Fidesz and the Horthy regime: Statue for the anti-Semite Bálint Hóman?

On March 6, 2015, the Budapest municipal court rehabilitated Bálint Hóman, who had been sentenced to life imprisonment by the post-war People’s Court in 1946. The charge was that he, as a member of the Bárdossy government, voted for Hungary’s entry into the war on the side of Germany against the Soviet Union. Hóman died five years later in prison.

It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that the verdict would be reversed. First of all, Miklós Horthy had already decided on military engagement before the cabinet meeting and, second, a vote in favor of war is not a war crime, just (perhaps) a bad decision. So the court’s decision by itself was not controversial. If the story had stopped there, we wouldn’t be having a debate on the role and personality of Bálint Hóman more than five months after the verdict was announced.

Hóman (1885-1951) is best known as the co-author of a well-known, well-respected eight-volume history of Hungary published between 1938 and 1941. Hóman covered the Middle Ages. Gyula Szekfű, another great of Hungarian historiography, took over with the Hungarian Renaissance and continued all the way to the First World War.

Here I cannot give even a short description of Hóman’s political career. After all, he served as minister of education in all five Hungarian governments between 1931 and 1942. Moreover, even after he decided to leave the Kállay government, he remained a member of parliament until the bitter end. He was throughout his career a zealous supporter of a pro-German foreign policy and a steadfast and uncompromising anti-Semite who had a hand in the preparation of the so-called Jewish laws.

So, why are we still discussing the Hóman case? For two reasons. First, right after the verdict the man who was the moving force behind the retrial, a distant relative of Hóman and a former Fidesz member of parliament, announced that his next move will be to fight for the restoration of Bálint Hóman’s membership in the academy, which was taken away from him even before the sentence of the People’s Court was announced. Second, the city council of Székesfehérvár decided sometime in June that the city will erect a statue of Hóman in front of one of the local high schools. The reason for their decision was that Hóman was a member of parliament representing Székesfehérvár. The ministry of justice has already offered 15 million toward the cost, and the city plans to kick in another two million.  The city council of Székesfehérvár has a large Fidesz majority. Out of the 20-member body there are only two MSZP, one DK, one Jobbik, and three independent members. The Jobbik member voted with Fidesz on the statue issue. The council maintains that its decision to pay homage to Hóman is based on his special care for the city which elected him to represent it.

Proposed statue of Bálint Hóman Another hideous statue for a Horthy era poliician

Proposed statue of Bálint Hóman
Another hideous statue for a Horthy era politician

Although many articles have appeared debating whether Hóman’s membership in the academy should be restored and whether he should have a statue in Székesfehérvár or anywhere else, here I will talk about two historians’ reactions: Gábor Ujváry, who is an enthusiastic defender of Hóman, and Mária M. Kovács, who thinks that Hóman doesn’t deserve either to be included on the list of academy members or to have a statue anywhere in Hungary.

Ujváry is an associate of the “Institute of Truth” (Veritas Institute), a creation of the Fidesz government. Therefore it is not at all surprising, given the Orbán government’s predilection for defending the Horthy regime, that in his eyes Hóman is an innocent victim. For good measure, Ujváry wrote two articles, one in Magyar Nemzet and another a few days later in Napi Gazdaság. Since he mentioned Mária M. Kovács by name, she was given the opportunity to answer him in today’s Magyar Nemzet.

So, let’s see what Ujváry’s points are in defense of Hóman. First, he argues that Hóman shouldn’t be judged by today’s standards. Moreover, his critics are unfamiliar with the facts. For example, Hóman had nothing to do with the 1938 first Jewish law. People accuse him of pro-Nazi sentiments when, in fact, he was a critic of national socialism. Ujváry admits that in foreign policy matters Hóman was pro-German, but this was because he believed that only through cooperation with Germany could Hungary safeguard her independence. He may have been an anti-Semite but in 1944, after the German occupation, he saved some of his Jewish friends.

As far as Hóman’s anti-Semitism is concerned, his was not anti-Semitism in the modern sense. Moreover, his anti-Semitism wasn’t a “defining” or “determining” feature of his activities. In any case, he wasn’t a hard-core anti-Semite. On the contrary, “his anti-Semitism never exceeded the limits of ‘moderate anti-Semitism.'” Moreover, he knew nothing about the horrors of Auschwitz, and not in his wildest dreams could he have imagined what would happen to the Hungarian Jewry in 1944-45.

