Joseph Forgas: The disdainful leader–Planting primitive propaganda in fertile soil

Although Orbán’s communication seems increasingly shrill, much of the government propaganda consciously relies on manipulating the damaged Hungarian national identity. In Hungary future generations will suffer the  psychological consequences of the combatant, anti-Western, hostile public narrative  – says the world-renowned social psychologist  Joseph P. Forgas, in Hungarian Forgács József,  who has for the past five years been studying the Fidesz communication strategy built upon Hungarian national character.

What does Viktor Orbán know or think about the Hungarian people, when he declares war not only on the Western world, but slowly on common sense too?

A nation’s national identity is determined by the history and the culture of its inhabitants, an essential element of which is how we interpret the world and how we see ourselves. The Hungarian national character is in many ways fundamentally distorted and flawed, the causes of which are deeply rooted. For many centuries, Hungarian history consisted of setbacks, defeats, and crushed revolutions. These failures were accompanied by a typical narrative, which, according to social psychology research, is characterized by a marked victim mentality, resignation, self-pity, blaming others and an absence of accepting any responsibility. This pessimistic mental representation is compensated for by an often grandiose, unrealistic and romanticized nation-image, which visualizes a world-beating role for the Hungarians. A typical example is the bizarre system of selecting of “hungaricums”. There is no other country where the national identity is so fragile that it has to be bolstered in such a blatant manner and where an official committee decides that we should be proud of – for example, of a Hungarian salami or sausages, as if such goods did not exist elsewhere. Apparently the Hungarian national character needs such crutches to maintain its brittle self-esteem.

The Fidesz communication in the last five years has manipulated this damaged, self-pitying national identity by using demagogic and populist strategies to create non-existent enemies to blame for every failure. Such strategies can work because of the absence of a sufficiently well-informed and autonomous middle class who see through this. Actually, when Orbán speaks about the middle class, he means something completely different. He seeks to create a clientele dependent on the state, but a real middle class is characterized by independent thinking, by success achieved through individual effort and autonomous thinking and behavior.

To what extent can a defeated nation improve its self-esteem if it demonizes the most unfortunate? While the dead bodies of hundreds of refugees are washed up on the waterfront of Lampedusa, we are consulting with the government whether these asylum seekers are terrorists.

Given that xenophobia, ethnocentrism and mistrust are much stronger in Hungary than in surrounding countries, such dishonest and misleading communication can indeed work here for a while. It is remarkable that the Prime Minister seems to believe that his followers are so unintelligent that even the transparently manipulative intentions of the “national consultation” will go unnoticed. The term “national consultation” is itself a lie. It is not “national”, but party political propaganda at taxpayer’s expense, and not a “consultation” because as a poll it is completely useless. A first-year student would fail if he/she produced such a questionnaire, because this poll doesn’t meet any criteria for a usable survey. Perhaps this may be the point when the remaining Fidesz faithful will slowly realize that they have been cheated and that their leader simply looks down on them.

Isn’t there a risk that the political left will also be forced to embrace the emotional communication, to simplify and aggressively convey their message? Can a sensible and intelligent debate be conducted with so much “noise” around?

I think the Left has to find another way to address voters. There is great need for patriotism and national pride in Hungary given our damaged and insecure sense of national identity, and this can be addressed in more acceptable ways. It is hard to understand why the opposition has completely ceded the concept of patriotism to the Right, they seem scared to speak on this topic. Yet there is scope for a positive, patriotic approach from the opposition, that unlike Orbán, emphasizes our true historical values. One could be justifiably proud of Hungary’s thousand year history as an assimilative, integrative culture absorbing many different groups. Historically, the culture and strength of Hungary have always been enhanced by the assimilation of countless minorities. For example, although our national hero Petőfi had not one drop of ethnic Hungarian blood, he became Hungarian, as did many other great figures of our history. The divisive, ethnocentric politics of Fidesz looks for enemies everywhere, yet our thousand-year history is about exactly the opposite: about the success of inclusion and assimilation as a means to survival.

We lack solidarity not only toward “foreigners”, we are not solidarity with each other. The nurse with the educator, the bank debtor with the students. Is this discord associated with the Hungarian national character, and can it be used or abused respectively?     

A typical feature of successive dictatorships is that they expect their citizens to keep out of public affairs and to show no group solidarity. This has a strong cultural tradition in Hungary, the Kadar regime worked the same way. This is what “we got used to”, the lack of solidarity has become a distinctive Hungarian feature. The results of one of our representative national surveys show that Hungarians see of the world as fundamentally unfair, they are convinced that public life is not worth participating in, that people can have no control over the affairs of the world, and so the suffering of others are none of their concerns.

