Another attempt to erect a statue honoring an anti-Semitic racist

Here we go again–another statue, another controversy. The figure being honored this time is György Donáth, whose name is not exactly a household word in Hungary. Although high school textbooks may have included a few sentences about Bálint Hóman, in vain would you look for Donáth, who was a minor figure in Hungarian far-right circles between 1938 and 1945.

History buffs interested in the 1945-1948 period might have encountered his name in connection with a series of trials that eventually led to the annihilation of the Smallholders’ Party, which at the first free elections after the war won an absolute majority but was nonetheless forced to form a coalition government in which the Magyar Kommunista Párt (MKP) held three portfolios. The first of these trials, inspired by the Communist Party, was the so-called Donáth trial. It resulted in a death sentence for Donáth and long prison terms for others.

At least two books deal with the political climate that led to the usurpation of political power by the Muscovite Communists who arrived with the Soviet troops. The 1956 Institute published a book of documents preceded by a lengthy study of the background of the trials by István Csicsery-Rónay and Géza Cserenyey, both former members of the group known as “Magyar Közösség” (Hungarian Community) whose leadership, among them György Donáth, was named in the trials. Mária Palasik’s book on the 1944-1945 period, published in 2000, includes a fairly long chapter on the Magyar Közösség. And Nóra Szekér wrote a Ph.D. dissertation, “A Magyar Közösség története,” in 2009.

We have a fair idea of the political views of this group since most of its members had earlier belonged to a secret organization called “Magyar Testvéri Közösség” (Hungarian Brotherly Community), established in 1925. Its original members came from Transylvania, and some of them were Hungary’s first national socialists. There was no question about the racist nature of the group. To be eligible to join one had to have a father and grandfather of pure Hungarian blood. No Germans or Croats need apply. Jews naturally couldn’t join, but even having a Jewish wife meant disqualification.

Donáth joined the group in 1939 at roughly the same time as he joined Béla Imrédy’s Magyar Élet Mozgalom (Movement of Hungarian Life). During 1943-44 he was editor of the far-right magazine Egyedül vagyunk (We are alone). Although his political career is not well documented, most likely he was unjustly condemned to death in 1947. Nonetheless, his activities between 1938 and 1945 are such as to preclude a statue ever being erected in his memory anywhere in Hungary, especially not only a few steps from the Holocaust Memorial Center.

It was the Politikai Elítéltek Közössége (Community of Political Prisoners) that came up with the idea of honoring Donáth. But just as it turned out that the planned Hóman statue was actually financed by the government, we cannot rule out the possibility that the former political prisoners received some financial help from the Orbán government. One thing is sure: Fidesz and its friends were heavily involved in the unveiling that was supposed to take place on February 24. Gergely Gulyás, deputy chairman of Fidesz, was supposed to deliver the eulogy, and Péter Boross, who has lately been behind the rehabilitation efforts of certain officials from the Horthy period, was also on hand.

At the end nothing came of the unveiling because some of the people who came to honor Donáth attacked the demonstrators against the statue. After a brief scuffle Gergely Gulyás called for a retreat. The incident was duly reported by Reuters. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency also published an article in which the reporter not only told the story of the present controversy but also reminded readers of the Hóman case and “another controversial commemorative project—a statue dealing with Hungary under the rule of Nazi Germany and its pro-Nazi collaborators.”

Donath

One must ask why the Orbán government insists on provoking the Hungarian and international Jewish community with its repeated attempts to whitewash historical characters with dubious pasts. Is it simple ignorance or is it a deliberate attempt to rewrite history? Perhaps sometime in the future we will have a clearer idea of what motivates Viktor Orbán.

My knowledge of the Magyar Közösség and its predecessor is limited, but I found some of the comments by István Csicsery-Rónay about Donáth intriguing. Although most of the people involved in the affair of 1947 didn’t want to restore the Horthy regime, as the prosecutors claimed, “such an outcome could be imagined by certain members of the group.” As he writes, “everybody could see the difference” between the more upstanding members of the group and the more radical faction, which included Donáth. Among the latter was István Szent-Miklósy, who drafted a general military order for the day when the Russian troops leave the country. This order included the takeover of the Hungarian army by members of the Magyar Közösség. In addition, the general order included the restoration of the legal continuity that was broken on March 19, 1944. At this point Csicsery-Rónay remarks that everybody was stunned with the exception of Donáth, because this doctrine was his hobbyhorse. Donáth’s “naïve theory about legal continuity” was one of the justifications for his death sentence because the judges interpreted it as a non-recognition of the existing order which must be overthrown by military means. Csicsery-Rónay’s book was written in 1998, and therefore he couldn’t have known that this “naïve theory about legal continuity” would one day find its way into Viktor Orbán’s new constitution.

Among the numerous documents related to the trials, Csicsery-Rónay published a couple of pages from Donáth’s last plea before the court, which apparently lasted five hours. In this brief section we can see that Donáth’s racism and anti-Semitism were as strong after the Holocaust as before. He defended his involvement with the program of the “race defense movement” (fajvédelem) because it was “the defense of a degraded people.” Later in his plea Donáth lectured the court, saying that “I am talking about Marxism which is of German origin because after all Marx lived in Germany. The fact that Marx was of Jewish origin is irrelevant in the opinion of the prosecution because we make no distinction between races.” Unlike, I assume, he did.

Surely this man, even if he was put to death for a crime he didn’t commit, doesn’t deserve a statue.

