before an election. The electorate does not care about obscure historical facts, 0.1% of the population even knows what Kamanec Podolsk is, or even less. How they would interpret this is is a simple sign of weakness: there is a demand, the government accepts the demand, therefore the government is weak. It is not governing, but simply following demands. If it were not an election campaign then the voters wouldn’t matter as much and effectively Mazsihisz or other organizations could achieve things by… Read more »
tappanch
Guest

Orban in 1989:

“I have always had schizophrenic inclination” at 1:50

http://www.hir24.hu/belfold/2014/01/20/orban-apam-egy-eroszakos-ember/

tappanch
Guest

“I was proud to have been admitted to KISZ” [Young Communist Union] – Orban 1989

tappanch
Guest

“Lajos Simicska is the smartest among us” – Orban 1989

Ovidiu
Guest

“The deportation of ethnic Germans from Hungary 68 years ago was an irreparable loss for the entire nation, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said at a commemoration on Sunday.
Orban rejected punishment based on the notion of collective crime, which in this case was speaking the same language as the members of the sinful regime.He said Hungary needs to adopt a “culture of remembering” in connection with all evil and spiteful deeds.”

http://www.politics.hu/20140120/deportation-of-germans-in-1946-irreparable-loss-for-nation-says-orban/

tappanch
Guest

@Ovidiu

They were both collective punishments.
The Jews were punished for what?

But the extermination of 70% of the Jews of Hungary is NOT the same as the expulsion of 39% of the ethnic Germans into Germany (3/4 of them settled in the American zone, 1/4 in the Soviet Zone)

The expelled Germans continued to live, had children and grandchildren

tappanch
Guest

The Orban government banned political ads along roads!

The decree was made 3 days ago, one day before Ader announced the elections.

http://444.hu/2014/01/20/betiltottak-az-autopalyak-melletti-partplakatokat/

Ovidiu
Guest

@tappanch–

“The expelled Germans continued to live, had children and grandchildren”

“After the war a total of at least 12 million German were expelled from east-central Europe…estimate of deaths due to the flight and expulsions has stood at 2.2 million for several decades, recent analysis has led some historians to the conclusion that the actual number was much lower – in the range of 500,000 to 600,000… The German government still maintains that the figure of 2.0- 2.5 million expulsion deaths is correct”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_and_expulsion_of_Germans_%281944%E2%80%9350%29#Casualties

It was an opportunity for ‘ethnic cleansing’ for those countries which had significant German minorities.The same goes the expulsion of the Hungarians from Slovakia.

tappanch
Guest

@Ovidiu

There were murders of ethnic Germans in Poland and Bohemia, wikipedia is not evidence of their numbers.

THere were none in Hungary.

Greed was the common factor in both the 1944 and 1945 deportations. To steal the assets of the deportees.

Minusio
Guest

@tappanch

“Greed was the common factor in both the 1944 and 1945 deportations. To steal the assets of the deportees.”

I know this is Götz Aly’s theory (he is a German historian). And in Berlin the government wanted ALL people out of certain streets (most of these people happened to be Jews) because they wanted to built gigantic boulevards for the new capital “Germania”. But generally speaking behind the “measures” against the Jews taken by Horthy and Hitler was the ideological will to marginalise them or to get rid of them altogether. The plundering of their belongings – by their neighbours, mostly – was a welcome side-effect. But as far as I know Eichmann was not accused of having enriched himself.

Ovidiu
Guest

@tappach–“Greed was the common factor in both the 1944 and 1945 deportations”

Sure, greed is always amongst the factors.However, the main factor (of those deportations and others, and of WW1 and WW2) was the growing inter-ethnic strife in Est-Europe during the 19th century as the idea of Nationalism and of “nation-state” became the main political ideology in Europe

Orban is hypocritical, self-serving, with this would be “great loss”.It just serves him well to deflect the issue of the deportation of the Jews in 1941.
If you want a realistic picture of the situation of the German minority in interwar Hungary :

http://epa.oszk.hu/00000/00010/00010/pdf/HSR_1984_1_009-022.pdf

tappanch
Guest

Here is another thought.

Orban did not commemorate the liberation of the Pest ghetto at all on January 18.

But he gave a speech, on location, about the expulsion of Germans on January 19.

He is preparing the ground for a coalition with Jobbik.

petofi
Guest

tappanch :
Here is another thought.
Orban did not commemorate the liberation of the Pest ghetto at all on January 18.
But he gave a speech, on location, about the expulsion of Germans on January 19.
He is preparing the ground for a coalition with Jobbik.