Until 1938 Hóman kept away from party politics and concentrated only on improving the country’s educational facilities. That year, however, he came to the conclusion that Hungary, because of its geopolitical position, could choose only between two bad alternatives, and he viewed Germany as a better choice than the Soviet Union.

Ujváry supports the erection of a statue for Hóman in Székesfehérvár as a special case because of Hóman’s close relations with the city.

Mária M. Kovács concentrates on the historical facts and supports them with facsimiles of original documents. According to these documents, Hóman had an important role to play in the preparation of both Jewish laws. Interestingly enough, Ujváry a few years ago admitted that “unfortunately” Hóman had a hand in the creation of both laws, but by now, it seems, he has changed his mind.

On February 1, 1938, Hóman passed on to Prime Minister Kálmán Darányi his plans for a new law restricting the rights of the Hungarian Jews. A month later Darányi announced that a Jewish law was in the works. The next day Hóman gave some of its details in a speech. The Jews, he said, have a “disproportionate influence and share” in the spheres of the economy, industry, commerce, banking, in cultural life and the media. “We have the legal means to remedy this situation.”

After the introduction of the first Jewish law Hóman became a member of the so-called “Jewish Committee,” whose job it was to draft a second Jewish law. But by 1940 he found some of the provisions of this second law inadequate. During a parliamentary debate he expressed his agreement with an Arrow Cross member of parliament that the 6% Jewish quota in universities and high schools was not stringent enough; Jews should be completely barred from these educational institutions.

In a memo to Prime Minister Pál Teleki, Hóman stated that all Jews as well as people associated with Jews are enemies of the Hungarian government, which means that no Jew should be tolerated in the civil service, in the judiciary, or in the schools, and they should be deprived of their leading role in economic life. “The present law is bad and therefore we must create another law that is based on race.” In 1941 he came up with another anti-Jewish proposal. This time he suggested depriving the Jewish religious community of its equal status with the other accepted religions like Catholicism, Hungarian Reformed, etc. It took a while, but by the spring of 1942 Hóman’s proposal became law. Hóman resigned in July 1942, but not before he had made sure that Jews were not allowed to join sports clubs.

After 1942 he was no longer a member of the cabinet, but he retained his seat in parliament. On February 29, 1944, he sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Miklós Kállay in which he demanded the deportation of the Jews because the Soviet troops were getting closer to the borders of Hungary. Keep in mind that this was almost a month before the arrival of the German troops on March 19. After the occupation, he joined a parliamentary group created to prevent Hungary’s possible break with the Germans, a move that Horthy and some of the men around him were contemplating.

According to Mária M. Kovács, “statues are customarily erected for people who can count on the respect of posterity. Bálint Hóman is not one of them.”

Ujváry’s arguments are not convincing, and they are unsupported by documentary evidence. Kovács sticks to the facts. A biography of Hóman might be a worthwhile undertaking (though preferably not by anyone in the Institute of Truth), but before that the Hungarian government should abort the Székesfehérvár city council’s ill-conceived idea of erecting a statue of Bálint Hóman. It could effectively do that by rescinding the ministry of justice’s offer of 15 million forints for the statue. Mazsihisz, the umbrella organization of several Jewish groups, greatly objects to the project, and now that Mazsihisz’s relations with the government have been on the mend, I don’t think it is wise to start another fight over memorializing Bálint Hóman.

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Wondercat
Guest

Díszmagyar is for the young, the athletic. It never looks good on Schreibtischtäter. Such an unfortunate statue!

Member

I’ve read it somewhere that during his trial at the People’s Tribunal (nepbirosag) Homan admitted to keeping a few nice items from the collected Jewish belongings, but only for safekeeping …

Member

Fidesz cannot stay away from whitewashing because they know the days will come when they want someone to stand up for them on the same way. Precedents set.

