András Göllner: Is Hungary taking Canada’s Jews for a ride?

This article first appeared in the November 5 issue of  Hungarian Free Press.

“Don’t listen to what I say, but watch what I do!”
— Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary

An essay in honour of Elie Wiesel and Randolph L. Braham

What is affinity fraud?

Affinity fraud is the oldest scam in the book. Eve used it to con Adam into tearing off the forbidden fruit from the tree of life, which led to humanity’s tragic fall from grace. Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus with this form of tainted love. In his masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, written over 700 years ago, Durante (alias Dante) Alighieri reserved the lowest level of Inferno for those who chose this form of deception to rob their fellow human beings of their soul and of their trust in one another. For Dante, seduction was the most intimate affinity fraud. The most devastating form of this type of affinity fraud is the seduction of a child by the pedophile priest, who uses the child’s innocence, his loving and trusting nature, to rob him of his birthright to happiness. As the affinity fraud unfolds, the child’s confusion and shame is intensified by his memory of the pleasure he felt at being treated as “special.” It is this special treatment that makes it so difficult for the victims of affinity fraud to break away, to report the identity of their “seducer”, to reveal what happened to them, to admit to themselves that their bond with life and natural love has been broken forever. Many end up suffering for decades, some are never able to overcome their pain.

Here is the standard Wikipedia definition of the term: “Affinity frauds prey upon members of identifiable groups, such as religious or ethnic communities, language minorities, the elderly, or professional groups. The fraudsters who promote affinity scams frequently are – or pretend to be – members of the group. They often enlist respected community or religious leaders from within the group to spread the word about the scheme, by convincing those people that a fraudulent investment is legitimate and worthwhile. These scams exploit the trust and friendship that exist in groups of people who have something in common. Because of the tight-knit structure of many groups…victims often fail to notify authorities or pursue their legal remedies, and instead try to work things out within the group.”

In their insightful book (Dante’s Path. Gotham Books, 2003) two American psychotherapists, Bonnie and Richard Schaub, utilize Dante’s Divine Comedy as a metaphor to assist those who are the victims of affinity fraud. They describe the face of this fraud, and its impact: “The honest face draws you in, stimulates your innate love and then manipulates you. You are fooled and harmed because of your own loving, trusting nature. Fraud counts on you being a good person and uses that goodness against you. We are all extraordinarily resilient. We live with the knowledge that we shall die and in the course of our life we have to adjust to and get past many problems – but we never get past this fraud. You may forget the details of the betrayal, but you never get past the fact that trusting your loving nature turned out to be a dangerous mistake.”

Arbeit Macht Frei, the fraudulent welcome sign that greeted the travel weary Jews at the gates of hell, the Nazi concentration camp in Poland, is perhaps the most memorable symbol of this cruel form of deception. The German Sociologist Max Weber attributes the work ethic to Protestantism. The Nazis knew much better. They knew that the work ethic was nowhere as strong as amongst the people of Abraham. They knew that their seductive offer above the gates of hell would be almost impossible to resist. They chose their words carefully, to sedate and becalm their guests before hastening them to shower, to wash off the dirt that covered their exhausted bodies, so they could get to work refreshed and as fast as possible. A total of 1.5 million Jews, a third of them Hungarians, were taken in and sedated by the Nazi’s affinity fraud at this unforgettable death camp.

The entrance to Auschwitz. Photo: Pimke.

Joseph Stalin feigned affinity with the proletariat to rob the entire population of the Soviet Union and then the people of Central and Eastern Europe, of their right to pursue life, liberty and happiness. Adolf Hitler used his affinity with the Aryan race to eliminate 6 million Jews from the face of the earth and to start a global war that eventually caused the death of 100 million people world-wide. Viktor Orbán, the current Prime Minister of Hungary is seen as a kinder, gentler master of this scam. His government banks on affinity with the victims of Communism, as a way to secure the off-shore votes of hundreds of thousands of Hungarians who left their homeland to escape the horrors of the fraud that Stalin’s and Brezhnev’s henchman perpetrated upon Hungarians between 1945 and 1990. Orbán used affinity with Conservatism, to endear himself to Canada’s former Harper government and to disguise his government’s hostility to the values that are central to Conservatives everywhere. Is he using affinity fraud with the victims of the Holocaust in Canada and North America to cover up his government’s anti-Semitic actions inside Hungary? I will let the readers decide.

I dedicate this article to Holocaust survivors Elie Wiesel and Randolph L. Braham, who not only walked through the gates of Hell metaphorically, like Dante, but did so in their own flesh and came back to warn us about those who engage in the practice of affinity fraud. I salute them, for their sacrifice and especially for their role as messengers to my generation and to those who aspire to follow their example in the future.

The descent into hell…

While the Holocaust came to Hungary relatively late – first in 1941 and then with a vengeance in March 1944 – its gestation period began much earlier and at a time, when Hitler wasn’t even a blip on Europe’s political radar.

Hungary introduced the first anti-Semitic laws of the 20th century’s in 1920, during the Regency of Admiral Nicholas Horthy and at the behest of a rabid anti-Semitic Hungarian bishop, Ottokár Prohászka. Prohászka’s 1920 pamphlet The Jewish Question became a bestseller in Germany, well before Hitler’s Mein Kampf hit the charts. It was translated into dozens of languages and provided the spiritual fuel for the massacre of 600,000 Hungarian Jews. Thousands of Jews were machine-gunned into the frozen waters of the Danube in Budapest during the cold winter months of 1944, by Hungary’s indigineous Nazis, (the Arrow Cross). Tens of thousands more were killed using other forms of cruelty. The first large-scale deportation of Jews from Hungary and their subsequent mass murder at Kamenets-Podolski took place during the summer of 1941 (for some details see below). But the largest mass deportation and murder of Hungarian Jews took place at Auschwitz, the “state of the art” death camp built and operated by Germans inside the war-torn territory of Poland. Hungarians didn’t pull the triggers at Kamenets Podolski or at Auschwitz – they provided the hatred and the target for that hatred.

The officially generated hatred towards the Jews in Hungary was a carefully choreographed affair and the Nazis played hardly any role in the design of the score. Prohászka was generating hate literature when Hitler was still in his diapers in Austria. Theodore Herzl dreamt up the creation of a homeland for the Jews not by reading the collected works of Hitler, but by walking the streets of Budapest, the city of his birth. Horthy, the man who bears sole responsibility for Hungary’s wartime alliance with Nazi Germany, admitted in his private correspondences to being a life-long anti-Semite and needed no encouragement from Hitler. Horthy confesses in his secret papers, that he always wanted to get rid of the Jews, but not all at once and not as fast as Hungary’s true-brown Nazis had wanted. To get rid of the Jews at once, he argued, was an economic folly – it had to be done in stages, and the best place to start was not in Budapest, not in the industrial heartland of Hungary but in the countryside and in such far away villages as the one where little Elie Wiesel ran about freely as a child, before he was packed into a cattle car, without food, water or toilet facilities and shipped off to the gas chambers of Auschwitz.

The round-up and deportation of Hungary’s rural Jewry to Auschwitz – approximately 460,000 people – began in March 1944 and took 51 days to complete. Responsibility for the project was given to Hungary’s rural militia, the dreaded csendőrség (in Hungarian, the word means Guardians of Silence). Any of the Jews who broke the silence or spoke out of turn as they were being crammed into the cattle wagons destined for Auschwitz were shot on the spot by the rugged guardians of silence or were beaten severely for their insolence. The csendőrség was under the direct supervision of the Hungarian ministry of the Interior. There were no German participants in the chain of command that rounded up the Jews and shipped them out of the country. SS Obersturmbannführer, Adolf Eichmann, Germany’s designated hitter in Hungary, did not have to get his soft, calf-leather gloves dirty at any time during his stay in Budapest.

Hungary was Eichmanns’s easiest assignment. His biggest challenge was the concealment of the true purpose of the deportations from the roughly 300,00 Jews of greater Budapest. He didn’t want them to panic, to stampede, to make a big fuss and blow his megaproject out of the water. The Obersturmbannführer sat in his boutique hotel in the Buda Hills, with a spectacular view of the city below, drank schnapps with his buddies, sampled the night life of Budapest , flirted with the ladies at the Arizona Club, and engaged in amicable chatter with the likes of Rudolf Kastner.

The latter was a local Jewish community leader, who came to Eichmann with a preposterous idea – safe passage to Switzerland for a pre-selected trainload of Hungarian Jews – 1,600 in all – in return for keeping the other 460,000 calm and ignorant of the fate that awaited them. The Obersturmbannführer couldn’t believe his good fortune – the 1,600 was less than 1 percent of his shipment quota to Auschwitz (For the number crunchers in the audience, the actual percentage of Krastner’s Jews totaled 0.12% of the population that was destined for extermination). Being a shrewd businessman, and no doubt angling for a bonus from his superiors, Eichmann raised the ante with Kastner. He asked Kastner to work with the Allies and get him 10,000 trucks as well, to replace the vehicles the Nazis lost during their battles on the Eastern front. Kastner tried his best to deliver on the addendum, but the allies wouldn’t bite. Joseph Heller’s Catch 22 was still waiting to be written, the concept was not yet in vogue. Kastner was only able to deliver half of his side of the bargain. Eichmann feigned displeasure, but being the gentleman that he was, and having achieved his primary objective with Kastner and the Budapest Jewish Council, he kept his promise. Kastner got his train. His shipment of 1,600 Jews arrived safely in Switzerland while the other 460,000, ended up at a camp whose commander promised to reward them if they showered and got down to work.

There were no riots in the streets of Budapest during the 51 days it took to deport Hungary’s rural Jewry. There was no hysteria in Budapest, and not much hollering in the countryside either, thanks to the guardians of silence.The SS Obersturmbannführer didn’t run around town, beating up hapless Jewish citizens who may have been spreading panic in the streets. He leaned back in his office chair, and waited for the Hungarians to deliver the goods. At his trial in Jerusalem, Eichmann confessed to being surprised by the efficiency and brutality of his Hungarian partners and attributed the brutality to their Asiatic ancestors, their tainted ethnicity

Before turning my eyes forward, I am compelled, like Orpheus, to turn my head one more time, back towards the past. My backward glance at this moment is not the product of a momentary weakness, but a conscious, self-liberating choice, perhaps similar in motivation to the one undertaken by Apollo’s son, the man who forbade the pulling of wool over the eyes of the deceased more than 3,000 years ago. My brief and personal backward glance at this precise moment is necessary, because it is absolutely germane to the narrative that follows, and to the course of my own life from hereon in.

I learned, at the age of 65, accidentally browsing the internet one evening in my Montreal apartment, that my nominal godfather – Uncle Marci – who I never set my eyes on in my life and who, according to my parents died in prison in 1947 – an innocent “victim of Communism” – was in fact a war criminal and a devoted Nazi.