Precisely. One must carefully sift Orban’s actions to determine, which (if any) of his words are true.

Also, the sneaky Felcsutian loves to prepare the background ‘necessity’ for his desired action:
thus, certain of his actions have prepared his party for a minority (as opposed to a ‘majority’) win so that he will be ‘forced’ to make a coalition with Jobbik. Of course, all along, he wanted Jobbik in the government.

I must say, I can’t think of another instance (or country, on the planet) where Parliamentary
System has been so abused as it has been in Hungary. And the so-called right-wing intelligentsia march proudly beside this development–truly disgusting.

Istvan
Guest
There are multiple themes evolving in this discussion. One is the role of the US in relationship to the Orban government as it relates to Hungarian/Russian deals for the reactor. I have been watching trading of Fidelity emerging market debt funds which holds about 10% of Hungary’s bonds. There is no indication that the reactor deal is seen as an economic disaster, the fund is totally stable. If Hungary produces more energy than it needs the price will drop which is all good for companies contemplating production in Hungary. The American Jewish community, especially what is left of Hungarian Jews, is politically more concerned about the outright rise of fascist groups like the Jobbik than it is over Orban. (I know of no Jewish American cultural or religious community that has a Hungarian language program for its youth so the specific Hungarian nature of the Hungarian Jewish community is fading.) Orban’s authoritarian policies are in many ways more moderate than those in Israel opposing any Palestinian state, overwhelmingly the American Jewish community supports the idea that Israel is an ethnically specific state of the Jewish people and not a multi-ethnic society, such a perspective is not incomparable with the racial/nationalist… Read more »
petofi
Guest
Istvan : There are multiple themes evolving in this discussion. One is the role of the US in relationship to the Orban government as it relates to Hungarian/Russian deals for the reactor. I have been watching trading of Fidelity emerging market debt funds which holds about 10% of Hungary’s bonds. There is no indication that the reactor deal is seen as an economic disaster, the fund is totally stable. If Hungary produces more energy than it needs the price will drop which is all good for companies contemplating production in Hungary. The American Jewish community, especially what is left of Hungarian Jews, is politically more concerned about the outright rise of fascist groups like the Jobbik than it is over Orban. (I know of no Jewish American cultural or religious community that has a Hungarian language program for its youth so the specific Hungarian nature of the Hungarian Jewish community is fading.) Orban’s authoritarian policies are in many ways more moderate than those in Israel opposing any Palestinian state, overwhelmingly the American Jewish community supports the idea that Israel is an ethnically specific state of the Jewish people and not a multi-ethnic society, such a perspective is not incomparable with… Read more »
robot chicken
Guest

tappanch: and boy was he right. No one will ever catch Simicska. He will only get more powerful.

And indeed Orban is, as we speak, preparing plans to get along with Jobbik (btw huge supporters of Paks II and building of Bős-Nagymaros, Hungarian-Russian relations will be better than anytime since Rákosi) should circumstances dictate it.

Fasten your seat belts, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. Mark my words.

Mr. Paul
Guest

“Only the extreme right-wing Hasids pretend that the country is only for jews.”

That’s clearly not true. Israel was founded as the “jewish state”, and not as a homeland for palestinians arabs or others. If you do a google search for “jewish state” you find about 100 times more results than “extreme right-wing Hasids” could produce.

You are very misinformed if you think this is not an important question within Israel. The whole “right of return” issue centers around this and why it can never be allowed.

Minusio
Guest

@Ovidiu

Vae victis! Don’t forget: The Germans had started the war, and many a country joined them. But only the Germans seem to remember. At least those expelled or displaced had a country to go to – whatever the miserable circumstances.

And yes, I find the Benes decrees despicable.

BTW, over the years the number of refugees seems to grow everywhere – either because nobody dies and they multiply (Palestinians) or because of the Laws of Mendel (Sudeten Germans).

Minusio
Guest

@tappanch

“He is preparing the ground for a coalition with Jobbik.”

Jobbik developed out of the civic circles which Orbán had founded everywhere after he lost the elections in 2002. But will he be able to form a coalition with them?

Perhaps nowadays nothing is unthinkable…

Istvan
Guest

In the constitution of the state of Israel it is called a Jewish state,even though it grants citizenship to non-Jews. The majority of the American Jewish Community supports the basic idea of the Jewish character of the State and opposes a Palestinian state that would include a significant part of the west bank. The policies of the current right wing government I Israel and Orban are not too dissimilar, both support the promotion of religion I the context of state policies.

Ferenc J.
Guest

http://www.kitorestura.hu/ supported by budapest kupa

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