Anna
Guest

Eva, you put this nicely: “Mazsihisz’s relations with the government have been on the mend”
The Balint Homan statue is now Mazsihisz’ pet project, while they are fully collaborating with the racist government and shamefully taking part in the “migrants might be terrorists”campaign. How about the German Occupation Memorial and the Albert Wass statues etc…

Karl Pfeifer
Guest

Anna, is Mazsihisz worse than the Catholic church or the Reformed Church?

Anna
Guest

Not worse, but I would expect more solidarity from a Jewish organization. Zoltan Radnoti rabbi’s outrages thoughts were posted by Andras Heisler on facebook about muslim terrorists, Paris and Coppenhagen…Also quite shocking that neither Rabbi Radnoti (Mazsihisz’ webrabbi, or Zolirabbi) nor Andras Heisler did not post or comment on Roma Holocaust Day (August 2) Zolirabbi thinks that the koser divat blog (kosher fashion blog) is more important.

Guest

@Anna
August 17, 2015 at 11:31 am

Radnóti’s comments might have been somewhat rambling and incoherent, but I find it hard to see that they were outrageous in any sense whatsoever.

You are of course perfectly entitled to your opinion. But so am I.

I also fail to understand your problem with postings on the MAZSIHISZ facebook site about Moslem terrorism in Paris and Copenhagen.

Did those terrorist acts actually happen, or were they mere figments of the imagination of Heisler or Radnóti? Did they not severely impact Jews and Jewish interests in those places, or are these stories just vacuous media beat-ups, and nothing more? And is it OK for the issue of Moslem terrorism to be debated and dissected all over the international and national media, but not OK for the MAZSIHISZ facebook to comment on it?

I furthermore also fail to understand your outrage at MAZSIHISZ failing to post some appropriate comment re Roma Holocaust Day. An inadvertent omission or unfortunate oversight indeed, but cause for frothing-at-the-mouth outrage?

Gimme a break.

Karl Pfeifer
Guest

Well you have a double standard, one for Mazsihisz and another for the other denominations.

Anna
Guest

Being Jewish and being someone who cares about human rights, I think I have the right to expect that the leaders of the Jewish community won’t collaborate with this government. And not to post about Arab and Muslim immigrants as potential terrorists. Also I am outraged of Rabbi Radnoti, who is translating from an extremist Israeli website and suggesting that the baby at the territories was burnt by Arabs (not Jewish extremists) because the “nun” is written as it was painted by an Arab on the wall of the house. Deja vu Jobbik after Tatarszentgyorgy when they suggested that Roma killed Roma. (“a cigany uzsorasok”)

Karl Pfeifer
Guest

I understand now, you are a member of Mazsihisz.

Penny Oswalt
Guest

Karl? You have to define yourself personally with the church of your choice. Comparing churches is like choosing which yogurt to buy at the grocery store.
Anna?You sound confused on the churches,except not for the Rabbi that has offended you. Oh, by the way you left us pentecost church out of your list. I bet you have no clue, and Anna too, when it comes to Pentecostal Churches. I dare you to be ignorant.

Karl Pfeifer
Guest

I have a clue about pentecoastal churches, for I worked as free lance for Hetek, the weekly of Hit Gyülekezete.

Penny Oswalt
Guest

Not all pentecostals are the same!

Guest

@Anna
August 16, 2015 at 11:05 pm

My understanding is that contrary to what you assert, there has in fact been an energetic collection of money and goods in MAZSIHISZ to help the refugees/immigrants.

So I fail to understand your point about about “fully collaborating with the racist government and shamefully taking part in the “migrants might be terrorists”campaign”.

I also fail to understand your point about “the German Occupation Memorial and the Albert Wass statues etc…”, about which (and many other similar cases) the MAZSIHISZ has been constantly and consistently complaining over the past two or three years, albeit of course to no avail (see my earlier post below re the quixotic MAZSIHISZ campaigns against antisemitic manifestations in Hungary).

It would be interesting to know what exactly would you expect the MAZSIHISZ do in these and similar cases, especially given that as an institution it is almost totally dependent on government good will and handouts to be able to maintain the hospital, the rabbinical seminary, the schools and the range of charitable services it provides for Holocaust survivors and other needy elderly Jewish people in Hungary.