If we have nothing to do with the western cultures, nor do we care about out compatriots, is it worth opening toward the East, for example, hard-working Chinese man and women?       

The so-called “opening to the east” is an entirely demagogic and doomed conception. Such a romanticized Eastern ‘Turanian’ (ancient totem eagle) nationalism was first invented in the Horthy era and is now revisited. There is no historical basis for this, and, of course, there is no viable eastern alternative either. People in the East would also like to live like the Westerners, they are trying to adapt the successful social and political models created by the Western civilizations. There is simply no viable alternative to Western liberal democracy and the market economy. Western societies are the best place to live in and the world’s richest and most influential countries all follow this model. Incidentally, all Hungarian emigrants also head west, and not east. The various eastern role models named by Orbán have nothing to do with each other, except their autocratic orientation. It is foolish to say that they represent a viable future. It seems that Orbán fundamentally misunderstands the Western world, underestimates the power and adaptive ability of Western democracies. He has never lived in the West, the concepts of democracy and the market economy are alien to him. It is a national tragedy that such a half-educated man, a typical product of the late Kádár system now leads the country, who unfortunately understands only autocracy.

And the fight. As if he defines himself with that alone.

Every authoritarian regime, everyone with a dictatorial tendency needs enemies to define his profile, to make himself important. The Fascist and Communist periods were also defined by the constant struggle against real or imagined enemies. For the first time in 500 years, Hungary does not need to fight with anyone, we have no real enemies, we finally were able to join Western Europe, and are free to develop autonomously. It is a national tragedy that instead taking advantage of this historic opportunity, Orbán has decided to turn against the West, and so leads the country into a hopeless dead-end street. Our set of values are also moving away from western world, and away from our immediate neighbors as well, as several Tárki surveys show. The national consultation, the debate about the death penalty are nothing more than manipulative distractions from the growing number of scandals, the endemic corruption and the ever more transparent lies. One can only hope that the majority of voters will finally wake up and realize how badly cheated they were.

What could be the long-term consequences of the Orbán world? What kind of psychological legacy could these years leave us with?

The economy can be revived, the institutional system can be renewed in a couple of years, but the psychological consequences of creating such a distorted mental representations about the world may handicap Hungary for many generations. My friend András Inotai summed it up: there is a spiritual genocide going on in Hungary right now, and I think there is a lot of truth in this.

In a country which happens to be already rather backward compared to prevailing European culture and values, Orbán’s dishonest propaganda capitalizes on an enduring sense of inferiority and lack of self-confidence, in order to stir up feelings of hostility against the West, also increasing xenophobia and ethnocentrism. Democracy presupposes a certain kind of individualistic and autonomous mental view about the world and corresponding psychological attitudes. For democracy to work well, citizens must adopt a self-confident, independent, rational and responsible mind-set and a sound national identity grounded in reality. What is happening now, fundamentally undermines the future opportunities for such a development. This is extremely irresponsible and is likely to cause continuing damage for the nation.

This interview, conducted by Anna Kertész, appeared on May 16, 2015 in Vasárnapi Hírek. It was translated by a member of our community, “Observer.”

♦ ♦ ♦

—Joseph Forgas is a social psychologist, professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He was born in 1947 in Budapest and emigrated to Australia at the age of 22. He earned two doctorates at Oxford University, lived in England, the US and Germany for several years. “As a Hungarian it is a huge disappointment to me that Hungary seems to turn away from the democratic values ​​and the free market economy of the West and seeks a kind of authoritarian, dictatorial alternative.”

Forgas

To understand how this could happen requires a socio-psychological approach – what shaped the Hungarian mentality, and why does the otherwise transparently demagogic and primitive Fidesz propaganda find such fertile ground here? “- says the professor.

His main area of ​​research is examining the role of emotions in social behavior. One of the dominant and internationally recognized figures in the field, his experiments contributed significantly to our understanding of the influence of emotional states on the formation of stereotypes and the development of social processes.

He published about 26 books and countless scientific articles and chapters; in recognition of his contribution, he was awarded the Order of Australia, the Humboldt Research Prize, the Rockefeller Award and was elected member of the Australian and of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Before 1989 his work could not be published, however, since then several of his books have been translated into Hungarian, and his books are used in the teaching of social psychology, for example, his book The Psychology of Social Interaction. He visits Hungary regularly, and follows Hungarian public life closely; in the last few years, since the rise of Fidesz’ power he has been studying the role of Hungarian national identity in political communication.