February 25, 2016
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petofi
Guest

The modus operandi of Orban is that of the corner street-hustler: ‘Look, there’s no reality. What you see is false. Here, try to find the pea…’ And, of course, the continuous patter is just part of the act.
Just so, the great Viktor. “‘Reality’ is what I say it is: all else are tricks of the international jewry, and false.” Since this notion–as Orban well knows–dovetails with the deep-seated anti-semitism of the average
Hungarian, it meets with great success.

HAJRA MAGYAROK!!

Guest

That “the Orbán government…….. and its friends were heavily involved in the unveiling” of the Donáth statue should come as no suprise.

Orbán’s infamous antics in New York, when he wished his chums a “Jew-free goodnight” even while he was a guest of Soros, confirms the Hungarian proverb that “A fish stinks from the head down”. As with Orbán, the head of Fidesz, so with his entourage of racists.

Guest
@time4change Today 2:03 am Orbán is just a symptom, a true and faithful representative of the mentality, sentiments and political comfort zone of the the vast majority of Hungarians, who are in any case mostly two faced, lying and whinging back stabbers themselves, the kind of people who smile in your face while sticking a knife in your back, exactly like their Führer and his cronies have a habit of doing. Especially as these days they have to compete with Jobbik in the loony right stakes, before Jobbik actually succeeds in stealing half their political support base. As to complaining about manifestations of vicious antisemitism in Hungary, that is a fool’s errand. Vicious and implacable antisemitism is an inalienable part of the sense of identity and belief system of the vast majority of Hungarians who are not of Jewish descent one way or another. No different from Slovaks, Romanians, Ukrainians or Poles and the rest of the East Block gang. If I was a person one way or another of Jewish descent in Hungary today, I would just get out of there as quickly as I could, head for greener pastures in America, Australia or Israel, and let the Hungarians… Read more »
Guest

After all, why stay in a place where you are neither wanted nor liked (to put it mildly)?

And believe me, for a Jew, and especially for a young Jew to leave Hungary for America, Australia or Israel, will more than likely come to feel a bit like the story of the ugly little duckling who became a swan among the swans.

Best of all, the backbone will instantly straighten up, and there will never again be any need to take out the handkerchief to wipe the face after having been spat on, whilst staring at the sky, saying that it seems to be raining.

Guest
With Orban’s obsession with moving, installing, initiating and re-installing statues it’s his inferiority complex coming to the fore. “I know about Hungarian history, better than the historians even – and certainly more than Maria Schmidt” whom he keeps as a retainer for his ego (any half-decent historian is better informed than Schmidt). Imagine the conversations between them? She obsequious as ever massaging his ego – as so many underlings in his government do – and he receiving her toadying approbation for his ‘brilliant’ ideas. And yet all this statue controversy does so much damage internally to Hungary – stoking the antisemitism and xenophobia – and internationally too, for example, with the USA and Holman. He seems to revel in his ‘erudition’ but when the day comes, Orban can have a statue park all to himself where the population can contemplate his folly – and where the population can reflect on how naive they were even to have ever let him ‘rule’ (but without having to admit it!). The existing statue park just outside BP is truly amazing from this Londoner’s perspective. Just such a waste of artistic and propaganda resources. Just get on with running a decent society instead of… Read more »
Alexander
Guest
There is an interview with Tibor Zavecz (who spent 25 years at Szonda Ipsos a main polling company) in Figyelő, a weekly. He says that people are OK with corruption, and most think that both the government and the opposition are corrupt, but to a certain degree at least the government works for the people. The young generations re exclusively right-wing, for example MSZP has 2% (!) among people under 30. Right now only 35% of the people are undecided (ie. 65% are sure about which party they would vote for) which is the lowest ever proportion in the last 25 years in the middle of a cycle. People are decided and want to vote for Fidesz and Jobbik and in the next two years the government will spend on the voters (as it happens before any election). Leftism is over. Jobbik is loved as a party not because of its leader Gabor Vona, young people are pro-Jobbik and it has one of the most extensive nation-wide network of activists. Fidesz will win in 2018, people love Orban and like the government. Sorry guys people just love Orban and Fidesz and Jobbik and hate the corrupt leftists who don’t seem… Read more »
Guest

The ‘young’ are a product of Orban’s propaganda – as are you.

It is certainly a phenomenon that Jobbik is so popular amongst them – in democracies it’s usually the students who are the lefty’s and who are concerned about social justice. The ‘young’ are naturally idealistic – light pink through to blue conservative as they get older – in democracies.

Hungarian youth are a product of the Nationalistic undercurrents in Hungary as well as the antisemitism and xenophobia that just oozes from your ‘parliament’, media and society – not to mention the descrimination of Hungarian Roma – fellow Hungarians. In Orban’s Commocracy – so-called democracy (nothing like) you are part of a dog eat dog society.

Then there’s the official sanction of antisemitism, facism and xenophobia inherent in the school carriculum.

It’s no wonder Hungarian youngsters are all little fascists in the making.

Which presumably makes you, Orban and Vona proud?

I say losers. Losers all.

However some (many) see the light and leave – the intelligent ones.

Guest

@charliecharlieh
Today 4:45 am

Charliecharlie, it is very far from just being the effect of propaganda.

This kind of gross and inane propaganda would just be mercilessly ridiculed, lampooned and satirized in a sane social environment, where it could not survive for a second.

The reason why it is so effective in Hungary is because of the cultural proclivities, political comfort zones and generally disgusting mentality and ways of the Hungarian public at large.

Guest

Just as Hungary’s schools are riddled with ideology – and no doubt the classroom only has to deal a few local languages – it may be a measure of the difference in education – and the narrowness of the type of education that results in such brainwashed – Jobbik ‘fashion’ voters, to know that a school in Stoke (North England) has a multicultural challenge with 49 languages represented in just one (large) Comprehensive school.