Anna
Guest

Dear Mike, there was one van, but show me which website or facebook page urged the Budapest Jewish community to come and donate. Look at Andras Heisler’s official facebook page. Nothing! Look at the Mazsihisz website, Nothing! At Passover when they wanted to show solidarity with Carpatho-Ukraine (fyi the government policy) then they posted about donating kosher macza…

Mazsihisz stopped mentioning the German Occupation Memorial, show me in the last months any press release or statement which included Szabadsag ter.
Andras Heisler is legitimizing the government by traveling with Mr. Latorcai and showing unity both in Washington and Jerusalem.

Not posting on Roma Holocaust Day is just one more sign, they are NOT showing any solidarity with the Roma community.

The argument about buildings, cemeteries, institutions and government funding won’t convince me. Look at the brave and honest Gabor Ivanyi.

Guest

@Anna
August 17, 2015 at 3:32 pm

Yes, I see where you are coming from. You may well be quite right.

Guest
It is quixotic and quite pointless on the part of MAZSIHISZ to struggle against antisemitic manifestations in Hungary. Given that the phenomenon of virulent, mindless antisemitism is all-pervasive right across Hungarian society, from grass roots in the Hungarian street to the academic halls of universities, the struggle waged by MAZSIHISZ against the full political, social and academic rehabilitation of the likes of Hóman, Wass, Tormay, Nyirő, Prohászka, etc., etc., and etc., is essentially a game of whack-a-mole in which MAZSIHISZ can only loose, every time. And let us also remember that MAZSIHISZ represents only a minuscule sliver of Hungarian Jewry (with Chabad/EMIH an even more minuscule one). Of the remnant Jewry in Hungary, or more correctly the remnants of people of Jewish descent in Hungary, the vast majority want nothing to do either with Jewishness or with religion, and least of all with the institutional representatives of one or another of the tiny Hungarian Jewish denominations. What they really want is to loose their Jewish baggage and somehow or other just melt away into Hungarian society. The full political, social and academic rehabilitation of the likes of Hóman, Wass, Tormay, Nyirő, Prohászka, etc., etc., and etc., is the least of… Read more »
Member

Here you go again Mike, getting yourself into trouble again. If what you say is true regarding people of Jewish ancestry losing their religion and denying their Jewish roots, it is because not all people can handle the hassle that comes along with that in times like these. It is evidence to the antisemitism in Hungary. Instead of combatting antisemitism, your suggestion is they leave, flea to another country. Why should they do that Mike? Why should anyone have to leave their homeland because some don’t like their religion? Just for effect, I will tell you to put your brown shirt away, lol.

Guest
@Liz Aucoin August 17, 2015 at 5:35 pm I don’t mind at all getting into trouble when I stick my head out above the parapet; if I find that I was wrong, I never mind or hesitate to say so and concede. In this case, however, there is nothing to concede. My personal view is that it is hopeless – quixotic and pointless – to struggle against the countless manifestations of grassroots, as well as academic and official manifestations of antisemitism in Hungary (notwithstanding the Fidesz government’s actual and proposed splurges on MAZSIHISZ and EMIH/Chabad real estate, as their splurges on for instance football fields, money that would clearly be a lot better spent elsewhere, on less useless social causes). I also think that you misunderstand the actual situation of people of Jewish descent in Hungary. The vast majority of them are strongly left wing in their political orientation, and as such, their agnosticism or atheism is no different from that of the vast majority of West European left wingers; it is the result of a well over a century-long secularisation process; in other words, it did not just randomly “happen” today or yesterday “in times like these”. And since… Read more »
Member
You are making excuses for not doing what is nessesary in building a fair and free society Mike. Laziness is no excuse, the people that are looked up to in society can absolutely change the views of the people towards Jews or any ethnic minorities, but you and I both know that people like to keep their hatred and antisemitism in their back pocket as a defense mechanism. Does the snow in hell have to turn out like it did in 1944 in order for the powers to be in Europe to learn their lesson? Does Hungary have to be punished by the world more than it already has for this undying hatred? You claim that Jews either have to put up with it or leave, but you never mention that they should worry about the economy, the state of the countries affairs, reputation instead of pursuing hatred. Hungarian attitudes should never have to change with the winds of the world, should they Mike? I don’t misunderstand the Hungarian Jews, but you seem to think that Hungarian Jews are not “real” Jews. I do agree that the Hungarian Jewish community needs to kiss the ass of the government less, but… Read more »
buddy
Guest

“It is quixotic and quite pointless on the part of MAZSIHISZ to struggle against antisemitic manifestations in Hungary.”