I learned from the internet, that Uncle Marci – Vitéz Márton Nemerey (neé Márton Grósz) – was not just an ordinary Nazi war criminal, but the highly decorated supreme national commander of the Hungarian csendőrség between August 1, 1938 and November 15, 1942. I learned on the internet that he was not only the celebrated author of the militia’s Ten Commandments, but the man who commanded Hungary’s first pogrom – the expulsion and subsequent murder of 23,000 migrant Jews in 1941 at the Ukrainian town of Kamenets Podolski. (When the 23,000 migrant Jews disembarked from the cattle wagons into which Uncle Marczi’s men had cramped them into, they were machine-gunned into open pits by the German soldiers who waited for them across the border. Eyewitness accounts speak of the earth rolling above the burial site for hours, like the surface of the ocean, because so many of the victims, though critically wounded, were buried alive.)

When I learned of the true identity of my nominal godfather I took out an old family photograph, and that picture spoke a thousand words to me. Uncle Marci was a Hitler lookalike – the same haircut, the same mustache, the same expression. I reached for a kosher pálinka, and have not recovered since.

Vitéz Márton Nemerey. Uncle Marczi. Photo: András Göllner.

What shocked me even more as I revved up my search engine was an account of my godfather’s death by a Hungarian historian, Sándor Szakály. Szakály is well known for his publications that glorify the Guardians of Silence. I first became aware of him about ten years ago, when I began looking at the Hungarian academics who were crowding around the then still fledging Hungarian neo-Nazi party, the Jobbik. Szakály was one of their celebrity intellectuals. After Viktor Orbán came to power in 2010, he appointed Szakály to the Chairmanship of the PMO’s newly created historical institute, the Veritas Institute. The main purpose of the Institute is to whitewash Hungary’s responsibility for the murder of the Jews at Kamenets Podolski and at Auschwitz. As soon as he assumed his position as head of the Institute, Mr. Szakály reframed the Kamenets Podolski pogrom as an administrative arrangement against illegal migrants. As far as my nominal godfather’s role in the affair was concerned, Szakály was mum. But he had another astonishing revelation, that did affect me personally. He claimed that my nominal godfather Vitéz Márton Nemerey, did not die in prison in 1947, as my parents and my godmother had told me, but 11 years later, in 1958. According to him, my godfather survived his prison sentence, was set free in 1951 and was free as a bird during the 4 years that preceded my parents decision to whisk me away to Canada from the evils of Communism in 1956.

During my last four years as a child in Hungary, I met my godmother on more than one occasion, but I never met my godfather. I often dreamed of sitting on his lap and having him tell me stories about Hungary’s heroes, the agile horsemen, who came to Hungary from afar and were so instrumental in saving “the West from the barbarians of the East.” (That heroic defense of it’s white and Christian neighbours to the west, is reenacted today by the razor tipped fence across Hungary’s southern border, a defensive corridor to stem “the alien Muslim tide” from the East. The story remains the same, the actions take different forms.)

When I enquired as a child about the whereabouts of my godfather, my godmother told me that sadly, oh so sadly, my godfather was dead. On later returns to Hungary as a grown man, I visited my godmother, who was by then a very old lady. I didn’t pester her with painful recollections of the past, but she did volunteer to tell me how sad she was that her husband, Uncle Marci could never set his eyes upon his beloved godson “who has now grown into such a tall, good-looking man.” She never missed a chance to malign those god-awful Communists for her husband’s bad fortune. She never once told me what her husband’s job was that landed him in hot water, and I never bothered to ask. When she passed away, I inherited Uncle Marczi’s beautiful, art deco desk lamp that stands now in a corner of my Montreal apartment in Little Italy, devoid of a vital, bejeweled part, stolen by a cleaning lady who is no longer in my employ. I don’t often make eye contact with it, and had changed the lampshade on it to be safe rather than sorry.

My parents and those in my family who may have known anything about Vitéz Márton Nemerey are long dead. I have no one in the world to clear up the puzzle for me: Why did my father choose this man, who was not even a blood relative, as my designated godfather? My grandfather, Elemér Szentjóby, hid a number of rural Jews on his estate during the war, who ran to him for protection in the village of Csömör. My own father, saved the lives of dozens more, who worked at his pasta factory in Budapest, sometimes chasing after them in his company’s truck, after the local Nazis absconded with them. He waved official papers at the young hoodlums, screaming with the thugs, that the Jews are needed to manufacture the pasta for the war effort. When the heat of the Holocaust came dangerously close to my uncle, the obstetrician, who saved me from starving to death, my family hid his children, my second cousins, so at least they would survive the horror. Did my father designate the leader of the csendőrség as my godfather to save his newborn son? I shall never know. But I will find out, even if it kills me, who is lying to me about the date of my godfather’s death: Was it my parents, my godmother, or is it Professor Szakály. the man the Hungarian government sent quietly and without any fanfare to Toronto on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, to celebrate with those Hungarian ex-army officers who held up the liberation of Auschwitz.

Sándor Szakály in Toronto, celebrating with Hungarian World War II soldiers who still glorify the Horthy regime.

Fast forward to 2010

“The memory of the Holocaust is the cornerstone of our government’s policy and our country’s national identity. It has to be preserved and respected,” said Bálint Ódor, Hungary’s Ambassador to Canada.

My nominal godfather, Vitéz Márton Nemerey, his beloved Admiral Nicholas Horthy, Ferenc Szálasi and Ottokár Prohászka are long faded memories, destined to live on in the underworld as dead spirits of the past. But the hatred they fomented against the Jews of Hungary burns stronger than ever in that country. There are many who claim that responsibility for the rising hatred today rests squarely on the shoulders of the anti-Liberal, anti-democratic government of Viktor Orbán, which was elected to office in landslide election victories in 2010 and in 2014 and which is now proudly and ably represented in Canada by his excellency, Ambassador Bálint Ódor.

According to surveys conducted by the Simon Wiesenthal Institute, and by the globally respected Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitism in Hungary prior to 2010 was well above the European average. After Orbán came to power, the hate level accelerated more rapidly than anywhere else in Europe and clearly corelates with Orbán’s election to office. Is this correlation a coincidence or is there a cause end effect relationship? I will let the evidence speak for itself and allow my readers to draw their own conclusion.

One of the founders of Hungary’s anti-Semitic, anti-Roma vigilante group, the Hungarian Guard (Magyar Gárda) is András Bencsik, a high-ranking member of Orbán’s Fidesz party. His magazine, the Demokrata, runs highly popular tours to Hitler’s “Eagle Nest” retreat each year. Each year the magazine runs a full feature article celebrating the troops that held up the liberation of Auschwitz, and fought to keep Hitler in power to the last day of the war. After Orbán came to power, Bencsik received a string of governmental decorations along with massive subsidies to keep his hate-filled magazine profitable and widely read. He has been inducted into a knighthood – the Order of Vitéz – that Admiral Horthy created in 1920, to maintain Hungary’s racial purity and to guard against the restoration of democracy in Hungary during the interwar years. The Order of Vitéz was banned under Communism, but has been resurrected. The Canadian chapter of this Order of Knights is the proud sponsors of the monument that will be raised to the Victims of Communism in Ottawa, initially planned to go up next to Canada’s Supreme Court building. The single largest contributor to the erection of this pet project of the former Tory Government is the government of Viktor Orbán, the government that sent its official historian, Sándor Szakály to celebrate with those officers who held up the liberation of Auschwitz, and assisted in the prolongation of the war. Standing next to Canada’s parliament building will be a permanent monument displaying the sponsorship of the Hungarian government, that, according to Transparency International, is the most corrupt in all of Europe. Carved into the monument in big letters will be the name of a government, whose leader is a sworn enemy of Liberalism, a man who has publicly declared that he wants to turn Hungary into an “Illiberal State” patterned on the Russian and Chinese templates. Catch 22 has arrived from the East, and the Ottawa landscape will never be the same.

If respect for the victims of the Holocaust is the cornerstone of the Orbán government’s identity, why is that government issuing glossy postage stamps in memory of such celebrities of Hungary’s Nazi past as the actress Zita Szeleczky, Hungary’s very own Tokyo Rose, who spent the war years agitating Hungarians to fight to the bitter end in defense of the Third Reich?

If respect for the victims of the Holocaust is the cornerstone of the Orbán government, why is this government and its Canadian Ambassador celebrating Gyula Detre, who lives in Canada and was the Head of Military Security for the war criminal, Arrow Cross Party leader, Ferenc Szálasi? Gyula Detre is a respected member of Montreal’s Hungarian community, a staunch anti-Communist, a devoted Christian and a patriot. He is also a member of the “Order of Vitéz” that Hungary’s interwar leader, Admiral Nicholas Horthy created to uphold the purity of the “Hungarian Blood” by excluding Jews from its ranks. Detre emigrated to Canada from Germany in 1950. In his autobiography which is freely accessible on the internet, he admits to serving the Hungarian “Führer”, and is proud of it. He recounts how impressed he was with Hitler’s warm and sensitive eyes when they met near the end of the war, and how much he enjoyed serving his own “Führer”, who was executed in 1945 as a war criminal. Detre couldn’t attend this year’s celebration on Dundas Street, but he sent a lengthy and warm memorandum to his comrades in arms who were hooting it up in Toronto with the Hungarian Prime Minister’s trusted right hand man, Sándor Szakály.

If respect for the victims of the Holocaust is the cornerstone of the Orbán government’s identity, why are convicted war criminals like Albert Wass or Arrow Cross Party member, József Nyírő resurrected by Orbán’s government as modern-day heroes of Hungary?

If respect for the victims of the Holocaust is the cornerstone of the Orbán government’s identity, why is that government allowing public monuments to be raised to those in Hungary who fomented hatred against the Jews before and during the Holocaust? If respect of the Holocaust victims is the cornerstone of his government’s policy, why is Viktor Orbán sending enormous wreaths to these memorials along with some of his most prominent officials and Party members?

If the memory of the victims of the holocaust must be respected why are the works of former Nazis put into the national curriculum of Hungary’s secondary school system, why are the men who spread hatred 70 years ago allowed to do the same once more and amongst the most impressionable strata of Hungarian society?

If remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust is the cornerstone of the Orbán government, why did this government embrace the well-known and now deceased anti-Semitic playwright, István Csurka? Before he suddenly died, the Orbán government gave Csurka the co-directorship of the publicly owned Budapest Municipal Theatre. Virtually the entire cabinet, including the President of the Hungarian Parliament attended Csurka’s funeral, while Orbán sent perhaps the largest funeral wreath to the gravesite as a sign of his government’s respect for the man who had nothing in his soul but hatred for the Jews.