I once decorated a school in North London – as a pro bono challenge – with work colleagues which had almost as many languages represented by the (primary school) children.

When Hungarians visit us they are surprised (shocked!) at the number of black Londoners sharing the same bus on shopping trips to Primark. Young Hungarian women could spend a whole holiday at this clothing store – but I digress.

Diversity is a shock for our visitors.

How many languages does a typical Hungarian school have to cope with?

Could this be a contributory factor to the high Jobbik representation in the young?

Observer
Guest

@Alexander

Couldn’t you could mix up the script a bit ? It’s getting tedious.
It is was not very intelligent to start with and now with the parrot commando crowing it ad naseum …
By now we know “Orban is winning”, we hear the Sieg Heil.
Pls, enough.

Guest

@Alexander
Today 4:23 am

A very accurate assessment.

That is precisely why I would leave Hungary in a flash, if I was a Hungarian (and especially if I was a one way or another a person of Jewish descent living in Hungary).

Guest

Correction: “. . . and especially if I was one way or another a person of . . .”

Observer
Guest

OT but still Figyelő.

Still at a 100 year low stands the number of residential units built in 2015.
http://figyelo.hu/cikkek/429774-szaz-eves-melyponton-

Rejoice Hungarian youth, be proud and love the leader under whom Hungary is performing better, where the reforms (?!) are working, the unorthodox whatever is flourishing, and to whom the lost and declining Europe is looking for guidance.
But first of all come back home.

Observer
Guest

OT but also Figyelő.

Still at a 100 year low stands the number of residential units built in 2015.
http://figyelo.hu/cikkek/429774-szaz-eves-melyponton-

Rejoice Hungarian youth, be proud and love the leader under whom Hungary is performing better, where the reforms (?!) are working, the unorthodox whatever is flourishing, and to whom the lost and declining Europe is looking for guidance.

But first of all come back home.

Guest
“The young generations are exclusively right-wing, for example MSZP has 2% (!) among people under 30.” By your tone, you seem to think this is something to be proud of?! The younger generation of Hungarians, to the shame of any civilized nation, are thugs and racists in the making. I know of no other country, for instance, where a distinguished and respected art college, as the Képzőművészeti Egyetem (Fine Art University) used to be, where the students daub anti-semitic slogans on the walls instead of demonstrating against a ruthless mafia state. Students there who are against Orbán are frightened of speaking up because of the intimidation and threats carried out by the likes of the your “younger geneartation” whom you seem to be admiring so much. Explain why you admire such behaviour, because I am sure the rest of the world is keen to know how such a mind-set exists at all in this day and age? You are right about one thing- that the next vote will be for Orbán, the thug, and this will happen because the younger generation are ignorant cowards, and selfish to the last young man and woman. The only thing which riled them up… Read more »
Jani
Guest

Look, the left-wing gave up the fight for the hearts and minds of youngsters. It never had a vision, never cared about the media. It is has has been decidedly uncool in an era when coolness is fundamental. It is seen as weak and impotent in an era when strength and the projection of power command respect.

The left-wing can only blame itself. People will not vote for effeminate urban intellectuals.

Such is democracy, the more popular people win, the unpopular people lose. That’s all.

Guest

No… It’s the legacy of their parents; their schooling and the malevolent society they live in – not to underestimate the role of the Roman Catholics Unchristian Church.

The older generation have a lot to answer for.

Guest

The young don’t give a tinker’s cuss for politics until puberty….

Guest

And you mean, of course, ‘so-called democracy’

Guest

agreed, cahrilecharlie.

Guest

Except,charliecharlie, I do have friends, whom I admire greatly, whose family are all Orbán voters but who have, nevertheless, thought thinkgs out for themselves, and are against Orbán.

These are clever people, able to distinguish between what they have learned at their parent’s knees, as it were, and what they, as individuals, think. But it takes a rare courage to question and defy parental authority. especially in a country which seems to relish authoritariansim.

And yes, the nasty little bunch at the art college, for instance, will have equally nasty parents and families.

Guest

@time4change
Today 6:18 am

So you really found some good people in Hungary, who are intelligent, well informed and farseeing enough not to be in the grip of fixed ideas, conspiracy theories, mindless nationalism, and vicious antisemitism and other hatreds?

That is wonderful, and good for you, time4change!

Those good people must be pretty rare birds in that benighted country.

Guest

Actually, ambalint, not all that rare.

These people are usually top of their professions, and flourish better in a meritocracy.

Here, they are foiled at every step by the cunning mischief makers, such as Orbán.

I am sure you have heard of the much touted allegory describing the foxy cleverness of Hungarians who, going last in a revolving door, somehow come out first.

Another name for this is simply getting one over on your fellow human beings – a trait much admired by Orbánites, many of whom comment on hese blogs.

The principled brigade have better things to do and loftier ideals than getting one over on others, and focus on higher ideals, while Orbánites, who hardly have two brains to rub between the lot of them, are succeeding only in ruining the country, under the “guidance” of incompetent nincompoops.

So yes, educated, cultured and refreshingly intelligent thnking people certainly do exist here, otherwise Hungary would have been well and truly down the drain years ago.

Guest

@time4change
Today 9:29 am

Thanks for that, good to know.

As for the brainless, incompetent nincompoops currently in charge, sounds very much like the old Rákosi “nomenklatura,” back in the fifties.