We could also use this logic for many other cases throughout history:

“It is quixotic and quite pointless on the part of Frederick Douglass to struggle against the institution of slavery in America.”

“It is quixotic and quite pointless on the part of Sylvia Pankhurst to struggle for the right for women to vote in Britain.”

“It is quixotic and quite pointless on the part of Ghandi to struggle against British rule in India.”

And so on….

Thankfully these historical figures, and the movements they represented, did not share your opinion….

Anna
Guest

You are right, but I can’t see Heisler going on a hunger strike at Szabadsag ter like Ghandi, he rather eats at buffet tables and chats with Zoltan Balog, Latorcai , Lazar and co…

Guest

Is this still the Hungarian sickness?

No, it wasn’t me!
I had to do it or …
It’s always someone else’s fault, n’est-ce pas?

The next step might even be that Hungary didn’t fight at all on Hitler’s side, of course not …
And the you read the loonies’ comments on pol.hu re the New World Order – some things never change …

exTor
Guest
Liz Aucoin … http://hungarianspectrum.org/2015/08/13/viktor-orban-and-charles-de-gaulle-the-dwarf-and-the-giant/#comment-100108 A few days ago Liz Aucoin wrote her summary of you, Latefor. I let slip the time to add an alternate (and exCanadian) sensibility to the Latefor thread. Many obviousnesses seem to evade your cognitive grasp, Mel. Foremost is the idea that a criticism of Viktor Orbán is not an attack on the people of Hungary. It is irrelevant that Fidesz obtained a supermajority in the 2014 election. There is no implied criticism linkage to all Hungarians. If a voter for Fidesz supports what Fidesz is doing (and for which Fidesz has gotten criticism) then that person, by implication, is also criticised. Just so you get it, if someone criticises Daniel Andrews, the premier of Victoria [Australia, where you reside (in Melbourne, Mel)] for whatever reason, that criticism does not automatically implicitly impugn those who voted for him in 2014. There is an implied disconnect between the voting and the criticism. That disconnect can turn into a connect, however, according to other factors. The revelation that you are Melanie Zuben is your doing, Latefor. Your attempts at foisting your dubious (at this remove) ‘literature’ on the readership of Hungarian Spectrum led to the reveal of you.… Read more »
Latefor
Guest
To exTor and all my attackers: I have NO problem with the revelation of my name. That was my intention. Also, if I could cause you considerable destructions over the years, this alone is enough for me to celebrate tonight! 🙂 I’m perfectly aware of you cunning tactics (believe it or not, I’ll not lose sleep over it). All you are trying to do with your pathetic skills is to humiliate me because I don’t share your spiteful views about the Hungarian people and I don’t agree with every crap you happen to dish out almost daily. You simply want to drive me out of the so-called public domain. (Your wish is granted!) Some of you actually taken on the “attack dog” role and became more bloodthirsty by the day. Can’t you see it by now that I’m unaffected? What an evil life you must be living! I just imagine you: getting up in a morning, starting your day with sharpening your knives and lighting your pathetic fire. (I’m holding my cross as I’m writing this post.) All you do is: provoke, attack, abuse and destroy the credibility of those who don’t share your twisted views. Why don’t you just… Read more »
exTor
Guest

http://hungarianspectrum.org/2015/08/13/viktor-orban-and-charles-de-gaulle-the-dwarf-and-the-giant/#comment-100092 … previous Mel/Latefor post

I am sorry to learn that my 4-day-old post has now come to bother you, Melanie. I am somewhat surprised, for (after all) you seemed okay with it. Have another looksee at your cheerful thankyou 2 posts farther down.

I would like to disabuse you of an erroneity, Latefor. I do not attack you personally for your opinions, nor do I attack you personally for flogging your literary efforts, which may or may not be dubious. I address what you say (but only sometimes, mostly because I cant be bothered) and what you do (that also only occasionally, mostly for the same earlier reason).