One of Orbán’s closest pals, one of the founders of his Party and the owner of Party membership card No. 5, Zsolt Bayer, is also a highly rewarded and regarded propagandist of the Orbán regime and the recipient of numerous publicly funded grants to enable him to promote his racially motivated views. By his own admission, Mr. Bayer, is not an advocate of consensual conflict resolution. His favoured tension-management instrument is force – a punch in the mouth, a good beating “so that even your dentist won’t recognize your face anymore” (See his Hol a pofátlanság határa. Budapest. Kairosz publishers, 2001. pg. 166.) Bayer has the following advice to give to anyone who happens to run over a Roma child with his car: “Anyone who happens to run over a gypsy child in this country, would be best not to think of stopping. If you run over a gypsy, just step on the gas-pedal” (See his article in Magyar Hírlap, Hungary’s second largest pro-government daily, owned by Vitéz Gábor Széles, one of Prime Minister’s most powerful corporate cronies.). Bayer has the following to say about those of his colleagues in the Budapest media, who happen to be Jewish: “the mere existence of Jewish journalists in Budapest is grounds enough for our anti-Semitism.”(op.cit). Some cornerstone, some respect for the victims of the Holocaust, Ambassador Ódor!

When in 2012, one of Hungary’s greatest living writers, Ákos Kertész, a Holocaust survivor himself spoke up against the disgraceful conduct of the Orbán regime and his fellow countrymen’s support for this Party, the Mayor of Budapest stripped him of his municipal decorations, such as his status as an honorary citizen of Budapest. Orbán stood up in Parliament and threatened to introduce legislation to divest Kertész of all his earlier awards, including the nation’s highest literary award, the Kossuth Prize. At the age of 80, Ákos Kertész was forced to pack his bag, escape to Canada and ask for political refugee status in this country, because his life was no longer safe in Hungary. He became “a dirty Jew who dared to malign the reputation of Hungary.” Kertész now lives in Montreal, a permanent Canadian resident of Canada, living in poverty and neglect, but free as a bird, a man shamed in his homeland but not broken in spirit.

The revival of anti-Semitism in Hungary is perhaps best illustrated by the rise of an unabashedly anti-Semitic, anti-Roma, anti-Gay and anti-Democratic Party, the Jobbik, that is now Orbán’s loyal opposition in the Hungarian Parliament. Together, FIDESZ and Jobbik have a stranglehold on power in Hungary, that is unlikely to change for some time to come. The leader of this loyal opposition, Gábor Vona, was weaned inside Orbán’s Party. He served as the President of FIDESZ’s youth wing before branching out on his own, and with the best wishes of his mentor. Vona’s Party is closely allied to some of the most extreme anti-Semitic vigilante groups in Hungary. The Jobbik is also closely tied to anti-Semitic circles around Russian President Vladimir Putin. Orbán and Vona have also established close and ongoing ties to the Iranian regime, that is dedicated, among other things to the destruction of Israel. One of Orban’s top PMO lieutenants, the homophobic Imre Kerényi, who is decidedly not a fan of Ákos Kertész, has openly gloated that pretty soon the headquarters of the “Tel Aviv-New York axis”, will be levelled to the ground, and there will be nothing left but goats grazing on the site of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. When journalists questioned Orbán about the pro-Iranian, pro-Russian, anti-American hatred spewed by one of his top advisers, he shrugged his shoulders and said that he wished he had more people like Kerényi on his staff. His actions speak louder than his words.

The contrast between Ambassador Ódor’s Canadian rhetoric and the practice of Hungary’s ruling political elite is most vividly illustrated by the fact that the Hungarian Parliamentary Committee on Education and Culture is headed by Dóra Dúró, who is a card-carrying member of Hungary’s neo-Nazi Party, the Jobbik. This appointment was only made possible by the support of Orbán’s party colleagues in Parliament. If respect for the memory of Holocaust survivors is the cornerstone of Hungary’s ruling party, why did they elect a neo-Nazi party member to the head of this important parliamentary committee? Dúró is the wife of an out and out, self-confessed Holocaust denier, Előd Novák. Here is Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre: “Reports that the Chairmanship of the Parliamentary Committee on Education and Culture was going to Dóra Dúró, the wife of Jobbik militant and Holocaust denier Előd Novák, raise questions about Hungary’s commitment to accurate and appropriate remembrance of the Holocaust. When Novak was asked last week why the couple does not take part in Holocaust commemoration events, he answered ‘we remember only genocides that actually happened’.” ( See: “Simon Wiesenthal Center Questions Hungary’s Fitness to Lead International Holocaust Body”, May, 2014)

Five years after Orbán came to power, the Hungarian landscape is dotted with monuments to Horthy and Prohászka. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day Mr Szakály will raise one at the non-existent grave site of my godfather. More often than not, the unveiling of these bigger than life-size monuments, are led by Orbán’s top lieutenants, such as László Kövér or Sándor Lezsák, President and Vice-Presidents respectively of Hungary’s Parliament. Both are frequent flyers to Canada, where they try to drum up support amongst the local Hungarian diaspora, wrapping themselves this time in the flag of anti-Communism, Christian values and patriotism – values that never fail to bring tears to the eyes of the increasingly elderly first generation Hungarian refugees that made their homes in Canada after the war.

Former Prime Minister Harper was unequivocal about where his government stood on January 27th, 2015, the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz: “The Government of Canada believes that remembrance of the Holocaust is an important way to teach and promote respect for universal human rights, and an important reminder of the importance of preserving and promoting the Canadian values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.” By contrast, and as we have demonstrated with empirically verifiable evidence, the Hungarian government prefers to speak out of both sides of its mouth. It most certainly does not practice in Hungary what it preaches in Canada.

Largely in response to all of the above, and to what they saw as an evident case of affinity fraud, the world’s two most respected Holocaust survivors and scholars – Elie Wiesel and Randolph L. Braham – returned all of the decorations the Orbán regime heaped upon them to secure their silence in the face of the escalating affront to the memory and dignity of the victims of the Shoa. I will quote a small segment from Elie Wiesel’s blistering public indictment of the regime, that Ambassador Bálint Ódor represents in Canada: “Hungarian authorities are encouraging the whitewashing of tragic and criminal episodes in Hungary’s past, namely the wartime Hungarian government’s involvement in the deportation and murder of hundreds of thousands of its Jewish citizens….I do not wish to be associated in any way with such activities and hereby repudiate the Grand Cross Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary granted to me.”

Is IHRA the train for Orbán’s affinity fraud in Canada?

In 2013 and after receiving far too many blows to its credibility, the Orbán regime decided to launch a global PR campaign to remove indignant Jews like Wiesel, and Braham off its back. The strategy was designed by the same communications advisor – Arthur J Finkelstein (aka „The Merchant of Venom”) who is responsible for the former Harper government’s well known negative ad campaigns against the Liberals (eg: Justin is Just Not Ready). Finkelstein has a long track record of catapulting bigots like the late Jessie Helms into power. He is now the advisor of choice, to many of the authoritarian leaders that are coming into their own in the former Soviet sphere of influence. He is the business partner of Orbán’s top communications advisor, Árpád Habony. He has an apartment in Budapest and is fondly referred to as Finkie by the Hungarian Prime Minister. The slogan used by Ambassador Ódor above has all the hallmarks of Finkie, and some are just not ready to swallow it hook line and sinker, as we shall shortly show.

The vehicle for Orbán’s new communications campaign was as carefully chosen as the sign above the gates of hell. It’s name is IHRA: The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.  Hungary joined IHRA during the first Orbán regime that lasted only 4 years from 1998 to 2002. The representative Orbán delegated to the IHRA Forum was István Stumpf, one of the prime minister’s closest political and business cronies. (Stumpf was a rising star in Communist Hungary prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall. He was a Secretary of the Young Communist League, the son-in-law of the Communist Minister of Interior, a man well on his way to the top, before Gorbachev decided to throw in the towel. By now, he is a multi-millionaire, and is recognized as one of the architects of Orbán’s “Illiberal State.” He is a lawyer by education but never practiced his craft. He jumped on the political gravy-train to power and quickly rose to the top. Even though he never worked a day as a lawyer and never sat on the bench, he was appointed to Hungary’s Supreme Court by Orbán where he has been a valuable asset to his boss, helping him to remove, brick by brick the foundations for the rule of law in Hungary.)

Until 2013, Hungary was a very passive, ho-hum member of IHRA, a 31 nation body dedicated to promoting respect for the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and to educational programs designed to raise public awareness about racial prejudice. The Orbán government began a lobby campaign early in 2013 and shortly after Wiesel’s protest, to secure the Chairmanship of this prestigious body. At a meeting in Toronto from 6-10 October 2013, IHRA Board members elected Hungary to chair the Alliance in 2015 the year that coincides with the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The first person to sound the alarm, was Randolph L Braham, the custodian of truth about the Holocaust. He rightly pointed out, that Stumpf “misled the audience of the IHRA Forum” from his first day on the job. Braham accused Stumpf of “not mentioning any of the anti-Jewish laws enacted between 1938 and 1945 by the Horthy regime” and downplaying Hungary’s role in the murder of the Jews. Not a very good beginning for this train ride.

The selection of Hungary for the Chairmanship of IHRA in 2013 was also condemned by the Simon Wiesenthal Institute as a farce. In May, 2014, and after noting many of the anomalies we have shown above, the SWC issued the following release: “Hungary must choose whether it’s committed to remembrance of the Holocaust or to the distortion of the Holocaust; it cannot have it both ways. Coming on the heels of other actions by the Hungarian government that distort and whitewash the Holocaust in Hungary, these efforts raise legitimate questions about Hungary’s ability to Chair the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in 2015″. The SWC protest was ignored and as Hungary’s Chairmanship is winding down, the inconsistencies between the Orbán government’s conduct in Hungary and its posturing abroad is increasingly difficult to manage.

Many on Ambassador Bálint Ódor’s train think the world of him. They see their conductor as a sincere, hardworking man, whose affinity towards victims of the Holocaust is as exemplary as the democratic credentials of his boss, Viktor Orbán. Perhaps the most powerful, most enthusiastic boosters of the conductor is Toronto billionaire and Hungarian Holocaust survivor Peter Munk. Munk’s credentials as one of Canada’s leading entrepreneur, businessman, philanthropist, are forever secure and deservedly so. Wether he is as good at recognizing affinity fraud as he is at generating profit for his companies is a subject of political controversy. Munk and his family took a ride on an earlier train, the A-train out of Hungary in 1944, conducted by Rudolf Kastner. I suspect, his new train, the IHRA train conducted by Bálint Ódor will be surrounded by just as much controversy as the previous one.

Peter Munk’s extraordinary endorsement of a regime that has so raised the ire of people like Braham and Wiesel is perplexing. How could a man of his moral, intellectual, political and business acumen, be so blind to the evidence of duplicitous behavior outlined above? Why can’t Peter Munk see from Canada what George Soros sees from the USA? How could a Holocaust survivor be so unwary of the basic stratagem employed by affinity fraudsters? Affinity frauds prey upon members of identifiable groups, such as religious or ethnic communities, language minorities, the elderly. They often enlist respected community or religious leaders from within the group to spread the word about the scheme, by convincing those people that a fraudulent investment is legitimate and worthwhile.