Guest

Whatever the left wing governments did and did not do, and whatever mistakes they made, they did not glory in fostering the hatred which Orbán, a pathetic excuse for a “leader”, is perpetrting right now, with the sanction of ignorant voters.

Guest

@time4change
Today 6:12 am

Very true. An absolutely key distinction.

But it is also true that they allowed hatred (and ignorance) to flourish and grow and grow and grow under their governance in the name of freedom of speech and freedom of association, and hadn’t made the slightest effort to effectively combat it through a combination of user-friendly information campaigns and forceful legal measures, so as to choke it off, to the extent possible.

Fact is that naively, they didn’t take seriously enough the breadth and depth of the traditional Hungarian propensity for vicious hatred, and that has actually been quite obviously one of the primary reasons for their undoing when they met their Waterloo in 2010 at the hands of the slimy and disgusting Viktor the Victorious.

Member

Did you know that some people (like me) are calling Szonda Ipsos = SANDA Kyklops (I have difficulty in translating the word “sanda” but it indirectly means “acting suspiciously” (dictionary say squint, oblique, askew, cockeyed, etc.). The are the chief “call girls” on the opinion market and would do nearly anything you pay for.
It is true though that the leftist have lost appeal somewhere in the mid 2000 and they have never recovered ever since. I deny that young are en mass racist but somehow Jobbik was more sincere and they sided with them up until two years ago. Now I don’t know but I feel they are turning away from the daily politix or just leaving the country in great numbers.

Tuborg
Guest

Yeah, but those who stay are anything but bleeding heart liberals.

They as most voters value (the appearance of) leadership and projection of power. These are not the times for whale huggers.

People under 30 grew up in an age when leftist meant wussy, impotent, the butt of jokes. That’s what they’ve been hearing for 20 years. As a result “left” isn’t an option for them and never will be.

Orban is confident as ever. He may be despized by many but he is still the most loved, adored son of Hungary in rural Hungary. People love him despite his corruption and most in Hungary would cut their hands before voting for communists (in rural Hungary any leftist is a communist).

Guest

What nonsense you talk, tuborg.

And very scary too, just like the idolaters of Hitler, who would die for their Führer.

And as for communists, I think it would be a good idea for those who oppose Orbán to start calling him and his mafia followers such as our nice friend tuborg, communists, since they are the party who have created once again a single party country, just like the former regime.

Oránismus equals communismus, where the elite enjoy riches while nearly half the country is on poverty wages.

Communism = corrupt one-party system
Orbánism= communism

petofi
Guest

What is really funny, Tuborg, is that you would cut your left nut off if you stopped to realize that Orban is the pure essence of the most hated minority in the land!

pálinkás
Guest

time4change, petofi: don’t shoot the messenger. Average people in the country are not political scientists or philosophers, they just call leftists “communists”. It’s a custom. Rural people are conservative and law and order folks, who don’t like “ism”s, urban people, modernity, jews etc. Orban, despite his corruption is beloved. It’s a love-hate relationship, I admit, there’s a lot of ambivalence but he is considered a real “Hungarian” (whatever that means). You ignore uneducated, average folks at your peril.

Observer
Guest

The characters they pull from the heap of history are not dubious, but all evidently chauvinistic, racist, malicious and usually mediocre anti-democrats, occupations notwithstanding.

This is Orban’s milieu, no wonder he cultivates it, his own garbage heap from the top of which to crow (inferiority complex’ manic compensation).
And dim mobs revel their own fleecing, servile underlings oblige for their own little glories and the smarter hangers-on haul out the booty. Hajra.

bimbi
Guest
This is now (at least) the fourth statue controversy that the Orban-Fidesz-KDNP government has produced: the Horthy bust in the Szabadsag ter, the ‘national priority’ memorial to the Hungarian collaborators in the Szabadsag ter, the Homan statue in Szekesfehervar and now the Donath statue at the corner of the Pava utca and the Ulloi ut. In each and every case the government has tacitly approved or has provided funding and de facto sponsorship for these projects. The Orban (self-portrait?) as a sliding-tackling footballing eagle in the Szabadsag ter was a pet project of the prime minister; Homan was financed by the Justice ministry at that time under the direction of Mr. Navracsics to the tune of 15 M forint; the deputy head of Fidesz, Gergely Gulyas, stood ready to present his eulogy of the unfortunate, misguided and foolish Donath at the Pava utca. This is not merely a pattern, this represents Fidesz policy. One is told by Fidesz apologists that Viktor Orban is not anti-Semitic but unfortunately, Fidesz policy belies such denials. As we have often seen, Mr. Orban, who wishes to maintain his self-projected image as a statesman gets others in the party to do the dirty work, but… Read more »
robi
Guest

Fidesz understand the symbolic politics is paramount. They filled Hungary with hundreds (no exaggeration) of statues in the last 6 years.

The left-wing doesn’t understand that.

webber
Guest

robi, get serious.
Nobody understands that. Nobody cares about these statues. They bore everyone.
I witnessed a statue unveiling yesterday. 50 people took part. I bet they were all Fidesz party members.

Observer
Guest

If there is not enough bread, put more emphasis on the circus. The Hungarians are absolute suckers for “nemzeti” circus.