You have hodgepodged a cut-and-paste version of an earlier rant aimed my way [linked above], showing perhaps that you are so bothered that you cant think straight and must resort to recycling rebuttals. Not a biggie, I can accept that. I get the point: you’re bent out of shape.

When you straighten up, you are welcome to contribute on a thoughtful and respectful basis, which means leaving your bookselling at home.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Anseret
Guest

Your on line journal is a breath of fresh air. Informative and thorough. Thank you.

Latefor
Guest

exTor – “I am ambivalent about you, Mel/Latefor. Sometimes (because you are so very often so over-the-top) I think that there may be a hint of genius in you, however I mostly believe that you are quirky, which those [Brits] in the land of my birth would characterize as ‘eccentric’
Thank you so much for the compliment!.

exTor
Guest

No probs, Mel. I’m generally okay with you.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Guest

Not totally OT:

“Some 45% of Hungarian students are planning their future outside of Hungary, while 39% of young people under the age of 25 are also planning to leave, Endre Sík, chief researcher of Tárki told Hungarian commercial InfoRádió on Saturday, according to a report by hvg.hu.”
http://bbj.hu/economy/survey-45-hungarian-students-plan-on-leaving-the-country_102602
If you combine this with:
“According to a study by research firm Tárki that was released yesterday, 46% of the Hungarian adult population is xenophobic, the highest rate recorded since 1992 when Tárki first began the survey. ”
http://bbj.hu/bbj/research-xenophobia-at-a-record-high-in-hungary—_97041
What does that tell us about Hungary?

Rikard
Guest
I know it might sound outlandish to note this but if the young leave Hungary and perhaps its best and brightest with them it just may be setting itself to find itself a broken and crippled failed state hampered by leaders stuck in a continual time warp of distorted dreams that will be difficult if not impossible to implement in the modern age. If the young are planning to leave they simply are following the goals of all the ‘rejected’ continental refugees looking for better pastures to live their lives. Don’t the leaders understand what that suggests and where that can lead? I’d think at this point Hungary’s leaders are playing with calamity with the direction of the nation. And the current leadership drives ahead like a careening villamos oblivious to the danger. Vigyaz! That seems to be the Magyar mantra today. The paranoia is indelible. The obtuseness of leadership is astounding. You know we can talk about the political, social and economic upheavals in the country but I think it all masks the most critical problem and that is Hungary’s indelible moral failure in dealing with its history and problems. Too bad they don’t look inward on that. A… Read more »
exTor
Guest

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/18/world/europe/jihad-and-girl-power-how-isis-lured-3-london-teenagers.html?emc=edit_na_20150817&nlid=52537220&ref=headline

Jihad and Girl Power: How ISIS Lured 3 London Teenagers

The video attached to this New York Times piece gives a slice of what life is like for some female Muslims in London, England. Worth watching.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Guest

Re: Horthy, Balint, statues, etc etc…

Looks like plenty of ‘R and R’ over there in the welcoming arms and homestead of Magyarorszag today. No not ‘rest and relaxation’ but ‘revisionism and rehabilitation’. The role of history there appears to be analyzed and hijacked today by makeup artists. Always looking and fashioning a new face to present to the world. The uglier the better.

An
Guest

Just how much truth can one expect from a historical institute called Veritas (Truth)? Sounds like something from an Orwell novel. Or from the Rakosi era in Hungary. I guess they use the Latin word in the hope that they don’t sound absolutely ridiculous to the average Hungarian. Using the Hungarian word, Igazsag, would make the parallel with the 50s way too obvious.