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Guest

Mr. Forgas’ powerful essay points to a dismal fact and that is undoubtedly determined ‘Machiavellian’ social personality types inhabit the top rooms of Hungarian government. To the utter detriment of social and political cohesion in the society. Yes, there is ‘spiritual genocide’ going on in the country to the extent that altruism is probably on its last legs in the social realm. What looks to count is ego, narcissism and following ‘the line’. Going to be extremely hard to get a ‘caring’ country in all its facets. Selfishness looks to be a killer in the society.

dos929
Guest
Joseph P. Forgas’s article paints a very true picture of this artificial ‘national identity’ that is forced upon the Hungarian citizens by Orban and his regime. More to the point that Forgas is not the first internationally renowned professional who writes about the ills of the Hungarian society, as yet the very people who should wake up to the Hungarian reality within and outside Hungary’s borders are deaf and blind… The Tavares Report and Prof. Kim Lane Scheppele’s numerous appearances and testimonies, not to mention the hundreds of newspaper reports and articles in the western European media done nothing towards ‘provoking’ the EU to act within their powers (as limited as they are) to kerb the deeds of the Orban regime. All that was done in these 5 painful years (that is painful for the Hungarians…) is a series of ‘talk-fests’ and no meaningful actions. Whatever the EU has done so far was too little and too late, and only served to strengthen Orban’s position, who could demonstrate that he and his regime is strong, and the EU and its various committees can make as many decisions as they wish, but they worth no more than the paper they were… Read more »
Istvan
Guest

Joseph Forgas analysis reminds me a lot of the thinking of Paul Lendvai in his book “The Hungarians: A Thousand Years of Victory in Defeat.” Especially this passage: “For many centuries, Hungarian history consisted of setbacks, defeats, and crushed revolutions. These failures were accompanied by a typical narrative, which, according to social psychology research, is characterized by a marked victim mentality, resignation, self-pity, blaming others and an absence of accepting any responsibility.”

Thanks to Observer for the translation.

Observer
Guest
Let me add a couple of facts – terrible manifestations of this kind of human profile. Before WWI in the territories of today’s Slovakia, then under Hungarian administration within the Hapsburg Dual Monarchy, the authorities did not allow a single Slovak language school. During WWII the Hungarian gendarmerie (Csendőrség) singelhandedly gathered and expedited approx. 500 000 of their Jewish compatriots and shipped them to the Nazi death camps with record speed. Obersturmbahnfürer Eichmann, the chief responsible officer even complained that the Hungarians are shipping too quickly causing problems on the receiving end. Hungary was the only country where the citizens could apply for particular (not generic) items, e.g. Mr. X’s carpet or grand piano, confiscated from the Jewish population and offered through a special fund. Maybe the above has something to do with the fact that Hungary was the country with the greatest number of reports to Gestapo per number of population among the Nazi occupied countries (as from March 19th 1944). As a glaring example of the someone-else’s-fault element of the national profile, the Orbán regime maintains that Hungary lost its sovereignty as from March 19th (the occupying Nazis installed the Hungarian fascist Arrow Cross Party puppet government) therefor… Read more »
Guest
@Observer December 11, 2015 at 7:23 pm A small correction is needed here: “As a glaring example of the someone-else’s-fault element of the national profile, the Orbán regime maintains that Hungary lost its sovereignty as from March 19th (the occupying Nazis installed the Hungarian fascist Arrow Cross Party puppet government) therefor bears no responsibility for what the actions of the Hungarian authorities during this period.” The Arrow Cross only took over on 15 October 1944, upon Horthy’s removal by the Germans, subsequent to his unsuccessful “too little, too late” attempt to jump ship on the Romanian model. Until then, the Regent (without any prospective royals on the horizon) and Admiral (without any sea or ships) Horthy remained the undisputed Governor (Kormányzó) of Hungary, and all governments were Horthy governments, including the one formed after the Germans waltzed in on 19 March 1944 with a couple of armoured formations to a genuinely enthusiastic Hungarian welcome. Horthy remained a most faithful German ally until the ground started to really burn under his feet in August-September 1944, and Szállasi, the Arrow Cross Führer of the Hungarian Nation (Nemzetvezető) who followed Horthy in power on 15 October 1944, was fanatically pro-Nazi to the end.… Read more »
Observer
Guest

@ Mike Balint

You are correct. Trying to be brief I focused on the Orban claim without distinguishing the two points in time.

@Webber.

Mea culpa. Rushed it without checking the proper spelling. Actually the quote doesn’t quite fit, as the abutiere part is aimed at Orban.

Member

Thank you Mr. Forgas and Observer. Well written analysis.