Guest
@bimbi Today 4:59 am I think we need to understand a few of things here. Orbán deliberately stokes and feeds the darkest strains of Hungarian nationalism (= antisemitism, xenophobia, etc.) not just because he genuinely believes that Hungarians must be allowed, nay encouraged, to take “pride” [sic] in their – to others – dark and disgusting history, but he feels compelled to do as well as Jobbik in the nationalism stakes, lest Jobbik gut his political support base. Hence the series of antisemitic provocations over the past few years, which included not just the erection of statues to notorious antisemites and Hungarist/Arrow Cross symbols all over the country, but the full rehabilitation and exoneration of vicious antisemites of the likes of Prohászka, Wass, Nyírő or Tormay, to the point where their works have now been made standard parts of Hungarian literature and history curricula taught in schools. In addition, there was the scandal of the “Occupation Memorial” exonerating poor little angelic, sainted and ever suffering Hungary and its people from any complicity in murdering hundreds of thousands of Hungarians of Jewish descent, plus the failed farce of the so-called House of Fates Holocaust Museum No. 2, that was to be… Read more »
bimbi
Guest

Alas, what else is new?

spectator
Guest

Actually it doesn’t really matters whether or not Orbán is a (true) racist, believe me.
To me it’s enough that he using, even heating up the dormant sentiments of the mostly uneducated, “core” Hungarians and let them loose.

The result just the same in any event.
Once again just as shameful being a Hungarian than it was 70 years ago, or at least we are pretty near to that date.

spectator
Guest

“matter” of course.
Sorry, I’m more impulsive than to start with a word processor and proofread before posting – it’s a shame too, I know.
But hey, I’m a Hungarian too..!

Tyrker
Guest

Online resources on Donáth are indeed scarce. I did find a write-up about him on the Jewish portal Sófár (Shofar) here:

http://regi.sofar.hu/hu/node/95810

Puzzlingly, it’s actually a rather glowing piece.

Guest

@Tyrker
Today 5:20 am

Naná . . . .

Guest

@Tyrker
Today 5:20 am

Apologies, Tyrker, my previous entry under your post is in error.

I too am totally puzzled how it was possible on a supposedly Jewish internet page not to have given even a breath of a mention of the vicious antisemitism of a Hungarist fascist leader like György Donáth.

Given that this is virtually inconceivable, I would say that this interent page is very fishy, if not simply a straightout fake.

Guest

Either that, or there is a lot more to it than this one page, which, taken out of context, would indeed be a puzzling anomaly.

Guest

Having had a closer look now at the Shofar website itself, it would appear that the page in question is unlikely to be either fake or out of context.

So I remain utterly puzzled about what on earth might have possessed the Shofar group to put on their website a piece that is so totally irrelevant to the activities and apparent interests of their group.

The only thing I can think of is that the Shofar group might have been a front for the Hungarian branch of the Lubavicher Hassids for the US, established in 1989 and now known under the acronym EMIH, which have been up the backside of Fidesz ever since the mid-nineties.

But I don’t know . . . .

In any case, it is very good of you that you pointed to this inanely sympathetic write-up about György Donáth on a Jewish cultural website.

Guest

Correction:

“. . . Lubavicher Hassids FROM the US . . .”

petofi
Guest

I got to know one Lubavicher–he runs the Marco Polo hotel in Miami.
He’s the vilest, most exploitive, shameless, person I’ve ever met. As a jew, I never understood anti-semitism until I met him.

Member

Try to be employed in today Hungary -:)

Guest

You know we can be sure Orban and co’s constant interest in erecting statues all over Magyar ‘ forums’ is not due to love of empire or 3D sculpture. I’d suggest it represents that manifestation of a fixation of always simmering animosity coursing through the country against in this case the ‘zsidok’.

It’s a hate that is always in flux and burning. They simply use metal, marble and bronze as a substantiation of the interminable itch that’ll from the looks of it never ever go away in the entity that is called ‘Magyarorszag’. A true sickness as it tries to bring those with similar thinking to band together in unity while always positioning the meaning of the statue and what it is supposed to represent. Art as diabolical and needless to say art that is dogmatic and unfree.

Guest

What I find really curious:

This is not the first time we read something like this:

The left-wing doesn’t understand that.

That’s one of the typical troll-statements here – as if there was just one group/party on the left …
But we have not only MSZP, there’s DK and LMP and other groups …
If I compare this with the situation in Germany (I don’t know the details of the Hungarian party programs) there we have clearly different programs, but not too different so you find all kinds of coalitions.

But for our trolls here there’s just “the left wing” as if it were a monolithic block – really strange!

is this a Hungaricum again?

Guest

@wolfi7777
Today 9:15 am

I think, wolfi7777, that the only thing that the left-wing of politics in Hungary does not seem to understand is that political strength lies first and foremost in political unity, and that political unity can only be achieved through generous give and take between factions willing to compromise.

After all, all these fragmented little bit players on the left side of politics in Hungary would just be competing factions within a large, left-liberal or social democratic party in the West.

Until the respective leaderships of these marginal, itsy-bitsy political tribes on the Hungarian left really and truly GET this, viscerally, and all the way down to their guts, and make the personal sacrifices to make a solidly united left-wing party actually come into being, it goes without saying that until such time the left has indeed Buckley’s chance against the slimeballs in the Fidesz/KDNP juggernaut.

petofi
Guest

‘United’? Forget it.

The left has realized that they’ve been out-gamed: Fidesz has dared every illegality and lie to garner their massive advantage.
Fidesz now controls the levers of justice, finance and what have you. In small Hungary, there’s nothing left. As true mafia types, Fidesz will not now be moved out of power–no way, no how. So what’s left for a hapless left-wing political class dumped on the hill of history? Only to present whatever little
opportunity remains to play the gull, the idiot, the passive communist to complete the Orban scenario when and if he needs it. From time to time, Orban will find a need to buy one of these hapless creatures (like he did with Mesterhazy and that money man who banked in Vienna). Others remain to hope for similar droppings.