György Lázár
Guest
Dear Mike Balint, Forgive me, I think you are wrong when you write.. “Of the remnant Jewry in Hungary, or more correctly the remnants of people of Jewish descent in Hungary, the vast majority want nothing to do either with Jewishness or with religion, and least of all with the institutional representatives of one or another of the tiny Hungarian Jewish denominations. What they really want is to loose their Jewish baggage and somehow or other just melt away into Hungarian society. The full political, social and academic rehabilitation of the likes of Hóman, Wass, Tormay, Nyirő, Prohászka, etc., etc., and etc., is the least of their concern. It is something that essentially they do not give a fig about, apart, that is, from poor old MAZSIHISZ.” Just the opposite… I see tremendous interest in search for ancestry in Hungary and thousands are “discovering” that they have Jewish roots. While I agree with you that religion is less important, because they didn’t grow up in the religious tradition, Jewish culture is very important and Hungarians still try to find out what happened to their families during the Holocaust. In fact the most important issue for Hungarians with Jewish roots today… Read more »
Guest
@György Lázár August 17, 2015 at 6:51 pm It is indeed heart warming to find that some sons and daughters – and grandsons and grand-daughters – of Jews who opted to remain in Hungary after 1945, 1956 and 1989, are today searching for their roots while at the same time demanding that the government present the official history of Hungarian Jewry in a factual and historically truthful manner. But let us not exaggerate; we can only speak of at most hundreds, rather than thousands of newly awakening “cultural Jews” in Hungary (where there are – putatively – around a hundred thousand people that might be regarded as one way or another of Jewish descent). Assuming it is not a mere flash in the pan enthusiasm in the case of most cultural Jews in Hungary, a few hundred among one hundred thousand still cannot be regarded as a sign of any kind of a massive revivalist movement. As they say, one swallow does not a summer make. The fact is that Jewish religious institutions are essentially mere empty shells in Hungary, and Jewish cultural initiatives are largely a matter for a few handful of enthusiasts. And the fact remains that the… Read more »
György Lázár
Guest

Dear Anna, I had a chance to spend some time in June in Debrecen. The Jewish Community there has a kitchen and they just built an elevator from Gov-EU funding because the old people simply couldn’t walk up the steps. Should they tell the 90Y old Holocaust survivor that no lunch, no elevator because they won’t “collaborate with this government”? They simply cannot provide services without the gov… What would you do?

Anna
Guest

Neither tax payers money nor EU funds should be the government’s personal favor . The Jewish communities should boycott a racist government like this.There are enough resources to manage without these favors, this community has much more leverage than the Methodists and other much more unfortunate groups. Elevators are part of compliance with handicapped laws so it has nothing to do with the Jewish community.

Guest
@Anna August 17, 2015 at 8:28 pm In theory, yes, you are quite right. In practice – well, practice is quite another matter. Talk is cheap, but sitting in the hot seats, as Heisler and Kunos do, trying to juggle impossible budgets, forced by circumstances always to panhandle for more at the government’s door, and standing up to simply unbelievable external and internal political pressures left, right and centre – well, that takes a lot of courage, some real mojo, sincere conviction and a hell of a lot of skill. And Heisler and Kunos receive no pay at all in recompense for their efforts; they do all this work entirely pro bono, as pure public service. There was an attempt last year to gain some independence from the government at least in the matter of Holocaust memorial projects, but the response to the appeal for donations had been extremely meager (in effect had gone absolutely nowhere), in particular because of the utter indifference of the vast majority of the so-called Hungarian Jewish “community”. And it just ain’t true that “there are enough resources to manage without [government] favors”, since the net income derived from “Jewish Quarter” tourism actually covers at… Read more »
Anna
Guest

These are the regular arguments of Mazsihisz. May I ask why secular Jews should care about rabbinical seminary, rabbinical and congressional services and Jewish religious schools? Why should I credit Heisler who posted racist comments of Rabbi Radnoti. with a Sodoma example exactly at the time of Budapest Pride? A “leader” who first called for boycott government Holocaust events and many really poor communities followed his call and refused funding, and then he himself attended a government PR Holocaust Memorial event in Washingon, D.C. with state secretaries, the Ambassador of Hungary etc…
Mazsihisz is the shame of Hungarian Jewry, just like the Jewish Council was during WWII

Karl Pfeifer
Guest

Subject matter of this blog is the fact that the Hungarian government is having a “truth”-research institute to falsify Hungarian History and that a statue is to be errected for an antisemite perpetrator.
Your grievances against Mazsihisz are not subject matter. It seems that you try to deflect attention from real subject matter. Your sweeping judgment about the Jewish Council during German occupation are like other sweeping judgments not justified. They serve only those who want to forget the responsibility of the Horthy-Regime. Are you a troll?