While many of the world’s leaders, have condemned Viktor Orbán’s “Illiberal”, corruption riddled enterprise, Munk, who is a business partner of one of Orbán’s best known Hungarian oligarchs, is an outspoken promoter. Like G eorge W. Bush, who was smitten by Putin after looking the Russian President in the eyes, Munk is smitten by Orbán, the man who was elected this year as second in line to the world’s most corrupt political leader –Vladimir Putin. Many of Europe’s leaders will have nothing to do with Orbán especially after he announced that he will reconstruct Hungary’s polity according to the Russian and Chinese templates. Presidents Obama, Clinton, Senator John McCain, the President of France, Italy along with many others have spoken up against the Hungarian autocrat Many of the world’s leading policy analysts, along with the former President of Czechoslovakia, the late Vaclav Havel had labelled him a fraud. The enthusiasm of Munk and many of the passengers on Ódor’s train in Canada is as perplexing as their reaction to those who are advocating a stop to the joy ride. This author belongs to the latter category. It is now time to highlight with two examples what happens to those who sound the alarm and try to warn the passengers of Ódor’s train about the bipolar nature of his masters, who cannot practice in Hungary, what they preach in Canada.

I decided to climb aboard Ódor’s train during two pre-scheduled train-stops in Montreal, the first on November 11 at Concordia University’s Centre for Ethnographic Research and Exhibition in the Aftermath of Violence (CEREV), the second on November 12th at the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre. I wanted to test the authenticity, sincerity, credibility of the conductor, as well as to test the reactions of the fellow passengers who wanted to travel on Ódor’s train. When I occupied my seat I was surprised and disappointed to find not Ódor but his deputy, Lajos Oláh in the cock-pit.

Lajos Oláh is a well-known pinch-hitter, especially at Concordia University, where he was struck out earlier this year, in front of an internet audience of close to a million people, after he tried unsuccessfully to discredit three highly respected academic critics of his government. (For a replay of Oláh’s earlier performance at Concordia University, please click here.) The Concordia pit-stop featured a talk by the talented young Director of Budapest’s Holocaust Museum, Zsuzsa Toronyi. The speaker gave a masterful presentation of the heroic work of the museum to honor those who received so little attention in their homeland in the past.

During the question and answer period, a young man suggested that it was the invasion of Hungary by German troops in 1944 that led to the murder of Hungary’s rural Jews. He seemed to suggest, that the survival of the Budapest Jews was evidence for the reluctance of the Horthy regime to harm them. To another questioner, who wanted to know why there was so much neglect shown towards the Victims of the Holocaust, the speaker suggested that it was the shame of the Budapest Jews who survived the deportations that may explain this. At this point I raised my hand politely and given the right to speak, I explained to the young man, that the German troops did not invade Hungary but were welcomed as allies. I pointed out, that there was no resistance to their arrival to Hungary either by the Hungarian army or by the country’s citizens. The two countries were war-time allies and German troops played no role in the deportation of 460,000 rural Jews to Auschwitz – the deportations were entirely the work of the Hungarian government. Exterminating Hungary’s rural Jewry was a conscious policy choice of the Hungarian government of Nicholas Horthy. There was a two-step approach in place dictated by logistics. First the countryside, then Budapest. The Budapest deportations were halted by Horthy because the Soviet Red Army was on Budapest’s front door and the allies warned Horthy in writing, that if he continues his two-step strategy, he will be prosecuted as a war criminal at the end of the war. As for the neglect shown to victims of the Holocaust, I pointed out that blaming this on the surviving Jews of Hungary is a bit much. The neglect is not due to their shame but to those who murdered their country relatives. Why blame the victim once again and not the perpetrator of the crime?

The interjection was appreciated by the audience, whereupon I put a question to the conductor of Bálint Ódor’s train, Lajos Oláh. I asked the sponsor of this train ride, the official representative of the Hungarian government, why is it that the Government of Viktor Orbán cannot practice in Hungary what it preaches in Canada? Why can’t it walk its talk? And I gave a couple of quick examples from the list of contradictions elaborated upon earlier. As in March, Mr. Oláh refused to answer and turned the question over to the guest speaker, which raised a loud protest from many of the “passengers.” They too demanded an answer and argued that the question wasn’t directed at the guest speaker but at the sponsor. When no answer was forthcoming, the host of the event decided to end the embarrassing deadlock and asked that the discussion be directed back to its original topic. After picking himself up from the floor, Mr. Oláh finally found his voice, raised his hand and gave a little speech, blaming Communism, and the government that has been out of power for more than a quarter of a century for the neglect shown in Hungary towards the victims of the Holocaust. He kept asking for other opportunities to speak – though earlier he had openly stated that he didn’t come here to talk. Finally the moderator had to close off the session and deny Mr. Oláh a last jab, due to time constraints. A number of the passengers at the Montreal train stop came up to me afterwards and privately congratulated me for speaking up. The people in Mr. Oláh’s camp, including the Hungarian Embassy’s best friends in the Ottawa Jewish community, gave me some dirty looks, while one of them came up to me and said sternly – “András, we have to talk.” I cheerfully agreed to do so. I’m waiting patiently.

A “room full of hatred” at the Montreal
Holocaust Memorial Centre?

Next day, on November 12, the scene shifted to the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, where the Embassy of Hungary sponsored a screening of a film by American-Hungarian Holocaust survivor Gábor Kálmán. This time it seems the moderator and the audience was better prepared for a possible embarrassment. I spotted many people in the audience from the Orbán government’s local fan club, many well known to me as outright anti-Semites. Kálmán’s wonderful homage to a non-Jewish woman, who decides to look into what happened to the murdered Jews from her town, was well received by the audience, especially by those, who needed to see some confirmation of the myth, that Hungary’s non-Jewish community is widely empathetic to the suffering of its Jewish countrymen.

Kálmán’s film provided a few important and telling glimpses of the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Hungary and I rose to ask a question about that. I first congratulated the filmmaker for his excellent and important work and then I tried to put a question to Mr. Oláh. This time around, the moderator of the Q and A was not as willing to listen to me as the one at Concordia. She hurried me along, interrupting me every couple of seconds and asking me to put my question to Mr. Oláh and spare the audience any details. I did as I was told. The moderator turned to Mr. Oláh and asked him if he would care to respond. He said no and we moved on to the next question. A man rose in the audience at this point, one of the survivors from the village that saw its Jewish population almost fully exterminated. He turned to Mr. Oláh and asked him to stand up. Mr. Oláh declined to do so. The questioner thereupon stated that he wanted to voice his displeasure at the lack of respect given to the question raised by me, and he added one of his own in the same genre. Once again Mr. Oláh refused to answer, saying that this event is about the film and not about the sponsor, not about where his train is taking this audience but about the program being shown to the passengers on the closed-circuit video. A third person stood up and repeated the same question as the previous two audience members. At this point Mr. Oláh turned towards his audience and to a loud gasp stated that he refuses to answer questions in a room that is filled with hatred. The moderator of the session quickly changed the topic and the Q and A came to a halt shortly thereafter.

After November 12, Ambassador Ódor’s IHRA road-show went on to Ottawa, then Toronto. Next week there will be some new stops with new politicians from Hungary and new speakers to vouch for the affinity of the Orbán regime towards the victims of the Holocaust. I encourage more and more passengers to speak up and ask the questions that need to be asked: Where is this train taking us? Why is Dr Ódor’s government unable to practice in Hungary what it preaches in Canada?

Humankind stares into the abyss / The art of weirdness (2012)

Postscript

What’s the motivating force behind the Hungarian government’s affinity fraud in Canada? Orbán is in a desperate struggle to restore his tarnished international reputation. His government needs massive infusion of foreign capital to sustain itself. Canada is an important battle station in this struggle. Fully 90% of Hungary’s national development budget is externally funded, primarily by EU taxpayers. A significant portion of these funds are frozen because of corruption allegations. Hungary is in desperate need of friends and money.

Last year, the Orbán government mounted a massive propaganda campaign to convince Canadian Conservatives, that it is part of the family. Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s embrace was a coveted prize, was seen as the key to winning the support of key Republicans in the American Congress. Millions of dollars are being spent on this lobby effort by Hungary on both sides of the 49th parallel. Toronto’s Bay Street, and the most influential Canadian-Hungarian businessmen on that street are hotly pursued for their endorsement. The strategy seemed to be working. Will it hold up under the newly elected government of Justin Trudeau? Will he be ready to call a spade a spade?

The most recent Transparency International Report shows that Orbán runs the least transparent regime in all of Europe, the European Parliament, the EU’s Venice Commission the Organization for Security and Cooperation have issued numerous declarations about Orbán’s rule of law violations. Earlier this year, the European Parliament passed a stinging resolution by a substantial majority, calling upon the EU’s highest decision-making body, the European Commission to take a tougher stand and to consider withholding financing outright. Such blue ribbon anti-communist crusaders as the late Czech President Vaclav Havel, or Polish Solidarność leader, Adam Michnik, have gone public with their criticism as well. Will Justin Trudeau’s Liberals follow the path of Harper’s Conservatives and swallow the affinity-fraud?

While many of the Atlantic-community’s leaders have raised their voices against Orbán’s autocratic behavior, the Harper government has remained silent. Will Trudeau’s Liberals remain silent as well? According to Ottawa insiders, the Hungarian PM, with the support of his friends on Bay Street, is busy angling for an invitation from the Canadian government, using the help of prominent Jewish community leaders, to bring this about. Will Justin Trudeau clamber aboard Ambassador Ódor’s train, or will he join the growing number of passengers who are wondering what type of ride they are being taken on?

* **

András B. Göllner

A dual Canadian-Hungarian citizen, András B. Göllner is one of the Founders, and International Spokesperson, of the Canadian Hungarian Democratic Charter. With a Ph.D in political economy from the London School of Economics and higher degrees in International Relations from Carleton University and Université de Montreal, András B. Göllner is a respected international scholar on Democratic Governance, Political Communications and on a broad range of business and society issues. He is an Emeritus Associate Professor at Montreal’s Concordia University and the author of a number of well-known books and articles on business, politics and international affairs including Social Change and Corporate Strategy. Stamford:IAP, 1983; Public Affairs in Canada. Montreal: IRPP. 1984; and Canada Under Mulroney (ed. with D. Salee), Montreal: Véhicule Press, 1988. He is a frequent speaker at international conferences on both sides of the Atlantic. Following the collapse of communism in Hungary, Dr Göllner played an important role in the broadening of democratic processes in the country of his origin. He coordinated Hungary’s first communications strategy for EU accession, and worked as a strategic communications advisor for various democratically elected governments over the past twenty years in Hungary. He lives in Montreal.

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petofi
Guest

I went to Carleton in the early ’70s.
It was a day camp, full of soapbox hippies. Reading texts and engaging in learned discussion was frowned on by the long-haired unwashed. No good could be had from anyone over 30–so the hippies insisted. There was only one respectable department–that of History. But I guess the department of Journalism was ok, too. The rest were, what we used to call, ‘mickey mouse’.

Touting a degree from Carleton was hardly a wise thing to do…

András B. Göllner
Guest

Don’t be so hard on yourself Petőfi 🙂

petofi
Guest

@Andras,

Anyone who escaped Hungary in 1956 and returns in time for the Orban travesty deserves a lot of ‘hard’. And would you believe this: I told friends in Toronto that, ‘the past is the past…the Hungarians weren’t personally bad to ME’. Famous last words.