Latefor
Guest
Just because the Hungarians don’t allow ideologies and textbooks to determine their future, they don’t need to be assessed and labeled by psychologists with ongoing mental disorders, referring to past historical disasters of loosing battles against their enemies, etc. etc. Hungarians – just like other people all over the world – are going through dramatic economic challenges and they should NOT be stigmatized. They are also aware of their self-healing abilities, therefore they do NOT need to be treated from outside their country with a shock therapy. They do NOT need to be converted into something that they are NOT. (After all, they are the proud descendants of the great barbarian: Attila the Hun and they don’t like their minds to be messed with.) And if they choose to be “genetically inferior morons” (as per Hungarian Jewish author: Akos Kertesz), nobody has a right to genetically modify them by forcing thousands of refugees on a very small country, with a population of less then 9 million. As far as “dictatorship” is concerned, I prefer to go by the assessment of Noble Price winner Hungarian Jewish author: Imre Kertesz, who does NOT believe that Victor Orban is a dictator. And “dos929”… Read more »
Guest
@Latefor December 11, 2015 at 8:49 pm For your information: 1. That Attila the Hun and his hordes were the ancestors of Hungarians is not a historical fact, but a myth created during the 19th century Age of Reform in Hungary. In any case, modern Hungarians are overwhelmingly descendants of Slavic, Germanic, Romanian, Cuman (Kun), Jassy (Jász), Pecheneg (Bessenyő), Turkic, Gypsy, Jewish, Greek, Armenian, etc. etc. forebears, and few if any Hungarians today could actually trace back their ancestry to the Hungarian tribes that entered the Carpathian Basin through the Verecke Pass (Vereckei Hágó). So what are we talking about? 2. If you wish to quote Ákos Kertész, I suggest you check out what he actually wrote, instead of quoting second or third hand (malevolent) interpretations of it. 3. Hungary is an illiberal state, but not a dictatorship, and nobody said that it was. Imre Kertész – who by the way won a Nobel Prize for literature, rather a Nobel Price – merely confirmed that. Thus you are barging in through open doors with your claim, and everyone here can be in furious agreement with you knocking down this particular straw man creation of yours. 4. I know Australians at… Read more »
Latefor
Guest

Dear Mike Balint,
I stand by my comment. Period.

Guest

Your comment, Latefor, and your inability to respond in a rational, non-emotional and sensible fashion to the points raised by Mike Bálint, illustrates perfectly the essence of Jozsef Forgás’ article about Hungarian mentality.

In the UK we would now say ” M’Lord, I rest my case”.

Thank you for providing the proof of the accuracy of Forgás’ insightful analysis of Hungary and Hungarian mentality, especially under Orbán.

Latefor
Guest

magyar2lips – I proudly stand by my comment.

webber
Guest

Latefor
Just to remind you: This interview with Prof. Forgas above was carried out and published in Hungarian, not English. The above is just an English translation (a good one).
So, there is no way anyone could logically imagine that the interview was carried out with the goal of imposing “shock therapy”, or “stigmatization” (your terms). It is an interview in Hungarian; a conversation between Hungarians, that was published for Hungarians.

I, for one, am grateful that Eva is presenting English speakers with this sort of discussion, if only to show that it does go on in Hungarian, and that there are not a few Hungarians who do not support the Orban government (whether you like it or not, those who oppose Orban are Hungarians, too).

Latefor
Guest

Dear Webber,
I stand by my comment.

Observer
Guest
Re @Latefor comments I’m glad about her comments here. Many wouldn’t believe me telling about the brazen Fidesz lies, their twisted mentality and vicious hate mongering. But here we have it from the horse’s mouth. “Just because the Hungarians don’t allow ideologies and textbooks to determine their future, …” Isn’t this is exactly what the Orbán regime is, and proudly claims to be, doing with the reviving of assorted past fascists and villains and the hundreds of monuments to those, with the “back to the pre 1944 condition” (állapot), the Veritas Institute history revisions, the new history teaching, etc, etc. “Hungarians … should NOT be stigmatized…” They surely should be judged by their acts, e.g. for whitewashing the Horthy/Hitler alliance and the ideas and politics of the period. NOT all Hungarians are robbers and fascists, but the majority, who elected Fidesz. “..their self-healing abilities..” Where do you see such in Orban’s regime? It is only our kind, the relatively small group of democrats, who are working on this. “treated …with a shock therapy…” If any, it’s Orban who proclaimed a revolution, a new era (időszámítás), in the course of which the regime fired thousands of people on political grounds, destroyed… Read more »
Latefor
Guest

Dear Observer,
I proudly stand by my comment.

spectator
Guest

@Latefor
“They do NOT need to be converted into something that they are NOT.”

You are so right, dear!

Nobody in her/his right mind should expect from a Hungarian to think and behave as any civilised European would!
Period!

That’s why I repeat one of my earlier proposition to the “Great Leader of the Nation” — declare Hungary as an anthropological and cultural reservation!

It would be an instantaneous success with plenty of advantages right away! It would boast the economy — think of Disneyland or Jurassic Park — not to mention the scientific benefits!
The possibility of studying the human development – from the earliest humanoids to the late middle-age – in real would be just priceless..!