Anna
Guest

It happens many times under Eva’s blogs that comments are about different topics or topics that are related.
This topic is related as Mazsihisz picked the Homan statue as a pet project while they are purposely silent about many other issues among them the German Occupation Memorial. It is quite strange to call someone a troll just because you do not agree with me. Otherwise I know the Mazsihisz crowd and kept telling them the same things in person for months, especially when Heisler started to legitimize the government by appearing with Latorcai in D.C. and Jerusalem.

I-56
Guest

Karl,

I liked your smart observation.

Truth research in the Veritas Institute will make it hard to object the Orban lies.

The lies have been killing humanity for thousands of years.

Orban is financing lies, which will destroy Hungary again.

Best wishes,

I-56

Guest
@Anna August 18, 2015 at 3:45 am You are spouting utter nonsense, taking things out of context and without the slightest understanding of what actually goes on and why. Although I am an atheist and assimilationist Jew who is not a member of any Jewish community, organisation or club, I still have a warm and respectful regard for those who choose to remain within the fold, whether in Hungary, Israel, Australia, or anywhere else in the world. And why not? After all, I too descend from forebears who wandered into Hungary the late 18th century from Moravia and Galicia, thus the end of the day belong in the same tribe as nationalist Israeli Jews, universalist American liberal Jews, secular assimilationist Jews, Jews belonging to Hasidic cults, black Jews from Ethiopia, torchbearers of Jewish culture, speakers of Jewish languages, or for that matter, the membership and leadership of MAZSIHISZ. I happen to be thoroughly familiar with the inside workings of MAZSIHISZ, both as it was under the Zoltai/Feldmájer duo, and as it is today, under the leadership of Heisler and Kunos. I am quite impressed with what Heisler is attempting to accomplish in spring cleaning the musty innards of MAZSIHISZ, and… Read more »
Anna
Guest

Well said: “But I don’t expect that you would have either the mental or the emotional capacity to comprehend and appreciate this point.”
When there are no more arguments, this always comes up.

And this one. Congrats.
“You are spouting utter nonsense, taking things out of context and without the slightest understanding of what actually goes on and why.”

Tyrker
Guest

Yup, he’s clearly run out of arguments, hence the shameful ad hominem attacks directed at you Anna.

Karl Pfeifer
Guest

Thank you for your posting

Penny Oswalt
Guest

Anna, racist govt;s are older than this generation, if you were raised Jewish, then you should review the Law books out of the Torah, (Old testament} in the king james bible. I will debate with you on this. It is common knowledge and culture in Europe to be this verbally ugly, Leviticus! Remember although I am Pentecostal does not mean that I am ignorant on discrimination against Jews.

Penny Oswalt
Guest

Concerning the statues, when we are dead and gone, some future generation will tear them down.

Member

OT: Eva, did you hear that the Hungarian government donated $115000 to Canada’s Tribute to Liberty, a memorial to the victims of Communism to be put up in Ottawa? I was quite surprised the Hungarian government could afford such a large amount. Poland and Lithuania and Estonia all donated too but just a fraction of the money. Any idea why they would show boat like that, maybe you could find out more?

exTor
Guest
As a nonJew, this essay comes after having seen a particular Mike Balint post, not the one with which I will lead off. Mike Balint, you need to give yourself a shake. You just adhominemed Anna with your “I don’t expect that you would have either the mental [???] or the emotional [???] capacity to comprehend and appreciate this point.” I criticized you for this action before and now you’ve done it again. When are you going to learn, Mike Balint? Anna is at least as intelligent as you !!! And her emotional capabilities are probably no less than yours. When I first read Éva’s article, there were some unclarities for me, one being the unnamed uncapitalized ‘academy’. Other ‘facts’ dangled loosely, unconnectedly. Finally, Éva concluded with: (1) the Hóman-statue plan should be scrapped (by Fidesz); (2) Mazsihisz objects to the statue plan; (3) Mazsihisz and Fidesz seem to be getting along; (4) Mazsihisz should not get into a row with Fidesz over the Hóman-statue project. This seems contradictory and counterproductive. Éva, you undermined your point (1), which could be effected with the help of point (2), yet you say forget about point (2) because of points (3) & (4).… Read more »
Guest

@Extor:
Your comment reminded me of the “house n***” in the movie “Django Unchained” that gets shot in the knees at the end by Django – so maybe Hungary needs a Django to lead the fight against Fidesz?

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