I am disgusted that for all my reading of Plato, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Lincoln, Emerson…and the like, I should end up in the mud, filth and depravity that is Hungary.

Eliezer
Guest

Dr. András B. Göllner starts with the quote from Victor Orban:
“Don’t listen to what I say, but watch what I do!”

Maybe the same logic should be applied to Horthy who, in spite of his rhetoric, save almost all Jewry of Budapest – 200-250 thsd. – much more than anybody else during the Holocaust? See my article in 2 parts in “Hungary today” titled “HOW “ANTI-SEMITE” MIKLÓS HORTHY SAVED THE JEWS OF BUDAPEST” on:

http://hungarytoday.hu/news/dr-eliezer-m-rabinovich-anti-semite-miklos-horthy-saved-jews-budapest-part-71369

http://hungarytoday.hu/news/dr-eliezer-m-rabinovich-anti-semite-miklos-horthy-saved-jews-budapest-part-ii-47306

webber
Guest
Dr. Eliezer – sure. Laudable. Though I can’t help recalling the fact that by that time EVERYONE saw that Germany was going to lose the war. What did Horthy do for the rest of Hungary’s Jews? All those not fortunate to be living in the capital? Hmmm? How many survived? Do you know? You ought to. How many were killed, and when? Again, what did Horthy do for them? If you don’t know, you don’t have to leave Budapest to find what happened, dear Dr. Eliezer. The next time you visit the town (if you do not live there), I suggest you take a ride on the blue metro line to Kispest, a neighborhood that was not yet part of Budapest during WWII. Take a tram (no. 42) from Határ út to the stop they call “Templom tér” (Church square). Look around. It’s rather pretty. You will see two Catholic churches, a Calvinist and a Lutheran church. Look for the synagogue. There isn’t one. Then visit the SzTK – the clinic there (the only ugly building). Go around the side of the clinic, and enter the courtyard where ambulances park. Look at the walls of the clinic . If you… Read more »
petofi
Guest

@Eliezer

Just explain one thing to me: when the nazis asked Hungary to send 100,000 jews to Auschwitz in 1944…how come the Hungarians sent 400,000?

Latefor
Guest

Petofi – “how come the Hungarians sent 400,000?”
How about asking the Israelis re: Rudolph Kastner? Why was he executed by the Israelis? Wasn’t he accused of NOT warning the Jewish people who couldn’t afford to buy their way to Switzerland? (see Kastner Train)

Guest
@Latefor November 28, 2015 at 7:39 am What the hell are you talking about? Kastner wasn’t “executed” by “Israelis”. He was shot and wounded by an embittered ex-Hungarian Israeli Jew, who accused Kastner, along with the rest of the wartime Jewish leadership, with covering up the truth about Auschwitz in particular, and of the Final Solution in general.. He was wrong in shooting and wounding Kastner, who died of the wounds some days later, but right about just about everything else, although by mid-1943 one could hardly speak of a cover-up, since by then many among Budapest Jewry were already perfectly well aware of the fate of Polish Jewry, the death camps in the Bloodlands of the East, and even of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, just that they kept deluding themselves that “it could not happen in Hungary, because His Excellency, the Regent Horthy will not let that happen in Hungary, ” mostly perhaps because it was a straw to clutch in an otherwise hopeless situation. The Kastner train was a desperate last minute move by desperate people trying to buy their way out of deep, deep shit, however ethically disgusting that exercise may otherwise have been. But tell me,… Read more »
Latefor
Guest
Mike Balint – “What the hell are you talking?” What the hell am I talking about? You say that the Budapest Jews knew of the faith of the Polish Jewry. In this case, why didn’t they warn the 400,000 plus Jews who lived in the country towns/villages? Those poor people should’ve been given an opportunity to make a decision to organize themselves or maybe to fled the country? You say: “The Kastner train was a desperate last minute move by desperate people trying to buy their way out of deep, deep shit, however ethically disgusting that exercise may otherwise have been.” Kastler saved over 1500 people. It was war time. People did what they could to save themselves. To them, he was a hero. You also say: the Hungarians “eagerly and hungrily pounce upon the “abandoned” Jewish goods and property that they promptly made their own.” This was war time, for goodness sake! Those people must have been starving and poor. Maybe they had to survive somehow, “however ethically disgusting that exercise may otherwise have been.” As for today, I do not believe that this ongoing blaming game really helps the Hungarian people, Jews and Christians alike. It only creates… Read more »
Guest
@Latefor November 28, 2015 at 5:05 pm Let me start with your last point. Genuine reconciliation can only occur if there is evidence of genuine contrition and remorse on the part of the Hungarian Nation for what they did to their Jewish citizens during the Hungarian Holocaust. As of now, no such evidence exists. Instead, the disingenuous official “apologies” are accompanied by disgusting attempts to whitewash a shameful national history through denying, twisting and fudging away what actually happened. As for instance blaming the Germans and conflating military losses with the mass murder of Jewish citizens. The disingenuous official “apologies” also go hand in glove with the full rehabilitation of notorious antisemites like Prohászka, Tormay, Nyirő, Wass or Hóman, and incorporation of their works in school curricula. Not exactly evidence of genuine contrition and remorse. And parallel to the disingenuous official “apologies”, there are also the virulent antisemitic public comments in media controlled by Fidesz cronies. Not to mention the virulent antisemitism of Jobbik and the vicious grassroots antisemitism on the Hungarian street. Under these conditions how exactly would you go about a genuine reconciliation? As to your second last point, the mass looting of Jewish household goods and the… Read more »
webber
Guest

Mike (and Latefor)
I would only add to what Mike said that it is not right for the descendants of the perpetrators to say “That was enough, we don’t want to hear any more about that topic.”
It is even worse if they claim raising the topic is in some way hatred against THEM.

If, for example, Serbs said “We’ve heard quite enough about the murder of Hungarians in Vojvodina at the end of WWII. Hungarians should shut up about that now. Hungarians who want to talk about that are just denigrating the Serbian nation and should be warned that a reaction will come..” Well, how would Hungarians feel if Serbs said that?
Justifiably outraged, right? Like Serbs are threatening the Hungarian minority in Vojvodina with reprisals, right?

If American Indians are told genocide against them is just “not relevant any more”, how do you think they feel?

So, Latefor, how do you think Hungarian Jews feel when someone tells them they are spreading hatred and are making relations with Christian Hungarians worse simply by talking about the details of the Holocaust and what so many Christian Hungarians did then?

Latefor
Guest
Mike & Webber – By the looks of it, non-Jewish Hungarians of today- someone like me for instance – is looked upon by you as a “descendant of perpetrators”, even though my family had nothing to do with the war and all the atrocities? Just put yourself in my shoes for one minute: how would that make you feel, if you would be bombarded with these accusations on a daily bases? You would feel like sh*t and I’m sure most Hungarians feel this way. I do NOT want to feel permanently guilty of something I did NOT do! By all means, start a dialogue with the government, ask them in point form what you expect from them re: teachings of future generations etc. etc. Let the historians to deal with the past. Have an open debate with the government of the day, not an ongoing Hungarian belting in the media. Re: American Indians – I do not see them belting the American people of today on a daily bases. Also, I do not see the surviving Jewish people accusing the American people of today with inhumanity for refusing entry and not accepting thousands of Holocaust survivors (arriving by ships to… Read more »
Zorgas
Guest
@Latefor It is especially those who thought that, as they stood idly by with their heads turned away, they had nothing to do with the murder of their neighbors and pillaging of their homes, that bear responsibility for enabling the atrocities to happen. And in many ways they are also responsible for the callousness and ignorance of their children and grandchildren who can’t even conceive of probing their parents or grandparents with a serious question about what they did during the war. The current government has in fact offered several apologies for a state co-opted by Nazi ideology that did not protect its citizens. Yet while the Orban government has shown an occasional willingness to apologize for the inhuman actions of the Horthy government, it has rarely acknowledged that the stain is not just on the government, but on the soul of the Hungarian nation, on the everyday citizens who betrayed their neighbors or simply did nothing. Oddly enough, it was actually Viktor Orban who finally acknowledged that ordinary Hungarians are responsible for what happened. Speaking in January this year at a memorial in a Jewish cemetery in Budapest on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz camp,… Read more »
Latefor
Guest

Zorgas – I do not know what to make out of your comment. According to you, the Orban Government apologized for the sins of those, who committed atrocities and Orban apologized for those, who did not do enough. According to others, the Hungarian Government did NOT apologize. Frankly, what else can we do?
I feel like some of you are messing with our heads here.

You say: “But back to your family that “had nothing to do with the war and all the atrocities…..The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has an excellent exhibit called “Some Were Neighbors: Collaboration and Complicity in the Holocaust” where it puts the role of those who stood by with their heads turned away under the spotlight and shows their culpability.”

Firstly, my grandparents lived at the end of the village, next to a small forest. They had NO neighbors, they were dirt poor and lived in isolation, trying to survive the best they could, working extremely hard on their farm. And I’m sure, if they could’ve helped some Jewish/Hungarians in need, they would’ve. God bless their memory.

Guest
@Latefor November 29, 2015 at 8:49 pm Again, I repeat, the issue is not “apologies”, and never mind that most of those official Hungarian “apologies” are quite insincere and disingenuous, in that one thing is being said from one corner of the mouth, and the opposite being said from the other corner, or being physically done in actuality. As I said before, there can be no genuine reconciliation without genuine contrition and remorse, and without admitting to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the mass murder of Hungarian Jews (and any Hungarian today who refuses to do so in effect becomes an accomplice of the perpetrators, whether descended from them or not). And here we are only talking about “official” reconciliation, of course, and never mind any possibility of reconciliation at the level of the great unwashed on the viciously antisemitic Hungarian street. In so far as any genuine “official” reconciliation is concerned, how do you imagine that to actually happen in the presence of institutionalized whitewashing and lying about a shameful history (the Veritas Institute was expressly set up for this purpose); in the presence, furthermore, of having erected a prominent statue in Budapest… Read more »
Tyrker
Guest

@petofi

Eichmann himself explicitly stated in his Life magazine interview that “In Hungary my basic orders were to ship all Jews out of the country in as short a time as possible.” So it’s not like the nazis asked Hungary to send 100,000 jews to Auschwitz but they ended up sending 400,000+. Himmler wanted Eichmann to clear the country of Jews completely.

Guest

Ah, Tyrker is a real Hungarian!

It’s always someone else’s fault – we only followed orders …

Tyrker
Guest

You evidently don’t understand. “Petofi” came up with this total nonsense about the Nazis only wanting Hungary to send 100,000 Jews to Auschwitz and the Hungarians “overachieving” this by sending more than 400,000. To this I replied that Eichmann’s goal – as set by Himmler – has always been to completely purge Hungary of Jews. The figure “petofi” quoted is utter nonsense. This has nothing to do with what you are trying to imply.

Guest

Tryker?