To the country it wouldn’t cost too much, part of the required fence already standing, everything else is already given.

So, no worry dear, it won’t change them into anything what they aren’t, let them stay as they are!
We have too many civilised humans already, anyway…

petofi
Guest

@Observer

Thank you for this:
“Hungary was the only country where the citizens could apply for particular (not generic) items, e.g. Mr. X’s carpet or grand piano, confiscated from the Jewish population and offered through a special fund.”

I didn’t have the particulars but I can research now. Of course, I suspected as much–why would Hungarians send off 400,000 of their neighbours when only 100,000 was asked for by the Nazis?

I don’t know Forgas’ work, but it is a bit disappointing not to have him deal with the damage to the national psyche of having robbed 400,000 of their fellow citizens and sending them to the most gruesome of deaths. (I guess that order should be reversed: sending and then robbing..)

I’m sure that hidden secret–of Hungarian wretchedness–lies still within the national memory making people…inferior, victims, and subject to the most hare-brained versions of nationalism.

In that sense, an Orban was inevitable; and Hungarians will reap the eventual whirlwind that will come with it–

(Latefor is a perfect example of the blighted Hungarian mentality.)

Latefor
Guest

Petofi –
I proudly stand by my comment.

webber
Guest
Latefor It doesn’t matter in the least, but just FYI – if it counts at all to you (I don’t know if it will), the government sanctioned history textbooks in use in schools in Hungary today reject the idea that Attila and his Huns were ancestors of Hungarians. Mike Balint is not quite right – the idea that they were related is much older than the 19th century. When the proto-Hungarians arrived to Europe and began their raids all over the continent they were called “Huns” by some Western chroniclers, who assumed that these people who were looting and murdering all over the place must be related to Attila’s people, while others thought that they were the Avars who had returned to Europe. Hence the medieval names”Avari”, “Ungri,” “Hungari, which became Hungarian in modern English. Byzantine authors, with more immediate experience of raids by Central Asian Turks who resembled the Hungarians were split: some of them called the Hungarians Ungroi, others Turkoi (Turks). The claim that any raiding people was related to Huns was commonly made about other people too. It was a sort of ethnic slur (even today Attila is not well love in W. Europe). It was even… Read more »
Guest

@webber
December 12, 2015 at 2:25 am

I take your point re Attila. My wording was sloppy. What I actually intended to say was that the myth of Hungarian descent from Attila and his Huns became widely romanticised during the 19th century.

webber
Guest

Petofi –
In many senses and places, robbing (“requisitioning”) came first. An important study is has been published on that in the latest Holocaust issue of The Hungarian Historical Review – the local one on Szatmarnemeti – link here:
http://www.hunghist.org/

petofi
Guest

@webber

re: ‘requisitioning came first’

An interesting point. It explains the piranhic hurry with which Hungaricoes packed off Hungarian jews.

webber
Guest
Petofi Precisely. The study demonstrates, using archival sources, that ordinary Hungarians at the local level were told that Jewish property (real estate, furniture, even clothing) would be redistributed to the needy. In response, lots of people sent petitions to the local authorities explaining why they, personally, deserved to get this or that (right down to children’s clothing!) The Hungarian state set up a mechanism whereby non-Jews would profit. Ordinary Hungarians did not pass those laws (Horthy’s Hungary was anything but a direct democracy). But once those laws had been passed, I imagine a lot of people thinking “Well, since they’ve done this thing anyway – why shouldn’t I get a share? Why should everyone but me get some?” I think that method of demolishing (ultimately murdering) a minority would be effective anywhere. Hungarians are not unique in this. Greed and need can make legalized theft popular. A parallel (not precise, but still): In the US, people understood that if they occupied Indian lands at the right time, the govt would recognize their ownership of those lands (under certain legal conditions set by the govt.). Such was the land rush of 1889 (for example) for the Indian territory that became Oklahoma… Read more »
petofi
Guest

@webber

“A parallel…”

No it isn’t.
This is a terrible tack to take.
The Indians lost their land: they didn’t lose their lives–they weren’t shipped off to gas chambers.
No parallel whatever.
The point of the movie, “Saul’s Son” was that Saul realized that he’d never have his own son; and his only hope of maintaining some sense of humanity was to attempt to save the young boy. He was struggling to remain human to the end.