Back in power? Winning elections? Not in our lifetime…
Hungary is now the playground of the Fidesz elite; and the masses who, not knowing that they’re on their knees, are happy to grovel at the plates of anti-semitism and nationalism that
Orban doles with his uncanny timing…

Guest

@petofi
February 26, 2016 1:03 pm

No argument from me on any of the points you make. The points are spot on. I was only raising a hypothetical, a counterfactual, the likelihood of it ever actually getting realized is about minus zero.

uborka
Guest

Fidesznik legal geniuses at work. This works the same way in Russia or in Angola. All legal.

http://444.hu/2016/02/26/elkepeszto-indokkal-akarja-az-nvb-elnoke-lesoporni-a-kopasz-eroemberek-akcioja-miatti-kifogast

Guest
During the Reformation the churches taken over from the Catholics were stripped of pictorial junk and art that had accummulated through centuries. Luther did not encourage iconoclasm but Calvin and Zwingli, the fathers of the Reformed Church did, referring to the Ten Commandments: ”Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:” To this day in Hungary the church buildings taken over by the Reformed Church centuries ago have interiors with whitewashed walls and minimal embellishments. Pictures of God and all his creation except flowers are absent. As I have said before I am not a believer. That doesn’t mean that I don’t expect declaired believers to act according to what they claim to believe. The erection of a statue of Horthy or anybody else at the entrance of a reformed church is incompatible with reformed theology. The reformed clergy ought to lead the resistance against the proliferation of statues of fascist saints in stead of erecting their own. Of course the biblical prohibition of making idols is not only for the clergy. It is for everybody who claim to be… Read more »
Guest

Or they can be put in a ‘Statue Park’ in the hope that the folly won’t be repeated, Jean?

However it’s failed once already!

As I mentioned earlier there’s the one just outside BP with all the Communist iconoclastic monuments.

Orban has ‘done’ enough iconoclasm to fill his own park when he’s gone.

Member
Jean P@ I fully agree and I do not! Please consider that during the last 70 years or so expenses like healthcare, housing and schooling (especially higher education) were never included into the salaries of the Hungaricus. BTW, as I said before these fields are not part of the EU Acquis communautaire so there was not even outside pressure to reform these areas (seriously) even in a time when the Hungarian nomenclature used to listen to the EU. However, it was an overall consensus among the elite during the last 25 years that Hungary could maintain its market competitiveness if they kept wages low. That’s all. Therefore, it just won’t happen, especially if we keep going the way we do. Most importantly, I see virtually no one in the elite to be concerned about this topic. It is considerably easier and less expensive to erect questionable monuments, create your own oligarchs, etc. than to make the hard work of transforming your society into a truly competitive market economy. What we really do is regressing to a politically controlled mixed wild capitalism with socialistic elements getting stronger by the day. A kind of drug cartel, if you wish. As I see,… Read more »
Guest

@zoRRo_aster
February 26, 2016 12:07 pm

Yes. Exactly.

Guest
Re: ‘As I have said before I am not a believer. That doesn’t mean that I don’t expect declaired believers to act according to what they claim to believe’ Can you imagine how those who indeed were brought up in a ‘believer’ milieu look upon this state of affairs? Of course a great tragedy. Yes you should expect what you wish for but we now are in different times. We are far from the medieval where God lived in every absolute moment in the lives of men. Now we are in the secular age where traditional belief has morphed away from the canon. And the state in some areas has found allies in that change. And what of the age today? I wouldn’t agree that ‘God is dead’ but Freidrich certainly pointed the way on the thinking. He was the canary in the theological mind of the world. It is apparent that the Magyar churches have constituted and constructed their position to the state as one of ‘accommodation’. Olyan ‘mint a feher rizs’…. like white on rice. From the looks of it theologically one country has one less thing to worry about. Religious adherents and institutions would seem to be… Read more »
Guest
Re Nomenklatura ambalint Today 9:37 am My wife also tells me stories about the office she worked in (some of them I’ve probably already mentioned here): Some of her bosses had problems writing a coherent sentence – but they were party members and could recite the party program forward and backward – she did not get promoted because she was the child of a “kulak” (her father had owned a small bakery …) and also was not a party member. But she helped those in the nomenklatura e g with putting speeches together and got rewarded … And it seems that not much has changed since then. I always tell my friends and family before they visit us: Be careful – In many ways Hungary is still 50 years behind the West … PS and not too much OT: I just made a rough calculation on pol.hu re Hungary catching up. Let’s assume that incomes really are rising at5%/year compared to say 2%/year in Germany. Right now wages in Hungary are about a fourth – so how long would it take to get equal wages? Around 50 years – if Hungary could keep up and if everybody were to profit… Read more »
Guest
Maybe longer Wolfi! We’ve been giving ‘English’ lessons over Skype to yet another prospective Hungary deserter. Every two or three days she tells us about living in Hungary and Orban’s propaganda – yes another nurse. I was astonished to learn – on a nurse’s pay ($430 per month) – she had to pay $140 for just ONE tooth filling at the dentist. The cost of living is unbelievingly high – butter and milk are twice the price compared with London. ‘Trappistra’ cheese is truly awful – I think it’s a by-product of the petro-chemical industry – but it’s the cheese everyone eats because it’s cheaper. Roquefort, cheddar and bries are so expensive that we take loads with us when we visit. My partner’s idea for Christmas presents this year was a (big!) presentation bag of all our cheeses, pates and boxes of cheese biscuits (water biscuits, cream crackers and other dry (unsweet) biscuits) – to all the families we know. Hungarians don’t get the English cheese course with (vintage!) Port at the end of the meal – or cheese biscuits! However the ‘Cheese bags’ were extremely well received. We spent Christmas in our house and had 10 visitors to dinner… Read more »
Guest

Yes, some quality products are either very expensive or non-existent in Hungary – especially milk products (cheese and sour cream even …) and some kinds of meat.
On the other hand we always bring around a hundred eggs with us from our neighbour’s free range hens in Hungary – our German friends are waiting for them, they’re the best they’ve ever had (and they’re cheaper too …)!
The honey that we buy in the village is also excellent.
And last Xmas I had three whole goose livers in my portable fridge (we have on that can be used as a freezer) and two cooler boxes in the car – which are always full …

Sorry for being so much OT – but the different standards of living really are a problem for everybody who experienced them just once!