It wasn’t the number Eichmann was having difficulty with – it was the speed and expedition of the Jews being supplied by the Hungarians that he had to slow down.

The Hungarians were keen to ransack their houses so wanted Eichmann to get them on the trains.

Tyrker
Guest

That’s more like it but this wasn’t what “petofi” said. He claimed that “the nazis asked Hungary to send 100,000 jews to Auschwitz in 1944,” which is quite simply not true. And this was my point. The Nazis wanted to deport the entire Hungarian Jewry.

Guest

Yeah, just like Orbán wants to deport all refugees/immigrants – no we won’t have any!
Don’t you see the similarity – or maybe you agree with the little fascist?
You sound very strange sometimes – just like the Fiddik/Jobbik loonies on pol.hu …

Tyrker
Guest

You are trying to read things into my comments that aren’t there. Again, I merely corrected a factual mistake in one of petofi’s comments. Namely, the assertion that “the Nazis asked Hungary to send 100,000 Jews to Auschwitz in 1944.” In reality, they did not specify a number. It’s not like they needed 100,000 Jews from Hungary for a specific purpose. They wanted to exterminate them all.

Guest
@Eliezer November 28, 2015 at 12:13 am You are spouting utter nonsense. Budapest Jews were saved by three things: 1. The first of these was the close military alliance with Germany, mandated above all by the perceived desperate imperative of holding onto parts of historic Hungary recovered thanks to German pressure on neighbouring countries, AND the German trust in the depth of Hungarian hatred of Jews, as reflected by the ruthless prosecution of Hungary’s own Nurenberg laws (the Hungarian Jew Laws), which – together with considerations of the economic importance of the Jews to Hungary’s war effort – delayed the onset of the mass murder of the bulk of Hungarian Jewry until the last year of the war. The fact that the onset of mass liquidations was delayed until 1944 was an unintended consequence of Hungary’s war strategy, and not the result of any “protectiveness” towards its Jews. However, even before that last year of the war, as the leader of Hungary, Horthy was also personally responsible for the 1941 massacre of twenty thousand Hungarian Jews in Kamanets-Podolsk, the massacre of the thousand or so Jewish victims of the 1942 Novi Sad bloodletting (Újvidéki vérengzés), and from the start of… Read more »
Guest

Eliezer, do you have children or grandchildren?

Then I propose to kill all of them – but I’ll let the youngest one or two live …

You’ll be eternally grateful to me, won’t you?

Eliezer
Guest
wolfi November 28, 2015 at 4:56 am Eliezer, do you have children or grandchildren? Then I propose to kill all of them – but I’ll let the youngest one or two live … You’ll be eternally grateful to me, won’t you? The majority of you here on this site have no slightest knowledge of your own history, but you are acting only on the ideology and hatred instead of real discussion and search for reconciliation. To reply to this bullshit is insulting for an intellectual. Still, your suggestion about my family is so outrageous that I will reply. Let us assume Horthy resigned on March 20, 1944, as Kallay firmly advised him. Imredy or Szálasi would be put in his seat (Imredy, most probably). First, can you imagine them not obeying the Germans and preventing 437 thsd. Jews from deportation between May 14 and July 7th? Yes or no, Wolfi? Unlikely you may answer “no”. So how can you blame personally Horthy for these 437 thsd.? Second, can you imagine Imredy or Szálasi would stop deportation on July 4-7? Yes or no, Wolfi? Unlikely you may answer “yes”. So how can you fail to credit Horthy for the largest rescue… Read more »
Guest

I’m not going to answer your rantings – just remember:
Horthy had those “Jewish laws” already in 1920 …
And the killings started in 1941 – or earlier.

Eliezer
Guest

I’m not going to answer your rantings

Because you have nothing to answer – that’s the way how you, the leftists, are now operating.

webber
Guest

Eliezer, I wish you would consider my comments – above and below – in reaction to your statements and (in my view) ill considered articles on the topic of Horthy’s responsibility (yes, I’ve seen what you’ve written).

I wrote notes to you here in reaction to your arguments, and have said nothing personal at all. I hoped to open your eyes a bit, not to offend.

On that tone, please don’t even begin to call me a “leftist” or any other “ist” that may come to your mind when you read my comments, because there is no political leaning underlying them.

Incidentally, you are not the only one here with letters before his or her name, a list of publications, and the occasional public speaking engagement, so let’s just stick with the topic at hand instead of engaging in a kinek áll feljebb business.

Eliezer
Guest
webber November 28, 2015 at 6:41 pm On that tone, please don’t even begin to call me a “leftist” or any other “ist” that may come to your mind when you read my comments, >because there is no political leaning underlying them. Webber, I replied to Wolfi and not to you, are you and he the same person? I am well aware of the practically unanimous disagreement with me on this site, but after I spent couple years of my life on this topic and have written couple hundred pages on it (mainly in Russian – a book is now in printing, but a lot in English as well and you say you read my articles in English) I am rather confident that 200-250 thsd Jews – more than a million together with their descendants by now – are alive because of Horthy’s actions. I asked Wolfi a rather simple question, but he preferred to define my words as “ranting” and has not answered. May be you want to answer? – I repeat: Let us assume Horthy resigned on March 20, 1944, as Kallay firmly advised him. Imredy or Szálasi would be put in his seat (Imredy, most probably). First,… Read more »
webber
Guest
Eliezer, I will repeat, too, because apparently you still have not read my argument to you (below): Horthy knew precisely what happened to the Jews expelled to Kamenets-Podolski. Reports were sent back to Budapest informing authorities precisely what the Germans had done with those Jews in 1941. If you don’t know the literature which provides primary sources giving evidence of that, I can inform you of it (some is rather new), but I will assume you know it. The most important stuff is in Hungarian, but I also assume your read Hungarian. After being informed of what happened to Jews in Kamenets-Podolski, there is no way that Horthy could have thought that the Jews expelled in 1944 were going to survive. Moreover, the fact that Horthy was able to stop the deportation of Jews from Budapest demonstrates something other than his supposed humanity: it demonstrates that he might also have stopped the deportation of Jews from the rest of Hungary. (who here has argued Horthy should have resigned? Did someone? Or is that a straw man argument?) Now, I hope what you wrote above you do not want to imply that stopping deportation would have brought Szálasi to power earlier… Read more »
Letterman
Guest

@Eliezer…

“A person can be considered for the title of “Righteous Among the Nations” when the data on hand based on survivor testimony or other documentation, clearly demonstrates that a non-Jewish person risked his or her life, freedom, and safety, in order to rescue one or several Jews from the threat of death or deportation without exacting monetary compensation or other rewards” (excerpt from the Yad Vashem website)

Your research may qualify Horthy to be recognized by Yad Vashem as a Righteous among the Nations. Why not submit an application on his behalf? It can be done online at http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/righteous/how_to_apply.asp

webber
Guest

Pardon? (were you being sarcastic? If so, apologies for this)
When did Horthy risk his life, freedom or safety to save Jews?
He was deposed not because he stopped the deportations, but because he tried to make peace with the Soviets behind the Germans’ backs.

Bulgaria, also, stopped the transport of Jews, and NOTHING happened to that government as a result. It was not a reason for the Germans to depose anyone. By contrast, making peace with the Soviets was.

Eliezer
Guest
Letterman commented on András Göllner: Is Hungary taking Canada’s Jews for a ride?. Eliezer… Your research may qualify Horthy to be recognized by Yad Vashem as a Righteous among the Nations. Why not submit an application on his behalf? It can be done online at http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/righteous/how_to_apply.asp Mr. Letterman, I apologize for seeing your first comment as a mocking joke because otherwise you are the first person on this site who takes my publications positively (maybe Mr. Latefor as well). Still, my answer will be the same: it is not up to me. It is a task for a reconciled Hungarian nation, if such reconciliation ever comes. My greatest ambition is that my writings would become a small atom in the process of this reconciliation, and if it comes and my contribution would be completely forgotten, I would still feel happy. Presently it is not in sight. My 29 January talk in Budapest I finished with the following words: “Admiral Miklos Horthy was not an ideal ruler, but I hope that a day will come when your country recognizes him as one of her great statesmen. Saving of nearly a quarter million of Jews would be considered as a major contributor… Read more »
webber
Guest

Piffle – utter piffle.

Nothing happened to a single soul the Bulgarian government, which did not re-start the shipment of Jews to Germany even after King Boris’s death (heart attack – because of poison? Nobody knows. If poison, who administered it? Nobody knows.). Bulgarian Jews were, largely, saved, and Germany did nothing, did not occupy Bulgaria – nothing.

Nobody did a thing to Horthy because he saved Budapest’s Jews.

Instead, before he made the decision to save them he was informed that he would probably be considered a war criminal if he did not stop their deportation.

After he stopped their deportation, nothing happened to him.

He was detained (kidnapped) and taken to Germany only after the Germans learned he had tried to establish an armistice with the Soviet Union behind their backs.

Again, my admiration of that act is ameliorated by the knowledge that by that time EVERYBODY knew in Hungary and throughout the world that the Germans were going to lose the war.

The shame of Hungary’s treatment of Jews before he stopped the deportation of Budapest’s Jews is all Horthy’s.

Eliezer
Guest

Read, no further comments.

Guest
How selective can you be? And continue to be? Horthy created the antisemitic conditions over many preceding years before the Holocaust. He only delayed the order to send the trains to Auschwitz – which he eventually signed- because of Churchill’s threat to bomb Hungary. Bombs which did eventually arrive and killed 3000 in Gyor – at the Raba factory – which built Messerschmitts for Hitler. He was so ashamed of his role that he couldn’t live in Hungary and cleared off to Portugal. It was the American ambassador Montgomery who saved his skin – and Montgomery was ignorant of Horthy’s role – he ended his stint in Budapest in 1941. As the Jews were ghettoised in Budapest in the Yellow Houses their original abodes were looted by the Hungarians – thieves. One account tells of a woman who was so fearful of being in the ghetto that she sneaked back to her flat – after begging the concierge for the key. Whilst doing so she spied her beloved accordion on his hall table. They couldn’t wait for the rice to get cold – before looters moved in. I refuse to buy any antiques in Budapest’s flea markets because of the… Read more »
webber
Guest

Charlie
I am not a defender of Horthy as you can see from my comments elsewhere here, but something you wrote above isn’t quite right.
Horthy “cleared off to Portugal” not out of shame (he had none), but because he would have been tried and quite possibly executed if he had returned to communist Hungary.
And he did not leave Hungary voluntarily. He was arrested by the Germans on 15 Oct. 1944, not long after he told his government that he had agreed to an armistice with the Soviet Union. Two days later he was taken to Germany and kept in house arrest. He was eventually found, and re-arrested by American troops in Germany.
He was held in American custody for a time after WWII, in part while the allies decided whether he was guilty of war crimes (they decided no), and in part to testify on what he knew at Nuremberg.
The governments off Hungary and Yugoslavia asked that he be sent to face charges for war crimes, but the allies declined to send him to face a communist show trial, and so he eventually ended up in Portugal.

webber
Guest
András Göllner I suggest you write directly to Szakály telling him your relation to “Vitéz Nemerey Márton,” and when you believe your Godfather died and why you believe so. You could refer to the article and simply ask Szakály why he thinks Nemerey died so many years later. I suggest this because I have corresponded with Szakály and while I very strongly disagreed with him, I found him to be open to rational discussion. He will certainly be interested in revising a date if he got something wrong, as he is known to be a stickler for dates and ranks Also, am certain that you will be interested if he can provide you with definitive proof that your Godfather was still alive when your family said he was long dead. What you wrote reminded me of another case: That of General Mladic, who was wanted for so long by the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague. Mladic had been missing for so long that his relatives tried to have him declared dead (this is possible in Serbian law – missing persons can be declared dead after a certain time, even without proof). Not long after, Mladic was found living… Read more »
webber
Guest

For Eliezer, and those who believe Horthy was not a murderous anti-Semite:
Horthy knew precisely what happened to the Jews expelled to Kamenets-Podolski. Reports were sent back to Budapest informing authorities precisely what the Germans had done with those Jews in 1941.
There is no way that Horthy could have thought that the Jews expelled in 1944 were going to survive.
Moreover, the fact that Horthy was able to stop the deportation of Jews from Budapest demonstrates something other than his supposed humanity: it demonstrates that he might also have stopped the deportation of Jews from the rest of Hungary.