webber
Guest
Petofi I simply was making a parallel between the actions of those in differing situations who take the property of other people of different ethnicity or religion when the law sanctions that. I did not wish to make a parallel with murder in the Holocaust. Each genocide was unique, and the industrial scale of the Holocaust is unparalleled in history. As to Indians, each tribe got its own unique “treatment”, but every single one of them went through a period of horror. I will bet that you did not know the following: Quite apart from massacres carried out by American soldiers during the Indian wars (the last one at Wounded Knee), there was state sponsored murder of Indians. For example – have you ever heard of scalp and pelt bounties? A scalp and pelt bounty was paid by some states and territories to people who brought Indian scalps, grizzly bear or wolf pelts to a certain government office. It was profitable in these places to murder Indians if one provided evidence of that murder by bringing in a scalp. Children’s scalps brought less money than adult scalps, naturally. The last scalp bounties were paid in Arizona in 1885. The UN… Read more »
Istvan
Guest

Actually most native Americans leaders here would argue that the native people were systematically killed off by western disease and in many cases murder as took place at wounded knee.

webber
Guest
In support of what Istvan wrote – here is a description of what happened to the Yuki Tribe of California: California’s …governor, Peter Burnett… declar(ed) “[t]hat a war of extermination will continue to be waged … until the Indian race becomes extinct.” One month later, state legislators allocated $500,000 to fund Indian-hunting state militia campaigns. On May 15, 1854, white explorers entered Round Valley, the heart of the Yuki homeland, and preemptively massacred as many as forty Yuki people….One man later testified that in 1856, “the Indians were killing stock, and the whites were killing Indians.” Another explained: “for every beef that has been killed by them ten or fifteen Indians have been killed.” Yet another testified that in 1856, “the first expedition by the whites against the Indians was made, and have continued ever since … we would kill, on an average, fifty or sixty Indians on a trip … frequently we would have to turn out two or three times a week.” … Meanwhile, whites kidnapped Yuki women and children, taking advantage of laws that, between 1850 and 1863, allowed them to take and hold Indians—including children—for years at a time. … In 1857, an… agent reported from… Read more »
Guest

@webber
December 12, 2015 at 2:05 am

To my knowledge, the most comprehensive Hungarian language reference text on this topic is:

Kádár Gábor és Vági Zoltán
(Gábor Kádár and Zoltán Vági)

HULLARABLÁS – A magyar zsidók gazdasági megsemmisítése
(Robbing Corpses/Grave Robbing – The Economic Destruction of Hungarian Jews)

Jaffa Kiadó, Budapest, 2005
(Jaffa Publishers, Budapest, 2005)

Guest
I don’t have time to translate this into English, but for those who read Hungarian, this brief abstract of “Hullarablás – A magyar zsidók gazdasági megsemmisítése” might be of some interest: “A huszadik században a magyar állam különböző ideológiák nevében gyakran tette rá kezét polgárainak vagyonára. A fajvédők, antiszemiták és nyilasok a zsidókat, a háború utáni koalíciós kormány a magyarországi németeket és az arisztokratákat, a kommunisták a parasztságot és a polgárságot fosztották ki. A tömeges rablás azonban csak egyszer, 1944-ben torkollott hullarablásba. A holokausztig Magyarországon élt Európa egyik legnagyobb és leggazdagabb zsidó közössége. Vagyonuk elrablását évtizedeken keresztül javasolták, követelték és tervezték hazai politikusok, hivatalnokok, közgazdászok és értelmiségiek. A régóta áhított árjásítás a zsidótörvényekig bújtatott, majd 1938-tól nyílt formában zajlott, végül az 1944-es megszállás után államilag szervezett, kaotikus fosztogatássá változott. Mialatt a holokauszt történetében példátlan gyorsasággal Auschwitzba deportált zsidókat a nácik megölték, Magyarországon az elhurcolt szomszéd ékszerét, lakását, bútorát, ruháját, üzletét ellopva vagy kiigényelve, százezrek váltak a hullarablás tettestársaivá. Két fiatal történész sokéves hazai és nemzetközi kutatásai nyomán született meg ez a hiánypótló munka, amely a dualizmustól a Kádár-korszakig, Auschwitztól a svájci bankokon át egészen a kommunista költségvetésig követi a magyar zsidó vagyonok sorsát, és átfogóan elemzi a magyar történelem legnagyobb… Read more »
Guest

@Observer:

Thank you very much for translating this – it should open the eyes of everybody who reads it!

Just a small correction on your quote from Cicero. It should be:

Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra?

Live long and prosper
Guest

An exceptionally interesting blog, Eva, thank you. Prof. Forgas absolutely nails it. I have come to hold this country – and particularly the governing elite – in lower and lower regard over the last 2 decades, and could never have expressed my dissatisfaction and disdain with anything close to these satisfying academic observations. And as a translation it reads extremely well, full marks all round. The lonely troll commenting adds an amusingly pathetic note – like the last sheep to realise that, despite his exemplary loyalty, he too is going to be killed and eaten.