So it’s always a give and take …

petofi
Guest

The reality of Hungary is that most have low wages, but the government and businesses make up for that by having high prices…

Guest

@petofi
February 26, 2016 2:17 pm

Yes.

When I was in Budapest in 2003, I certainly found that many, many of the consumer goods in shops were priced at “Australian prices,” while the salary of a full professor at ELTE was well below even the statutory minimum wage in Australia, and an ordinary teacher’s a heck of a lot less. It was hard to figure how these people could survive at all on what they earned.

I also had occasion to visit a gorgeous new palatial residence of a newly rich family in the Buda hills. No money problems in that place!

I doubt if anything much had changed in this regard since 2003.

webber
Guest

Charlie – pretty close.
“Trappista” (Trappist) cheese was invented in WWI as a cheap replacement for real cheese.

Guest

!! – interesting and with the correct spelling! Thanks.
I didn’t realise how close my description was – when we visit some particular friends that’s the only cheese available – I understand the limited funds – but if the dogs close by I’m his best friend!

tappanch
Guest

This is not what I am reading on the internet.

French Trappist monks exiled (1794) —-> Darfeld (Westphalia) —-> Abbaye Port Salut (1815); Mariastern (near Banja Luka, Bosnia) (1869) . So the Hungarian and Serbian trappista originated in Bosnia 45 years before WW1, and the French Port-Salut is its distant relative.

Member

Good point, Tappanch@ I visited the site. The technology was “stolen” by the Yugoslavs and ever since the Trappist was produced and marketed by the state. Monks believed to produce a little for themselves, but the quality of the “state cheese” became awful. As you might expect, socialism destroyed the brand name and the “Trappist” became the synonym of a low quality, mass-produced cheese. That is why I did not dispute Charlie’s @ bit pompous statement.

webber
Guest

I can find the source for that if you like – the “trappista” you eat in Hungary is a WWI novelty.

Member

delete

webber
Guest

Wolfi – assuming relative growth rates of Hungary and Austria stay the same, by my calculations it will take 234 years for the GDP/capita of Hungary to equal that of Austria.

Guest

webber, your calculation is of course as good as mine – I just wanted to show the lunatics on pol.hu how irrelevant it is to applaud Hungary “We had a higher growth rate than …!”

It’s all short term and for the foreseeable future the Eastern European countries will stay behind the West …

And I still haven’t seen realistic numbers for the income distribution – I have that strange feeling that the gap between the poor (and that includes many hard working families) and the few rich in Hungary is getting wider …
The median average is probably much lower than the mean – Hungary is returning to a class oriented or feudal society!

webber
Guest

Wolfi – your calculations are perfect. We were calculating different things. If the government of Hungary wanted to raise the minimum wage drastically tomorrow, it could, regardless of the GDP/capita, and that would do a lot to lessen the wage differential. The GDP/capita cannot be changed by government fiat, though raising minimum wage would probably have a positive delayed knock-on effect on all aspects of the economy.

Guest
@wolfi7777 February 26, 2016 2:50 pm I think that the most basic economic problem in Hungary is that peasants and people still very close to peasant life and values make up the bulk of the population. There is not much a Hungarian government can do in such circumstance to dramatically close the gap with neighbouring Austria (or Germany, England, Holland, Denmark or Sweden) even in the longer term, especially as these countries do not stand still, waiting until the hunmgarians catch up with them. And the Hungarian cult of the peasant, of feudal values and of pastoral romanticism just make it even less likely that Hungary would ever catch up with the European mainstream, unless there was enormous determination and popular consensus in Hungary to change all that. The beliefs, values and ways of the peasant are irrelevant in the 21st century, and only serve to catastrophically retard economic and social progress toward dramatically better quality lives and living standards. This is the bane of Hungary – and of course of all the rest of the East Block too – that will always bedevil all attempts to catch up with the European mainstream. Given the right kind of human material… Read more »
webber
Guest

On values – you may well be right. On peasantry as a source of values, I think you might be wrong.

Only 4-5% of Hungarians work in agriculture (KSH data – and this includes those on workfare given temp. jobs in ag.)

If you take European standards, then 64.6% of Hungarians live in cities or towns.

Hungary’s definition includes much smaller towns in the category of cities. By Hungarian standards 67.5% of Hungarians lived in cities (17.4% in Budapest, 52.1% in other cities).