András B. Göllner
Guest

@weber

I wrote to Mr Szakály as soon as I read his account of Vitéz Nemerey. But that’s another story

webber
Guest

That’s a story I’d like to hear!

Guest

What an essay. I will be mining this one for a bit. There’s so much in it regarding moral and spiritual strains in Hungary throughout the decades and in the modern day. I’m pretty sure the colloquialism, ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions’ came from arguably the spiritual ‘travels’ of the greatest poet of all time.

You know it would appear that the steps Dante trod in his quest to take humanity from misery to happiness in Christ were done in ‘evil soil’ analogous to the ground of Hungary today. And it is from that environment that the society and individuals operate from. How could anything wholesome grow from that poison?

With Hungary today it is almost as if ‘art’ is life where Orban and the government act as a ‘Lucifer’ rather than the ‘Christ’ of a supposed Christian nation. And further not as a ‘Light Bearer’ but a source of Stygian darkness enveloping the land.

Thank you Mr. Gollner for your powerful words. Not enough space here for me to go on and about here.

bimbi
Guest

Thank you Dr. Gőllner for this well-written and clearly stated piece on the cult of Horthy now so ardently perpetuated and propagated by the Orban government. For those living in Hungary today the lies, deception and corruption of this government are deeply depressing, especially when it is clear how much revisionist history can successfully be sold by Orban in the USA, Canada and elsewhere – as they say in the States, “Your tax dollars at work”. This article makes me glad to have stood in protest before Orban’s Monument to the Hungarian Collaborators that stands in Szabadsag ter in Budapest. Shame, shame shame.

Karl Pfeifer
Guest

Thank you András Göllner for this excellent and very personal essay. I recommend also to read Randolph Brahams essay.

http://www.ushmm.org/m/pdfs/20140318-Holocaust-in-Hungary-Braham-Assault-on-Historical-Memory.pdf

Karl Pfeifer
Guest

Here you find Ottokar Prohaszka “Die Judenfrage in Ungarn” published already in 1920 with a swastika:
http://mtdaportal.extra.hu/books/prohaszka_ottokar_judenfrage_im_ungarn.pdf

He published this pamphlet already in 1919 in the Vienna antisemitic-catholic “Das Neue Reich”

zorgas
Guest
As others have written, this is a very powerful and heartfelt piece, Dr. Gőllner about a regime that has seduced and betrayed so many. Hungarian political insiders like Bálint Magyar and József Debreczeni have written extensively about the systemic corruption that Fidesz has introduced into Hungarian governance, a point reiterated recently by the American ambassador, but what you touch on is a different type of systemic corruption — a systemic corruption of history, society and ideology. The Fidesz-Jobbik coalition is not just “whitewashing” Hungarian history to remove the unsightly stains from the Hungarian soul, it is creating a new national identity, incorporating shamanism and a mythical ethnic cultural purity, with a fictitious history that defies reason. Learning from the Nazi “big lie” technique of lying through their teeth, while calling their opponents liars. For example, one could imagine Fidesz Propaganda Minister Habony touting the Goebbels quote “The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous” substituting any or all of Hungary’s many critics, while at the same time creating school curriculum that supports the Turanism myth in the same way… Read more »
Guest

@zorgas
November 28, 2015 at 12:36 pm

I think that you miss Göllner’s point on “affinity fraud”.

The kind of affinity fraud referred to by Göllner applies strictly and only in the Canadian context relative to some prominent Hungarian-Canadian Jews and most Hungarian-Canadian ex-fascists and nazis resonating alike (each for his or her own particular reason) to the Orbanite siren songs emanating from the Hungarian Embassy in Ottawa, which the Embassy then promptly exploits to benefit its propaganda war on behalf of the Orbanite regime in Budapest.

The same old bolshevik agitprop strategy of “useful idiots” and “fellow travellers”.

zorgas
Guest

@Mike Balint, yes, in that case, I can agree. When speaking about Hungary’s ambassadors and their relationship to ethnic Hungarians abroad, they do engage in affinity fraud…. seeking to make it appear that they share the same values.

I had understood this to also be reflective of domestic Hungarian politics, where Hungary appears to be distancing itself from shared values and norms.

Guest

András Göllner

Wow! What a fabulous piece of writing! Cogent, incisive, comprehensive and crystal clear in all the points made. A veritable Hungarian J’accuse!

Hűha, hűha, ez aztán valami!

Thank you so much for writing it, and great thanks to Professor Balogh too, for also publishing it in Hungarian Spectrum, so non-Canadians world-wide can also have the benefit of Professor Göllner’s thoughts on Orbanite Hungary’s absurd attempts at whitewashing their nation’s shameful role in the Hungarian Holocaust.

poiuztrdcfghjbvbnmmmnbvfdsrtzuikjh
Guest
poiuztrdcfghjbvbnmmmnbvfdsrtzuikjh

There is nothing easier in the world than to fool clueless, rich, well-fed people living in the West.

Tell them you are a “Christian, anti-gay politician” and the Tea Party lot will adore you.

It’s simple as that.

I guess in Canada the tricks work even better as people are even more naive and so are no match for cynical and corrupt people like Orban or Putin. I guess Orban will also say in Canada how much he hates Islam and wants to protect Jews.

Move on, there’s nothing to see here. Just the usual trickery.

Nice try, but Orban will win. He coopted Jewish Hungarians in no time and he will do so with the Canadian Jews too.

webber
Guest

“Orban will win. He coopted Jewish Hungarians…”
Aha. Not the Jewish Hungarians I know, he didn’t.
What will Orban win, by the way? I’m curious. He just keeps losing in European courts – case after case.
He backed Blue Stream; that’s dead.
He’s backing Paks. That’s in trouble in Brussels.
Where are his great successes abroad, pray tell?
What I see is Orban more isolated than ever (except for among European neo-nazis – people who never win elections anyway)

So, where are the great foreign success stories? Where are the victories?

spectator
Guest

Just for your enlightenment, little darlings out there, the technique well known and used, with amazing results. It’s all about communication, you see.

At the main time you may wish to indulge little bit deeper, and read the book of – surprise, surprise, Hungarian origin – Christopher Hadnagy, the title is “Social Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking”
You may even concentrate on the principles, how it essentially done, and you may find plenty of parallels to how the orbanisation of Hungary happened and still going on.

There is/was(?) antidote, you see, but unfortunately not in the possession of the self indulged wannabe parties – and there isn’t any other one..!

So, here we go, boys and girls, the suckers ruling, while the rest fighting amongst themselves.

Just what we deserve..!

petofi
Guest

“Just what we deserve…”

Yes, indeed, it appears to me with the passage of ‘Orban time’ that this travesty of government; this pollution of standard human virtues of decency and integrity…is exactly what Hungarians have deserved as a consequence of their own behaviour, and the values that they have sold out a long time ago.

If it weren’t for the awful tragedy that this will inevitably end, one could even enjoy the irony of it all.

tappanch
Guest

Q: Who saved the Budapest Jews from deportation?
A: The Romanians.

When they switched sides on August 23, Himmler personally ordered a halt to the deportation of the Budapest Jews that was planned for August 25, 1944.

Attention: Horthy was still in power at that time; the deportation would have taken place with the agreement of the Hungarian government.

Source: search Hungarian Spectrum for this topic and tappanch. I quoted the documents previously.

petofi
Guest

It is arguable that no European country had acted as shamefully as Hungary towards its jews. And yet, Hungary is one of only two countries (I think the other is Austria) that has yet to apologize to its jews (or, Israelites!). Naturally, the Austrians had made good use of jews too–my mother was a slave laborer on a mayor’s farm before being sent on a rest cure to Auschwitz. Thanks to the benevolent Horthy, who had the thoughtfullness to overpack trains beyond the capacity of Auschwitz processing, my mother was sent on to Bergen Belsen. But even the Austrians were not possessed of the wholesale gruesome greed of the Magyars in packing off their jews.

But I understand: no apologies are possible; and the shame is a stain on the soul of every Hungarian, fated to never disappear. Let that explain the lingering sense of inferiority of every Hungarian.

Eliezer
Guest
petofi commented on András Göllner: Is Hungary taking Canada’s Jews for a ride?. It is arguable that no European country had acted as shamefully as Hungary towards jews. Worse than Poland, Austria, Romania, Croatia, Germany (at last)? And yet, Hungary is one of only two countries (I think the other is Austria) that has yet to apologize to its jews (or, Israelites!). Why, guys, you so hateful to the truth? Has yet to apologize? Hungary’s UN ambassador Csaba Korosi said on Thursday Jan. 23, 2014: “We owe an apology to the victims because the Hungarian state was guilty for the Holocaust. Firstly because it failed to protect its citizens from destruction and secondly because it helped and provided financial resources to the mass murder” Korosi told the press conference in the UN headquarters in New York at the opening event of a series dedicated to the Holocaust. “Hungarian state institutions at the time [shared responsibility] for the Holocaust. This apology today by the Hungarian state must become part of national memory and identity,” he added in his speech. He also outlined the planned Holocaust memorial events in Hungary during the 2014 memorial year, highlighting rescuers and child victims. Full text… Read more »
petofi
Guest

Eliezer (which I’m sure is not your real name…)

You display an expertise in misdirection.

Have you ever seen a member of the Hungarian government (with the exception of Gyula Horn who himself was jewish) clearly apologize to the jews of Hungary…AT A HUNGARIAN VENUE, for the role of the Hungarian government in the holocaust of Hungarian jews?

To whit: an apology on Hungarian land; to Hungarians…which would be carried by Hungarian media countrywide…?

Huh, Eliezer/Vladimir?