Latefor
Guest

Live long and prosper said: -“he too is going to be killed and eaten”

By whom, may I ask? I have state of the art home security installed. Just for the record!

Bowen
Guest

@Latefor. The Sheep is going to be “killed and eaten”. It’s a metaphor. You don’t get it.

webber
Guest

to further assist in Latefor’s understanding of the metaphor – the person who will be killing and eating the sheep is the shepherd (Orban), precisely the person who appears to the sheep to care most about her.

Latefor
Guest

Dearest Webber/Bowen,
This is the first time in my life that I came across a “metaphor”. Thank you for kindly explaining how to interpret it. 🙂

petofi
Guest

@latefor

“I have state of the art home security…”

Don’t bother: I suspect you’d be too chewy, and tough to digest…

Latefor
Guest

Petofi,
I have another 30 years ahead of me to get to your “chewy and tough” stage. 🙂

Observer
Guest

Is this an add or an offer?
If you’re 30+ and good looking I would take it. Pls send a photo, of yourself of course, no Fidesz tricks please.

Latefor
Guest

Dear Observer,
I’m getting long in a tooth. . . and never been called pretty by my girlfriends. Let’s just leave it at that. 🙂

Guest

I would like to re-request that Latefor be blocked for her racist postings.

The positing of implied ‘Majgar purity’ posts is nevertheless racist behaviour.

In addition to the trolling – and ignorant posts.

Please ban Latefor.

petofi
Guest

Re: banning latefor

I don’t know…I’d vote against as I found her imbecility entertaining. It let’s us keep in touch with the bottom rung of Hungarian mentality.

Guest

@CharlieH
December 12, 2015 at 6:51 am

Don’t get so het up about Latefor, CharlieH!

She is great for comic relief. :-)))

Latefor
Guest

CharlieH,
Just think about it for a minute: If I could sell more of my “crappy books,” I could spend my precious time on writing more of my own stuff and I wouldn’t have to comment in here or read your abusing, nasty comments.

And I would like to ask Victor Orban to finally speak up and defend the Hungarians on the world stage. I’m not talking about politics in here, what we are dealing with is serious character assassination (using psychological torture) of the Hungarian people. How much more abuse do we have to tolerate? When is it going to end?

Member

Not-too-@Latefor-Melanie asks: “When is it going to end?”
comment image

Latefor
Guest

Dear Stevan Harnard –
What are you saying? You only stop with your Hungarian belting when the Hungarian PM resigns? You said to me that it’s not too late. . . I wonder what are you up to?

Member
“Character assassination” of “Hungarians”… This is the standard reply to any criticism towards the Orbán government and the traditions on which it relies for support: You are defaming Hungary and Hungarians, you are prejudiced, you hate Hungarians, you are a racist. No. What is being criticized is not the Hungarian nation, which, like any other European nation, consists of very diverse people with diverse backgrounds, opinions, and interests, and with lots of potential for good and bad things. What democratic Hungarians and their friends abroad are criticizing is, precisely, the Orbán government and the pernicious traditions from which it draws its support: daydreams and myths about the nation as an organic, natural whole and about its glorious past, half-truths about the poor, persecuted nation which has suffered more than any other people, suppression of unpleasant historical facts and failure to wash one’s dirty laundry, and the poor naïve people who believe all this. Look at what happened in Germany, once the beacon of European civilization and culture, then the Heart of Darkness, and now, again, showing the rest of Europe how a nation should deal with its past and with the current crisis. It’s not about Hungarians as a nation,… Read more »
Guest

I think another factor sentrooppa-santra is almost the opposite of what you posit – namely the taking of responsibility for past deeds. Hungary resolutely fails to do so.

I think the Germans call it Vergangenheitsbewältigung.

Everyone else but us,

Latefor
Guest

I proudly stand by my comment.

Member

CharlieH
December 12, 2015 at 6:51 am

I am with you for other reasons. For her blatant lies and propaganda that she constantly promotes (even when her lies are disputed by facts.) For constant promotion of her crappy items she tries to sell. For her clear trolling that makes contributors focus on pointing out the same facts over and over again versus her ignorant ramblings. She is not that important but in context, those who visit the site are punished to read her until they get to some meaningful content by others (if they have the patience to stick around.) Trolls are there to disrupt conversations, and in fact many PR firms do hire them now to make sure visitors do not stick around on competitor’s site. (Now, there is a fitting writing career for her. She certainly has the talent for being annoying enough.)

Guest

Yes, Some1

This aspect is just downright pathetically rude.

Misuse of Eva’s Blog – but the perpetrator seems oblivious to the etiquette required.

It has gone on for too long.

Latefor
Guest

Some1 –
As you can see, I haven’t cut my wrists yet. We all have a personal agenda (reason) why we commen on this blog. Some of us promote hate, some are angry because of lost business opportunities and as for me, I promote LOVE.