As to peasant values – they are the values of many Americans (self-help, mistrust of the state, fetishization of private property). I would argue that you mean (rural) proletarian values instilled by state socialism (expecting the state to help, looking for a leader, passivity, fetishization of power)

Guest
@webber Today 5:54 am Yes, your demographic point is unarguably true. However, as to peasant/(rural) proletarian values, I think there is also, and primarily, a large measure of stick in the mud backwardness, fear of change, fear of modernity, hate of the other, deep seated prejudice against Jews, Gypsies and foreigners in general, narrow mindedness, brutishness, contempt for social mobility, respect and comfort with autocracy, need for some kind of quasi-feudal social hierarchy where one “knows one’s place,” suspicion of learning and the learned, obdurate resistance to new ways or things, etc. etc. And contrary to what you claim, these characteristic and profoundly ingrained peasant/(rural) proletarian attributes, which are common right across Eastern Europe, go back a heck of a lot further in history than the four decades of communist dictatorship in Hungary. We also need to consider that whilst many, if not most Americans live by a value system that is primarily free enterprise and libertarian in orientation, and a farmer in the States is first and foremost a businessperson, a peasant or (rural) proletarian in Eastern Europe is anything but, and their respective value systems differ accordingly. I can only reiterate my principal point that with a population… Read more »
Guest

BTW, what exactly is meant by “fetishization of private property?”

webber
Guest

Exactly what I said – the adoration of private property over all else. No human value trumps it in that value system.
In a Protestant context, that comes with the belief that wealth is a sign of God’s approval, and that poverty must be deserved and is a sign of disapproval from God.
I have family in farming. Some of them would kill, literally, for another acre of land, if they thought they could get away with it.

webber
Guest

P.S. I still think the communist period “did something” to Hungarians – that there was a serious change in value systems because of it. You, apparently, think differently.

Member

Mike@ many right ideas in your opus. I agree, that there should be many preceding steps (plan) and a real long-term consensus-based commitment from the so-called political elite before any qualitative change could be achieved. Hungary does not have an elite right now let alone signs for this kind of thinking. The whole story is about how to rob the country blind, drug-cartel style.

Ron
Guest

Please find the press news release of today. The Hungarian Regional GDP is the lowest in the EU. 2/3 of the country is taking the lowest positions.

Észak-Magyarország position 42
Észak-Alföld position 43
Dél-Dunántúl position 45
Dél-Alföld 47

This Hungary renewed?

The entire report is here (PDF alert) http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/2995521/7192292/1-26022016-AP-EN.pdf/602b34e8-abba-439e-b555-4c3cb1dbbe6e

Guest

@Ron
February 26, 2016 5:18 pm

Of course! After all, doesn’t Hungary perform better?

Because MAGYARORSZÁG JOBBAN TELJESÍT! (Hungary performs better!)

Two pints on this:

1.
I would be totally mortified promoting such an utterly stoopid, inane and meretricious slogan in defiance of all evidence to the contrary staring one in the face everywhere in Hungary today.

2.
I am staggered that there is even one person in Hungary prepared not merely to put up with but actually swallow lock, stock and barrel a load of hogwash and bulldust such as this.

Guest

Re young Hungarians and politics:

Of course I don’t know the number of people that feel like this but I’ve found several internet sites on tumblr (mainly filled with graphics and videos) that are full of funny content but also caricatures etc extremely critical of the government and sarcastic.

I was thinking of preparing a list – starts right here:

http://vakkomondor.tumblr.com/ of course
http://nixugribugri.tumblr.com/
http://prolidepp.tumblr.com/
http://paul-whites-official.tumblr.com/
http://hochfunf.tumblr.com/

If you want to have some fun – try them out!

Guest

For those who read Hungarian, a relevant article:

http://www.szombat.org/politika/mit-bizonyit-europa-legnagyobb-zsinagogaja

Andrew J Chandler
Guest

There’s quite a lot on Donáth, and his fellow conspirators in the MTK, in Domokos Szent-Iványi’s records of the period (edited by Szekler). I’ve just written a short summary for the 70th anniversary of the revival of the Hungarian Independence Movement (MFM) and the takeover of the MTK on wordpress (see below). Although I wouldn’t support the erection of a statue to any of its leaders, it is worth noting that Pál Teleki, who supported the MFM’s activities, was also anti-Semitic according to Anna Porter and others. Yet he was clearly anti-Fascist. The line between heroes and villains seems more and more blurred the more you study the available sources. But then, as my Professor, Gwyn Alf Williams used to say ‘heroes are for pimply adolescents’. Human history is always, well, more human than that, and more complex! Given the recent debates about which statues should come down, perhaps the Hungarian Government would do well to cry ‘halt’ to the current craze of statue-building!

Andrew J Chandler
Guest

According to Nóra Szekér’s (sorry about my mis-spelling above), as a member of Teleki’s circle, Donáth rejected national socialism, and resigned his position when the Sztojáy government came to power in March 1944.

Andrew J Chandler
Guest

I should have added ‘around the world’ to my comment about statues. The recent Rhodes controversy at Oxford is a case in point.

Guest
@Andrew J Chandler Today 1:22 pm I am staggered by your tentative position on whether Pál Teleki was an antisemite or not, and your transparent attempt to muddy the water about this by putting that it is merely Anna Porter and some others who are apparently claiming so, slyly implying thereby that their apparent claims about Teleki’s antisemitism might well be open to legitimate dispute. For your information, there is endless documentary evidence that as prime minister of Hungary at both the beginning and the end of the interwar period, as well as during his long tenure as professor of economic geography at Budapest University, Teleki had consistently shown himself to be a visceral and vicious antisemite, a relentless and implacable enemy of Jews in Hungary. In fact, as prime minister, he was the one who rammed through parliament the antisemitic numerus clausus law in 1920 and the first two Jew Laws in 1938 and 1939, which were in fact Hungary’s own version of Hitler’s Nuremberg Laws. But of course as a student of the period, you must know all of this perfectly well, notwithstanding your disingenuous attempt to muddy the waters about it. I confidently presume that as far… Read more »
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