Eliezer
Guest

I’ve just gave you an example, Mr. or Ms., whose name probably “petofi”, if it is your real name.

webber
Guest

Petofi
I agree that Eliezer is side-stepping issues and raising straw-man arguments (about Horthy – on your comment, he did send you a quote and link – Ader also apologized, btw). But Eliezer is his real name, and he is not hiding anything. Above he posted links to articles on a pro-Hun. govt. site (Hungary Today) with his biography.

His bio states:

“Eliezer M. Rabinovich was born in Moscow, Russia, in 1937. He graduated from the Moscow Institute of Chemical Technology named after D.I. Mendeleev and now lives in the United States.”

The bio also lists publications by Dr. Rabinovich, and this I will not cut and paste here because it seems irrelevant (many here have published more solely in proper academic journals).

Again, Dr. Rabinovich has not responded to my or others’ cogent criticism of his ideas above. He has only reacted to Wolfi. Why, I do not know. I assumed he spoke Hungarian. It is always a mistake to assume. My guess now is that he does not – but I do not know.

Guest
@Eliezer November 28, 2015 at 9:47 pm Rabinovich, you are so full of crap and bull. Yeah, endless disingenuous “apologies” abroad and in parliament for “shared responsibility” [sic!] for the Holocaust, while doing their best to institutionally whitewash a shameful history through denial, twisting and fudging away what actually happened, blaming the Germans and conflating military losses in a war they started with the mass murder of their Jews. As to Horthy, that gentleman was the boss, the executive director of Hungary incorporated, and as such, he was totally responsible for whatever happened there on his watch. The fact that a third of Hungary’s wartime Jewish population actually survived was an accidental by-product of a number of strategic and logistical factors relating to Hungary’s war effort as a loyal ally of the German Reich, plus intervention by the Allies to stop the deportations, and had absolutely nothing to do with any particular intention on the part of the Horthy to save “his” Jews. It is also useless and pointless appealing to straw men and counterfactuals, such as “what if” instead of Horthy somebody worse would have taken his place. Useless because it did not happen: Horthy did not resign as… Read more »
Guest

The word “Thug” comes from the Indian word “Thuggee”. These original thugs operated in groups along roads and highways, and would gain the confidence of fellow travellers, as kindred spirits.

When they had their full trust, the thugs would then strangle their trusting and unsuspecting victims either with a rope or a handkerchief before robbing them and burying their bodies.

They were professional Affinity Frauds, and were eventually wiped out by a British Governor-General of India, as recently as the 1830’s.

Orbán and the Fidesz government has a unique way of strangling their prey – financially, and also by threatening their opponents and critic’s lives. So what we have, in effect, is a gang of Thugs ruling over Hungary.

András B. Göllner
Guest
@Elizier The truth does not emerge from the length of time we put into its pursuit but from the methods we use to discover it. Many a scientist spent an entire lifetime proving that the sun revolves around the earth. We know better. Please do not try to use as your defense the number of your publications or the length of time you put into the task. Serious people now-days aren’t impressed by these appeals. Empirical varification should be your aim – not time spent at the grindstone. As for the Orbán regime’s apology – why not check out Monty Python? Monday in New York we apologize for the murders and Tuesday we raise a statue honouring the murderers in Budapest ? Da ? Nyet ? What have you to say about the new statue being erected in memory of Bálint Hóman in Székesfehérvár ? Nothing ? It’s only a flesh wound ? @ Mike Balint and @zorgas Thank you for clarifying matters for zorgas. The Orbán government uses many tools to get its way, many ways to manufacture consent. Affinity fraud is but one, albeit, important tool in the cupboard. This is the weapon it uses to get close… Read more »
Letterman
Guest

@eliezer

Your research shows Horthy is Righteous among the Nations. Why not submit his name to Yad Vashem? They have online form http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/righteous/how_to_apply.asp

Letterman
Guest

@eliezer

Your research shows Horthy is one of the Righteous among the Nations. Why not submit his name to Yad Vashem? They have an online form http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/righteous/how_to_apply.asp

Eliezer
Guest
It will never be seriously considered because the field is dominated by the left, and Horthy will never be forgiven by the left for Bela Kuhn and for his rabid anticommunism – the conviction that I share completely. Besides, it may be done only after and if any kind of consensus is achieved between the Christian and Jewish communities of Hungary. I see no real discussion and no reconciliation in sight, taking into account so hostile environment of this site not to me alone but to the entire Hungarian nation. Ant to be honest – Horthy is the very minor problem, if we consider the left’s domination in the entire present Western intellectual world and the academia. In my view this left, having no intellectual honesty but possessing inferior capacity to the logical thinking, has replaced the freedom and free discussion with the “political correctness.” We live in the world where lies, only lies and nothing but lies determine the political and intellectual climate. It leads the West, but Europe first of all, to destruction, in my view. Unimaginable that all this has been happening after the spectacular failure of communism. I absolutely realize that I am in minority. It… Read more »
Latefor
Guest

I do hope that this blog will be saved at the Library of Congress, for future generations.
Common sense? Here? The aim of the commentators in here is: fireworks – NOT logical solutions!

Guest
@Eliezer November 29, 2015 at 9:47 pm Rabinovich, you really are full of it, with all this manic clap-trap about the role of the political left and political correctness in “suppressing” “the truth” about Horthy. As a free market libertarian, I could not be regarded a lefty by any stretch of the imagination, yet I consider your position on Horthy utterly nonsensical. The long and the short of it is that Horthy was the boss, the executive director of Hungary incorporated from 1920 until October 1944, therefore whatever happened on his watch was first and foremost on his head, by definition. Jewish survival in Hungary was an accidental by-product of the strategic and logistical imperatives of the Hungarian war effort, and there is no indication whatsoever that it was in any way due to some special “protectiveness” by Horthy. Furthermore, if you wish to credit Horthy for the survival of a third of the wartime Jewish population of Hungary, then you must also credit Szállasi for the survival of the bulk of Budapest Jewry during his Arrow Cross regime, as a large proportion of Budapest Jews who were alive in October 1944 remained alive, just, through the siege of Budapest… Read more »
Stephen Tree
Guest
Dr. András Göllner dismisses Rudolf Kasztner as a patsy who contacted Eichmann to gain “safe passage to Switzerland for a pre-selected trainload of Hungarian Jews – 1,600 in all – in return for keeping the other 460,000 calm and ignorant of the fate that awaited them.” As the most superficial glance at any historical source would have told him, this is blatantly wrong. Kasztner, second in command of the small and un-influential Zionist group, was not in a position “to keep anybody calm” or, conversely, call the Hungarian Jews to revolt – given that they had a choice, which they, plundered, without means, without support, surrounded by a largely hostile population, their young men taken away to “labor battalions”, had not. The idea of “blood for goods” originated with Heinrich Himmler and not with his subordinate Eichmann. Himmler hoped to use the Hungarian Jews as a bargaining chip to reach a separate peace deal with the Americans, and Kasztner joined these negotiations only at a later stage, trying to use the Nazi-fantasies of an all powerful Jewish world conspiracy to stretch them out until the Germans had lost their war. His insistence that the Nazis show they meant business lead… Read more »
Guest

@Stephen Tree
November 29, 2015 at 6:27 pm

You are absolutely right on Kasztner.

(By the way, I think you meant to write Randolph L. Braham above, and not Rudolph Graham.)

Stephen Tree
Guest

Randolph L. Braham, of course.

Zorgas
Guest
@ Latefor To quote John Donne No man is an island, Entire of itself, Every man is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a promontory were. As well as if a manor of thy friend’s Or of thine own were: Any man’s death diminishes me, Because I am involved in mankind, And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee However, that aside, not knowing your parents’ circumstances, I added the caveat that perhaps they were in an isolated cabin someplace…. and it sounds like they were, perhaps with no neighbors around. You put yourself forward though as an example of the typical non-Jewish Hungarian of today, which would have meant that, more typically, you and your parents were not living on an isolated farm unaware of what was happening around them. That being said, yes, I do disagree with those who say that the current Hungarian government has not apologized for the Hungarian government having sent its citizens to be murdered —- and they knew that that is what they were doing… Read more »
Latefor
Guest

Zorgas – There is a saying: “it takes two to tango.”

webber
Guest

Latefor: You wrote
“it takes two to tango”
What does this refer to? I hope not the Holocaust. Please clarify.

Guest

@webber
November 30, 2015 at 2:10 am

Latefor has a very Hungarian characteristic: the “it is always somebody else’s fault, by definition” syndrome, which involves, among others, an utter inability to say that yes, I was wrong, or that yes, you were right. :-)))

The syndrome is extremely common in Hungary itself and seems to be a real Hungarikum: I have never ever come across this kind of mind-set in any of my wanderings in Australia, Israel, England, the United States or South East Asia (although I did find that the Russians and the Ukrainians also have quite some mastery of this same gambit).

It seems all about an utter unwillingness and incapacity to take responsibility and be accountable.

Its close relatives are the culture of whinging and whining (panaszkultúra), the syndrome of “let the neighbour’s cow croak” (dögöljön a szomszéd tehene), the habitual lying and malicious backbiting (szokásszerű hazudozás és fúrás), and a general inability to get on with people (összeférhetetlenség).

Ahh, those wonderful, wonderful Hungarikums!

:-)))

Latefor
Guest

Mike – Yes, I do NOT particularly take to negative reinforcements, or shall I say: ongoing psychological torture. It must be frustrating for some of the commentators in here.
Also, most of you on this blog are working extremely hard to destroy the image of the Hungarian nation. (I can already see another statue being erected in the near future.) And the ongoing hate campaign will continue for future generation to come, disrespecting the memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
ACTION – REACTION – ACTION – REACTION
I have nothing more to say.

Eliezer
Guest

Latefor commented on András Göllner: Is Hungary taking Canada’s Jews for a ride?.

in response to Mike Balint:
…most of you on this blog are working extremely hard to destroy the image of the Hungarian nation… And the ongoing hate campaign will continue for future generation to come, disrespecting the memory of the victims of the Holocaust.

I have nothing more to say.

I completely agree.

Latefor
Guest

Thank you, Eliezer

Guest

As usual, you both don’t get it at all!

The image of the Hungarian nation is (or rather has been already …) being destroyed by Orbán and his government’s ideas of “illiberal democracy” and their actions!

But you live far away and don’t (want to) know much about today’s Hungary – often I think that you don’t care at all, like many expats or descendants of expats, you just have an idea of some “Greater Hungary” that never was.
So continue living in that fairy land – and enjoy the good side of the evil Western civilisation …
If I did hate you I’d want you to live here in Hungary for a year – working hard for the pitiful amount of money people earn!

Latefor
Guest

Webber – it refers to the present day soluton.

webber
Guest

Latefor – while I too deplore comments denigrating ALL Hungarians (such comments are ugly and unfair), I do think you ought to consider moving to Hungary to see for yourself (Wolfi’s hint). You seem to support Orban, so moving Hungary should not be a problem for you emotionally.
If, after you live in Hungary for (say) a year you are satisfied, fair enough.

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