I poudly stand by my comment re: vicious Hungarian character assassination.

Observer
Guest
Re @Latefor comments I’m glad about her comments here. Many wouldn’t believe me telling about the brazen Fidesz lies, their twisted mentality and vicious hate mongering. But here we have it from the horse’s mouth. “Just because the Hungarians don’t allow ideologies and textbooks to determine their future, …” Isn’t this is exactly what the Orbán regime is, and proudly claims to be, doing with the reviving of assorted past fascists and villains and the hundreds of monuments to those, with the “back to the pre 1944 condition” (állapot), the Veritas Institute history revisions, the new history teaching, etc, etc. “Hungarians … should NOT be stigmatized…” They surely should be judged by their acts, e.g. for whitewashing the Horthy/Hitler alliance and the ideas and politics of the period. NOT all Hungarians are robbers and fascists, but a majority who elected Fidesz. “..their self-healing abilities..” Where do you see such in Orban’s regime? It is only our kind, the relatively small group of democrats, who are working on this. “treated …with a shock therapy…” If any, it’s Orban who proclaimed a revolution, a new era (időszámítás), in the course of which the regime fired thousands of people on political grounds, destroyed… Read more »
Observer
Guest

@Stevan Harnad

Love it.
Would have been complete if shown the costs of war, the frozen corpses, the wounded and bedraggled foot soldiers (zembereket).

Guest

@webber
December 12, 2015 at 7:37 am

Re “scalp and pelt bounty”

We had that in Australia too.

I had an older guy working for me as a clerical assistant in the old Post Master General’s Department back in the early sixties when I was just out of high school. He used to tell me tales about his granddad who used to make part of his living out of selling the state of Queensland aboroginal scalps, a pound a piece.

The horror of it was that in the outback at the time the “natives” were not regarded as human beings at all, and taking native lives had little more significance to it than shooting a troublesome kangaroo.

This too was part of the rough and tumble of pioneering settlement on the new continent, Australia’s own “Conquest of the Homeland” (Honfoglalás), a part however, that none of us are proud of today, however proud we might otherwise be of our great brown land and the accomplishments of its people.

Guest

Coming to think of it, that old guy was not talking about just scalps, but whole aboriginal heads, sold at a pound each to the State of Queensland.

Truly awful, gruesome and horrifying.

Guest

And one shouldn’t forget that all this was done by nice god-fearing Christians – just like before in South America …

Not too much OT:
A famous series of books by German author Karlheinz Deschner:
Die Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (10 volumes!)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kriminalgeschichte_des_Christentums

webber
Guest

OT
As could have been predicted, the new nationalist Polish government is proving to be, if anything, even more pro-American and anti-Russian than the previous one.
The Foreign Minister, Waszczykowski, has just called for the establishment of US bases in Poland.

More on topic, quoting from the AP article (linked below)
“Waszczykowski said he considers comparisons to Orban’s Hungary unfair.”

I wonder when Szijjártó will call in the Polish Ambassador for a chat? Soon, I expect.
Even the Polish nationalist right can’t stand Orban, it seems.

http://news.yahoo.com/ap-interview-polish-leader-sanctions-russia-must-remain-142524142.html

Bowen
Guest

It will be very interesting to see what happens in Poland. Today, 50,000 demonstrated against the new government:

“It’s not Budapest here, it’s Warsaw,” youth protestors shouted outside the presidential palace, referring to Hungary’s populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whom critics accuse of stifling human rights and democracy in his country.
https://uk.news.yahoo.com/50-000-rally-warsaw-defend-democracy-163743805.html#G95vNkW

Although a lot of Hungarians did protest during December 2010 and January 2011 when Fidesz pushed through their new constitution, that spirit seems to have dissipated since.

jahu
Guest

Bowen: nothing will happen in Poland. Any government is at the top of its power when it’s just been elected (though I’m not sure to what extent can the new Polish government rewrite the constitution and entrench itself and rob the country formally legally as Fidess has been doing). The previous Polish government ruled for a long time, people wanted a change. Orban’s 2014 reelection was a somewhat different issue given the rigged system, low turnout etc. The current Polish situation should be compared to Orban’s victory in 2010. Protests are tricky things, people need something direct (like the internet tax or the copayment or the Öszöd speech or a concrete scandal) to get angry about. There’s no such issue right now so people aren’t out on t he street. People can’t get worked up about general malaise, corruption in general, bad service at the hospitals.

buddy
Guest

Superb interview – kudos to Observer for the excellent translation! I am in awe of your skills, sir/madam.

Is the original interview online? Does anyone have a link to it?

Observer
Guest
buddy
Guest

Brilliant, thank you!

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